Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ELLIS , THOMAS EDWARD ( 1859 - 1899 ), M.P. for Merioneth (1886-99) and chief Liberal whip (1894-5) .

Son of Thomas Ellis and Elizabeth his wife. He was born at Cynlas , Cefnddwysarn , near Bala , 16 Feb. 1859 . He was educated at the British School , Llandderfel , and at the grammar school, Bala , where his contemporaries included D. R. Daniel , O. M. Edwards , and J. Puleston Jones . In Jan. 1875 he entered the University College of Wales , Aberystwyth , where he remained till 1879 . In Oct. 1880 , after a year as a non-collegiate student, he matriculated at New College , Oxford , where he was a member of the Essay Society ; he also took an active share in social and political activities and served on the standing committee of the Oxford Union Society . He obtained a second class in the honours school of modern history in 1884 , took his B.A. in 1885 , and his M.A. in 1897 . After a year as tutor in the family of John Cory , S. Mellons , he became private secretary to ( Sir ) John Tomlinson Brunner , industrialist and Liberal M.P. for Northwich , and also engaged in intermittent journalism .

In July 1886 he was adopted Liberal candidate for Merioneth and elected to Parliament . His unsparing advocacy of Welsh interests marked him out as a leader in Welsh life, and he had a considerable share in securing the passing of the Welsh Intermediate and Technical Education Act , 1889 . That winter, when on a visit to Egypt , he was taken seriously ill with typhoid fever , and after his return in 1890 he was given a national testimonial by the people of Wales . In his speech at Bala on the occasion of the presentation ( Sept. 1890 ) he set forth his political evangel, and postulated a legislative assembly for Wales as the chief desideratum. His appeal met with little response in Wales ; and in 1892 , when W. E. Gladstone formed his ministry, Ellis accepted the office of second whip . In this capacity he was largely instrumental in securing the appointment of the royal commission on land in Wales and Monmouthshire , and the promotion of measures for the disestablishment of the Church of England in Wales . In 1894 he was appointed chief Liberal whip . He devoted much time to educational administration in Wales , serving on the joint education committee for Merioneth under the 1889 Welsh Intermediate Education Act , the court of the University of Wales , and the Central Welsh Board ; he was one of the pioneers of the movement to secure a National Library for Wales , founder and first president of the Old Students' Association of the University College of Wales , and warden ( 1896-9 ) of the Guild of Graduates of the University . He edited the first volume of the works of Morgan Llwyd , a task subsequently completed by his brother-in-law J. H. Davies .

He m. Annie , daughter of R. J. Davies (see under Davies , Robert , 1790 - 1841 ) , Cwrt-mawr , Llangeitho , who survived him, with a son. He d. at Cannes , France , 5 April 1899 , and was buried at Cefnddwysarn . A statue of him stands in the High Street , Bala , and another in the quadrangle of the University College of Wales . A volume of his Speeches and Addresses was published posthumously in 1912 .


  • T. I. Ellis , Thomas Edward Ellis, Cofiant (Liverpool, 1944-1948) .


Thomas Iorwerth Ellis, M.A., (1899-1970), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959