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He was born at Tŷ Mawr in Llanddetty parish, Brecknock, matriculated at Jesus College, Oxford, in 1639, and married as second wife Barbara, daughter of Sir Anthony Mansell of Briton Ferry, niece to Bussy Mansell, who was very prominent on the Parliament's side in Glamorgan. Jones speedily came to the front in the Civil War both as soldier and as preacher; he was convinced that the Baptists were in the right regarding the manner of baptizing and who ought to be baptized, but he was willing to welcome other sects to the Lord's Table, and had little sympathy with the exclusionist ideas of John Miles, and his followers in south-eastern Wales. He was named as Approver under the Propagation Act of 1650, and was paid also for his services as itinerant preacher; so zealous was he in adapting the provisions of that Act to the circumstances of the day that he drew upon himself the fierce protest of three Brecknockshire clerics which was copied into the True and Perfect Relation, 1654. Sometimes he preached as far south as Llantilio Crossenny; he spent much time in the Merthyr Tydfil district; but in 1657 settled down as minister at Llanddetty under the benediction of the Triers. This is definitely supported by an entry in Lambeth MS. 998 (137) that he was in the living by 18 November, and by a statement in the Alarum to Corporations published in 1659 that he was ' pastor of a congregated church ' in the county; it is not easy, therefore, to accept Calamy's word that he was minister at Llangattock-juxta-Neath about the same time. Though Jenkin Jones was a great friend of Vavasor Powell, there is little proof that he agreed with Powell's sanguine views about the Second Coming or with his political outlook; for all that, he was deeply disturbed by Cromwell's assumption of the Protectorate, signed the Word for God in protest, and went so far (said some of his enemies) as to gather soldiers together to fight against the new powers.
There was little hope at the Restoration for opponents of kings and 'single powers'; Jones soon found himself in Carmarthen prison; he was as soon released, but the news that he was gathering followers together and delivering fiery speeches brought him back to prison again. With this second imprisonment he disappears from history. There is not a word of him in the Brecon consistory books from 1660 to 1668; and the effort to equate him with Jenkin Jones of Kilgerran must be unreservedly abandoned. The Kilgerran captain was a Pembrokeshire man born and bred; the names of his children are known. Barzillai was not among them, for he was the son of the Puritan captain of Brecknock, and died as dean of Lismore in Ireland and chancellor of the cathedral of Waterford.
Published date: 1959
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