Full Report for Listed Buildings
Summary Description of a Listed Buildings
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Monument & memorial of William Williams in churchyard of St Mary's Church
Situated prominently on north side of the church.
Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Red granite memorial erected to the Rev. William Williams (1717-91), the great hymnist and preacher, replacing, but in part reproducing the original inscription from the stone slab which lies flat in front of the memorial.
The memorial was the fruit of a fund-raising campaign began in late 1884, by the influential Calvinistic Methodist minister, author and editor, Rev. Thomas Levi (1825-1916), in particular, to have a more impressive memorial than the original stone slab. The Rev. John Williams (1754-1828) had been buried close to his father, and the new memorial encompassed both the original graves. It was completed around the end of August 1886 at a cost just over £160, and the remaining funds from the campaign were used to pay for the carved pulpit in the Williams Pantycelyn Memorial Chapel in Llandovery. The prominent Liverpool sculptor, Joseph Rogerson, made the monument, to a design by the architect Richard Owens (1831-91), also of Liverpool, and Rogerson also sculptured the carved pulpit in the Memorial Chapel in Llandovery. The treasurer of the fund to raise the memorial was the wealthy builder, David Roberts (1806-86), who also worked very closely with Richard Owens in the building of the Welsh Streets in Liverpool.
Obelisk memorial in red Aberdeen granite. The memorial is of polished granite with incised decoration and some mouldings left unpolished. The obelisk has some incised neo-Grec anthemion ornament around the base and stands on a large pedestal with neo-Grec cross-gabled cap with incised leaf-scroll ornament over frieze with greek key ornament. The shaft is inscribed at the front with a copy of part of the original inscription to William Williams, with black inlay, and on the left side with a copy of part of the original inscription to his wife and inscriptions to his sons.
The main inscription reads (in capitals apart from the opening five words):
'Sacred to the Memory of the Rev William Williams[,] Pant-y-celyn in this parish[,] author of several works in prose and verse[.] He waits here the coming of the morning star, which shall usher in the glories of the first resurrection when at the sound of the archangel trumpet the sleeping dust shall be reanimated and death for ever shall be swallowed up in victory[.] Born 1717, died Jan. 11 1791, aged 74 years.'
Below that inscription is the last verse of the three-verse epitaph on Theomemphus’ grave, which concludes William Williams’ epic poem of the same name. According to one local tradition it was his son, the Rev. John Williams, who suggested the poem for his father's original memorial, reading:
‘Heb saeth, heb fraw, heb ofn[,] heb ofid ac heb boen[,] / Yn canu o flaen yr orsedd ogoniant Duw a'r Oen[,] / Yn nghanol myrdd myrddiynau yn canu oll heb drai[,] / Yr anthem ydyw cariad, a chariad i barhau.'
The left side has inscriptions to Mrs Mary Williams, his wife, died 1799, and his two sons, the Rev. William Williams died 1818 and the Rev. John Williams died 1828. A kerb of rough granite surrounds a square of concrete on which lies the original badly-eroded headstone with the same inscriptions.
Reason for designation
Included for historical importance as the memorial to one of the great figures of Welsh religious history.
Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]