Idris Williams

Idris Williams (19 (or 9) April 1836 – 4 November 1894) was an educationalist, prominent Congregationalist, and Liberal councillor for the Cymmer division of the Glamorgan County Council, South Wales.

Idris Williams
Black-and-white photographic portrait of a white-haired, heavily-bearded gentleman circa 1892
Born19 (or 9) April 1836
Died4 November 1894(1894-11-04) (aged 58)
Porth, Rhondda Valley, Wales
Burial placeCymmer Independent Chapel,
Cymmer, Rhondda Valley, Wales
Known forEducationalist, prominent Congregationalist, Glamorgan County Council councillor

Early lifeEdit

Idris Williams was born at Porth Farm on 19 (or 9) April 1836,[1][2] the third and youngest son of Edward and Jane Williams. At that time, Rhondda was a remote, rural backwater. During his lifetime, Williams witnessed the transformation of the valley into a thriving industrial community. Williams received very little formal education and at the age of nine he went to work as a haulier at George Insole & Son's Cymmer Colliery. At the age of sixteen he was sent to a school in Cardiff and two years later became an apprentice carpenter at Pontypridd. After completing his training he returned to the Cymmer Pit to work as a carpenter in 1854–5. In 1855 he was married to Mary Evans, daughter of the Rev. Joshua Evans of Cymmer. They had six children.[1][2][3]

Public lifeEdit

Williams supported William Abraham (Mabon) during his successful campaign for election to Parliament in 1885 as Liberal-Labour MP for Rhondda.[4] In 1892 Williams became a Liberal councillor for the Cymmer division of the Glamorgan County Council. Although he lost the popular election he took up the position unopposed a month later when the winning candidate became an alderman.[5][6]

Richard Griffiths, in his study of the commercial life of the Rhondda, speculates that Williams' prominence in the public life of the Rhondda Valley was based on two factors. The first was his connection with the pre-industrial society of the valley as the heir to Porth Farm, an agricultural holding that disappeared with the advent of industrialisation (although the former farmhouse, where his younger brother Levi Williams lived, survived next to the railway station in the centre of Porth). The second factor was the considerable wealth that he accrued after coal mining operations commenced on the land which formerly formed part of the Porth Farm.[7]

Death and legacyEdit

Williams died suddenly in Porth on 4 November 1894 and was buried four days later at the Cymmer Independent Chapel graveyard[8][9] after "a vast concourse of people [had] assembled to pay their last tokens of respect and esteem."[2]


  1. ^ a b "Biographical Sketch of Mr Idris Williams". South Wales Star. 4 March 1892. p. 5. born on April 19th, 1838
  2. ^ a b c "Late Mr. Idris Williams. Imposing Funeral at Porth Yesterday". The Evening Express. 9 November 1894. p. 2. N.B. date of birth is given as 9 April 1836. Born April 9, 1836.
  3. ^ "Porth Fifty Years Ago II". The Rhondda Leader. 14 February 1903. p. 7.
  4. ^ "Labour Representation in Parliament. Mass Meeting in the Rhondda". Weekly News. 16 May 1885. p. 3.
  5. ^ "Glamorgan County Council Election". The Pontypridd Chronicle and Workman's News. 11 March 1892. p. 8.
  6. ^ "County Council Elections". South Wales Daily News. 14 April 1892. p. 6.
  7. ^ Griffiths, Richard (2010). The Entrepreneurial Society of the Rhondda Valleys, 1840-1920. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-2290-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  8. ^ "Sudden Death at Porth". South Wales Daily Post. 6 November 1894. p. 4.
  9. ^ "Births, Marriages, Deaths". South Wales Daily News. 6 November 1894. p. 4.

External linksEdit

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