Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Griffiths, John (1731-1811)

GRIFFITHS, JOHN (1731–1811), congregationalist, was born in 1731 at Castellgarw, Llanglydwen, Carmarthenshire. It was intended that he should take orders in the established church, and he received a good preparatory education at the school of the vicar; but changing his views, he entered the presbyterian college, under the presidency of the Rev. Evan Davies, at Haverfordwest in 1752. During his stay a rupture led to the formation of the New Independent College at Abergavenny, whither he and three other students of orthodox sympathies removed (1755). For over fifty years he held the pastoral oversight of the independent church at Glandwr, Pembrokeshire, and of several other neighbouring churches. He laboured zealously, his churches were well filled, notwithstanding two secessions, due perhaps to his extreme Calvinism. He acted as a school-master, and young men often received episcopal and other ordination direct from his school. He was the founder of what are known in Pembrokeshire as expository classes. He studied medicine for the benefit of his people, and his knowledge was supposed by the ignorant to imply a mastery of the magic art. He was a successful translator of English hymns into Welsh. He published two editions of the 'Shorter Catechism' in Welsh, a revised edition of Matthias Maurice's translation of Dr. John Owen's 'Guide to Public Worship,' a translation of a work on domestic worship, 1791, and an elegy on Morris Griffiths, Trefgarn. He died 7 Nov. 1811.

[Jones's Geir. Bywgr.; Hanes Eglwysi Annybynol, iii. 50.]

R. J. J.