Cymdeithas Treftadaeth Eglwyswrw a'r Fro

Eglwyswrw and District Heritage Society


Rev Benjamin Thomas - Myfyr Emlyn.

He died on November 20th 1893 at the age of 57 years. Ruchacre was his home for a long time, on the outskirt of the village of Narberth, but by the time of his death he probably had moved to live in Narberth. He had been a minister of Bethesda Church since 1875. His bardic name was Myfyr Emlyn.
The famous Myfyr Emlyn was one of Bethabara's sons, he was born in October,1836 in a small cottage called Tyrhos, in the parish of Whitechurch, Pembrokeshire, in an area known locally as 'Rhos Glynmaen'. Near Tyrhos there is a small river where Myfyr played as a child, to which he wrote the poem that includes the following words.
“Ond ni ddiffoddir byth mo’r tan Gyneu’sant hwy ar rôs Glynmaen.”
Roughly translated
‘The fire [The Cause] that was started on Rhos Glynmaen will never be extinguished’
There are not many that were raised in the area that has not heard the words above.
Myfyr Emlyn's father was Dafydd Thomas, a stonemason and farmer, he was one of the founders of the Baptist cause in the area who helped with the building of the first chapel at Bethabara.
Benjamin's mother, Elizabeth Thomas was an exceptionally gifted woman.
Educating their children was important to them, and at Tyrhos in 1823, the first Sunday School in the area was held.
Dafydd Thomas was born in the parish of Llanfair Nantgwyn c.1797, and Elizabeth in Llandissilio c.1793.
They had eight children - Thomas b1823; Owen b1825; Daniel b1827; Martha b1830; Stephen b1832; Mary b1834; Benjamin b1836; Hannah b1840.
Benjamin Thomas received his elementary education at Penygroes school, which was under the care of Rev.Simon Evans, Hebron.
After the family moved from Tyrhos to Pantygarn, on the outskirt of Eglwyswrw in 1849, Benjamin went to the daily school at Elim, the Baptist chapel in the village. While at Eglwyswrw he learned to be a stonemason like his father. He was about fifteen or sixteen when he went away to Tredegar to find work and there at Siloh he was baptized by the Rev. J. Rowe, Risca, in August, 1852.

He came back to west Wales and began to preach. In 1856 he went to a Grammar School in Fishguard, and from there he went to Haverfordwest College. In 1858 he went to a College in Bristol.
H e was ordained the minister of Capel y Graig, Newcastle Emlyn, and Drefach in October, 1860.

He married Margaret George on May 28, 1861, the daughter of Baili Farm, Llandygwydd and
they had five children children, - Elizabeth b1865; Ieuan.G. b1866, d1936; William.O. b1870; Margaret. E. (Martha) b1873, d1911, one child died young.
In 1873 he went to the English Baptist church of Tabernacl in Penarth, and in 1875 he became Minister of Bethesda Baptist church, Narberth, and he was there until his death.
Tabarnacl, Penarth was rebuilt in 1874, at the time of his ministry and also Bethesda Narberth was rebuilt in 1889 when he was the Minister there.
Margaret his wife died on November 28th, 1878 at the age of 41, the youngest child was only five years old at the time. To her memory Myfyr Emlyn wrote the verses 'Y Ferch o Lanau Teifi'. Benjamin’s second wife of was the widow of David Lewis (Cynfyn), David Lewis had been a corn merchant in Carmarthen.
Myfyr Emlyn died on November 20th 1893, aged 57 years he was interred in the cemetery of Bethesda, Narberth.
His funeral was one of the biggest held in the county of Pembrokeshire. According to his obituary around 16 people had participated in the funeral service, mostly preachers, there were a total of fifty or more preachers present. His son Dr Ieuan Thomas, [Doctor of Works] Hirwaun failed to be at the funeral because of a leg injury. Another son, William was present, William was a pharmacist / chemist in France, he later went to America.
Benjamin Thomas’ gravestone stands just behind the chapel at Bethesda,Narberth.
The magnificent memorial “Erected by The Church, Family and Friends” exemplifies the respect in which he was held.

Rev. Benjamin Thomas. Myfyr Emlyn
A Baptist Minister.
He ministered in the Following Chapels

Capel y Graig, Newcastle Emlyn and Drefach. 1860 – 1873.
Tabernacl Penarth. 1873 - 1875. (English).
Bethesda, Narberth. 1875 - 1893. (English).

He was also a Poet, Lecturer, and Author.


Member of Haverfordwest College Committee.

The only Welshman invited to contribute to the 'Pulpit Commentary', (English).

Biography of "Dafydd Evans, Ffynonhenry." was a book of his work that was very popular, re-printed several times of which there are many editions available still.

Above - Group photo at Bethesda Narberth
Rev Benjamin Thomas
in the centre of second row from back

Left - The Myfyr Emlyn Memorial Stone in the cemetery at Bethabara Pontyglasier.

Right - The Myfyr Emlyn Memorial in the cemetery at

Bethesda Narberth.

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