Born at Holyhead, 16 December 1812, son of Owen and Mary Thomas and brother of John Thomas (1821 - 1892) and Josiah Thomas. The father was a stone-mason and when, in 1827, the family went to live at Bangor he, too, followed the same trade. He began to preach in 1834 and immediately came into prominence as a preacher. He went to Bala College in 1838 and thence to Edinburgh University. In 1844 he received a call to Pen-mount church, Pwllheli, where he was ordained in September of the same year. In 1846 he moved to Newtown to take charge of an English church, and at the end of 1851 received a call to be minister of Jewin Crescent, London. On 24 January 1860 he married Ellen (died 1867), youngest daughter of the Rev. William Roberts of Amlwch (1784 - 1864). In 1865 he moved to Liverpool, first to Netherfield Road and later, in 1871, to Princes Road church. He was moderator of the North Wales C.M. Association in 1863 and 1882, and of the C.M. General Assembly in 1868 and 1888. He was in the front of the great preachers of Wales, an authority on the history and development of preaching in Wales, and a first class orator. All his life he was an indefatigable student and he made a splendid contribution to the religious literature of Wales. He was also a profound theologian and an able commentator. His library, now housed in Bala College, is proof positive of the wide field of his studies, while his own books testify to his ability, industry, and particular genius.
He died 2 August 1891 and was buried in Anfield cemetery, Liverpool. He published Cofiant y Parch. John Jones, Tal-y-sarn (Wrexham, 1874), two volumes which include a review of the history of theology and preaching in Wales; Cofiant y Parch. Henry Rees, two volumes (Wrexham, 1890); Cyfieithiad o draethawd y Parch. Thomas Watson ar Sancteiddhad, and extracts from the works of other authors (Llanrwst, 1839); Esboniad ar y Testament Newydd (1862-85), which is a translation of Dr. Kitto's commentary with additional notes - the commentaries on the Hebrews and Galatians were separately published in 1889 and 1892 respectively. He was a regular contributor to the Traethodydd from its inception, and for a time was its editor, jointly with Roger Edwards. He also wrote articles for the Gwyddoniadur and for a number of other publications. His biography was written by J. J. Roberts (Iolo Caernarfon).
Besides Owen and John Thomas, there was a third brother,
Born at Bangor 7 August 1830. He went to Bala College and Edinburgh University where he graduated in 1857. His wife was the daughter of John Hughes (1796 - 1860). After being pastor of Jerusalem chapel (Bethesda, Caernarfonshire) he kept a school at Bangor (1862-6) but in 1866 was appointed secretary of the Calvinistic Methodist Missionary Society, a position which he retained until 1900. In 1896 he was moderator of the North Wales C.M. Association. He died 21 May 1905.
Published date: 1959
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