REVEREND THOMAS THOMAS
1741 – 1826
Revd. Thomas Thomas was born on 24th November 1741 at Castell Gorfod, in the parish of Trelechar Bettws, Carmarthenshire in Wales. Thomas was one of the three children of George and Catherine Thomas. The elder son, Samson Thomas, became a Calvinist Methodist Minister and his sister Rosamond married Thomas Howell in 1769.
Revd. Thomas Thomas was ordained and appointed as Rector of St Peter’s Church in the parish of Isham, Northamptonshire by the then Bishop of Peterborough, John Hinchcliffe in 1773.
Appointment letter from the Bishop of Peterborough
By 1788 Revd. Thomas Thomas was living, with the Foxton family in the Manor House (Manor Farm House), 39 Main Street, Kibworth Harcourt.
On 21st September 1796 at St Wilfrid’s Church, Kibworth Beauchamp the Revd. Thomas, age 55, married Elizabeth Foxton aged 51 years. Their marriage was conducted by the Revd. Jeremiah Goodman, Headmaster of the Kibworth Grammar School. Their Marriage bond* names Richard Coltman, yeoman, grazier and Churchwarden, of East Farndon promising with Revd. Thomas Thomas the £200 surety.
Elizabeth Thomas, nee Foxton, died on the 6th September 1797, sadly this was within a year of their marriage. Following her death Thomas wrote a letter written on 8th October 1798 to his brother Samson in Pembrokeshire describing his grief at his wife’s death and saying;
‘The coming of death was in so gradual a manner, that for days before her departure, she ordered everything about her burying without any signs of confusion. She told her maid to pin the cap and handkerchief ready against the time they should be wanted for use whilst the shroud was to be fetched from Harborough. She was very fond of reading pious books and conversing about a future world. She retained her senses to within a very little time of her last moment and expired in the comfortable persuasion that Christ is the only saviour’. He describes in detail her memorial in St. Wilfrid’s Church and signs the letter‘Care dig Frawd’.(Dear Brother)
On Thursday 5th December 1805 Revd. Thomas notes that he held a ‘Thanksgiving for Lord Nelson’s Victory on the 21st October off Cape Trafalgar’ at East Farndon church. (See Rev. Thomas Thomas Part 2)
Revd. Thomas’s sister Rosamond and her husband, Thomas Howell wrote from the family farm in Carmarthenshire to Revd. Thomas on 6th February 1805. They were asking about how to raise £150 for ‘India equipment’ for their youngest son John, who wished to enter employment as an assistant surgeon with the East India Company. This money was to purchase clothes, a surgeon’s apothecary kit and to fund his entry into the Company.
John Howell also wrote to his uncle about a possible appointment with the East India Company and received a withering reply criticising the spelling errors in his letter. Rev. Thomas tells him firmly ‘to use a dictionary, however his uncle includes a draft for £20 expenses in the letterto encourage him to find a position locally in England. However, as a young man will do, in March 1806 John Howell accepted a position with the East India Company as an assistant surgeon recommended for a position in Bengal, India and sailed on the ‘Matilda’ to Calcutta. It would seem that this money was, possibly reluctantly, found by Rev. Thomas because in his will John Howell leaves £300 to his uncle, Rev. Thomas, in a codicil repaying his kindness.
Not only had Revd. Thomas been instrumental in mentoring, educating and financing his nephew John Howell through his medical training at the London Hospital. Letters discovered at the Northampton Record Office confirm Thomas also financed the training of another surgeon at St. Thomas’ and Guy’s hospitals namely his nephew Poyntz Adams (his late wife’s sister’s son.) (see Rev.Thomas part 2)
The following year Thomas is still living in The Manor Farm House, Kibworth Harcourt and in a letter to his niece, dated 31st October 1807 he says that he has ‘leased some grounds from Merton College for 21 years renewable every 7th year by paying a fine for its renewal’. (Merton College, Oxford owned the Manor Farm House and still owns much of the land at the rear of houses on Main Street and Albert Street, Kibworth Harcourt.)
