not to be confused with the 19th cent, poet Gwalchmai (Richard Parry, 1803 - 1897) — born 14 January 1788, was a son of Edward Gwalchmai (1757 - 1799), of Dolgar, Llanwyddelan, Montgomeryshire, a substantial freehold which had been in the family for four generations. His religious activities began early, more especially in Sunday school work; he became an elder at seventeen and a preacher at nineteen, despite the fact that Welsh was not the language of his childhood. Marrying in 1813, he set up business at Llanidloes. In 1816, he formally agreed to undertake pastoral charge of the Calvinistic Methodist church there — the event is noteworthy as being the first official recognition in North Wales (and perhaps in all Wales) of the settled pastorate in the Calvinistic Methodist connexion. He was ordained in 1819, and from 1820 till 1830 was secretary of the North Wales Calvinistic Methodist Association. Those were the years in which the confession of faith and the constitutional deed of the Calvinistic Methodist were drawn up, and Gwalchmai was thus ‘ex officio,’ one of the two secretaries of the drafting committee set up by the North and South Wales Associations; it was he who drafted articles 18 and 41-44 of the Confession. In 1832, however, he fell into great adversity. In his absorption in preaching and connexional administration, he had neglected his hitherto prosperous affairs, and in particular had lost heavily in a lead-mining enterprise at Tylwch. His bankruptcy necessarily entailed inhibition from his ministerial functions, despite universal sympathy. He was restored to the ministry in 1840, but never regained his financial prosperity. Removing in 1842 to Oswestry, he died there 29 March 1847. In 1836, he had begun publishing a magazine, Yr Athraw, and he continued to edit it until 1844. Yr Athraw may be regarded as the precursor of Y Drysorfa (1845) — almost officially so, indeed, for an arrangement was entered into whereby the former gave place to the latter. Indeed, Humphrey Gwalchmai was a far more important man, in his age and in his region, than could well be shown in a brief notice of his career.
Published date: 1959
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