EDWARDS, ROGER (1811 - 1886), Calvinistic Methodist minister

Name: Roger Edwards
Date of birth: 1811
Date of death: 1886
Gender: Male
Occupation: Calvinistic Methodist minister
Area of activity: Literature and Writing; Poetry; Printing and Publishing; Religion
Author: Gwilym Thomas Jones

Born 26 January 1811 at Bala, the son of Roger and Elizabeth Edwards. Brought up at Dolgelley and educated there at Lewis William of Llanfachreth's school, he subsequently was at the grammar school at Bala. Following an abortive attempt to train him as a shop assistant, he was sent to Evan Rowland's school in Liverpool and then to the seminary kept by John Hughes (1796 - 1860) at Wrexham. From early 1830 until c. 1833 he kept school at Dolgelley. In December 1830 he began preaching, being ordained in 1842. In 1835 he went to Mold in a proof-reading and general editorial capacity to John (fl. 1829-59) and Evan Lloyd, printers, and he remained at Mold until his death on 9 July 1886. Although he had acted as minister to the church at Bethesda, Mold, since 1835, it was not until 1878 that he was formally appointed pastor. He married, 1841, Ellen Williams of Dolgelley. They had six children. The eldest son, Ellis Edwards, became principal of Bala College; a daughter, Annie, married Sir Henry Lewis of Bangor.

His was a varied and versatile career. He was above all a preacher, but, although he officiated regularly at Associations and festivals, he does not rank amongst the giants of the pulpit. He was, however, the foremost administrator of his denomination and contributed more than any other of his contemporaries to the evolving and perfecting of the intricate connexional structure. He occupied for practically thirty-five years (1840-70 and 1871-5) the key position of secretary of the North Wales C.M. Association, was moderator of the General Assembly (1872), and twice moderator of the Association (1870 and 1886).

As editor of Y Drysorfa (1847-86; up to 1853 jointly with John Roberts of Liverpool), by first publishing in serial form his own novels, starting with Y Tri Brawd, 1866, he allayed Methodist suspicion of fictional literature and thus prepared the way for Daniel Owen, whose 'discoverer' he was, inducing him to contribute Y Dreflan to that journal. He was, jointly with Lewis Edwards, a founder-editor of Y Drysorfa, continuing as joint editor (for the last ten years with Owen Thomas) until 1865. His greatest service was perhaps rendered as editor of Cronicl Oes, 1835-9, the first political newspaper in Welsh. He showed audacity and courage in venturing openly to espouse Radical principles, thereby incurring the wrath of John Elias and defying the official, traditional, attitude of Calvinistic Methodism. His pioneer work in the Cronicl foreshadowed that of Gwilym Hiraethog in Yr Amserau and of Thomas Gee in Y Faner, and laid the foundation for the political Liberalism which later became so characteristic of North Wales. He also edited Y Pregethwr, 1841-2, Y Dyddiadur Methodistaidd, 1843-86, and Y Salmydd Cymreig (first published in 1840). He was also a poet (Caneuon Roger Edwards, first published in 1855) and a hymn-writer.


Published date: 1959

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