William Williams

William Williams Pantycelyn (1717 – 1791), is generally regarded as Wales’s most famous hymn writer. As a writer of poetry and prose, he is also considered today as one of the great literary figures of Wales. In religious matters he was one of the leaders of the 18th-century Welsh Methodist revival. He wrote some of his work in English, but the great majority in his native Welsh. He published his first work in 1744: this was the first part of Aleluia, a collection of hymns in Welsh.


  • 1751: Hosanna i Fab Dafydd (Hosannah to the Son of David)
  • 1759: Rhai hymnau a chaniadau duwiol (Some hymns and divine songs)
  • 1762: Caniadau y rhai sydd ar y môr o wydr (The songs of those on the crystal sea)
  • 1763: Ffarwel weledig, groesaw anweledig bethau (Farewell seen, and welcome unseen things)
  • 1771: Gloria in excelsis
  • 1772: O’er the Gloomy Hills of Darkness
  • 1774: Ychydig hymnau (A few hymns)
  • 1782: Rhai hymnau newyddion (Some new hymns)
  • 1759: Hosannah to the son of David
  • 1772: Gloria in excelsis
  • Possibly his best known hymn is “Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch” (in English, “Lord, lead thou through the wilderness”). This has been adapted as the English-language hymn: “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” or “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer”. It is usually sung to the tune Cwm Rhondda by John Hughes.


  • 1756: Golwg ar deyrnas Crist (A view of Christ’s kingdom). The history of salvation and God’s grace in Christ
  • 1764: Bywyd a marwolaeth Theomemphus (Life and death of Theomemphus). The religious experience of conversion and Christian living

Prose works

  • 1762: Llythyr Martha Philopur at y Parchedig Philo Evangelius eu hathro (Martha Philopur’s letter to the Reverend Philo Evangelius her teacher)
    1763: Atteb Philo-Evangelius i Martha Philopur (Philo-Evangelius’s reply to Martha Philopur)
  • 1762 to 1779: Pantheologia, Neu Hanes Holl Grefyddau’r Byd (Pantheologia, or a History of all the World’s Religions)
  • 1767: Crocodil Afon yr Aifft (Crocodile of the River of Egypt)
  • 1768: Hanes Bywyd a Marwolaeth Tri Wyr o Sodom a’r Aifft (A history of the life and death of three men of Sodom and Egypt)
  • 1774: Aurora Borealis: neu, Y Goleuni yn y Gogledd (Aurora Borealis: The Northern Lights)
  • 1777: Doctor Nuptarum neu gyfarwyddwr priodas (Teacher of the Nuptials or the marriage guide)
  • 1777: Drws y society profiad (A gateway to the experience meeting)

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