Thomas Levi

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Thomas Levi (circa 1878)

Thomas Levi (12 October 1825 - 16 June 1916 ) was a Welsh, Calvinistic Methodist minister, and literary figure who also played a role in the political life of Wales.[1] Born in Ystradgynlais he spent his later life as minister of Tabernacl, Aberystwyth.

Early life[edit]

Levi was born at Penrhos, near Ystradgynlais in the Swansea Valley, Glamorgan, the son of John and Prudence Levi.[1] It was often stated that his father was of Jewish origin but this cannot be verified.[2] He received little formal education and worked as a boy at the Ynyscedwyn Ironworks.[1] When the ironworks closed for a time due to a depression in trade, Levi migrated fifty miles to Tredegar ironworks.[2] Following his mother's death, his father and brothers migrated to the United States.[3] He began to preach when around twenty years of age.[1]


Levi became minister of Capel yr Ynys, Ystradgynlais around 1855 and remained there until 1860 when he moved to Philadelphia, Morriston.[1] After sixteen years, Levi received a call in 1876 to minister at Tabernacle, Aberystwyth, one of the leading chapels in the denomination, and he remained there for the remainder of his career.[1]

Portrait of Thomas Levi

Literary Activities[edit]

Levi wrote many books but his most significant achievement was founding Trysorfa y Plant, a journal for children and young people, Levi was responsible for every monthly edition from 1862 until 1911 and the journal had a circulation of 44,000.[1]

Political Activities[edit]

From his early days at Ystradgynlais, Levi was politically active, and he led a campaign against the efforts of the rector to levy a church rate in order to rebuild the parish church.[2]

Levi was a Liberal member of Cardiganshire County Council from 1889 until 1895. His son, Professor T.A. Levi established the Law department at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Later life and death[edit]

Levi retired from the ministry in 1901. He died in 1916, aged 90.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Levi, Thomas Arthur. "Thomas Levi". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Death of Rev Thomas Levi. Old Ystradgynlais Native". Llais Llafur. 24 June 1916. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Death of the Rev Thomas Levi. A Remarkable Career". Cambrian News. 23 June 1916. Retrieved 26 April 2015.