Daniel Williams (theologian)
|Died||26 January 1716
|Based in||Ireland, England and Wales|
- For others of this name, see Daniel Williams (disambiguation).
The Revd Dr Daniel Williams (c.1643 – 26 January 1716) was a Welsh Presbyterian benefactor, minister and theologian. He is known largely for the legacy he left which led to the creation of Dr Williams's Library, a centre for research on English Dissenters.
Williams was born in Wrexham, Denbighshire, and was a cousin of Stephen Davies, minister at Banbury. He became a preacher by the age of nineteen: details of his education are unknown, though it was probably cut short by his refusing to conform to Anglicanism on the Restoration.
He ministered in Ireland from 1664 to 1687. This posting was a result of his accepting an invitation from the countess of Meath to be her chaplain. He was a regular preacher to Drogheda's joint Presbyterian–Independent congregation (1664–67) and then became Samuel Marsden's colleague at the congregation at Wood Street, Dublin (1667–87). He acted as a peacemaker amongst the Scottish Presbyterians, fiercely opposed Catholicism and helped to maintain the Presbyterians' union with the other Dissenting congregations in Ireland, as well as exorcising a house by prayer in 1678 (as recounted by Richard Baxter).
On a new outbreak of the Troubles and after being abandoned by Gilbert Rule (a Scottish exile, and Williams' assistant since 1682), Williams left for London in September 1687. There he became an influential Dissenter, becoming friends with the leading ministers Richard Baxter and John Howe and twice being invited to preach before London's Lord Mayor, the Independent Sir John Shorter. At a meeting at Howe's house in May 1688 as to the making an address of thanks to James II for his Declaration of Indulgence, Williams opposed any such address since (in his words) "it were better for [the Dissenters] to be reduc'd to their former Hardships, than declare for Measures destructive of the Liberties of their Country" and likely to cause an open split with the Church of England. He refused to be convinced to return to Ireland by the Dublin congregation, and spent the rest of his career in London, where he advised William III on Irish matters.
He died in Hoxton, possibly from asthma, and he was buried in a vault at Bunhill Fields. He left almost his whole estate of £50,000 to charity. His legacies included funds to establish a library from his book collection (now known as the Dr Williams's Library), as well as the foundation of seven charity schools in North Wales and of scholarships to Glasgow University for candidates to the ministry in the Nonconformist church.
Marriages and issue
He married Thomas Juxon's daughter Elizabeth in Ireland in 1675 - she died in 1698, and they had had no children. By his second wife Jane Guill (daughter of a refugee Huguenot merchant), whom he married in 1701, he had one son and two daughters.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2013)|
- J. Evans, A funeral sermon occasion'd by the much lamented death of the late Reverend Daniel Williams, D.D. who deceas'd January the 26th 1715/6 (1716). ‘Some account of the life of Dr Williams’, D. Williams, Practical discourses on several important subjects … by the late Reverend Daniel Williams, D.D. Published singly by himself, and now collected by the appointment of his will (1738), page 43
- Gordon, Alexander (1900). "Williams, Daniel". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography 61. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 385–389.
- Wykes, David L. (October 2009) . "Williams, Daniel". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29491. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- "Daniel Williams". Welsh Biography Online.