Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Peter, David

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PETER, DAVID (1765–1837), independent minister, was born at Aberystwith on 5 Aug. 1765. When he was seven years old his father, who was a ship carpenter, moved to New Quay, Cardiganshire. As a boy he showed great quickness of understanding, and when he had studied for some time with the Rev. David Davies of Castell Hywel, his father, who was a churchman, wished him to become a clergyman. He preferred, however, to join the independents, and became a member of the church at Penrhiw Galed in March 1783. Soon after he commenced to preach, and in the course of a year or two, having made a little money by keeping school, proceeded to the presbyterian college, which was then at Swansea. In 1789 he was appointed assistant-tutor in this institution, a position he resigned in 1792, in order to take the pastorate of Lammas Street church, Carmarthen, where he was ordained on 8 June. The college at Swansea was broken up in 1794, but in the following year it was re-established at Carmarthen, and Peter was appointed president. He held this office, in conjunction with his pastorate, until his death, which took place on 4 May 1837. He married, first, the widow of a Mr. Lewis of Carmarthen, who died in 1820; and, secondly, a sister of General Sir William Nott [q. v.]

Peter translated Palmer's ‘Protestant Dissenters' Catechism,’ Carmarthen, 1803. But he is best known as the author of ‘Hanes Crefydd yng Nghymru,’ Carmarthen, 1816; second edition, Colwyn, 1851—an account of Welsh religion from the times of the Druids to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The book is one which shows fairly wide reading, and it is free from sectarian bias. The first edition has prefixed to it an engraved portrait by Blood.

[Hanes Eglwysi Anibynnol Cymru, by Rees and Thomas.]

J. E. L.