Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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OLIVER(S) , THOMAS ( 1725 - 1799 ), Wesleyan preacher ;

b. at Tregynon, Mont. , in 1725 (christened 8 Sept. ). He was apprenticed to a shoemaker , and became a travelling craftsman . He was converted by Whitefield , at Bristol , but joined the Wesleyans . In 1753 , John Wesley appointed him to itinerate , and he did so for twenty-two years. In 1775 Wesley appointed Oliver superintendent of his printing in London , but had to remove him from office in 1789 for inefficiency. Yet the friendship between the two continued unabated, and when Oliver d. (in London , in March 1799 ), he was buried in Wesley 's grave. Oliver wrote much, in prose and in verse, but is remembered today only for his hymn ‘ The God of Abram praise .’ He was wont to visit Wales , and is probably the man whom Wesley (momentarily forgetting Harri Llwyd , q.v. ) described as his only Welsh-speaking preacher . Oliver was the intermediary employed by Wesley to persuade Owen Davies ( 1752 - 1830 ) (q.v.) to become an itinerant preacher .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (by J. E. Lloyd );
  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies (1894) (fuller);
  • A. H. Williams , Welsh Wesleyan Methodism, 1800-1858 its origins, growth and secessions (1935) , 58, 86.


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

Published date: 1959