Born at Pant-yr-onnen, near Newcastle Emlyn, 5 July 1836. He received an elementary education at Newcastle Emlyn, Pont Sely, and Llechryd. He was later employed as a draper's assistant at Rhydlewis, Pontypridd, Merthyr Tydfil, and Liverpool. In Liverpool he came into close contact with John Thomas (1821 - 1892), at whose invitation and that of the congregation of the Tabernacle chapel he began to preach in 1857. He was for a time at the Normal College, Swansea, and later at Brecon Memorial College, 1858-62. He was ordained at Libanus, Morriston, 25 and 26 June 1862, to succeed Thomas Jones (1819 - 1882), one of the most famous preachers of his time. He moved, 1865, to Salem, Caernarvon, where he remained as minister until 1892, when he was appointed principal of the Bala-Bangor College at Bangor in succession to Thomas Lewis (1837 - 1892). He had been reluctant to accept the principalship and after realising that he could not maintain both posts he relinquished his pastoral care of Salem, Caernarfon. He commenced his duties at Bangor in January 1893, and delivered his valedictory sermon at Salem on 25 February 1894. He died 30 December 1896.
Early in his ministry he gained the reputation of being one of the outstanding Welsh preachers. He took a leading part in the educational, social, political, and religious movements of his country and, because of his services in the cause of education and social progress, was made J.P. He received the highest honours his denomination could give — the chairmanship of the Union of Welsh Independents, 1886, and the chairmanship of the Congregational Union of England and Wales, 1892. He was first, last, and above all, a preacher, and was in greater demand as a lecturer and preacher than anybody else in his generation. As a lecturer, he was in the line of Gwilym Hiraethog (William Rees, 1802 - 1883). His lectures were models of pure oratory, his sermons, of consecrated eloquence. He was appointed one of the joint editors of Y Dysgedydd in 1874, and was editor-in-chief of that periodical from 1880 until his death. In the last years of his life the greatest boon he bestowed on his denomination was his acceptance of the principalship of the Bala-Bangor College. He had lectured in the college on ‘Preaching’ (1889-93), and was its principal, 1893-6. His care of his students was unremitting, and his whole energy was concentrated on making them fit for the profession of which he himself was such an ornament.
Published date: 1959
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