Bryan, John

Click to enlarge

Welsh-speaking itinerant. Born in Llanfyllin, Montgomeryshire in 1776 (not 1770 as generally given), he was known as 'Bryan bach' because of his small stature. He was converted in Chester in 1798 and after a period with the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists began to preach with the WMs. Having been admitted on trial as an itinerant in 1801, he assisted Owen Davies and John Hughes in the Welsh Mission. He moved to English circuits in 1815, left the ministry in 1824 and set up as a grocer, first in Leeds and, from 1831, in Caernarfon, where he continued to serve as a local preacher.

He was a popular, forceful and original preacher, a little impetuous but wholly straightforward in his dealings. He produced Welsh versions of several biographies (John Haime, John Nelson, Arminius) and of polemical works and contributed frequently to ''Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd<span class="font-italic">; but his lasting monument is some 55 translations of Charles Wesley's hymns, many of them still in use.

  • W. Davies, John Bryan a'i amserau(1900)
  • Glyn Tegai Hughes, 'John Bryan of Llanfyllin', in Montgomeryshire Collections, vol.92 (2004), pp.89-105
  • Dictionary of Welsh Biography