"Diary from Bardsey"
Extracts from the diary of William Thomas and William
Jones, Missionaries to the Island (Bardsey). 1875 – 1898.
I William Thomas Jones, Ceunant came today to Bardsey in
the company of Capt Harry Williams, Rhydlios, to undertake the position of
Missionary to the island. I had a warm and joyous welcome by all the islanders
amongst whom was the Rev Robert Williams.
I kept society with the children for the first time in
many years on the island. I will never forget the joy of seeing the children and
the pleasure of the society. And I believe I also felt the presence of Jesus
amongst us today.
Mr Evan John Williams, Cristin Isaf died today aged 64.
He was buried in Bardsey cemetery on April 5th.
The Rev Robert Williams, Hendy, died today aged 81. He
was buried in Bardsey cemetery on April 8th. He had been preaching
with the Calvanistic Methodists for over 40 years.
The Honourable Lord Newborough, Mr Wynn and his son De
Winton came to the island today and stayed until the 23rd of May.
£18/10/0 was collected throughout the year for various
things. It has been a successful year on the whole both in seasonal and
religious terms. The produce of the island and the health of the islanders has
been commendable and the presence of the Lord strongly felt bringing his lambs
to the fold. Eleven new members.
Buried Bridget Jones, Tyn Llan, Aberdaron, aged 59, on
The Honourable Lord Newborough came to the island and
left on the 22nd.
July 30 and August 1.
The new chapel erected by the Honourable Lord Newborough
for the benefit of the island, was opened today. An excellent opening ceremony
was had. The following ministers attended the opening service, Mr Robert
Rowlands Porthmadog and the Reverends Capt H Hughes, Gellidara, Thomas Owens,
Porthmadog, Francis Jones, Waenfawr, Peter Jones, Penygroes. All the islanders
attended. O Morris Williams, Nant was unanimously elected deacon. The Sacrament
of the Lords Supper took place for the first time. Griffith Ty Pella came to the
The Honourable Lord Newborough, Mr and Mrs Wynn came to
the island today and left on the 9th.
Samuel Elliot Rambridge the son of Mr Samuel and Mrs
Sarah Rambridge, The lighthouse, was christened today.
The men of Bardsey rescue the hands of the ship
‘Leah’ they were four in number. The ship was completely wrecked on the
William Hughes the son of Mr Hugh and Mrs Margaret
Hughes, Dyno Goch, was christened today. The sacrament of the Lords supper was
officiated today for the second time on the island.
£20/12/4d was collected throughout the year. The
Lord’s grace fell upon us yet again this year. Mr and Mrs Rowlands presented
the chapel with beautiful communion vessels.
I received a book titled ‘The Holy Isle’ from the
Honourable Lord Newborough.
The sacrament of the Lords supper was officiated this
John Jones, the son of Samuel and Catherine Jones was
Mr and Mrs Williams The Foundry, Porthmadog gift a
christening cup to the chapel.
The following persons paid a visit to the island today
regarding the poor law rate Mr T Lloyd Murray Brown and Mr Walter Browne, local
government board, London.
RT Pritchard Esq, Ty Newydd, Fourcrosses donates a Welsh
and an English Bible to the chapel, as well a hymn book to be used from the
The Rev John R Jones, Pencaerau and his wife spent
Sunday on the island. Rev Jones preached three times, doing so in English in the
The Rev Robert Evans Dynfra (late of Caernarvon)
preached three times this Sunday.
Rev Capt Hughes, Gellidara, preached three times on
Sunday and also on Monday evening. During his services Ann Williams, Plas Bach,
came to the society.
Rev W Dickens Lewys MA preached, he also gave a lecture
on the Bible.
Rev DE Davies was here and his friend Mr William Thomas,
Bangor gave a lecture.
Two Wesleyan ministers are here today. They are Mr
Evans, Pen y Groes, Llandegai and Mr Jones Pwllheli. Their guide was Mr John
Jones, Siop, Aberdaron. We held three services at 10, 2 and 6.
Charles Wynn esq Rhug, Corwen, his wife Mrs Wynn and
their party visit the island. After looking round the chapel Mr Wynn donated
December 10 – 14.
We spent every evening this week, apart from Saturday,
holding prayer meetings, everyone who could, attended and they felt a definite
presence of the Lord in our midst.
A shipwreck at Trwyn y Fonwent, close to the Cafn, the
islands harbour. The vessel struck the rocks at midnight. The two men onboard
namely Capt Thomas Jones, Amlwch and Isaac Collins of Holyhead managed to get
ashore safely and were kindly given hospitality at his home by Mr Griffith
Pritchard, Ty Pella.
