Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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THOMAS , SIMON (d. 1743? ), Presbyterian minister and author ;

very little is known about him. D. Lleufer Thomas , in his article in the D.N.B. on Joshua Thomas , says that he was the latter's uncle, and that Joshua Thomas (q.v.) was apprenticed to him at Hereford in 1739 . According to Joshua Thomas ( Hanes Bed. , 1st imp., xxvii), he was b. at Cilgwyn , near Lampeter . It is obvious that he had had a classical education somewhere. T. Eirug Davies ( Cofiadur , 1937 , 31) states that he was ordained at Cilgwyn as an assistant to Philip Pugh (q.v.) but it should be observed that Pugh himself was not ordained until Oct. 1709 , although he had been ministering to the church since 1704 . What is certain is that by Aug. 1711 Simon Thomas was established at Hereford as a silk-mercer and as minister (or one of the ministers) of the local congregation, for in that month he was one of the witnesses to the will of his senior co-minister , John Weaver ( Cylch. Cymd. Hanes M.C. , 1943 , 105). His first and best-known book was Hanes y Byd a'r Amseroedd , 1721 , a kind of encyclopaedia with a distinct anti-Papal bias, which was very popular, being reprinted twice ( 1724 , 1728 ) in his life-time, and at least three times ( 1780 , 1799 , 1824 ) after his death. The author is called ‘ S.T. ’ on the title-page, and it was as ‘ S.T. ’ also that he published, in 1735 , Histori yr Heretic Pelagius . An anonymous publication, Deonglyddyr yr Ysgruthurau , which appeared in 1741 , is generally attributed to Simon Thomas ; this is also anti-Pelagian; it is called part i, but there was no part ii. Ashton , furthermore, credits him with three English books. One of these is the History of the Cambri , 1746 , described in the Cambrian Journal , iv, 328, by Sir Thomas Phillipps (q.v.) of Middle Hill as a book ‘ rustically printed on coarse paper ,’ bearing no name of author or press, but having a hand-written inscription attributing it to the ‘ Rev. Simon Thomas ’ — who is said to have had his own private press , and to have frequently printed his own works . If, indeed, he produced this book, then he was alive in 1746 ; but it is generally accepted that he d. about 1743 ; Joshua Thomas (loc. cit.) does not give us the date but says that ‘he died not long after’ (i.e. after 1742 ) — see also the article on Nicholas Thomas .

Sources:

  • Cambrian Bibliography , Llanidloes, 1869 , under the years indicated;
  • Hanes Llenyddiaeth Gymreig, 1651–1850 . [1893?] , 159-61;
  • and the other references given above.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959