Edwards, Thomas Charles

EDWARDS, THOMAS CHARLES (1837-1900), Welsh Nonconformist divine and educationist, was born at Bala, Merioneth, on the 22nd of September 1837, the son of Lewis Edwards (q.v.). His resolve to become a minister was deepened by the revival of 1858-1859. After taking his degrees at London (B.A. 1861, M.A. 1862), he matriculated at St Alban Hall, Oxford, in October 1862, the university having just been opened to dissenters. He obtained a scholarship at Lincoln College in 1864, and took a first class in the school of Literae Humaniores in 1866. He was especially influenced by Mark Pattison and Jowett, who counselled him to be true to the church of his father, in which he had already been ordained. Early in 1867 he became minister at Windsor Street, Liverpool, but left it to become first principal of the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, which had been established through the efforts of Sir Hugh Owen and other enthusiasts. The college was opened with a staff of three professors and twenty-five students in October 1872, and for some years its career was chequered enough. Edwards, however, proved a skilful pilot, and his hold on the affection of the Welsh people enabled him to raise the college to a high level of efficiency. When it was destroyed by fire in 1885 he collected £25,000 to rebuild it; the remainder of the necessary £40,000 being given by the government (£10,000) and by the people of Aberystwyth (£5000). In 1891 he gave up what had been the main work of his life to accept an undertaking that was even nearer his heart, the principalship of the theological college at Bala. A stroke of paralysis in 1894 fatally weakened him, but he continued at work till his death on the 22nd of March 1900. The Calvinistic Methodist Church of Wales bestowed on him every honour in their possession, and he received the degree of D.D. from the universities of Edinburgh (1887) and Wales (1898). His chief works were a Commentary on 1 Corinthians (1885), the Epistle to the Hebrews ("Expositor's Bible" series, 1888), and The God-Man ("Davies Lecture," 1895).

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

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