Arthur John Williams

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Arthur John Williams (14 April 1834 – 12 September 1911) was a Welsh lawyer, author and Member of Parliament for South Glamorganshire 1885-1895.

Williams was born in 1834 to Dr John Morgan Williams. Arthur John Williams was one of the trustees of the land that the village of Williamstown was built upon and that took his family name. Privately educated, Williams studied law and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1867. Williams served as an honorary secretary to the Law society and the Legal Education Association.[1]

In 1869 Williams published his first book, The Appropriation of the Railways by the State, and would publish many more books over his life, mainly concerned with legal and economic concerns. In 1878 Williams was promoted to the post of Secretary to the Royal Commission on Accidents in Mines, and as part of his duties would investigate the causes of mining disasters throughout England, Scotland and Wales, of which there were many.

His first foray into politics occurred in 1880 when he unsuccessfully contested the seat of Birkenhead. In 1885 he was elected as a Liberal member of South Glamorgan and held the seat until 1895. He campaigned for proportional representation and the abolishment of Hereditary Peers in the House of Lords. Along with David Lloyd George, he campaigned for the disestablishment of the Church of England in Wales.[2]

On the 23 May 1877, Williams met his future wife Rose Harriette, eldest daughter of Robert Thompson Crawshay the ironmaster of Cyfarthfa Castle in Merthyr. Crawshay was set against his daughter marrying, as she had promised not to wed until after his death. When Williams married Rose in 1878, Crawshay did not attend the wedding and severed Rose from his will.

Although they moved to Eastbourne for some time, Williams and his family moved back to South Wales in 1889 and set up home at Plas Coed-y-Mwster, a mansion in Coychurch, Bridgend. Williams died in 1911 aged 77 and his ashes were placed within Coychurch church in 1912. Rose survived her husband and her ashes were placed with his when she died in 1943. They had two sons, Eliot Crawshay-Williams who was also a Member of Parliament and Leslie Crawshay-Williams.

Published works[edit]

  • The Appropriation of the Railways by the State London (1868)[3]
  • Hints to Honest Citizens on Going to Law Cassell & Co. (1885)
  • How to Avoid Law Cassell & Co. (1888)
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
(new constituency)
Member of Parliament for South Glamorganshire
Succeeded by
Windham Wyndham-Quin