Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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THOMAS , NICHOLAS (d. 1741 ), printer and publisher , Carmarthen (and Hereford ).

In 1714 John Rogers (q.v.) printed at Shrewsbury , Dirgelwch …, sef Llyfr y Tri Aderyn , by Morgan Lloyd ( Morgan Llwyd o Wynedd ) for Nicholas Thomas and Lewis Thomas , the latter a travelling bookseller , of Llangrannog, Cards. A little later, viz. in 1718 , Nicholas Thomas was himself at Shrewsbury learning the craft of printing either at the office of John Rogers or that of John Rhydderch ; a year earlier, a ballad written by him ( Newyddion Da i'r Dynjon Gwaitha ) had been printed at Hereford by Willoughby Smith . Nicholas Thomas was one of a group of persons, mainly from the Newcastle Emlyn district, who were anxious to arrange for the printing and dissemination of Welsh books ; that was the reason why he (with others) induced Isaac Carter (q.v.) to set up as a printer at Trehedyn , Newcastle Emlyn , gave him his patronage in 1718 and for a time afterwards — that is, at the start of the venture. He set up his own press at Carmarthen in 1721 — the first in that town; for the titles of some of the productions of his press see Ifano Jones , Hist. of Printing and Printers in Wales . One John Williams was in partnership with him for a time; e.g. when they jointly printed (at the end of 1733 ) John Rhydderch 's Welsh Almanack for 1734 .

Nicholas Thomas was printing at Hereford in 1734 and 1735 ; here, however, he worked for Simon Thomas (q.v. ). Athrawiaethau Difinyddawl was printed at Hereford , for Simon Thomas , in 1734 ; Histori yr Heretic Pelagius , a work by Simon Thomas , was printed in 1735 , probably by Nicholas Thomas at Hereford . There is no record of any printing by Nicholas Thomas at Carmarthen during the years 1734 and 1735 . It is known however, that he was back in Carmarthen by 1739 ; Ifano Jones (op. cit.) suggests that by that time he had completed the initiation of Simon Thomas into the craft of printing . He was printing at Carmarthen in 1740 also.

He m. (1) 1720 , Margaret Evans , at Cenarth ; (2) 11 May 1731 , Margaret Roderick , Llansadwrn . He was buried in the churchyard of S. Peter's , Carmarthen , 30 June 1741 .


  • To the source already noted add W. Rowlands , Cambrian Bibliography (Llanidloes, 1869) , and J. H. Davies , A Bibliography of Welsh Ballads printed in the 18th century (1908-11) .


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

Published date: 1959