We can testify at the end of this year that the Lord has
been gracious towards us in keeping us safe from disease and other damaging
things, yea we didn’t dig a grave for any soul this year either from the
church or the rest of the island society. We should Praise the Lord indeed for
his goodness to the son of man. We pray that his Word amongst us will continue
to strengthen and save many. His Holy Spirit shines upon us perpetual and in
that we shall be saved.
Griffith Ty Pella is seriously ill.
Griffith Ty Pella’s illness causes concern amongst the
Easter Sunday. We spent this Sunday a little different
from the usual.
Many boats arrive from Aberdaron along with lots of
visitors to the island.
Signed a petition against selling alcoholic drinks on
the Lords day.
Capt W Thomas, Bodlondeb, Morfa Nefyn and others pay a
visit to the island. They pay the islanders for looking after the inscription
slate of the ‘Friends’ that was wrecked on the island.
The ship ‘Fairy’ from Caernarvon laden with
passengers visits the island, but there are less than usual on board.
The Rev David Jones, Ty Mawr, preaches this Sunday –
he is given 19/4d for his services.
The Rev H Hughes, Bryn Engan is this Sunday’s
July 2 and 3.
Preaching Festival, the following ministers take part.
Rev Robert Hughes, Uwchlaw’r Ffynnon.
Rev David Williams, Tremadog.
Rev TR Williams Pentre Uchaf.
Rev Robert Williams Rhosfawr.
Rev Robert Williams Nant.
The Rev John Hughes Edern, preached three times this
Sunday, accompanying him were Miss Jones, Pentre’r Felin and Miss Kate
Roberts, Shop Edern.
Rev Robert Williams, Rhosfawr preaches.
The ‘Fairy’ comes to Bardsey. Mrs Capt Roberts
donates half a sovereign to the cause.
The Wesleyan preachers are staying on Bardsey namely Mr
John Evans, Aberdaron and Mr Evan Williams, Abersoch.
Communion Sunday. A good end to the final week of this
year. Prayer meetings each evening.
This month passed without anything remarkable to report,
save that the Mercy of the Lord continues to surround us.
The old brother Griffith Ty Pella is ill. This month one
soul left the love of Jesus for worldly love.
Nothing remarkable to write about this month.
This evening, Whit Monday, there was a sermon in the new
May 12 to 17.
Prayer meetings were held each evening this week for the
coming of the Lord amongst us.
Evan Hughes, Deunant, Aberdaron is preaching this
Furniture for the Mission House is bought in Mr Gabriel
J Jones’s shop in Pwllheli.
A boat from Rhiw tries to land on the island today the
boatmen and others in it are drunk (SHAME ON THEM)
A boat from Tudweiliog comes to the island but on their
return journey they are unable to get further than Porth Meudwy as there was no
wind for the sails.
A steamer from Caernarvon ‘The Princess of Wales’
paid a visit to the island today with about 108 passengers. The visitors
complained that we did not have a missionary box for the island. We must arrange
one for next year.
Today a ship from Pwllheli bought the furniture for the
Mission House from Mr John Gabriel Jones, watchmaker, Pwllheli.
NB – On
the 15th the Steamer Princess of Wales was here. And on the 16th
we had a preaching festival.
Eisteddfod on Bardsey – but doesn’t live up to its
name. The steamer ‘Princess of Wales’ brings visitors to the Eisteddfod.
Sleeping for the first time in the new Mission House.
The ‘Princess of Wales brings passengers from
Harvest Festival. Preaching at six. Collection for the
Nothing to report this month.
The island’s missionary collection in hand £10/12/7d.
Christmas meeting with the children when we give them
Trying our best to promote the way to the Gospel by
education and morals in the Sunday and daily school.
Thomas Jones, Evan Jones, son has a terrible accident
today. His face is severely injured by the mare.
Nothing of importance to write in the chronicle this
Liberal meeting, where I used Esiah 58 –6 to explain
There’s a bonfire on top of the mountain in honour of
Watkin Williams MP and Lord Newborough.
Robert Williams, Carreg Bach dies away at sea.
Mai 24 to 25
Preaching Festival on Bardsey.
Nothing to note.
The ‘Fairy’ with a great deal of passengers on board
visited the island today.
A new member joins the society today, Jane Williams Ty
Two strange preachers are here preaching today.
