Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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THOMAS , ROBERT (d. 2 April 1692 ), Puritan preacher .

His name is associated with Neuadd Baglan in Glamorgan , and he is probably the Robert Thomas who matriculated from Jesus College , Oxford , Aug. 1658 . When the Restoration came and the Act of Uniformity , he was not named among the ministers that were ejected; he was a preacher merely, unordained. In 1669 he was reported as preaching secretly to about twenty followers, those being made up of Baptists as well as Independents ; three years before that, in March 1666 , he had founded a church , binding the members closely together by covenant which became famous in turn as the congregation of Cilfwnwr , Tirdoncyn , and Mynyddbach , the members coming from Llangyfelach and the adjoining parishes. He received a licence to preach at his own house in Baglan under the Indulgence of 1672 , and Henry Maurice (q.v.) , in his report of 1675 , assigns him an important place as Dissenting leader in Glamorgan . His name often appears in the Margam manuscripts as a person who refused to attend the parish church. In 1687 he was one of the few Welsh Nonconformists who believed in the sincerity of James II 's declaration of that year; on 15 April he gave intimation to Sir Edward Mansell of Margam that he intended holding a meeting for religious worship at his own house ( Pen y Gisla was the name given) and at the house of Mary Thomas in Cilfwnwr . He saw the Toleration Act coming into operation, and towards the end of his life he is described as a man moderately well off, of undoubted piety, who had served his Lord for over forty years. By 1692 his congregation was definitely Independent , though he himself was son to one of the preachers of John Miles , baptized at Ilston in Nov. 1650 .


  • Calamy , An account of the ministers … ejected (1660–2) , ii, 733;
  • Lambeth MS 639 (187b);
  • Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series , Chas. II, E.B., 38A, 197;
  • Broadmead Records (1847, 1865) , Add. B, 514;
  • Trafodion Cymdeithas Hanes Bedyddwyr Cymru , 1916-9 , 55-7; 1928 , 76-80;
  • Manuscript (the property of the Presbyterian Board) published by Alexander Gordon under the title Freedom after Ejection. A Review (1690–1692) of Presbyterian and Congregational Nonconformity in England and Wales, 1917 , 94, 367;
  • D. Rhys Phillips , The Hist. of the Vale of Neath (Swansea, 1925) , 146-8;
  • The Transactions of the Aberafan & District Historical Society (Aberafan) , 1924 , 50.


Thomas Richards, D.Litt., (1878-1962), Bangor

Published date: 1959