Edwards, Henry Thomas

EDWARDS, HENRY THOMAS (1837-1884), Welsh divine, was born on the 6th of September 1837 at Llan ym Mawddwy, Merioneth, where his father was vicar. He was educated at Westminster and at Jesus College, Oxford (B.A., 1860), and after teaching for two years at Llandovery went to Llangollen as his father's curate. He became vicar of Aberdare in 1866 and of Carnarvon in 1869. Here he began his lifelong controversy with Nonconformity, especially as represented by the Rev. Evan Jones (Calvinistic Methodist) and Rev. E. Herber Evans (Congregationalist). In 1870 he fought in vain for the principle of all-round denominationalism in the national education system, and in the same year addressed a famous letter to Mr Gladstone on "The Church of the Cymry," pointing out that the success of Nonconformity in Wales was largely due to "the withering effect of an alien episcopate." One immediate result of this was the appointment of the Welshman Joshua Hughes (1807-1889) to the vacant see of St Asaph. Edwards became dean of Bangor in 1876 and at once set about restoring the cathedral, and he promoted a clerical education society for supplying the diocese with educated Welsh-speaking clergy. He was a popular preacher and an earnest patriot; his chief defect was a lack of appreciation of the theological attainments of Nonconformity, and a Welsh commentary on St Matthew, which he had worked at for many years and published in two volumes in 1882, was severely handled by a Bangor Calvinistic Methodist minister. Edwards suffered from overwork and insomnia and a Mediterranean cruise in 1883 failed to restore his health; and he died by his own hand on the 24th of May 1884 at Ruabon.

See V. Morgan, Welsh Religious Leaders in the Victorian Era.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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