Griffith Williams, Plas Bach dies.
His funeral, we take him to Aberdaron to be buried..
Today we received a magnificent bell to place in the new
chapel from Mr John Gabriel Jones, Pwllheli’ His gift is very much
Today we put the bell in its rightful place.
Harvest festival. All the islanders are present.
Collection for the light 17/7d. Evening
sermon Luc 12 –16-21.
It’s too stormy to hold a prayer meeting this evening.
I spent this month in London. Therefore I cannot account
for the happenings on the island, but to say things went on as best they could,
everyone doing his bit faithfully and with dedication.
Tonight Mr Thomas Pritchard, Ty Pella and Mr William
Williams Cristin, finished collecting the missionary collection. Yet again a
handsome sum of £11/7/6d was received. The total of the various collections
comes to £22/9/7d
Even though Bardsey is not what we would wish for in
terms of education, morals and religion, each year brings new hopes and signs
and it would be safe to say that the last year has seen a marked improvement in
all aspects. We had a year of good spiritual and physical health given to us by
the grace of God. There was also a revival of faith with more islanders
attending services. We must surely praise the Lord for his goodness and wonder
to the son of man. We had only one death this year.
At the start of this year we had a week of Prayer
meetings, but I was unable to complete the week as I was prevented from doing so
by illness and stormy weather. Such snow as we have had has not been seen on the
island for very many years. The whole island was covered in snow. Hurricane
winds blew the snow all over creating drifts that were covered in thick ice.
Dozens of birds fled the island and dozens more were blown off the cliffs. This
is a terrible tempest.
A boat goes over to the mainland to fetch Dr Owen to
come and see John Williams, Ty Bach.
I went over to the mainland this month to deliver a
report on the condition of the mission on Bardsey, at the Monthly Meeting held
at Fourcrosses on the 7th.
It’s been a month of strong and gale force winds.
I went round to count the people for the Government
Census. The population of Bardsey was 71.
As this month was a fine one many people came to visit
from Aberdaron in their boats. Nothing much else happened.
July 21 and the following days.
Mr Kinsley form Caernarvon has come to the island to
photograph the islanders and various sights on the island. The ‘Fairy’ pays
a visit with 68 passengers on board. Haymaking this week on the island.
Rev Capt Hughes, Gellidara and Rev Jones, Plastirion,
Pwllheli come to the island to preach.
The preachers return to Aberdaron.
Mr O Robyns Owen, Pwllheli visits the island.
Nothing much to report other than that most important of
all that the Lord in his grace and wisdom smiles upon us.
A storm of wind and rain the like of which no one on the
island can recall ever experiencing before. This has been a very tempestuous
This month in relation to Bardsey can be best described
as the month of the great imprisonment, when it was three weeks before any
communication could be had with Aberdaron. This was due to gale force winds that
lasted from the 8th to the 29th of this month. It’s been
thirty five years since the islanders were stranded for so long.
The islanders main topic these days is a lifeboat for
Bardsey. The Honourable Charles Wynn is working tirelessly on our behalf in this
Our friends Thomas Pritchard, Ty Pella and William
Williams, Cristin have again finished the collection for the mission and the
amount is £11/12/5d. Total collections amount to £19/4/2d
We held our Christmas meeting this evening in the school
house. It was an enjoyable and constructive meeting an the schoolhouse that had
been admirably decorated by Mrs M Bowen and Mr D Briggs of the Lighthouse. The
progress in the children’s education could be clearly seen in their excellent
singing and recitation. Many of the islanders gave speeches and Old Father Ty
Pella, Griffith Pritchard was in good form and emphasising the worth of an early
education, and that everyone should make the effort and strive for knowledge.
This year again has passed with no deaths or serious illness on the island. Even
though the boats came close to disaster many a time and being lost in heavy fog
they all thankfully returned safely. For this we must praise the Lord for his
wondrous goodness and salvation from all ills.
This year begins on the Sabbath. Stormy wet weather also
herald in the New Year.
Nothing to report.
Much the same.
Trying our best to get a lifeboat here. I preached a lot
in English this month.
The men from Trinity House, build a new house at the
lighthouse. A ship brings a load of coal. I sent the money for the coal to Mr
Williams and Sons Liverpool on the 30th of the month.
Trying to get a grant from the Government for the daily
school. Mr Watts has to hire a boat to come over on the 26th to
examine the children. Mr Watts praises the children’s work but as the school
is beyond the realms of the Government he cannot allow a grant to be given.
