Peter Williams was born on January 7, 1722, in Llansadurnin, Carmarthenshire, Wales. He is no relation to William Williams, except in translating a hymn of his, and being born in the same region.
Peter Williams was educated in Carmarthen College, and was converted by the preaching of George Whitefield, and afterward was subjected to discipline for “holy disobedience” by his tutor who had forbidden him permission to hear “that fanatical preacher.”
He then took orders in the Church of England, and in 1744 was ordained in the Established church and appointed to a curacy (made a clergyman). Being an earnest preacher, the Anglicans were not happy with him.
In 1748, he joined William Williams, Howell Harris, Daniel Rowlands, and Howell Davies, who were the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, or Presbyterians in Wales. George Whitefield served as their first president. Although part of their group, he was extremely independent and preached where ever he chose.
Eventually he built a chapel on his father’s estate, and spent the rest of his life as the minister there.
Peter published a book, Hymns on Various Subjects, in 1771.
Among the hymns he left us are:
Peter Williams died on August 8, 1796, in Gelli Lednais, Landyfaelog, Wales.
Kathreen Blanchard, Stories of Beautiful Hymns (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1942), pp. 42, 43.
Theron Brown and Hezekiah Butterworth, The Story of the Hymns and Tunes (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1906), p. 201.
John Brownlie, The Hymns and Hymn Writers of the Church Hymnary (London: Henry Frowde, 1899), pp. 160, 161.
LindaJo H. McKim, The Presbyterian Hymnal Companion (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993), p. 281.