I think I can help in a partially negative way. I was responsible for
extracting details of the 4 original Welsh dioceses for the Clergy of the
Church of England Database. As to William Thomas your problem in finding
where he received his degree is explained by the fact that he was not a
university graduate. This was not a necessity in the 17th century when the
only educational qualification required was that an ordination candidate had
to be "literate" and in fact the majority of Welsh clergy were so described.
As you can imagine, the degree of literacy varied tremendously and, judging
from the handwriting in some of the "Subscription Books", the term was used
As to the ecclesiastical career of William Thomas, I found him in the
1. On 22nd September 1714 "Gulielmus" (ie William) Thomas was instituted to
the Rectory of Eglwyskinnin (sic) by Thomas Watson, Bishop of St. Davids
"sub magno sigilio" (Under the great Seal). This because the rectory was
under royal patronage and the patrons then were King William and Queen Mary.
The record does not state the name of his predecessor but it was almost
certainly Michael Owen who showed as being rector there at a visitation in
27th June 1688.
2. On a visitation list of 29th October 1690 under "Eglwys Kinnin" the
office, which should be "Rector" and the surname are both left blank with
only the Christian name, "Willimus" being written.
3. The next visitation list dated 22nd September 1714 does, however, show
the Rector of "Eglwys Kinnin" as being Gulielmus Thomas.
4. On 25th January 1716/17 Antonius Jones MA was instituted to the Rectory
of "Eglus Kennin als Eglus Kennen" with King George as Patron. The previous
incumbent is not named but it would seem certain that William Thomas died
some time between 1714 and 1716.
From all this you can gather that most clergy were unfamiliar with the Welsh
language and it often took a great deal of effort to deduce which parishes
were referred to in the Bishops' Registers and other volumes.
Back to the education question, many candidates for ordination received
their instruction from the parish priest, though grammar school masters had
to be licensed by the bishop. The only Carmarthenshire grammar schools for
which I extracted records prior to 1700 were at Llansawel, Cynwyl Caeo,
Llansadwrn and Llandingad. I assume you've checked wills which could be
useful since any member of the clergy would be designated as "Clerk" or
"Clericus" in his will.
From: Yvonne Evans via DYFED
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 10:11 AM
To: Coverng the Welsh counties of Cardiganshire(Ceredigion),Carmarthenshire
Cc: Rob Weeks ; Yvonne Evans
Subject: [Dyfed] William Thomas Rector of Eglwys Cymyn
I have a probable ancestor in William Thomas Rector of Eglwys Cymyn near
Pendine. He was appointed Rector there in 1690. I cannot find where he
received his degree. I have looked through Oxford Alumni, but he is not
there. It is possible he was a Cardiganshire native, as I have traced
his line to Caerllugest, Llangeithio, Ceredigion. He would not have
attended Ystradmeurig Grammar/College as that was not opened until
approx 1720.Can anyone suggest where I could look to find his place of
religious education? This would be useful as his father could be
named, which would give a clue to his ancestry.
I have found a link to my tree through research at Ceredigion Archives,
which contained research made by an ex member of staff at NLW
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