Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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FOULK(E)S , THOMAS ( 1731 - 1802 ), early Methodist exhorter ;

b. in Llandrillo, Mer. , parish; when about twenty-three he went to Cheshire to work as a carpenter . He joined the Wesleyan Society at Neston , and in 1756 was deeply affected by a sermon of John Wesley 's. Soon after this, he removed to Bala , where there was no Wesleyan Methodism , and became an active member and exhorter in the Calvinistic Methodist Society , retaining however his affection for Wesley and Wesleyanism ; the Welsh translations of Wesley 's Primitive Physick and of the Rules of the United Societies , made by John Evans ( 1723 - 1817 ) , are believed to have been published ( 1759 and 1761 respectively) at Foulkes 's expense. He m. three times, in each case becoming connected with families prominent in the history of Welsh Methodism . His first wife ( 1758 ) was Margaret , daughter of Humphrey Jones , a prosperous Bala draper , perhaps the chief pillar of Methodism there in its early days, and a correspondent of Howel Harris 's; she d. in 1759 . In 1761 , Foulkes m. Jane , widow of David Jones ; her daughter by her first marriage, Sarah , was to become ( 1783 ) the wife of Thomas Charles ; Jane Foulkes d. 1785 . His third marriage ( 1787 ) was with Lydia , the daughter of Simon Lloyd ; she was the sister of Simon Lloyd ( 1756 - 1836 ) , and see the article Jones , John Foulkes ). Unwilling to compete in business with his step-daughter Mrs. Charles , Foulkes now set up at Machynlleth , and flourished there, continuing to exhort as a Calvinistic Methodist itinerant and to dispose liberal charity. He d. at Machynlleth 15 May 1802 ; Thomas Charles and John Evans preached at his funeral. Only a week before his death, Owen Davies ( 1752 - 1830 ) and John Hughes ( 1776 - 1843 ) initiated the new Wesleyan mission in that town; Foulkes 's death thus saved him from having to make a difficult decision.

Sources:

  • Gwilym Lleyn in Y Traethodydd , 1850 ;
  • D. E. Jenkins , Life of Thomas Charles , Denbigh, 1908 , i, 143-5 (and consult index);
  • A. H. Williams , Welsh Wesleyan Methodism, 1800-1858 its origins, growth and secessions , 1935 , 33-6.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959