In 1814 Revd.Thomas Thomas is appointed Rector of St Dionysius Church, Kelmarsh and then Curate of the Church of St. John the Baptist at East Farndon. As the curate at East Farndon Parish Revd. Thomas was assistant to the Rector, William Brooks, who was also Rector of St John’s Church, Coventry where he spent the majority of his time. Revd. Thomas was left to administer the East Farndon Parish and to sort out the many problems and issues which ensued. This is confirmed by correspondence between Thomas and the Bishop of Peterborough where he outlines issues with the enclosures and the upkeep of tenements and buildings, not least the fabric of the church which needed much attention.
In 1815 Revd. Thomas’ sister Rosamund Howell died in Carmarthenshire and his nephew, her son, John Howell, surgeon, for the East India Company died in 1819 in Bengal, India aged 36 years.
On 10th October 1818 Revd. Thomas bought a farm, Penriwbaily, from his cousin James Howell in his home parish of Trelechar Bettws hoping he says, one day to return there to his dear ‘Kingdom of Deheubarth’. Interestingly, on the same day his clerk sold the lease of the farm for a term of 21 years for the sum of £32 annually to Benjamin Howell, farmer, (a nephew).
In 1824 Revd.Thomas Thomas, aged 83 years, retired from his clerical positions at Isham and East Farndon. Noting in a family letter that he had lived in Kibworth Harcourt and the neighbouring area for 56 years. However, his love for his homeland and Welsh culture never left him. His family letters and indeed his church records are often written in both Welsh, his native tongue and English.
Revd.Thomas Thomas is recorded in Crockford’s Clerical Directory, as being an ordained minister of the Anglican church from 1773 to 1826 the year he died on 20th May.
Plaque commemorating the lives of Revd. Thomas Thomas BD and his wife Elizabeth in St Wilfrid’s Church, Kibworth Beauchamp
Consoled in approaching Death by Faith scripture and the Hope of Advancement to Life eternal on September:1797 dyd Elizabeth the Daughter of George Foxton of Kibworth Gentleman and Wife of reverend Thomas Thomas. BD. Rector of Isham. Alfo in Memory of Revd. Thomas Thomas BD. who died Dec 1st 1825 in the 85th Year of his Age. O Grief allow that Death nor Tomb profound Can duft reviving lock in charnel Ground When JAH commands the Clay dead form arise And Spirit like ascend to Sion Skies so Grievance more to feel nor fancyd Gloom But Rapture that confess a glorious Doom Where Saint becomes in Soul embodying Frame. A Monument of Praise to Shiloh’s Name.
In 1885 the family executors of his estate in Wales sold The Manor House, (Manor Farm House) Kibworth Harcourt for £4,450 to another nephew he had educated and financed, John Philipps, who had lived there with him as a proxy son. (see John Philipps 1801 – 1867 – Modern)
Tablet in the Parish Church of Abernant in the
county of Carmarthen with the following inscription:
‘ This tablet is placed to the memory of John Philipps Son of Jonathan Catherine
Philipps late of Skyrfa in this parish who departe
John this life December 23rd 1867
Aged 67 Years’
John Philipps inherited a love for antiquities from his uncle and kept all his uncle’s letters, papers etc. in a trunk in the attic. A chest of Revd. Thomas’ papers including manuscripts, broadsides from the Manor Farm House, Kibworth Harcourt is lodged at the Northampton Record Office.
A poster was discovered among Revd. Thomas’ papers at the Northampton Record Office advertising a production on 28th October 1802 at the Kibworth Theatre of ‘School for Scandal’ a 1781 comic opera to music by Samuel Arnold with a libretto by John O’Keeffe. This includes an American romantic comedy ‘Gretna Green’ written by Grace Livingston Furniss. This suggests that Revd. Thomas may have attended the Kibworth Theatre. (see The Kibworth Theatre-Modern).
* Marriage bonds were used when a couple applied to marry by licence and were not married by banns. The marriage allegation was a document in which the couple alleged (or frequently just the groom alleged on behalf of both of them) that there were no impediments to the marriage. The marriage bond set a financial penalty on the groom and his bondsman (usually a close friend or relative) in case the allegation should prove to be false. Marriage bonds ceased to be used after 1823.
Pembrokeshire Record Office
Northamptonshire Record Office
British History on Line
East Farndon Village Website Group
The Gentleman’s Magazine
Researched by Jeni Molyneux & edited by David Adams