Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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THOMAS , SAMUEL ( 1692 - 1766 ), Independent minister, and tutor of Carmarthen Academy ;

b. in 1692 at Derllysg , near Carmarthen , the son of a well-to-do farmer . He was one of the first pupils of Thomas Perrot(t) (q.v.) ; he left the Academy in 1724 and is believed to have gone to West Looe , Cornwall , as minister . In 1735 he was called to be minister of Lammas Street , Carmarthen , where at the same time he kept a grammar school . But in 1743 , when the Academy was moved for the second time to Carmarthen , Samuel Thomas was invited to assist Evan Davies ( 1694? - 1770 ) (q.v.) in conducting it — it should be noted that the grammar school was not closed, but continued to operate, in conjunction with the Academy, until 1845 ; accordingly, when we are told that some minister was educated ‘at Carmarthen ,’ it does not follow that he had been to the Academy. Both as a preacher and as a lecturer Samuel Thomas seems to have been uninspiring — Thomas Morgan ( 1720 - 1799 ) (q.v.) complains of his frigid temperament. He was certainly an Arminian and probably an Arian . His church did not quarrel with this; but its records show that after thirty years of his ministry it was small and moribund. As a tutor , his views caused considerable concern to the Congregational Board ; and after several unavailing attempts to persuade Evan Davies to get rid of him, the Calvinists decided, in 1757 , to start their own Academy in Abergavenny . Evan Davies left Wales in 1759 , and the Presbyterian Board entrusted the management of the Academy to Samuel Thomas , with Jenkin Jenkins (q.v.) as his assistant; the reputation of the Academy for unorthodoxy was finally established under these two men. It is generally conceded that Samuel Thomas was a thorough and conscientious tutor , and the standard of learning at the Academy was admittedly high in his time. He retired in 1764 , and d. 7 Sept. 1766 ‘at the age of 74,’ according to his memorial in Lammas Street .

Sources:

  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , iii, 429-30, 433-4;
  • J. Dyfnallt Owen , Hanes Eglwys Heol Awst, Caerfyrddin , 1926 , 20-3;
  • G. D. Owen , Ysgolion a Cholegau yr Annibynwyr , 1939 , 30-44.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959