Born at Ynys-y-bŵl, 17 March 1843, son of John Howell Thomas (who was the son of William Thomas Howell of Blaennantyfedw) and Jane, daughter of Morgan Jones of Cwmclydach. He attended a school kept by one Tommy Morgan. He worked as a sawyer, like his father's but after studying hard became a schoolmaster for four or five years, first at his own home and then at Llwynypia. He then became a Calvinistic Methodist preacher and acted’ as pastor of Siloam church, Gyfeillion. He married Mary, daughter of William Davies of Brynmefrith, Llanfabon. After having been minister for about a year he joined the Established Church and was sent to Oxford and S. Aidan's College for further instruction. In 1875 he was ordained at Durham by bishop Baring and was appointed curate at West Cornforth. Some two years after this he went as curate to Mold where, after about 18 months, he was appointed vicar-choral of S. Asaph; in 1888 he was appointed chief vicar. About six years after his marriage he lost his wife, who left him with one son. While at S. Asaph he married Lizzie Williams (‘Llinos y De,’ a prima donna) of Neath, by whom he had three children. Shortly after his appointment as chief vicar of S. Asaph he had a stroke and was moved to his brother Morgan Thomas's house at Pontypridd, where he died early on Thursday morning, 3 October 1890. He was buried on Monday, 7 October, in Llanwynno churchyard. He was a delightful character and was loved wherever he went. He was also an enthusiastic and hard-working supporter of the eisteddfod, at which he was a frequent competitor and where he won a number of prizes for poetry. He was an outstanding preacher, public speaker, and eisteddfod conductor. He published a book of poetry, Sisialon y Ffrwd, in 1874, and wrote a great deal on linguistic and antiquarian topics; there is an article by him on ‘Welsh Hymnology’ in Cymm., vi, 1883, 53-87. But his chief work is undoubtedly the series of articles which appeared in Tarian y Gweithiwr (Aberdare), and which was subsequently published in book form under the title Plwyf Llanwyno, yr Hen Amser, yr Hen Bobl, a'r Hen Droion (Pontypridd, 1888). A second edition appeared in 1913, and in 1949 the University of Wales published a revised edition, Llanwynno.
Published date: 1959
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