Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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RICHARDS , THOMAS ( 1754 - 1837 ), cleric ;

b. at Hirnant , Pont Erwyd, Cards. , 24 April 1754 , son of Richard Thomas and Jane his wife. At the age of 19 he went to Ystradmeurig , where he met Thomas Jones (of Creaton ) ( 1752 - 1845 ) (q.v.) . The two men formed an intimate friendship which lasted all their days. Richards kept school at Tal-y-bont, Cards. , for three years, and in 1779 he m. Jane , daughter of David Lloyd of Cymerau , in the parish of Llanbadarn Fawr . In Sept. of the same year he was ordained deacon by bishop Warren of S. Davids and licensed, in succession to Thomas Jones (above), to the curacies of Llangynfelyn and Eglwys-fach . He received priest's orders in 1780 . While he held this curacy he often went to Llangeitho to hear Daniel Rowland (q.v.) preaching. In 1784 he went as curate to Llan-ym-Mawddwy , succeeding Thomas Charles (q.v.) , and he served there for fifteen years at a stipend of £30 per annum. He augmented this pittance by keeping a school . After representations made by his friend Thomas Jones and others, he was appointed vicar of Darowen , near Machynlleth , by bishop Bagot of S. Asaph , and instituted to the living in Aug. 1800 . He laboured there devotedly till his death on 2 Dec. 1837 ; he is buried at Darowen , and there is a memorial there to him and his wife ( 1756 - 1841 ).

Thomas and Jane Richards had five sons, each of whom was brought up to the priesthood , and three daughters.



The eldest, RICHARD RICHARDS ( 1780 - 1860 ), b. 21 Nov. 1780 , was educated at Ystradmeurig . He was ordained deacon by bishop Burgess of S. Davids in Sept. 1808 , and licensed to the curacies of Llanddeiniol and Nantcwnlle in Cardiganshire ; he also kept school at Nantcwnlle . He received priest's orders in 1809 , and in 1811 he went to Llanbryn-mair as curate and schoolmaster . In Dec. 1816 he moved to Caerwys in Flintshire , and after ten years as curate there he was appointed rector and stayed there till 1849 . In that year he went as vicar to Meifod, Mont. , and d. there, 3 April 1860 . He was buried at Llangynyw . In addition to his work as parish priest and preacher he gave great support to cultural and missionary movements and published sermons, tracts, and translations .


The second son, DAVID RICHARDS ( Dewi Silin ; 1783 - 1826 ), was b. 12 April 1783 , and educated at Dolgelley grammar school and Ystradmeurig . He was ordained deacon by bishop Burgess in 1809 and licensed to Pembrey , near Llanelly . Ordained priest in 1810 , he served as curate at Newtown , Nantglyn , Llys Meirchion (?), and Llansilin , becoming vicar of Llansilin in Aug. 1819 . He m. Eleanor Williams at Shrewsbury , 19 June 1823 , and they had a son and a daughter. He d. 4 Dec. 1826 , and was buried at Llansilin . He was known as Dewi Silin and took an active part in the resurgence of the eisteddfod in the eighteen-twenties ; he was also secretary of Cymreigyddion Powys , and kept greyhounds .


The third son, THOMAS RICHARDS ( 1785 - 1855 ), was b. 3 June 1785 , ordained deacon in Sept. 1810 by bishop Cleaver of S. Asaph and licensed to the curacy of Llan-ym-Mawddwy . He received priest's orders in July 1811 , and matriculated in the University of Oxford from Jesus College , Dec. 1812 , but did not proceed to a degree. He began to keep school at Berriw, Mont. , March 1813 , and also served as curate of Montgomery . He was in touch with many literary Welshmen of his age, and John Blackwell ( Alun ) (q.v.) and Evan Evans ( Ieuan Glan Geirionydd ) (q.v.) were pupils of his. He was local secretary of the Bible Society and a promoter of the publication of Welsh magazines . When his father declined the benefice of Llangynyw , owing to his age, the son accepted it, and was instituted in April 1826 . He remained there till his death on 27 Nov. 1855 , and was buried there.


The fourth son, JOHN RICHARDS ( 1790 - 1854 ), went to S. Bees College , and was ordained deacon by bishop Law of Chester , Oct. 1833 , to serve the curacy of Nun Monkton , near York . He received priest's orders in Dec. 1824 , and, in April 1825 , was appointed vicar of Llanwddyn, Mont. He served there till his death on 28 March 1854 , and was buried at Llangynyw . He took a great interest in agriculture .


The fifth son, LEWIS RICHARDS ( 1799 - 1860 ), was b. 31 Dec. 1799 . He went to Jesus College , Oxford , and took his B.A. in June 1824 . He was ordained deacon the same month by bishop Pelham of Lincoln , and priest in Jan. 1825 by bishop Luxmoore of S. Asaph . He became curate of Rhuddlan , Flints. , in May 1826 ; in July 1837 he was instituted as vicar of Llanerfyl, Mont. , and remained there till his death on 20 July 1860 . He, too, was buried at Llangynyw .

Of the three daughters, MARY ( 1787 - 1877 ), Jane ( 1794 - 1876 ), and Elizabeth ( 1797 - 1840 ), the eldest was a noteworthy personality. In 1821 she was made an honorary member of the Society of Cymmrodorion ‘ as an acknowledgement of her zeal in the cause of Welsh literature .’ She corresponded with a number of prominent literary Welshmen , she copied much poetry and many letters , and she was interested in music . She was buried at Darowen .

Sources:

  • Thomas A History of the Diocese of St. Asaph , under Llanerfyl, Llangynyw, Llansilin, Llanwddyn, Meifod;
  • A. O. Evans , A Chapter in the History of the Welsh Book of Common Prayer; or, the letters which were written preparatory to the revised edition of 1841. Annotated, with biographical sketches , Bangor, 1922 , iii, 320-4;
  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies , second ed., 1894 ;
  • Foster Alumni Oxonienses ;
  • Episcopal registers of S. Davids (N.L.W.);
  • Cwrtmawr Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth (N.L.W.) 266, 284, 285, 287;
  • J. H. Davies in Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , i, 29;
  • J. Jones (‘Myrddin Fardd’) , ‘Adgof uwch Anghof.’ Llythyrau lluaws o Brif Enwogion Cymru , 1883 ;
  • personal enquiries;
  • [ Journal of the Historical Society of the Church in Wales , 1949 ff , iii and iv].

Author:

Thomas Iorwerth Ellis, M.A., (1899-1970), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959