PRICHARD, WILLIAM (1702 - 1773), a celebrated early North Wales Nonconformist

Name: William Prichard
Date of birth: 1702
Date of death: 1773
Child: Jane Lloyd (née Prichard)
Child: John William Prichard
Parent: Margaret Morris (née Prichard)
Parent: Richard Morris
Gender: Male
Occupation: early North Wales Nonconformist
Area of activity: Nature and Agriculture; Religion
Author: Richard Thomas

Born in 1702 at Bryn-rhydd, in the parish of Llanarmon, Caernarfonshire, son of Morris and Margaret Prichard; christened at Llanarmon, 13 February 1701/2. Although he had had a good education and was a cultured man, he became a farmer at Glasfryn Fawr in the parish of Llangybi. One Sunday afternoon, after church was over, he went to the village inn as usual and got so drunk that instead of returning straight home he wandered stupidly round the neighbouring cottages. On reaching the last window of Caertyddyn he heard Francis Evans reading the Bible and praying for prodigals like himself. This was sufficient to sober him and send him home a reformed character. Although he continued for some time to go to church, we hear of him gradually associating with the Dissenters at Pwllheli, which is not surprising when it is remembered that chancellor John Owen (1698 - 1755) had on more than one occasion summoned him to the bishop's court at Bangor for daring to express the opinion as he came out of church that his sermon was unscriptural. After discussing the moral state of the district with the Rev. Lewis Rees at Pwllheli, he heard of Jenkin Morgan, a schoolmaster and preacher, who was at that time working at Nantydeiliau, near Llanuwchllyn. Francis Evans of Caertyddyn was given the honour of going to fetch him, and, after the parish priest had refused to have anything to do with it, a school was started in the kitchen of Glasfryn Fawr. Malicious and lying stories were spread about the school, and the fact that the teacher was a preacher was of great help to its enemies. In 1742 William Prichard and his family were exiles from Glasfryn Fawr and went to Plas Penmynydd, Anglesey, but the people of Anglesey persecuted the new tenant of that celebrated place inhumanly. When the landlord was induced to drive him out of the neighbourhood he went to Bodlew, Llanddaniel, where again he suffered persecution because of his religious views. However, when William Bulkeley of Brynddu, Llanfechell, came to realize that he was being ejected from his farms merely because he was a Nonconformist he offered him the tenancy of Clwchdernog. Prichard went there in November 1749 and lived there, happy in all his work, until he died 9 March 1773. Prichard, more than any one else, was the pioneer of Dissent in Anglesey and was a tower of strength to it as long as he lived. There is a memorial to him in Rhos-y-meirch chapel. John William Prichard was his son.


Published date: 1959

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