Reverend William Williams

Discussion in 'Radnorshire' started by Chimp, May 10, 2014.

  1. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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    How the story goes with William - William was the Baptist minister of Norton Street Baptist Church, Knighton. There was a falling out and the parishioners split. The split-off group decided to build their own chapel in Victoria Road. This was said to be a hard thing for William to cope with, he was full of shame that his church had split. It affected him so much that he took his own life by hanging himself in his house the 'Belmont' on Tuesday 4th November 1919.

    The facts;

    • He was Baptist Minister of the church for over 40 years.
    • He did indeed hang himself in his own home.
    • There is a chapel in Victoria Road.

    But..... was it due to the breakaway group?

    The year before he had been seriously ill as was reported in the Brecon & Radnor Express on 29 August 1918.

    "Rev. W. Williams was taken suddenly ill some days ago, and was unable to conduct the services at the Knighton Baptist Church on Sunday, August 18th and last Sunday. During the week, but especially on Thursday, many enquiries as to the rev. gentleman's health, were made at his residence, "Belmont." His numerous friends will be glad to know that he is now making most satisfactory progress, towards recovery from a very .serious illness."

    Was this a more serious illness than was reported? i.e. did he know he had an illness that was going to kill him and he took his own life before it could?

    I would order is death cert but that would probably just say that it was death by hanging.

    You would think that there would be a newspaper report on his death but as yet I can't find one.

    I haven't found any reports on the 'Split' that was supposed to have taken place either, and I don't know when the chapel in Victoria was built.

    Any suggestion on where I go from here?
     
  2. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    All references that I can find to this building refer to it as the Methodist Church.
    Well, the National Archives has "minutes, accounts, correspondence and other papers" from 1861 to 1936, if that is of any help. See here.
     
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  3. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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    Thanks Jan.
    This relates to Knighton in Leicestershire. It doesn't help when there is more than one place with the same name :eek:. I have fallen into that pit so many times I'm thinking of taking up residence :)
     
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  4. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    Drat. Sorry, Chimp. :(
     
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  5. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    The 1901 Kelly's Directory for South Wales [on Ancestry] lists only one Baptist place of worship in Knighton, in Norton Street (Rev. William Williams). The 1910 directory has two: one in Norton Street and one in Victoria Road.

    There's a photo on Geograph of a chapel in Victoria Road, Knighton, Powys:

    http://www.
    geograph.org.uk/photo/3962821

    The caption says 'The foundation stone was laid in July 1904.' The only snag is that the caption also says it is a Methodist chapel. Was it formerly the Baptist chapel or is that a different building?

    (The 1910 directory doesn't list a Methodist chapel in Victoria Road. It has a Primitive Methodist chapel in Broad Street and a Wesleyan one in West Street.)
     
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  6. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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    Thank you Huncamunca. There seems to be several chapels and churches in town. 5 that I know of.

    St.Edwards Church, Victoria Road, Norton Street, Broad Street (closed I think), and a derelict one in West Street.

    This is all very confusing. That sometimes they call them a church and other times they call them chapels doesn't help.

    quote from a knightonian

    "Knighton Victoria Road Baptist Church.
    I am led to believe that the Victoria Road Baptist Church was formed by a breakaway group from the Norton Street Baptist Chapel. I understand The Victoria Road Church was built from donations made by the breakaway group. It seems strange that one was called Chapel and the other Church"

    quote from another Knightonian

    "In my younger days in the Valleys of South Wales there was a big difference if you were a Church or Chapel member. Chapels were spelt as "Capel" this being the Welsh name and a specific name was given to each one, eg; Sion Capel. Surely the Victoria Road Building was still of a (Baptist Chapel following), with members of a different opinion than that of the Norton Street Building"

    See even people brought up in the baptist following don't know why.
     
  7. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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    Yep, that's the one.
     
  8. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    It looks like there are a couple of foundation stones in that picture. The information on them might be of interest. ;)
     
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  9. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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    I shall take a walk up there tomorrow and have a look. Thanks Jan.
     
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  10. Ma-dotcom

    Ma-dotcom A Bonza Little Digger!

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    Perhaps his 'illness' of the time was something which caused him 'shame' for reasons of his own. People have their own expectations of themselves. (were not always lilywhite either.)
     
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  11. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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  12. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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    I think I will send for his death cert as I really don't think it was shame that drove him to it. My reasoning's are;

    The foundation stone for the chapel splinter group was laid in July 1904 so probably finished 1905. he committed suicide in 1919. That's a gap of 14 years. If he was so ashamed why wait 14 years to do it.

    Hopefully it will say on the cert that it was passed from the coroners inquest and give a date. That will give me a starting point for searching newspaper.
     
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  13. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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    Ordered, should arrive sometime after Friday. Now the wait begins :eek:
     
  14. Bookworm

    Bookworm Now in the arms of the Angels

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    Another interesting thread Terry - hope the death certificate provides you with the answers you're looking for :)
     
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  15. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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    Thank you Sheila, me too :)
     
  16. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    The coroner will be the informant on the death certificate, which will probably not tell you more than you know already. The inquest would have been held very soon after his death, so that should give you an idea of when to search the newspapers. (Remember that there are likely to be many newspapers that haven't been digitised: the relevant local studies library may have a wider selection on microfilm.) If you are lucky then the coroner's records themselves may survive: check with the county archives.

    Even if you do find a newspaper report or coroner's records, they are unlikely to answer the big question you're asking, 'Why?'. Those who take their own lives often do so without leaving any explanations. There may be speculation at inquests about factors that may have affected their state of mind, but in the end, how can we know? Families and friends so often are left not understanding why.

    P.S. Oh dear, I spent so long composing this message that I was too late to say, don't hold out too much hope of getting an answer from the certificate. Sorry :(
     
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  17. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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    Thanks Huncamunca but if I don't get it I will be left wondering 'what if'. Even if there is speculation I can add that to the report and leave people to make up their own minds. I have a week off at the end of the month, I may go to Llandrindod Wells library where the newspapers are stored and have a browse.
     
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  18. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    Have you seen the article on your Rev. in the "Montgomeryshire Express and Radnor Times" 21st November 1905
    papuraunewyddcymru.llgc.org.uk/en/page/view/3870388/ART23/rev%20w%20williams
    It gives a comprehensive outline of his life up till that date.

    Ann
     
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  19. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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    Hi Ann, Yes :) have seen it and have robbed it of loads of information. It has been a great help.

    Thank you for pointing it out though, I could have quite easily missed it :rolleyes:
     
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  20. Ma-dotcom

    Ma-dotcom A Bonza Little Digger!

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    At least you will have tried Chimp.
     

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