Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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THOMAS , JOSEPH ( 1814 - 1889 ), Calvinistic Methodist minister ;

b. 17 Sept. 1814 in Llangynog (Mont.) toll-house, the son of Edward Thomas (of Nantlle Vale ), quarryman , and Mary ( Morris ) , his wife. Joseph had very little schooling before he was sent to work in the quarry . He became keenly interested in the temperance movement , and lectured on this subject in various places. Towards the end of 1840 , Lewis Edwards heard him speaking at a temperance meeting at Llwyneinion near Bala , and urged him to come to Bala C.M. College and take up preaching ; accordingly, he entered the college in 1841 . From Oct. 1843 to the end of 1846 he assisted Edward Price (q.v.) in Birmingham and at Bilston ; in 1847 he was engaged in supervising the Calvinistic Methodist churches in the neighbourhood of Llan-rhaeadr-ym-Mochnant . In Feb. 1848 he m. Margaret Owen (d. 1852 ) of Carno , where he spent the rest of his life; he was ordained in 1848 . In spite of his great popularity as a preacher , his progress to the principal offices of his denomination was painfully slow — it was not until 1868 that he became moderator of his Association, and he had to wait until 1878 before becoming moderator of the General Assembly . He d. 14 Jan. 1889 , and was buried at Carno . He was a tall, powerful, handsome man, remarkable for the soundness of his judgement and for his ability to assess men. In his first phase he wrote his sermons carefully and delivered them somewhat laboriously, but the revival of 1859 seems to have brought about a change in his methods; he adopted a more colloquial and intimate style, and gave free rein to his native wit and originality. Indeed, it is his shrewd witticisms which have kept his memory green, and it is probable that his thickness of speech helped to rivet his sayings in the memories of his hearers. So many of his epigrams have been remembered that for some time now it has become customary to father on to him bons mots which he himself was innocent of uttering.

Sources:

  • Evan Davies , Cofiant y Parchedig Joseph Thomas, Carno ynghyd a detholion o'i anerchiadau a'i bregethau , Dolgellau, 1890 , 1890 ;
  • Y Gwyddoniadur Cymreig , 1889-96 (2nd imp.), x, 865-70.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959