Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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COKE , THOMAS ( 1747 - 1814 ), Wesleyan Methodist minister ;

b. 9 Sept. 1747 ; son of Bartholomew Coke , apothecary , of Brecon . He was educated at Christ College , Brecon , and Jesus College , Oxford ; graduated B.A. in 1768 and D.C.L. in 1775 . Ordained deacon in 1770 and priest in 1772 , he was a curate at, first, Road , and, later, South Petherton, Som. , but was removed by his rector in 1777 for his Methodist sympathies. He then joined the Methodists , and became John Wesley 's chief lieutenant , superintendent of the Methodist Episcopal Church of America , and the ‘father’ of Methodist missions . He d. at sea on 12 May 1814 , while on his way to India to establish a mission there.

In 1800 he was chiefly responsible for establishing Welsh Wesleyan Methodism as a part of the missionary work of the Methodist connexion , in much the same way as preachers had been sent on his initiative to preach in Erse in Ireland in 1799 . Frequent journeys through North Wales to and from Ireland had convinced him of the desirability of sending Welsh-speaking Methodist preachers to that part of Wales , and though, unknown to him, some pioneer work had already been done in certain parts of Denbighshire and Flintshire , it was his zeal and pleading which led the Methodist conference to send Owen Davies ( 1752 - 1830 ) (q.v.) and John Hughes ( 1776 - 1843 ) (q.v.) to Ruthin in Aug. 1800 .


  • J. W. Etheridge , The Life of the Rev. Thomas Coke, D.C.L. (London, 1860) ;
  • J. Crowther , The Life of the Rev. Thomas Coke, L.L.D a clergyman of the Church of England (Leeds, 1815) ;
  • A. H. Williams , Welsh Wesleyan Methodism, 1800-1858 its origins, growth and secessions (1935) , 1800-1858 .


Albert Hughes Williams, M.A., (1907-96), Cardiff

Published date: 1959