WINTER, CHARLES (1700-1773), Arminian Baptist minister

Name: Charles Winter
Date of birth: 1700
Date of death: 1773
Parent: Francis Winter
Gender: Male
Occupation: Arminian Baptist minister
Area of activity: Religion

Son of Francis Winter, a well-to-do farmer of Bedwellty, Glamorganshire, was apprenticed to a surgeon-apothecary at Newport, Monmouth, but returned home, joined the Baptist church at Hengoed, began preaching, and entered Carmarthen Academy under Perrott. He was there led to accept Arminian doctrines. Others at Hengoed tended to the same way, notably Rees David and Jacob Isaac. After a heated debate in the Baptist Association, which met at Hengoed in 1730 and at which Abel Francis was also present, Winter (but not David and Isaac) consented to a compromise, and indeed afterwards became assistant to Morgan Griffith (died 1738), pastor of the church. In 1740, though there was a party which desired the promotion of Winter, the majority favoured Griffith Jones of Pen-y-fai, and Winter co-operated amicably with him. But when Jones, in 1749, emigrated to America, dissension broke out afresh, and Winter was excommunicated. He now decided to form an Arminian Baptist church, in association with the dissidents who, in 1730, had refused to compromise. In 1751 they secured a site for a chapel, at Craig-y-fargod, in Bedlinog - it was opened 28 January 1753; the church numbered twenty-three. Winter remained there till his death, 23 April 1773; he was buried at Bedwellty. Joshua Thomas speaks of him with great respect. He practised throughout as a surgeon-apothecary, and ' had many scientific books in his library.'

After his death he was succeeded as pastor by a Carmarthenshire man, Morgan Thomas, who died 1774. The next minister at Craig-y-fargod was


grandson of the Jacob Isaac (above), who as early as 1717 had shown some restiveness against orthodoxy, had been expelled from Hengoed in 1730, and had, in the meantime, joined Pen-main Independent church. The younger Jacob Isaac was ordained in 1777 by Presbyterian (mostly Arian) ministers, for no Baptist could be found to act. He left for Moreton Hampstead General Baptist Church, Devon in 1782 - he was still alive in 1806. After an interval, he had been succeeded at Craig-y-fargod by his younger brother, DANIEL ISAAC, who, however, became, in 1792, a declared Unitarian and resigned, as the congregation was still Trinitarian. For its subsequent history, see under Henry Evans (fl. 1787-1839).

Jacob Isaac's daughter Sarah (1783 - 1841) married JAMES HEWS BRANSBY (1783 - 1847),

an Ipswich man who had a rather chequered career described by Alexander Gordon in the D.N.B. He became (1 May 1803) pastor of the Presbyterian church at Moreton, Hampstead, but removed to Dudley in 1805 - he kept school at both places. His 'eccentricities', which included kleptomania, plagiarism, and (as suspicion had it) forgery, compelled him in 1828 to leave Dudley. With his wife and his mother-in-law Ann Isaac (1758 - 1839), he settled at Caernarvon (1829), in a house called Bron'r-hendre in Henwalia, and sought a living by keeping school, journalism, and literary pot - boiling. He became quite a figure in the town in the 'thirties, as a 'Whig' politician, championing the Reform Bill and forwarding the parliamentary interests of Sir Charles Paget; and he was one of the founders of the Carnarvon Herald (1831), later known as the Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald - he acted for some time as its editor. In his later years, he resumed preaching; recollections of him were still current at Caernarvon fairly recently. The works mentioned in the D.N.B., include a number of small books on the topography of Caernarvon and its neighbourhood - see also Cardiff Welsh Library Catalogue. He died very suddenly on 4 November 1847, 'aged 64'.

Published date: 1959

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