Griffith Jones' Church (1716-1761)

Griffith Jones was born in 1683. Although there are no records to show the exact place of birth it is presumed he was born in the parish of Penboyr, Pembrokeshire. He was baptised the following year in Cilrhedyn church. He was brought up in a Christian home; although sadly his father died when he was very young. Griffith attended the Grammar School at Carmarthen, an intelligent boy he was fortunate to be taught by an eminent classical scholar there. At a young age he decided to go into the Church and his education was organised with that in mind. It does not appear that he went to university. Jones became a deacon in 1708 from the hands of the Bishop of St David’s and he became a priest the following year.

He became a curate at Laugharne in Carmarthen and in 1711 he became vicar of Llandilo-Abercowyn. At Laugharne he proved a popular preacher; his sermons being full of evangelical truth. His biographer, D Jones, says that, “His ministry created a profound spiritual awakening in the parish, and his fame spread throughout the surrounding district.” His promotion in 1711 is a sign of the reputation he had earned as he had only been a clergyman for three years. In 1712 Jones was thinking about being a missionary in the Indies and applied to the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, but eventually, after a year of soul searching, he decided that his own country needed him. William Williams describes him at this period as, “crowding the churches to capacity, transforming graveyards into churches.” Another witness writes that despite there only being about twelve small families in his parish there were generally five or six hundred; sometimes a thousand, in his church. In 1714, according to Sir John Phillips of Picton Castle, Jones was had up before the Bishop’s Court for not performing his duties and for preaching in other parishes without permission; these accusations were proved to be untrue. In 1716 he was appointed Rector of Llanddowror by Sir John Phillips and in 1722 he married Sir John’s sister. Sadly there is little known of his work at Llanddowror until 1732.