His interests lay mainly in the antiquarian and genealogical fields , in the preservation of the national heritage and in his Unitarian faith. He was a Life Member of the Cambrian Archaeological Association from 1901 and of the Powysland Club from 1899 , being its Chairman of Committee at the time of his death. He published a book The Byways of Montgomeryshire in 1905 ; this was kindly reviewed, albeit with helpful criticism, by Archdeacon D.R. Thomas ( DWB , 943) in Mont. Coll. 1907 . He contributed regular articles to Mont. Coll. between 1910 and 1951 , most of them recording his own researches into aspects of the history of the Kerry area. His constant, but always unobtrusive, philanthropy during his lifetime towards the causes which reflected his main interests — in his later years at some personal sacrifice — was considerable. It was not surprising, therefore, that his main residuary legatees should also reflect the same interests: the U.C.W. received £11,000, the N.L.W. £12,000, and the General Assembly of the Unitarian and Free Christian Churches a similar residual amount (this was in addition to some £3,500 in specific bequests to the Unitarian movement ). An appreciation of his altruism would not be complete without a reference to his remarkable generosity to young students. Inspired by his close friend, Prof. H.J. Fleure (see above) he was never happier than when helping them financially with the background to their studies, by providing them with the means to undertake field work and often by taking them, entirely at his own expense, on cultural visits to places of interest in Europe . It is accordingly fitting that U.C.W. decided to perpetuate his memory by establishing the annual J.B. Willans Lecture at the College. He found his own recreation in walking , travelling , voracious reading and in his gardens and woods . Motivated as he was throughout his life by a deep social conscience, sense of public duty and religious faith, his contribution in his fields of interest to the cultural and educational life of Wales , and especially of Montgomeryshire , although always essentially reticent, was substantial. He was unmarried. He d. 12 Apr. 1957 at Salop Infirmary and was buried in Kerry churchyard.
Herbert Noel Jerman (1909-94), Newtown
Published date: 2001