Obituary – “Dewi Mai” – Former Conisborough Minister – Famous “Bard”

January 1934

South Yorkshire Times January 19th, 1934


“Dewi Mai”

Former Conisborough Minister

Famous “Bard”

The Rev. David Williams, a former Conisborough Wesleyan Minister, who as briefly reported last week died at his home, 4 Priory Place, Sheffield, on January 10th, was interred on Saturday at Goole, one of the numerous towns in which he had ministered.

The interment was preceded by a service in the Victoria Hall, Sheffield conducted by the Rev. P. M. Medcraft, superintendent of the Sheffield Wesleyan Mission and an eloquent tribute to Mr. William’s life and work was offered by the Rev. A. S. Lyne superintendent of the Brunswick Circuit.

The family mourners present were: Mrs. Williams (the widow), Mr. ad Mrs. Ivor Williams (son and daughter-in-law), the Rev. and Mrs. H. C. Foster (son-in-law and daughter), Miss G. Williams (daughter), the Rev. J. J. Vaughan and Mr. D. J. Vaughan (brothers-in-law), Mrs. Bell (sister-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. T. Peace (nephew and niece), Mr. F. Vaughan, and Nurse Salt.

Mrs. Lesley Struthers of Prague, a daughter of the late Mr. Williams was unable to attend.

There were also present a number of Wesleyan ministers from various circuits in the city. The Conisborough Wesleyan Church was represented by Mr. H. L. Smethurst and Mr. G. Brocklesby (trustees), Mrs. G. H. Smout, Mrs. J. Brocklesby, Mrs. C. Stenton, Mr. H. Bateson, Mr. H. Peat and Mr. R. Young.  The Sheffield Cambrian Society was also represented.

Among the hymns chosen for the service was one written by Rev. David Williams:

Lord with us abide

Ever be our guide

In the floods of tribulation

In the fires of our temptation

Walk with us, and we

Shall be strong with Thee

The Rev. David Williams lived a full, rich and beautiful life.  He was a typical celt and like so many Welsh boys was early seized with a passion for preaching and poetry. He had a brilliant Eisteddfod career and altogether won nine Bardic chairs.  He was known throughout Wales as “Dewi Mai.”  He won his first Eisteddfod medal for elocution at the age of 18 and in 1900 won his first chair at Llanidloes.

“When I bought it home,” he said to a “Times” reporter who interviewed him during his ministry in Conisborough. “I told my little boy that it was to be his after I had passed away.”  He was highly delighted and took possession of it at once and we had some difficulty in getting him to bed.  It was mercifully hidden from me that his father would be here after he was gone, for that dear little boy, like so many more, made the supreme sacrifice during the Great War.

Mr. Williams had a notable pulpit career and in his prime was famous throughout the Wesleyan body as a preacher. “I have even found my chief delight in preaching,” he said in the course of the same interview.  “Poetry has come second and I have turned to it, as to prayer, for consolation.”  He was brought up as a Congregationalist but entered the

Wesleyan Church as a lay evangelist and afterwards was trained for the regular ministry at Richmond, Surrey. He served for many years in South Wales and afterwards in Lincolnshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Notts.  He came to Conisborough in 1928 from Chesterfield, and concluded his active ministry there, his health breaking down, and he retired to Sheffield where, when his health would permit, he assisted his brethren in various circuits.