Griffith Jones (1684-1761)
Griffith Jones was born at Pant-yr-efel in Carmarthenshire.
While working as a young farm boy, Jones experienced a 'heavenly call' which convinced him that God intended him to be the means of conversion of people in his native country.
Jones subsequently entered Carmarthen Grammar School and was ordained in 1708 into the Anglican ministry. In 1716 he was appointed to the parish of Llandowror, where he was to remain for forty-five years.
Jones was a very talented preacher whose oratorical skills earned him considerable fame.
Years before the birth of the Revival as a mass movement in Britain, Jones was engaged in an itinerant ministry. Later evangelists like Howell Harris and Daniel Rowland acknowledged the great influence that Jones had over them.
Jones realised that Welsh people could often only be properly educated through their own language and he therefore established a pioneering system of circulating schools for both adults and children, which moved at three monthly intervals from parish to parish.
By 1761 over 3000 such schools had been set up and it is estimated that 250,000 people were taught to read.
This was the first time that so many ordinary people in Wales had been given the opportunity to acquire literacy skills. Jones himself authored or translated thirty books into Welsh.
After the death of his wife in 1755, Jones moved to the home of his principal benefactress Bridget Bevan of Laugharne and remained there until his death.
Jones has been described as one of the 'makers of modern Wales.'
Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)