MENDS, CHRISTOPHER (1724? - 1799). Methodist exhorter, afterwards Independent minister

Name: Christopher Mends
Date of birth: 1724?
Date of death: 1799
Parent: David Mends
Gender: Male
Occupation: Methodist exhorter, afterwards Independent minister
Area of activity: Religion
Author: Robert Thomas Jenkins

Born at the Cotts near Hasguard, Pembrokeshire, 22 February ‘1724’ (which may be 1725); he was one of nine children, and describes his father as ‘a clothier.’

In 1741 he and his brother WILLIAM MENDS were living at Laugharne, where there were fulling and tucking mills; and there, when Christopher was 17, they were converted by Whitefield. Both brothers became exhorters, and had charge of a group of societies extending from Llandeilo-fawr to Gower. They report to the Association, on 25 October 1748, that they have taken a house at Laugharne ‘for Methodist worship,’ and that it was ‘quite full every Sunday,’ though the societies, both at Carmarthen and at Laugharne, were ‘weak.’ But on 10 January 1749 the quarter sessions records note the registration of ‘the house of Chr. Mends and William Mends, situate in the town of Laugharne’ as a Dissenting meeting-house.

Christopher became an Independent minister at Brinkworth, Wiltshire, from 1749 till 1761, and then (1761-99) at Plymouth. He tells us that he was at Carmarthen Academy under Evan Davies (1694? - 1770) ‘for some years,’ i.e. before 1749, and while he was still a Methodist exhorter (compare Milbourn Bloom) — it may be that Christopher supervised the society at Carmarthen and William that at Laugharne. According to a Moravian record (Y Cymmrodor, xlv, 34 ), William also ‘dissented’ — this indeed is implied by the registration of the house. Nothing further is known of William, but Christopher died at Plymouth, 5 April 1799; there is an autobiography in the Evangelical Magazine, 1799, 397.

In Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society and Field Club, 1942, 33-41, there is a most interesting parody of ‘Young Mends the Clothier's sermon — obviously this was one of the two brothers. The parody is from NLW MS 67A , in the writing of Lewis Morris of Anglesey; it does not follow that it is his own composition, but he probably heard of ‘Young Mends’ when he was surveying the Pembrokeshire harbours. What grains of wheat there may be in this chaff is hard to say, but it may be noted that the preacher's father is called ‘David Mends.’


Published date: 1959

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