Williams, Edward (1750-1813) (DNB00)

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WILLIAMS, EDWARD (1750–1813), nonconformist divine, was born at Glan Clwyd, near Denbigh, on 14 Nov. 1750. His father, a farmer of good position, sent him to St. Asaph grammar school, and he was intended for the church. But he came as a lad under the influence of the methodists of the district, and, while studying with a clergyman at Derwen (probably the curate, David Ellis, who translated several books into Welsh), attended their meetings. Finally, he joined the independent church at Denbigh, began to preach, and in 1771 entered the dissenting academy at Abergavenny. His first pastoral charge was at Ross, where he was minister from 1775 to 1777; in September of the latter year he settled at Oswestry. When Dr. Benjamin Davies left Abergavenny for Homerton, the academy was moved in May 1782 to Oswestry, and placed under Williams's care. At the end of 1791 he gave up both church and academy, and, with the new year, commenced his ministry at Carr's Lane, Birmingham. In 1792 he was appointed first editor of the ‘Evangelical Magazine’ and received the degree of D.D. from the university of Edinburgh. He left Birmingham in 1795, becoming in September theological tutor at the Rotherham academy. He died at Rotherham on 9 March 1813. Among dissenting divines he is known as the advocate of a moderate form of Calvinism, expounded in his book on the ‘Equity of Divine Government’ (London, 1813). He was also the author of a discourse on the ‘Cross of Christ’ (Shrewsbury, 1792), an abridgment of Dr. Owen's ‘Commentary on Hebrews,’ and a controversial work on baptism. His collected works were edited by Evan Davies [q. v.] in four volumes (London, 1862).

[Williams's Eminent Welshmen; Methodistiaeth Cymru, iii. 136; Cathrall's History of Oswestry; Hanes Eglwysi Annibynol Cymru, iv. 47.]

J. E. L.