William Harris (priest)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

William Henry Harris (28 April 1884 – 23 January 1956) was a British Welsh-speaking priest, academic and translator. Ordained in 1914, he served for most of his life (1919-1941) as a teacher of theology at St David's College, Lampeter, becoming a professor of theology at the college in 1940 and Professor of Welsh in 1941. At the same time he served at St David's Cathedral as precentor (1933), canon (1937) and treasurer (1948). He translated several hymns and liturgical texts into Welsh. As a theologian he valued the Catholic inheritance in the reformed churches and fostered this inheritance within the Church in Wales.


William Henry Harris was born on 28 April 1884 in Pantysgallog, Dowlais, Glamorgan in south Wales. He was educated at Merthyr Tydfil County School. As a young man he went to St David's College, Lampeter, where he obtained a first-class BA degree in Welsh in 1910. He won a Meyrick scholarship to Jesus College, Oxford, where he obtained a BLitt in 1913 and a BA in theology in 1914.

Harris was ordained a deacon in 1913 and a priest in 1914. After first being curate in Ystradgynlais in the Swansea Valley, he moved to Christ Church, Swansea, in 1917 and then to All Saints, Oystermouth, Swansea, in the following year.

In 1919 he took the post of lecturer in theology at St David's College, Lampeter. He was also Precentor of St David's Cathedral (1933), becoming a canon of the cathedral in 1937. He accepted the post of Professor of Theology at St David's College in 1940, and in 1941 that of Professor of Welsh. In 1948 he became treasurer of St David's cathedral.

He died in London on 23 January 1956.[1]

Harris was a supporter of the catholicity of the Church in Wales and was a founder member of the St David's Society which was set up to promote this. He wrote on this and on other theological topics and served on committees for the Welsh Church Hymnary (translating some of the hymns himself) and the Book of Common Prayer. He was a member of the Gorsedd of Bards, with his bardic name being "Arthan". He also translated the office of Compline into Welsh in 1941.[1]


  1. ^ a b Ellis, Mary Gwendoline (2007). "Harris, William Henry (1884–1956), priest, Professor of Welsh, St David's College, Lampeter". Welsh Biography Online. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 18 February 2009.