Born c. 1694 at Foxhall, Llansamlet, Glamorganshire, and educated at Carmarthen Academy under Perrott. In 1724 he was appointed assistant-pastor to Roger Howell at Cwmllynfell and Gellionnen. He is found keeping school at Neath in 1730, and Lewis Rees was a pupil of his there. In August 1738 we find Howel Harris staying a night with ' Jos. Symons, near the Abbey at Neath.' Simmons is said to have taken over Rees Price's academy at Tyn-ton when Price died in 1739 - but in 1741 at the latest he had a school at Swansea. Simmons was a Calvinist; he is named by Edmund Jones in 1741 (Trevecka letter 362) as one of the Independent ministers who supported the Methodist revival; and Edmund Jones urged Thomas Morgan (1720 - 1799) to go to the school kept by ' Mr. Seimons at Swanzey ' rather than to Samuel Jones (fl. 1715-64) at Pen-twyn, whose orthodoxy was dubious. Simmons sent his own son to Abergavenny Calvinistic Academy, and Edmund Jones was present at the young man's ordination; but the ' Old Prophet ' was deeply vexed (diary of 1789) when Joseph Simmons took part in the ordination of the 'heretical' Edward Evans at Aberdare. In 1750, Simmons removed his dwelling from Hendreforgan to Llansamlet, the better to oversee the Independent cause at Neath (meeting at that time in Chwarelau-bach chapel) - he had charge also of the cause at Skewen. In 1772, Maes-yr-haf chapel at Neath was built, and at its opening, Simmons's son Noah (who had been at Abergavenny Academy, 1768-72) was ordained as his assistant. Joseph Simmons died suddenly, at Swansea, 12 May 1774. Noah Simmons succeeded him, and remained at Maes-yr-haf till 1794, when disagreement with some of his congregation drove him to emigrate to U.S.A.; the date of his death is not known.
Published date: 1959
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