Thomas Richards (1709-1790)

Like John Walters, Thomas Richards the priest and lexicographer, was a native of Carmarthenshire. He moved to Glamorgan in 1737 and in 1738 became curate of Coychurch (Llangrallo). His dictionary, Antiquae Linguae Britanicae Thesaurus (1753), is an adaptation of John Davies's Welsh-Latin dictionary, Dictionarium Duplex (1632). It is likely that he consulted manuscripts in the possession of Grammarians such as John Bradford in order to complete the work. Richards championed the Protestant establishment and in 1746 he published a Welsh translation of Philip Morant's The Cruelties and Persecutions of the Romish Church Displayed. Richards had links with the Cymmrodorion and received the support of Richard and William Morris in order to publish his dictionary. However, the Morris cycle were scornful of his attempts, mainly because he had included examples of the Glamorgan dialect in his dictionary. Goronwy Owen told Richard Morris: 'what has Glam. words to do with Welsh? I had rather he had made use of any Gibberish, and authoriz'd with a Hottentoticê' (J. H. Davies (gol.), The Letters of Goronwy Owen (1723-1769), (Cardiff, 1924), p. 68). Both Thomas Richards and John Walters were important formative influences on the development of Iolo's ideas about language. Iolo held Richards in high regard and feared that he had not received the praise he deserved for his service to the nation:

To the Late Reverend Thomas Richards, my greatly respected and highly honoured friend and instructor, a large portion of gratitude and praise is due from the Welsh Literati. He translated the Latin of the Grammar & Dictionary of Dr Davies into English. The greatest honour that we can afford to our subsequent grammarians and Lexicographers is to pass them over in silence, who are now standing on the brink of oblivion. one foot over, the ground just breaking in under the others to let them down into the bottomless gulph. therein to sink deeper and deeper to all eternity. (NLW 13131A, p. 257)

Iolo claimed that many of his literary forgeries had in fact been copied from manuscripts in Thomas Richards's possession: 'Brut Aberpergwm', Edeyrn Dafod Aur's poetic grammar, and a treatise on the cultivation of land attributed to Walter Map.