The Rev O R Morris from America comes to Bardsey.
Rev O R Morris gives a sermon.
Rev O R Morris gives a lecture on America.
Professor John, his wife and the Rev John Owen MA,
Cricieth and Thomas Owen, Pwllheli pay a visit to the island – they pass
comment on the stone near Plas Bach.
The ‘cause’ is still alive in the land.
A new member joins the society.
Harvest Festival. Collection 16/1d.
Sabbath evening. Accepted six that were raised in the
church to become full members.
Nothing important to chronicle.
Mission collection £12/1/6d. Christmas meeting with the
children – excellent. We again witnessed God’s blessings upon us, even
though some were ill no one passed away. We held prayer meetings to end the
January. This year began as the other ended with prayer
meetings during the week. Many joined us and we felt a warmth and knew that God
was amongst us. On the 16th Griffith Williams, Ty Pella, a faithful
member has died. He died after suffering a fit having just finished his supper.
He came to religion on the day that the new chapel opened which was August 1st
1876, having been faithful to the creed for over seven years, he died aged 78
and had a respectable burial on the 20th and an eulogy on the 21st
. He will be sorely missed, but for his part he will be joyous at being accepted
to the glory of the Lord.
A new minister comes to Bardsey.
I William Jones, Gosen, Llanaelhaiarn, in the company of
the Rev William Thomas Jones, former minister of the island, came to the island
today to undertake the position of missionary to the island. I had a joyous and
kind welcome from all the islanders without exception.
I preach for the first time this evening.
"Rev William Jones and his
Mrs Mary Jones, Garregfawr dies aged 84. It was only but
a short while since she found religion. I visited her each day during her
illness. Amongst other things she told me that she was afraid that she would not
be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but I told her that if she had any love
for Jesus in her heart then she would most certainly be accepted. She replied
“Yes indeed I do” “I love Him”. And that’s how she died living in
hope. Her body was taken over to Aberdaron for burial. The burial took place on
the 25th if April.
Eulogy for Mrs Mary Jones, Garregfawr.
Rev G Griffiths, Cephas, Aberdaron preaches this
Received Missionary Box as a gift from Mr James Thomas,
Christened Thomas Jones, Mission House.
Revs Henry Parry and Evan Williams here to preach.
Rev Evan Hughes, Plas Ffordd preaches.
Rev Hugh Hughes, Gellidara, Llywelyn Edwards, Charles
Edwards MA Aberystwyth and Capt Thomas, Bodlondeb who is representing the
The ministers leave the island.
Christmas day. We have a literary evening. The children
have learnt their work exceptionally well.
January 6 to 12
Prayer meetings were held as usual all week. There is no
doubt that God is among us.
Rev R Williams, Pencaerau preaches.
Excellent annual meeting.
January 11 to 17
Prayer meetings and clear indications that the Lord is
pouring his Spirit over us.
Began prayer meetings with the younger members
Jones, Mission House was christened by the Rev Thomas Owen, Porthmadog, who on
the island on a visit with the ‘Snowdon’ Porthmadog.
Christmas day. We hold a brilliant annual meeting. The
singing and recitation are excellent. The ‘cause’ continues to progress and
is succeeding in many ways, the Sunday School is better than ever before.
Today William Hughes Dyno Goch, the eldest of the
island’s residents dies he was 71 years. He had suffered a long and wearying
illness. He was buried on the island on the 6th.
Whilst preaching this morning I felt the definite
presence of the Lord as Nathaniel Williams, Safn Pant, Aberdaron came to the
service for the first time ever.
Today Mrs Ann Williams Plas Bach died aged 77. She had
been a faithful member of the church for many years, and was very industrious in
the works of the Lord.
We began this year with prayer meetings, attendance was
good, but the presence of the Lord was not felt and they were uneventful.
Rev Robert Williams preaches.
Harvest Festival. It was a good service and some
presence of the Lord could be felt.
On the whole it has been a good year and we have
experienced the goodness of God and enjoyed good health and no one gone astray.
Held the usual prayer meetings, but failed to complete
them due to illness. Many islanders suffered from the measles that caused many
of them to be absent from chapel. No fatalities occurred during the outbreak.
Held prayer meetings and it was obvious that the Lord
was giving us clear indications that he was pleased with our progress here.
Tonight the Rev Robert Williams, lectures on America, it
was very interesting and many attended and were well satisfied with the lecture,
which they all thought was excellent.
Thomas Edwin Davies of the Lighthouse is christened.
