Wroth, William (DNB00)

WROTH, WILLIAM (1576?–1642), Welsh nonconformist, was born about 1576 in the neighbourhood of Abergavenny. He was of good family, and on 27 Nov. 1590 matriculated at Oxford from New Inn Hall. On 18 Feb. 1595–6 he graduated B.A. from Christ Church, and on 26 June 1605 M.A. from Jesus College. In 1611 he was presented by Sir Edward Lewis of Van to the rectory of Llan Faches, Monmouthshire, to which was added in 1613 that of Llanfihangel Roggiett, hard by. About 1620 the sudden death of a friend made a deep impression upon him, and he became renowned as an earnest preacher and a zealous puritan. So large was the concourse of folk who came to hear him that he frequently preached in the churchyard; he visited other districts, and was especially in request at Bristol. His zeal led to his being summoned in 1635 before the court of high commission; the case, however, was not promptly dealt with, for in 1637 Wroth was still reckoned ‘refractory,’ though in 1638 he had made some kind of submission. In November 1639, having resigned (or been ejected from) his living, he formed at Llan Faches, with the aid of Henry Jessey [q. v.] and Walter Cradock [q. v.], the first separatist church in Wales, of which he was chosen pastor. He died in the early part of 1642. Cradock, in a sermon preached before the House of Commons in 1646, speaks of Wroth as ‘that blessed apostle of South Wales,’ and quotes, in illustration of his pastoral diligence, a saying of his ‘that there was not one person in his congregation whose spiritual estate he did not fully know.’

[Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Rees's Hist. of Protestant Nonconformity in Wales; Laud's Works, vol. v. passim; Life of Henry Jessey.]

J. E. L.