Llangammarch and its immediate area was the birthplace or home for many famous writers.
John Penry, The Welsh Martyr (1563- 1593)
John Penry was born and bred in a farmhouse called Cefn Brith which stands on the north side of the Epynt and is signposted on the Cefn Gorwydd road leading out of Llangammarch. Penry was born in 1563, receiving his education at Christ College, Brecon, and at Cambridge and Oxford. Penry was concerned about the lack of preaching ministers in Wales and the need for a Welsh Bible; he acquired a press, and printed tracts and books about the religious state of Wales. This aroused the wrath of Whitgift, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and as a result Penry found himself in prison.
Penry escaped to Scotland and remained there for three years but eventually decided to return to London to continue the work to which he had dedicated his life, namely to ensure that the Gospel should be preached in Wales in the Welsh language. Back in London, Penry made the acquaintance of many Independents. These were people who tried to worship in their own way and not according to the Queen's command. One Sunday morning in March 1593 when Independents were assembling together in Islington Woods, officers appeared and arrested a large number of them, including Penry, who was imprisoned at Poultry Compter for two months. The end came unexpectedly: when Penry was at dinner, he was informed that he was to die at five o'clock that afternoon. His chains were removed and he was dragged on a hurdle through the streets to St Thomas a Watering. There he was hanged in the open air. Penry was not permitted to see his wife, Eleanor, or his daughters Deliverance, Comfort, Safety and Sure-Hope. No-one knows where he was buried. To his four daughters he gave four Bibles, his sole wealth in this world. Annabelle Thomas
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Theophilus Evans (1693-1767)
Theophilus Evans was christened in Llandygwydd church, near Newcastle Emlyn, Cardiganshire on the 21 Feb. 1693. He was the son of Charles Evans of Pen-y-wenallt and his second wife, and grandson of Evan Griffith Evans of Charles I 's army.
It is not known for sure where he was educated. He was ordained deacon on 14 Aug. 1717 and as a priest 9 Nov. 1718 , by the bishop of S. David’s. He became curate of Llanlleonfel, and afterwards in Brecknock . On 14 August 1722 he was made vicar of Llandyfrïog , near Newcastle Emlyn and in 1728 he resigned and was made rector of Llanynys cum Llanddulas, Brecknock .
In 1733 he held the chapelry at Ty’r Abad or Llanddulas. The Chapel was built at the expense of Sackville Gwynne and was consecrated 26 Aug 1726. The curate was paid £20 for prayer and sermon every Sunday morning between 9 and 10am.
In 1738 he resigned and was given the living of Llangamarch, Brecknock , which was joined with Llanwrtyd and Abergwesyn .
1732 he had an attack of scurvy and took the waters at Llanwrtyd. The sulphurous brew brought about a cure and the spa town of Llanwrtyd became well known because of this.
Around the same time he was made domestic chaplain to Marmaduke Gwynne of Garth. In 21st May 1739 Llanfaes (Brecon) was added to his other livings.
The hymnist Williams Williams (Pantycelin) was appointed his curate of Llanwrtyd in 1740 but Theophilus Evans refused to recommend him priesthood as Williams was preaching in barns and private homes, that is, unconsecrated places. Williams left in 1743.
He published a number of books on history and religion. Two main threads in all his work — the glorification of the nobility and antiquity of the Welsh nation and the upholding of the Church of England form of Protestanism as the true Christian religion. In Drych y Prif Oesoedd , 1716 , shows a somewhat prejudiced but entertaining version of the early history of Wales. In A History of Modern Enthusiasm , 1752, here he triess to prove that all who turn their backs on the Church of England are secret Papists!
In 1763 he gave over Llangamarch to his son-in-law Hugh Jones (father of Theophilus Jones) but he held onto Llanfaes until his death, 11 Sept. 1767. He is buried in Llangamarch churchyard.
Theophilus Jones (1759-1812)
Theophilus Jones was born on the 18 October 1759 to Hugh Jones, former vicar of Llangammarch and his wife Elinor, who was the daughter of Theophilus Evans. He spent most of his childhood at Llwyn Einon, Llangammarch which was Theophilus Evans’ home
He trained as a lawyer and practiced in Brecon. After the death of Hugh Jones he was appointed deputy registrar of the archdeaconry of Brecon and began to write. His History of the County of Brecknock was published in two volumes in Brecon in 1805 and 1809. In 1898 it was reprinted in one volume and later expanded to create four volumes between 1909 and 1930. The latter edition was edited by Joseph Bailey, 1st Baron of Glanusk.
He published in magazines and produced two papers in the Cambrian Register in 1795 and 1796, and another in the journal of the Society of Antiquaries, London in 1814. His planned history of Radnorshire never emerged.
He was Welsh -speaking and the author of an unpublished English version of Ellis Wynne’s Bardd Cwcs.
He married Mary Price of Porthyrhyd in 1783 and went to live in Lion Street Brecon. He died in 15th January 1812 and is buried in the churchyard of Llangammarch with his grandfather.
John Price (John Price Beulah) (1857- 1930)
John Price was born on the 5th March 1857 in Llangammarch to David and Ann Price.
David Price was a carpenter and he worked on Llwyn Madoc Estate. The family moved to Beulah when John was five. At the Llwyn Madoc School in Beulah he was tutored by Mr Noakes and Mr Frecknall. He became interested in music amd learned the Hullah system of notation. The recent introduction of the tonic solfa system increased interest in music locally. John was privately tutored by Mr David Buallt Jones in Musical Theory and Composition.
In 1889 John married and the couple left for the USA in 1882. In the USA he produced many compositions. When he returned to Wales, he continues to teach, adjudicate and compose.
He conducted festivals annually in Carmarthenshire and where he taught choirs using the solfa method, the standard of singing improved.
Hymn tunes: 'Gwyneth', 'Angel Voices'
Anthems:' Hark, Hark, Hark my Sou'l, 'Y Mae Afon'
Part-songs: 'The Gliding River', 'The Fisherman's Bride', 'It is the Time of Violets'
Songs for Children: 'Can Y Crud'
Male Voice Pieces: 'Rest, Soldier, Rest'
He won many awards and many pieces of his were chosen as Test pieces at the National Eisteddfod. He was initiated into the Gorsedd Y Beirdd under the name 'Ioan Buallt'
He died on the 21st April 1930 and is buried at Beulah.