The Mills family 7
An influence on the musical life of Wales

by Ronald E. Morris


Richard Mills (7)
Another Richard was the youngest son of Harry Mills and the first prominent member of the family. He is probably the best known to the local people for, unlike his more illustrious nephew, the Rev. John, he lived out his short life in Llanidloes and was not in personal touch with learned scholars and societies in London or further afield. However, his pioneering work to teach his fellow countrymen music, to compose hymn tunes for some of the great hymns of Pantycelyn and others, and to introduce young working men to the compositions of the great masters Bach, Handel and Haydn - made an especially great impact on his generation and those immediately following.
He, too, was a weaver by trade. His delicate constitution, together with his tireless exertions travelling into Merioneth, parts of Denbighshire and elsewhere to teach in evening classes, hastened his early death. He married Jane Woosnam whose father was also in the flannel trade.
  Major publications
In 1840 appeared one of his chief works Caniadau Seion (Songs of Zion) which contained tunes by Richard Mills as well as others by Ambrose Lloyd, together with anthems by Handel and Haydn. This work had a great influence throughout Wales in the field of congregational singing and choral music.
Images from the title page  Title page
  After his early death in 1844, appeared Yr Arweinydd Cerddorol (The Music Instructor), a similar work in 3 volumes. Here, for the first time appeared the well known German hymn tune Mannheim (perhaps better known as Bach's Passion Chorale).
  from the title page
  "Arranged according to the idiom of Welsh church music by Richard Mills, Llanidloes" 1840
  He left a widow, daughters and two sons (the one unborn at the time of his death).One of his daughters married Evan WATKINS of Llanfyllin and was the mother of Sir PERCY WATKINS, Secretary to the Welsh Dept. of the then Board of Education.
Bach's Passion Chorale published by Richard Mills in Welsh for the first time in Arweinydd Cerddorol (1840-43) 
  There are 8 pages on the Mills family. Use the box links below to view the other pages.