Nothing is known of his origins or indeed of his career before he entered the Academy at Llwyn-llwyd under Vavasor Griffiths - for that matter, we do not even know when he went there; again, as he did not accompany the Academy when it migrated to Haverfordwest (1741), we are in the dark as to his further education - it is believed that he went to Scotland. But in 1747 (according to the Cilgwyn church register - see Y Cofiadur, 1923, 31) he was ordained pastor at Llanfyllin, Montgomeryshire, where he was also master of one of Dr. Daniel Williams's schools. It is possible (there are other instances) that he had been pastor there, though not yet ordained, since 1743.
The Presbyterian Fund Board paid its last contribution to him as pastor at Llanfyllin on 2 June 1760 (Y Cofiadur, 1958, 19).
Dr. Abraham Rees and the painter Thomas Jones (1742 - 1803) were pupils of his at Llanfyllin (Jeremy, Presbyterian Fund, 88). As a pastor, Jenkins is not well spoken of. In November 1759 he joined Samuel Thomas as tutor at Carmarthen Academy and at the grammar school connected with it. It may indeed be believed that Jenkins was at his best as a schoolmaster, and particularly as a classical teacher, for when, on Thomas's resignation (1764), the Academy was placed under his care (together, on Thomas's death in 1766, with the pastorate of Lammas Street), deterioration set in. He was an Arian, and his sermons and theological lectures displeased the orthodox; there were also complaints that the mathematical and philosophical portions of the curriculum were neglected by him - to be sure, he may not have been interested in them, but on the other hand he stubbornly refused to accept a colleague. Further, he was very hard of hearing, and according to Thomas Morgan (1720 - 1799) he suffered from ' an entire want of pulpit oratory '; nor was he a good disciplinarian. From 1775 onwards, there were continual squabbles between him and the Presbyterian Fund Board (there are many echoes of these in Thomas Morgan's letter-book, N.L.W. MS. 5453), and in 1779 he was removed from office. He afterwards lived in London, and died at Tottenham Court 28 November 1780. Since c. 1773 he had borne the degree of D.D., but of which university is not stated. His two most famous pupils at Carmarthen were David Davis of Castellhywel and Thomas Charles, and it should be noted that David Davis spoke most highly of him as a teacher.
Published date: 1959
Article Copyright: http://rightsstatements.org/page/InC/1.0/
The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.
Find out more on our sponsorship page.