Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PRICE , THOMAS ( 1820 - 1888 ), Baptist minister ;

b. 17 April 1820 , son of John and Mary Price of Maesycwper , near Ysgethrog , Llanhamlach , Brecknock . He began to earn his living at an early age by assisting a local farmer . Afterwards he became a page boy in the family of Clifton of Tŷ Mawr , Llanfrynach . The Clifton daughters taught him to read English . He saved £21 to pay for his own apprenticeship to Thomas Watkins , The Struet , Brecon , painter , glazier , and plumber . His parents had been members of the Established Church, but Thomas became a Baptist and was baptized in the river Usk . At the end of his apprenticeship he left for London , walking all the way, a distance of 160 miles. During his four years’ stay in London , he continued his studies.

He entered Pontypool Baptist College , 1842 . After three and a half years there under principal Thomas Thomas (q.v.) , he accepted a call to the Aberdare Welsh Baptist chapel at Carmel , Monk Street , but better known as ‘ Capel Pen-pound. ’ He began his ministry there at the end of 1845 , was ordained 1 Jan. 1846 , and remained there, his only pastorate, for forty-two years until his death on 29 Feb. 1888 . By his abounding energy and skill as an organizer, he was able to increase the numbers of Baptists in the Valley through opening Sunday schools and later erecting chapels . He formed an English church at Carmel , while he and the Welsh members moved to a new chapel called Calfaria .

He soon became well known in his denomination as a preacher and lecturer , and was elected to important offices; in 1865 he filled the chair of the Welsh Baptist Union .

As a writer he published an answer to the Rev. William Edwards 's book, Bapto a Baptiso ( 1857 ), Jiwbili Eglwys Calfaria, Aberdar ( 1862 ), and Trem ( 1885-6 ), together with many addresses, etc. But he was better known as the co-editor of Y Gwron ( 1855-60 ), Y Gweithiwr ( 1859-60 ), and Seren Cymru ( 1860-76 ); he also served as finance secretary to Seren Gomer ( 1853-59 ), and edited Y Medelwr Ieuanc and Y Gwyliedydd .

No minister in Wales took such a prominent part as he did in furthering the work of the Friendly Societies , particularly those of the Independent Order of Oddfellows , and the ‘ Ivorites .’

Dr. Price — he was given a Ph.D. by Leipzig University — took a prominent part in political and educational activities . His attacks on the Welsh Education Reports ( 1846-7 ), and on the standpoint taken by the Rev. John Griffith , vicar of Aberdare (q.v.) , in regard to those Reports , are well known. He took a most active part in the local government of Aberdare , and in various public movements in the town — he was the first secretary of the Aberdare British School Committee which established the first British School in the Aberdare valley in 1848 , the ‘ Park School ,’ better known as ‘ Ysgol y Comin .’ He m., 16 March 1847 , Mrs. Ann Gilbert , the youngest daughter of Thomas David of Abernant-y-groes , Cwm-bach , by whom he had a son, who died in infancy, and a daughter. His wife d. 1 Sept. 1849 .

Sources:

  • Benjamin Evans (Telynfab), Bywgraffiad y diweddar Barchedig T. Price, Aberdâr (Aberdâr, 1891) , 1891 ;
  • Canmlwyddiant Eglwys Calfaria, Aberdâr, 1812-1912 (Aberdâr, 1912) ;
  • Ben Morus , Enwogion Aberdâr (1910) , 1910 ;
  • Y Geninen , 1888 , 167, 173; ibid., 1906;
  • Eminent Welshmen: a short biographical dictionary of Welshmen ... from the earliest times to the present (1908) ;
  • Baptist Handbook , 1889 ;
  • The Baptist Union of Wales Handbook and Diary , 1889 ;
  • Y Gwron , 14 Aug. and 4 Sept. 1858 , 14 July 1859 ;
  • Western Mail , 7 March 1888 ;
  • South Wales News (1770) , 2 June 1928 ;
  • Y Gweithiwr Cymreig , 8 March 1888 ;
  • Aberdare Leader , 3 Feb. 1940 ;
  • NLW MS 7177.

Author:

Watkin William Price, M.A., (1873-1967), Aberdare

Published date: 1959