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Eliezer Williams 1754-1820

Eliezer Williams, historian and genealogist, was a clergyman who founded a grammar school at Lampeter, where he spent his last years. The eldest son of the Bible commentator Peter Williams, he was born at Pibwrlwyd near Carmarthen and christened on 4 October 1754 at Llandyfaelog Church.

Eliezer went to the free grammar school at Carmarthen and matriculated from Jesus College, Oxford in April 1775, graduating B.A. in 1778 and M.A. in 1781. He was ordained deacon in 1777, when he was licensed to the curacy of Trelech. In December 1778 he was ordained priest at Christ Church, Oxford and became curate of Tetsworth, Oxfordshire. Soon he was appointed second master at Wallingford grammar school in Berkshire, at the same time serving as curate of Acton nearby.

His sojourn at Wallingford was followed by appointment in 1780 as naval chaplain on board the Cambridge, commanded by Admiral Keith Stewart, and later he became tutor to Lord Garlies (afterwards Earl of Galloway), the admiral's nephew. In 1782, at the invitation of the Earl of Galloway, he forsook the sea to become tutor in the Galloway household, where he remained for about eight years, during which time he was appointed in 1784, to the living of Cynwyl Gaeo with Llansawel. Among his tasks was an investigation, successfully accomplished, of the earl's ancestry for the purpose of establishing a claim to the English peerage.

Later Williams lived in London, where he became an evening lecturer at All Hallows, Lombard Street and private secretary to a gentleman bearing the name of Blakeney. In 1799 he became curate of Chadwell St. Mary's in Essex, at the same time serving as chaplain to Tilbury fort. He returned to Wales in 1805 to he instituted vicar of Lampeter, where he remained for the rest of his life. Not long after his arrival at Lampeter he opened a grammar school, which was highly successful in preparing young men for holy orders.

In 1792 Williams married Ann Adelaide Grebert, a native of Nancy in Lorraine, there being one child, who died in infancy. His wife died in 1796 and at the end of the same year Williams married Jane Amelia Nugent, daughter of St. George Armstrong of Annaduff near Drumona, Co. Leitrim, Ireland. Of this marriage there were eight children. Williams died on 20 January 1820, his wife having predeceased him. He was buried at Lampeter.

Eliezer Williams was initiated into the world of writing and publishing early in life, for while he was still at Carmarthen grammar school he helped his father in preparing Annotations and Concordance for the Welsh Bible, which appeared as a single volume in 1770, but the work had been published earlier as a series of parts. In 1794 he published A Genealogical Account of Lord Galloway's Family, which was followed by three other works relating to his patron's pedigree. In 1801 he published anonymously Nautical Odes, or Poetical Sketches, designed to commemorate the Achievements of the British Navy.

In 1840 his son, St. George Armstrong Williams published his father's English works, together with a memoir. This volume included: 1. 'Hints to Females in High Life,' an unfinished poem. 2. 'An Historical Essay on the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Celtic Tribes, particularly their Marriage Ceremonies.' 3. 'An Historical Essay on the Taste, Talents, and Literary Acquisitions of the Druids and the Ancient Celtic Bards.' 4. 'Historical Anecdotes relative to the Energy, Beauty, and Melody of the Welsh Language and its Affinity to the Oriental Languages and those of the South of Europe.' 5. 'An Inquiry into the Situation of the Gold Mines of the Ancient Britons.' 6. 'History of the Britons.' 7. 'Account of a Visit to the North of Ireland in 1787.' 8. 'Prologues and Epilogues.'
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