Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JAMES , THOMAS (d. 1751 ), early Methodist exhorter ,

sometimes called ‘ Thomas James of Builth ,’ but mostly ‘ Thomas James of Crickadarn ,’ i.e. Erwood , Brecknock — and in 1744 Richard Tibbott refers to ‘ Thomas James 's house at Erwood .’ Nothing is known of him before he began exhorting , in 1741 . At the Watford Association ( Jan. 1743 ) he was set apart as an itinerant , and in April (again at Watford ) was made overseer of Societies in the Wye Valley — some of his reports on these are printed in Meth. Cym. , i, 165, iii, 315, 331. Howel Harris in his diaries often mentions James , and the Trevecka collection ( N.L.W. ) contains ten letters of James 's to Harris , a letter of his to Harris 's future wife, and one to Whitefield , together with seventeen letters from Harris to James , and one from Anne Williams ( Harris ) to him; the correspondence falls between Sept. 1741 and the end of April 1749 . At the Disruption of 1750 , James at first sided with Rowland ( Bennett , Meth. Trefaldwyn Uchaf , 182), but a little later we find him a member of the little sect known as ‘ the Builth people ,’ to which it seems that the brothers Relly (qq.v.) belonged ( Bennett , op. cit., 187). It was at the beginning of July 1751 that Harris heard of James 's death ( Bennett , op. cit., 196).


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

Published date: 1959