Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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SAUNDERS , WILLIAM ( 1871 - 1950 ), minister (B) and educationalist ;

b. 24 May 1871 son of Thomas Saunders and Ann (née Thomas ) , 5 John St. , Aberdare , but the family soon moved to Abercwmboi where his maternal grandfather was a leading member with the Baptists , and he was baptized there in 1883 . The family moved yet again in 1887 to Ynysybŵl where William Saunders preached his first sermon in 1890 . He was educated in Pontypridd Academy , and in 1892 he entered the Baptist college at Haverfordwest and Aberystwyth before becoming minister of Jerusalem , Rhymney ( 1895-99 ), Carmel (English Church) , New Tredegar ( 1899-1901 ), and Noddfa , Pontycymer , where he remained for 44 years. He gained immediate popularity and soon demonstrated his ability to reconcile opposing factions. Not only was he an eloquent and powerful preacher , genial company and an unrivalled conference man, but he played an active role in many religious and secular movements . He was secretary of the Monmouthshire Union of Sunday Schools , the Welsh Baptist Young People's Union , and the Glamorgan Particular Baptists Association for over 15 yrs. He was a member of Glamorgan county council for over 40 years ( 1908-50 ), being chairman of the Council for two years and chairman of its elementary education committee . For his services to education the University of Wales conferred on him an hon. LL.D. degree in 1946 . He and his wife Jane had a daughter, Eluned , who was a doctor in London . He d. 2 May 1950 and was buried in Pontycymer cemetery.


  • The Baptist Union of Wales Handbook and Diary , 1951 , 173;
  • Baptist Handbook , 1951 , 361;
  • Seren Gomer , 1950 , 117;
  • The Biographical Index of W. W. Price, Aberdâr (at the National Library of Wales and Aberdare Public Library) .


Dr Mary Auronwy James, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001