Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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THOMAS , WILLIAM ( 1749 - 1809 ), Independent minister, and publisher ;

b. in Aug. 1749 in the neighbourhood of Mynydd-bach , Llandeilo, Carms. , his father being from Glamorgan and his mother from near Llandovery . He was well educated but when he was 12 years of age his father died and his mother returned to the part of the country from which she originally came. He was for some years a shop assistant in London , but at the age of 23 had to return owing to ill health. At that time, although his mother was a zealous Anglican , he himself had no religious ties; however, the spirit of revival reached his neighbourhood and he was converted at a meeting held under the ministry of Isaac Price (q.v.) at Crug-y-bar . Shortly after that he went to Tyn-y-coed in the Swansea Valley , where he kept a school , became a church member; and began to preach . In 1779 he was admitted to Abergavenny Academy and, on 2 Oct. 1782 , was ordained minister of Hanover church , Llanover, Mon. He was not happy there and in 1787 accepted a call to Bala , where he remained for the rest of his life. He d. in May 1809 , and was buried in the Congregational burial-ground, Bala . He was greatly interested in book publishing and occasionally suffered financial losses on this account. He published Myfyrdodau diweddaf y Parch. Mr. Baxter ar farwolaeth (trans. 1792 ); Arfogaeth y Gwir Gristion (a translation of a work by Gurnal and Dr. Guyse , 1794 ); Cyfaill i'r Cystuddiedig ( J. Willison , trans. 1797 ); Dioddefaint Crist ( Dr. Jos. Hall , trans. 1800 ), and Angau i Angau y ’marwolaeth Crist ( Dr. J. Owen , trans.) bound together; and Cyfarwyddiadau mewn Geography (trans., 1805 ). He had begun to publish a translation of Guyse on the New Testament , but at his death eight parts still remained to be published. The work was finished by the Rev. Eben. Jones of Pontypool .


  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , i, 34-5, 402-3, 407-8; iv, 317;
  • Geiriadur Bywgraffyddol o Enwogion Cymru , ii, 596;
  • Album Aberhonddu … o'r flwyddyn 1755 hyd 1880 (1898) , 24, 25;
  • Cambrian Bibliography (Llanidloes, 1869) , 664-5;
  • Hanes Llenyddiaeth Gymreig, 1651–1850 (1893) , 460-1.


Reverend Richard Griffith Owen, M.A., (1890-1973), Bangor

Published date: 1959