The Angel of Llangan
David Jones – The Angel of Llangan. (1736–1810).
David Jones was born on a farm in Carmarthenshire in 1736. He was destined to become a farmer, but after a childhood accident, he was not thought to be strong enough to farm and so he entered the Church. He was a powerful preacher, helped by a commanding appearance and a mellifluous voice. Whilst he was at a parish in Wiltshire, he came to the notice of the Countess of Huntingdon, who was very interested in “evangelical” preaching. Over the years, David Jones established a friendship with the Countess and was asked to preach a sermon at her funeral service. She played an important part in Welsh Methodism, establishing a Theological College at Trevecca. The Countess persuaded her friend, Lady Charlotte Edwin to Award him the “living of Llangan.” Thus, David Jones returned to Wales and was inducted in 1767.
His first impressions of the moral and religious standards of the people of Llangan and its surroundings were not favourable. He therefore had to focus his considerable energy on establishing a “Revival.” During his ministry, three important leaders of Methodism in Wales died between 1790 and 1791 and David Jones therefore was prominent in carrying on the work. Llangan became the base for a ministry of tremendous impact across the whole of Wales. David Jones also preached in England and was considered to be one of the best preachers in London.
On occasions, thousands would flock to Llangan and St. Mary Hill to hear him preach. Often the communion wine ran out and water had to be substituted. People of all ages came from far and wide on foot, horseback or in carriages to hear him preach. Not only did he preach in the church but also in the open air and in barns; meetings were also held in neighbouring houses. He even managed to convert some of the people attending the annual Horse-fair at St. Mary Hill, despite the drunkenness and fighting that tended to be found there. It is not really surprising that he became known as “The Angel of Llangan.” His commitment to Methodism took a tangible form when he raised money to build a chapel – Salem, at Pencoed. However, despite his strong Methodist leanings, David Jones did not leave the established church. In fact he died a short time before the “Break-away” took place. David Jones is buried in Pembrokeshire where he lived with his second wife, his first wife having died in 1790.
Considering his talents, achievements, influence and importance to the people whom he served, to the whole of Wales and beyond its borders, David Jones is something of an “unsung hero” in Wales, as comparatively little is written about him. However, he is and will be remembered in St. Canna’s through the magnificent stained-glass window behind the alter (left hand pane)