WILLIAMS, CHARLES (1807? - 1877), principal of Jesus College, Oxford

Name: Charles Williams
Date of birth: 1807?
Date of death: 1877
Parent: William Williams
Gender: Male
Occupation: principal of Jesus College, Oxford
Area of activity: Education
Author: Robert Thomas Jenkins

Born in 1807? christened 22 June 1807, third son of William Williams (1765 - 1847), a Dolgelley man who was for fifty-nine years master of Cowbridge grammar school. From that school, Charles Williams went up to Jesus College in 1823, graduated in 1827 with a 'first' in classics and a 'second' in mathematics, and was Fellow of his college from 1829 till 1845. He received a M.A. degree in 1830, B.D. in 1837, and D.D. in 1858. He was master of Ruthin grammar school, 1831-9, but in 1839 returned to be lecturer, tutor, and bursar of Jesus College.

In 1845, he was given the perpetual curacy of Holyhead, and remained there till 1857; he proved himself an excellent parish priest. He was a man of exceptional generosity, and later on, large numbers of Holyhead children would be invited to spend a holiday at the principal's lodgings at Jesus. In 1857, he was elected principal of the college - a college which had long been stagnating and was now in the throes of the reforms demanded by the Royal Commission of 1852. He was an honorary canon of Bangor from 1857 until his death. His management of the college has been described as ' wise and prudent '; a characteristic incident was his offer of an exhibition to John Rhys, ' on the spot,' after a brief interview (D.N.B., under Rhys, John).

His very poor eyesight (not to mention his administrative duties) prevented his writing anything of great consequence, though he was a sound scholar. Yet he was interested in things Welsh; he was prominent at the Aberffraw eisteddfod of 1849, and in 1866 published a booklet, The Rules of the Welsh Initial Changes; he also published a volume of sermons. He died 17 October 1877.

The father, too, was a prominent supporter of the 'provincial' eisteddfodic movement in S.-E. Wales; he had a well-used collection of old Welsh books.


Published date: 1959

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