Born in the district of Chirk, Denbighshire, son of John Roberts, Corwen - the son taking his father's Christian name as a surname. Nothing is known of his early education. He matriculated in the University of Oxford as from All Soul's College, became a Fellow of Jesus College [ c. 1653 ] and a lecturer there, received holy orders at Taunton, Somerset, and was appointed vicar of Llangynwyd, Glamorganshire, c. 1657. He married a daughter of Rees Powell, a person of some substance and importance in that neighbourhood. He refused to bow under the Act of Uniformity in 1662 and was deprived of his living. He moved to Brynllywarch in the same parish and opened there an Academy which became well known. Although an excellent preacher, he did not itinerate as did many of his contemporaries. As a scholar and a man of a high degree of culture, he devoted his time and his powers to the training of young men for the ministry. Brynllywarch became a 'university' for early Nonconformist ministers. The Presbyterian Board and the Congregational Board made generous grants towards the support of Brynllywarch students, among whom were Samuel Price, assistant to Dr. Watts the hymnist, Rice Price, father of Dr. Richard Price, James Owen, and Philip Pugh. Samuel Jones was a convinced Nonconformist, but liberal-minded and tolerant. In spite of all appeals made to him to conform he remained true to his principles to the end. His correspondence with a bishop and archdeacon of Llandaff and his letter to a friend are historical documents. Under the Act of Indulgence, 1672, he secured several licences to hold meetings and to preach as Presbyterian and Independent. To him the difference between Presbyterian and Independent was but slight - just as it was to Stephen Hughes and Daniel Higgs, the Independents who 'recommended' him. He died in July 1697, highly respected by the gentry and by common folk. [He should not be confused with the subject of the next article.]
Published date: 1959
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