#ONTHISDAYINWALES in 1791 William Williams Pantycelyn passed away

William Williams Pantycelyn

Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch, 
Fi, bererin gwael ei wedd,
Nad oes ynof nerth na bywyd
Fel yn gorwedd yn y bedd:
Hollalluog, Hollalluog,
Ydyw’r Un a’m cwyd i’r lan.
Ydyw’r Un a’m cwyd i’r lan.

William Williams Pantycelyn. Methodist cleric. Author. Hymn-writer. And one of Wales’s greatest religious figures. He played an integral part in the Welsh Methodist Revival of the 18th century, and is best known today for writing the favourite hymn of Welsh rugby supporters, Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah. Or Bread of Heaven as it’s commonly known. The above words are the original words of the hymn he wrote, entitled Arglwyddarwain trwy’r anialwch.

Phil Carradice’s BBC history blog chronicles Pantycelyn’s life and the rise of the Calvinistic Methodists, from its beginnings as a Church of England movement to its break from that institution in 1811. This BBC Wales’s page on religion in Wales provides an insight into the first wave of great hymn-writers and preachers in the eighteenth century.

In his closing paragraph, Carradice offers a subtle, yet moving tribute to the man from Carmarthenshire who influenced so greatly Welsh Christianity.

“William Williams, Pantycelyn, died on 11 January 1791 and was buried in the churchyard at Llanfair-ar-y-bryn, just outside Llandovery. He remains one of the great figures of Welsh religion – indeed, one of the great figures of Welsh social history. Every year, when the Welsh rugby fans bawl out Bread Of Heaven, they are paying tribute to a remarkable and fascinating man.”



Everyday from today onwards (including yesterday…and the day before) Discover the Past will post a historical fact about Wales. So look out for the hashtag ONTHISDAYINWALES on the top right hand side of our homepage, or on the twitter page @discoverthepast. It’s the perfect way to learn something you might not have known about Wales, everyday.

Today’s fact is a certainly a timely one. Had the Mayans been correct  in their prophecy today would have been a hellish winter’s day in Wales. But the weather today is rather mild compared to past winters.

On this day in 1890, a a 3-week period of severe winter weather began causing deaths and widespread disruption in many parts of the country. It was, according to BBC weatherman Paul Hudson, the coldest winter for over thirty years. According to one web-based source 20cm of snow fell in Llanfrechfa Grange, Gwent.


Yet that particular source claims the heavy snowfall actually began on the 18th, pointing the finger towards the historical accuracy of Discover the Past’s fact.

So let’s do some shovelling (excuse the pun) and try to uncover a little more about the winter of 1890. And what about other particularly cold or snowy winters in Wales? What about the winter of 1962/63 which saw 20 feet deep?!