Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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THOMAS , LEWIS JOHN ( 1883 - 1970 ), missionary in India with the London Missionary Society ;

b. 2 Feb. 1883 at Llangefni, Angl. , son of Cefni and Mary (née Williams ) Thomas . The family moved to Rhiwbryfdir , Blaenau Ffestiniog , when he was five. After a period as a pupil-teacher and working on the railway , he moved to Corwen and then Birkenhead . There he came under the influence of the 1904-05 religious revival and began preaching ; he had wished to become a missionary since he was a young man.

After attending Paton College , Nottingham , he was ordained at Jerusalem , Blaenau Ffestiniog , 12 Oct. 1911 . He sailed for India 4 Nov. 1911 and worked hard as a superintendent of a large number of churches in the provinces where Telugu was spoken. He m. Hannah E. Mathews in Madras ; they lived at Cuddapah , Kamalapuram , Goety and Jammalamadugu , and had a son and daughter. From 1927 to 1938 he was responsible for a seminary to instruct native evangelists , and from 1939 to 1949 he was secretary/treasurer of the Missionary Society . As an uncompromising Independent , he opposed the United Church , although he gave of his best in all co-operative activities.

He retired from missionary work in 1949 , but accepted the care of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church , Bangalore , where their son Iorwerth was a missionary and head of a boys’ grammar school . He lost his sight in 1954 . His wife d. 13 May 1964 and he d. 17 April 1970 in Bangalore where they both were buried.


  • Personal research.


Reverend Huw Ethall, Cardiff

Published date: 2001