WILLIAMS, ROWLAND (1817 - 1870), cleric and scholar

Name: Rowland Williams
Date of birth: 1817
Date of death: 1870
Gender: Male
Occupation: cleric and scholar
Area of activity: Religion; Scholarship and Languages
Author: Thomas Iorwerth Ellis

Born at Halkyn, Flintshire, 16 August 1817, second son of Rowland Williams (1779 - 1854) and Jane his wife. Educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, he became Fellow of his college in 1839, B.A. in 1841, and M.A. in 1844. He spent a short time as assistant master at Eton, and was ordained deacon in 1842 and priest in 1843 by bishop Kaye of Lincoln. For eight years (1842-50) he was classical tutor of King's College, and in 1850 he was appointed vice-principal and professor of Hebrew at S. Davids College, Lampeter. During the twelve years which he spent there, he devoted himself to the reorganization of the general administration and scheme of work of the college, and was markedly successful in this and in his relations with his students; indeed, some people thought him to be marked out for a Welsh bishopric. But a sermon delivered before the University of Cambridge (he had been appointed select preacher there in December 1854) affected his whole career. The subject was 'Rational Godliness,' and the views which he expressed seemed to many people to savour of unorthodoxy. The opposition to him was not lessened by his contribution in 1860 to Essays and Reviews, in which he described the latest results of Biblical criticism. So in June 1862 he left Lampeter, and went to live at Broad Chalke, near Salisbury; he had accepted this living in 1858. He remained there till his death on 18 January 1870, and was buried at Broad Chalke, where there is a memorial window to him in the parish church; there is also a bronze tablet to him in the chapel of S. David's College. Williams married Ellen Cotesworth of Liverpool, in 1859. He was a prolific writer, and his most important work is Christianity and Hinduism, published in 1856. He also published Owen Glendower, a Dramatic Biography, 1870, and a number of classical and theological essays (see list in D.N.B.).


Published date: 1959

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