Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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ROBERTS , THOMAS ( 1735 - 1804 ), member of the ‘Trevecka Family’ ;

b. at Plas-bach , Llansantffraid-glan-Conwy , 31 March 1735 , third son of WILLIAM ROBERTS , a freeholder who was converted in 1748 by Peter Williams , knew John Wesley , and adhered to Howel Harris in the Disruption of 1750 , so much so that he recalled his son Thomas , who was in service at Bala , from that ‘Rowlandist’ camp. In 1759 William Roberts abandoned his property at Plas-bach to his elder sons, and with his wife and younger children, migrated to Geuffordd by Talgarth , dying there in 1760 . Thomas Roberts moved down to his widowed mother; in 1762 he took Chancefield on the outskirts of Talgarth , where she d. in 1763 . In 1773 he gave up his farm and joined the ‘ Family ’; his good education gained him ascendancy in the community, and later he became a trustee . His diaries (at N.L.W. ), extending to 1789 , are of very great interest. He d., 1804 — ‘ Thomas Roberts , gent. ’ — and was buried at Talgarth 23 Jan. 1804 . He was twice married. There is an account of him and of his family by Richard Bennett in Cylch. Cymd. Hanes M.C. , x, 21-8.

He has sometimes (e.g. in the footnote on p. 704 of Llyfryddiaeth y Cymry ) been confused with Thomas Roberts ( 1760 - 1811 ) , printer (see the next article). He, too, was connected with Trevecka . He does not seem to be included in the lists of the ‘Family’ by M. H. Jones , unless he is the ‘boy’ named under ‘ 1772 ’; but it is certain that he learned his trade in the Trevecka Press . Said to have been born either at Llan-rhos, Caerns. , or at Eglwys-bach, Denbs. he left Trevecka for Caernarvon in 1796 , and was the first printer in that town; his first book there was printed in 1797 .

Author:

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

Published date: 1959