Owen Thomas

1812-91. Welsh Calvinistic Methodist minister and author. He was born at Holyhead, son of a stone- mason, and followed his father's craft when the family moved to Bangor in 1827. He entered Bala College in 1838 as a candidate for the Calvinistic Methodist* ministry and completed his studies at the University of Edinburgh. He was ordained in 1844. After serving several pastorates he moved in 1865 to Liverpool and spent the remainder of his ministry there. He received every honor that his church could bestow and was twice moderator of its general assembly (1868, 1888).

He was an outstanding figure in the life of the Welsh evangelical churches in the Victorian Age. His powerful preaching was characterized by seriousness and intensity. He was a learned theologian and possessed an exceptionally fine private library that showed the breadth of his interests in divinity and history. He was a firm defender of Calvinism in the moderate form that derived from the thinking of Dr. Edward Williams.

His literary output was extensive. Apart from a constant flow of articles in various journals and in the monumental Welsh encyclopedia known as Y Gwyddoniadur, he translated Thomas Watson's work on sanctification and Kitto's NT commentary. But his finest work was in the writing of the biographies. His biography of Henry Rees (1798-1869) is a late work, published in two volumes in 1890, and although accurate and imposing, it lacks the vigor of his earlier work. His greatest achievement was the huge biography of John Jones, Tal-sarn (1796- 1857), published in 1874. Although John Jones was a preacher of quite exceptional influence, the book is more than his biography-it is the biography of Welsh evangelicalism in the first half of the nineteenth century. Its analysis of the development of theology in Wales during that age, and its description of Welsh preaching and its exponents, make it a basic document for the study of nineteenth-century Wales.

See biography by J.J. Roberts (1912).