Harvest Festival and clear indications of the presence
of the Holy Spirit.
The remains of Lord Newborough were brought to the
island to be buried in a tomb in the old cemetery of the Holy Saints. The grave
was dug under the auspices of Mr Thomas Williams, Penbryn, Llidiardau,
Christmas day. We had an evening of entertainment in the
school house, that had been beautifully decorated by Mrs Bowen of the
Lighthouse. Miss Bowen and Miss Jane Pritchard.
Today the children were given a party in which they
received tea and ‘bara brith’ Mrs Bowen, Miss Bowen and Miss Pritchard
waited on the tables.
. During the year Miss ME Marsh, Ty Brith, Carno donated
over a hundred books and a beautiful bookcase to be kept in the chapel. The
books are lent out to the islanders and have so far proved an invaluable asset.
The year began yet again with prayer meetings, but they
had to be cancelled due to an outbreak of influenza.
Miss Rosina Davies an Evangelist from the South, visits
the island. Nathaniel Williams Carreg Bach becomes a member of the church.
Mr John Griffith Pencaerau visits the island on behalf
of the monthly meeting to report on how the ‘cause’ is getting on.
Mr John Griffith returns home from the island. The
weather was to be bad to cross back before now.
Put a new flagstaff on the top of the mountain.
Winifred Jones is born at the Mission House.
Mrs Neal of the Lighthouse dies aged 32. Her last words
were “Oh the bright beautiful home”.
Mrs Neal’s funeral on Bardsey.
Winifred Jones is christened at the Mission House.
The painters come to the lighthouse. The manager is Mr
The lighthouse tower colours are changed from white to
red and white.
A monument is brought from Caernarvon to put on Lord
The Honourable FG Wynn visits the island.
The monument for Lord Newborough’s grave is finished.
The height of the monument is twenty five feet, width 25 feet and weighs 22
Mr Thomas Bowen leaves the island having been a
supervisor at the lighthouse for over 17 years.
Mr Bowen dies at Pwllheli aged 68.
Mr Bowen ‘s funeral at Denio.
Ellen Hughes, Dyno Goch, marries in Liverpool.
Maggie Jones Ty Bach dies aged 51.
Her funeral on Bardsey.
Rev Hugh Pugh, Penygraig and Mr John Jones Bodychenan
visit the island on behalf of the monthly meeting.
Mr Edwrad Neal, leaves the lighthouse for St Tudwals
Thomas Ty Newydd dies aged 62.
I went over to the mainland to fetch a coffin.
I returned to the island with the coffin, and then went
back with the body to the mainland.
Thomas Jones’s funeral at Aberdaron cemetery.
I returned from the funeral.
Hugh Williams, Dyno Goch is born.
Hugh Williams, Dyno Goch’s christening
Mr and Mrs Davies leave the lighthouse for Holyhead.
The Honourable FG Wynn and Mr G Tarren from Caernarvon
pay a visit to the island
Influenza affects most of the islanders.
Nathaniel Williams the eldest of the islanders dies aged
80. He died quite suddenly.
Nathaniel Williams is buried on the island.
Painters at the lighthouse. Mr Goodwin is the foreman.
This Sabbath evening Capt John Williams, stays for the
service – there is great joy because of this.
Mary Ellen, Dyno Goch is christened.
A ship brings coal to the island.
A ship brings materials to re build Carreg Bach.
Workers come to put a new roof on Carreg Bach and to
repair other houses. Their foreman is Mr Thomas Williams (Penbryn).
An unforgettable storm – the tides have risen quite
Ellen Hughes, Dyno Goch, dies aged 77.
Ellen Hughes, Dyno Goch’s funeral on the island.
Mr Jenkins, the lighthouse keeper falls over the cliff
on the mountain. Two weeks later he dies in hospital in Holyhead.
Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, she has reigned for 60
years. A tea party was held on the island, donated by Miss Marsh, Carno.
Maggie Jones, Mission House is born at 6.15 pm.
George Norton and his family leave the lighthouse.
Mrs Margaret Williams, Ty Bach dies, she is buried in
Margaret Ann, Dyno Goch is born.
Hugh Dobson, the farm servant at Plas Bach is accepted
as a full member of the chapel.
Maggie Jones, Mission House is christened by the Rev W G
Margaret Ann, Dyno Goch is christened.
Ellen Jones Garreg Fawr dies aged 65.
Her body is taken over to Aberdaron for burial. The weather was bad at the time and we had to make a coffin from materials on the island.
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