Born 13 May 1813 at New Barn near S. Athan, son of Thomas and Anne Matthews. While he was still young his home was broken up and his father emigrated to the U.S.A. He experienced a spiritual awakening under the ministry of David Morris (1787 - 1858) of Hendre. In 1827 he went to work at Hirwaun where, in 1830, he began to preach. Returning to Glamorgan in 1833 he made his home at Pen-llin where he lodged with Mrs. Truman, a widow, who became his wife in 1843. He was ordained in 1841 at the Association held at Llangeitho, and in 1843 was a student at Trevecka for a short time. He became minister of Penuel chapel, Pontypridd, in 1849; returned to Ewenni Isaf, near Bridgend, in 1852; moved to Cardiff in 1864; lived at Bonvilston from 1876 to 1883; and finally came to rest at Bridgend where he died 26 November 1892, being buried in Nolton churchyard. His reputation as a preacher stands high — his congregations were entranced by his droll use of the Glamorganshire dialect, astonished by the power of his imagination and his bold, dramatic manner, and stirred by his sudden outcries. For a long time he was the uncrowned king of the Calvinistic Methodist Associations. A volume of his sermons was published under the editorship of D. M. Phillips in 1927. He was also a distinguished author. His most popular work was his Hanes Bywyd Siencyn Penhydd (Jenkin Thomas). published in book form in 1850. Another similar work is George Heycock a'i Amserau, 1867. He drew largely on his imagination when writing both these books, which were avidly read by the country people. His Bywgraffiad Thomas Richard (Thomas Richard) appeared in 1863, and he was joint author of Cofiant J. Harris Jones John Harris Jones, 1886. He edited two volumes of sermons by Morgan Howells in 1858 and 1869, and two volumes of Thomas Richards's sermons (1866-7). He was a frequent contributor to Y Traethodydd, Y Drysorfa, and Y Cylchgrawn, and a volume containing his articles to these periodicals was published under the editorship of W. Llywel Morgan in 1911. His style was conversational and discursive, but his work was characterised by the imaginativeness of a born writer, and everything he wrote made good reading.
Published date: 1959
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