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Gower

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Vol. 41, 1990

The Reverend Harold Stepney Williams, vicar of Oystermouth (1898-1938) and archdeacon of Gower (1923-54)

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The Reverend
Harold Stepney Williams
Vicar of Oystermouth (1898-1938) and
Archdeacon of Gower (1923-54)
by Geoffrey R. Orrin
On the 20th November, 1898 the Reverend D. Secretan Jones resigned
the living of Oystermouth, which he had held for thirty-one years, due
to "old age and increasing infirmities". As patron of the living he
nominated the Reverend Harold Stepney Williams, curate-in-charge of
St. John's Church, Hafod, Swansea, to succeed him and Harold
Williams was instituted to the living of Oystermouth in the Bishop's
Palace at Abergwili by the Bishop of St. David's on Friday, 9th
December, 1898. The new vicar read himself in on Sunday morning,
11th December, 1898 and the Archdeacon of Carmarthen inducted him
to the living of Oystermouth on the 10th January, 1899.
The Reverend Harold Williams was born on the 28th March, 1864.
He graduated at Durham University as a licentiate in theology in 1887
and was ordained deacon at Chester Cathedral on Trinity Sunday 1888
by Bishop Stubbs, the great church historian, and priested at Llandaff in
1890. He held curacies at Bromborough (1888-89), Tredegar (1889-92),
Gowerton (1892-93), St. Jude's, Swansea (1893-98) and St. John's,
Hafod (1898). He met his future wife, Mary Maud Holland, while a
curate at Tredegar and they were married on the 9th August, 1892 at St.
Mary's Church, Shortlands, Rochester, Kent. They had three sons,
Barnett, Calvert and Patrick and two daughters, Averil and Doreen.
He was the remarkable son of a remarkable father. Harold Williams
was the son of the Reverend David Edward Williams, vicar of St. Paul's
Church, Llanelly from 1847 to 1876 and Prebendary of St. David's
Cathedral who served in the Ministry of the Welsh Church for over
sixty-two years in the Diocese of St. David's.
Writing in the Oystermouth Church Magazine in 1935 Harold
Williams said that when the Bishop of St. David's offered him the living,
the value of which was  87 per annum and no house, he told the Bishop
that he could not live on that stipend. But the Bishop replied "Go in
faith". He went in faith and recorded "that the good people of that day
gave me a living wage and I have never wanted since". His motto
became "The Lord will provide".
Harold Williams's first act was to inaugurate the Oystermouth Church
Magazine which made its debut on the first day of February 1899. Its
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