It is believed, but not with certain proof, that he (as a Baptist) was one of the assistants of William Wroth at Llanfaches; it is certain that he was not the William Thomas who was baptized by Miles at Ilston in November 1650. It is easy to believe that he was friendly with Walter Cradock, and that he was one of the Puritan preachers who fled to Bristol and London in 1642-3; when he returned, his name does not appear upon the pay-sheets of either the Propagators or the ' Triers,' the inference being that he had no love for tithe-money or for association with the State. He kept his people from yielding to the pressure of Independency on the one side and from accepting the arguments of the 'close' Baptists for exclusionist communion on the other; indeed, the point of Henry Maurice's words in 1675 is that many strict Baptists of the Abergavenny church, who did not share the belief in the imposition of hands, allied themselves with the congregation of William Thomas. Under the penal code of Clarendon the area of his activities was the central hundreds of the county, with his headquarters at Llantrisant (he had married the daughter of George Morgan of that parish). He was about the most active Nonconformist in the whole country; the intelligencers or spies of 1669 said he preached in four conventicles, and that in Llangwm it was particularly difficult to get hold of him, as five different houses harboured him to preach, five centres of the one conventicle. He often crossed the Bristol Channel to Bristol, to minister to the free-communionists of Broadmead; he was there three times in 1667, either imparting spiritual advice or baptising at Baptist Mill. He died in harness on 26 July 1671; after his days the supervision of the free-communionist groups depended on Dr. Christopher Price of Abergavenny, and Thomas Quarrell of Shirenewton.
Published date: 1959
Article Copyright: http://rightsstatements.org/page/InC/1.0/
The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.
Find out more on our sponsorship page.