Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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NICHOLAS , THOMAS ( 1816 - 1879 ), Congregational minister, theological college tutor, and historian ;

b. 17 Feb. 1816 at Troed-y-rhiw , near Trefgarn Chapel , Solva, Pembs. , and educated at the Lancashire College , Manchester , and in Germany ( M.A. , Ph.D. , Gottingen ). He was Congregational minister at Stroud, Glos. ( 1847 ), and, later, at Eignbrook, Herefords. before he was appointed ( 1856 ) tutor in Biblical literature and mental and moral sciences at the Presbyterian College , Carmarthen . In 1863 he settled in London , and thereafter, with the aid of Sir Hugh Owen , the first lord Aberdare , the Rev. David Thomas , Stockwell , and others (qq.v.), he promoted a scheme for the furtherance of higher education in Wales , Nicholas becoming secretary of the movement which led eventually to the founding of the first University College in Wales at Aberystwyth in 1872 ; before that came about, however, Nicholas had disagreed with some of the promoters and had resigned (for details see Iwan Morgan in The College by the Sea , Aberystwyth , 1928 , particularly 257-66). In the meantime he had been busy writing and publishing (a) Middle and High Class Schools, and University Education for Wales , 1863 , a work which exerted considerable influence in Wales at the time; ( b ) Pedigree of the English People , 1868 , and other editions — for particulars of the lawsuit which followed on the publication of this work see Iwan Morgan , op. cit., and N.L.W. MS. 3097 ; ( c ) Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales , two vols. — the 1872 edition is still a useful source book; ( d ) History and Antiquities of the County of Glamorgan and its Families , 1874 — this is the Glamorgan portion of ( c ), separately published. He also produced, in 1860 , an edition of Mathias Maurice (q.v.) , Social Religion Exemplify'd , whilst, in the autumn of 1878 , he was editing for the press the English edition of Baedeker's London . Futher details of his career can be learnt from the Nicholas MSS. (now N.L.W. MSS. 3091-3106 ); note, e.g. a journal ( N.L.W. MS. 3091 ) kept by him in 1838 which includes notes on a preaching tour from Trefgarn to Liverpool and back undertaken by Nicholas and James Evan(s) ( Caereinion , 1814 - 1842 ) (q.v.) , and legal letters and papers, 1876-77 ( N.L.W. MS. 3106 ) relating to Lonsdale House School , Bridgwater , in which Nicholas was co-partner. He d., unmarried, at 156 Cromwell Road , London , 14 May, 1879 , and was buried in Hammersmith cemetery ( E. Poole , Hist. of Brecknockshire , 308).

Sources:

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Eminent Welshmen: a short biographical dictionary of Welshmen ... from the earliest times to the present , 1908 ;
  • Y Geninen , 1901 , 129;
  • Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales , 1940 ff , i, 266-7;
  • The Congregational Year Book , 1881 ;
  • The Homilist , London , 1877 , 456 ff.;
  • and the sources mentioned in the article.

Author:

Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth

Corrections and additions:

NICHOLAS , THOMAS ; ( DWB , 684).

Read Hereford (not ‘Herefords.’) in l.8.

Author:

Published date: 1959