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Subject: [CmnFHS] David Charles 1762-1834
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2000 10:54:57 EDT


Llangunnor Parish Church
David Charles 1762-1834
Close to the south wall of the church lies the remains of David Charles,
writer of one of the best known, and possibly most loved of all Welsh hymns,
"O fryniau Caersalem ceir gweled". He was born on a farm called Pant Dwfn,
situated on high ground on the eastern bank of the river Taf about half a
mile south east of St Clears. His father was Rees Charles his mother was
Jael Bowen of Pibwr Lwyd Llangunnor. Jael's father, David Bowen, was High
Sheriff of Carmarthen in 1763, an ardent Methodist who entertained Howell
Harries at Pibwr Lwyd. David Charles's brother was the famous Thomas Charles
"o'r" Bala. Thomas had benefitted from higher education by first attending
the village school at Llanddowror three years after the death of Griffith
Jones. Griffith Jones is remembered as the founder of the Circulating
Schools. From Llanddowror Thomas Charles attended Carmarthen Academy, and
through the kindness of a family friend, was able to go to Jesus College,
Oxford. He graduated in 1779, and was an Anglican Priest in 1780.

Unfortunately for David Charles his education was cut short by the death of
his father. He was apprenticed to a Carmarthen rope-maker and flax-dresser,
to imporve his craft he went to Bristol for further experience, on returning
to Carmarthen was appointed manager of the rope-works.

At the age of 46 he started preaching, and ordained in August 1811 at
Llandeilo. A self educated man of high ability, Charles was considered to be
an able theologian and a clear thinker.During the 19th century two volumes of
Welsh sermons, one volume of English sermons and a Welsh selection of his
other writings were pubished.

On 11th March 1823 he attended a very important meeting of Methodists at the
home of his daughter at Aberystwyth. She had married a Robert Davies, a
prominent Methodist layman. At this meeting the "Cyffes Ffydd" (Confession
of a faith) of the Welsh Calvinistic Connexion was adopted.

David Charles married the daughter of a Jewish Christian who was the
descendant of a famous Rabbi from Frankfurt in Germany. Because of
persecution her father had left Germany by boat and landed in Pembrokeshire.
he set himself up in Haverfordwest, and soon became a rich banker. His name
was Samuel Levi, but he added Phillips to his surname, and thus became
Samuel Levi Phillips. Sarah his daughter married Charles and they had four
daughters and one son. The son, Rice Rowland Charles, died in infancy, and
is buried along with his parents in Llangunnor.

In his 66 year Charles was struck down by a stoke, and for the remaining six
years of his life was paralysed without the power of speech. He died on
September 2nd 1834 and was buried at Llangunnor on 8th September, the Vicar,
Rev James Griffiths taking burial service.

*************
Pauline


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