THOMAS, WILLIAM (1734 - 1799), cleric and antiquary

Name: William Thomas

Date of birth: 1734

Date of death: 1799

Parent: Eleanor Thomas

Parent: Lewis Thomas

Gender: Male

Occupation: cleric and antiquary

Area of activity: History and Culture; Religion; Scholarship and Languages

Author: Hywel David Emanuel

Son of Lewis and Eleanor Thomas, Eglwys Nynnid, near Margam, Glamorganshire (he was christened 26 August 1734). He received his early education at Cowbridge under Dr. Durell, and then proceeded to Jesus College, Oxford, where he matriculated, 24 October 1751. He graduated B.A. from Oriel College in 1755 and M.A. in 1758. He was ordained deacon by the bishop of S. Davids on 13 August 1758, and priest by the bishop of Oxford on 23 September 1759. On 28 April 1760, he was instituted into the living of Aberavon with Baglan and Briton Ferry on the presentation of lord Vernon of Briton Ferry. On 30 December 1763, he was presented by the same patron to Llangynwyd with Baiden, and, on 7 January 1764, nominated to the curacy of Llangeinor by lord Mansel. But for some years after 1760 he lived chiefly in Oxford where he was a Fellow and tutor of Pembroke College. He was collated to the chancellorship of Llandaff cathedral on 10 January 1777, and appears to have resigned his living of Aberavon with Baglan and Briton Ferry in 1786, and of Llangynwyd with Llangeinor in 1789. He was also rector of Tortworth, Gloucestershire. He died 3 September 1799. After leaving Oxford, Thomas became chaplain to lord Vernon, and was also on the most intimate terms of friendship with the duke of Beaufort. He was a good Celtic scholar and was well-versed in Oriental languages. He is said to have been a friend of Evan Evans (Ieuan Brydydd Hir), and to have been responsible in some measure for inducing the latter to proceed with and complete his Dissertatio de Bardis.