Samson Thomas (1739- 1807)


 Early Calvinistic - Methodist  Minister

Samson Thomas was born at Castell Gorwyn in the parish of Tre’lech ar Bettws in Carmarthenshire in 1739.
Samson’s father was George Thomas and his mother Catherine.
Samson had a younger brother, the Reverend Thomas Thomas * (1741 - 20th May 1826 ) who was curate of East Farndon in Leicestershire and Rector of Isham.
Samson also had a sister Rosamond Thomas (1744 - 1814 ) who married Thomas Howell on 5th Dec 1769 at Abernant, Carmarthenshire.  From their marriage settlement D/WIL/91 we see that Samson aged 30 is still at home Castell Gorwyn, Tre'lech ar Bettws. There is also mention in one letter from Thomas Howell in 1784 of ‘brother George’ in London who wishes to have the family bible passed onto him.
Samson Thomas married his first wife Ann Jones in Tre’lech Church by license on 28th February 1764 conducted by Rev.John Pritchard.
Their daughter Amy Thomas was born on 8th April 1765. Her mother Ann Thomas dies the same year, so probably in childbirth.

Samson Thomas, gentleman and his daughter Amy went to live in Pembrokeshire in 1773 when he was 34 years old on his second marriage to a widow, Margaret Raymond [1] formerly Margaret Rees of Folkeston, Roch, Pembrokeshire.Samson and Margaret Thomas lived near Solva at Trecadwagan in the parish of Whitchurch in Dewland where they went on to have another daughter together Phebe Thomas.

Amy Thomas was married at Whitchurch by licence in 1784 aged 19 to Thomas Skeel b1758 and they lived at Newhouse, Haycastle.

Phoebe Thomas her half sister (1775-13th Mar1855) married William Williams of Hendre Eyon.
From a short biography in Welsh of Samson Thomas at Pembrokeshire Archives [2] we learn that Samson  was a well thought of local minister in the Calvinistic Methodist persuasion. His parents were devout and his upbringing was religious. His brother the Rev.Thomas Thomas refers to the ‘piety’ of their caring mother and says how grateful he has been to have a religious upbringing.
Samson Thomas used to go to Fishguard one Sunday a month to preach, and also travelled further afield, e.g. he preached at Llanllyfni, Caernarfonshire, in 1792.
‘He was, in his youth, a somewhat wild boy who tended to drink lots and also it was he who was the chief fighter of the area and because he was like his name Samson, he usually prevailed.’[3]
Samson Thomas  became involved in the Calvinistic Methodist persuasion when he was about 20 before marrying and moving to Pembrokeshire. It was there where he lived and preached for 34 years until his death in 1807 when he was 68 years old.
Samson and his wife Margaret died at the same time and were buried on the same day and in the same grave at Tregoes cemetery on 18th April 1807.
Samson’s daughter Amy (1765-1851) was married to the Rev.Thomas Skeel (1733-1836) of Newhouse, Tynewydd, Haycastle who was also a minister in the same religious group.
Thomas and Amy Skeel had no children.

It is clear that this Thomas family had a very high regard for education for all their children.
In a letter from his brother- in- law Thomas Howell we learn that Samson Thomas [5] paid for the education of his niece Catherine Howell who boarded at a school in Haverfordwest along with her cousin Phoebe, Samson’s daughter in the year 1785 from ‘Candlemas to Hollandtide’.
In this same year both girls are able to read their bibles ’tolerably well’
Samson Thomas ’s will dated 12th May 1792
*The Rev Thomas Thomas was an antiquarian. He kept his all his correspondence spanning roughly 1780- 1825. This includes many family discussions about helping each other financially, religion, social issues and most importantly I feel in supporting education. He personally financed two of his nephews as surgeons John Howell of Abernant and Poyntz Adams of Leicestershire mentioned in a recently published book ‘Gentlemen of Uncertain Fortune: How Younger sons made their way in Jane Austen’s London.’ by Rory Muir. 2019

Contributed by Jeni Molyneux (10/05/2020)