Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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THOMAS , DAVID WALTER ( 1829 - 1905 ), cleric ;

b. 26 Oct. 1829 , eldest son of Evan Thomas , Pont-faen , Cellan , Lampeter , and Margaret his wife. He was educated at Mumbles , Swansea , and S. Davids College , Lampeter , matriculating in the University of Oxford from Jesus College , 10 June 1847 . He was placed in the 3rd class in classics, took his B.A. in 1851 , and M.A. in 1854 . Ordained deacon by bishop Wilberforce of Oxford in 1852 on his college scholarship (he also held a Powis exhibition ) he received priest's orders from bishop Bethell of Bangor in 1853 . In that year he was curate of Deneio ( Pwllheli ) and Llannor , and chaplain at Tremadoc , 1854-5 . On 13 Aug. 1855 , he became perpetual curate of Penmachno and, on 14 March 1860 , vicar of S. Ann , Mynydd Llandygài , near Bangor . He remained there for thirty-four years. After a year as vicar of Braunston , Northants , he returned to Wales in Aug. 1895 , as vicar of Holyhead . He was largely instrumental in the foundation of a Welsh church in the settlement in Patagonia , and the first chaplain there, Hugh Davies , was one of his parishioners at S. Ann's . Thomas wrote a number of works in Welsh and English , including a collection of Welsh sermons on the Miracles, and was a constant supporter of the Welsh Church press . He was a canon of Bangor cathedral . His wife,

ANNA ( Morfydd Eryri ; 1839 - 1920 ) ,

was a remarkable woman. She was b. on 14 Feb. 1839 , at Barmingham , Suffolk , the daughter of Thomas Fison by his second wife, Charlotte , and the youngest of his twenty children. She was educated in London , at Cheltenham , and on the Continent ; she went to live with one of her brothers at Oxford , and became proficient in the classics and a number of modern languages . She began, too, to take an interest in Welsh at the instigation of Dr. Charles Williams (q.v.) , principal of Jesus College . In 1871 she m. David Walter Thomas , and their children (two sons and three daughters) were brought up good Welshmen and Welshwomen. She threw herself into Welsh life, holding night classes for the local quarrymen ; she was instrumental in aiding many of them to pursue their studies further. She also competed in eisteddfodau , and at the Cardiff national eisteddfod in 1883 she won the prize for a poem (in English ) on Llandaff . She took an active part in the attempts made in the ’70s and ’80s to reform the national eisteddfod . In 1884 she was a candidate for the chair of modern languages at the University College of North Wales , Bangor , and was nearly elected. She d. at Dyffryn Ardudwy , 12 Feb. 1920 , and was buried at Holyhead .


  • Foster , Alumni Oxonienses ;
  • Crockford's Clerical Directory ;
  • Yr Haul , Jan. 1900 and Oct. 1950 ;
  • North Wales Chronicle , 29 Dec. 1905 ;
  • W. Glynn Williams , Memoir of Mrs. Anna Walter Thomas (Holywell, 1925) ;
  • personal enquiries.


Thomas Iorwerth Ellis, M.A., (1899-1970), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959