Ellis, Thomas (DNB00)

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ELLIS, THOMAS (1625–1673), Welsh antiquary, the son of Griffith Ellis of Dolbemaen, Carnarvonshire, was born at that place in 1625. At the age of fifteen he was entered at Jesus College, Oxford, and took the B.A. degree in 1644. In the same year he is stated by Wood to have borne arms for the king in the garrison at Oxford. A letter containing 'The exact and full Relation of the last Fight between the King's forces and Sir William Waller,' which describes the battle at Cropredy Bridge and is signed Thomas Ellis, was published in July of this year; but the writer belonged to the parliamentary army. Ellis proceeded to the M.A. degree on 23 Jan. 1646, and was elected a fellow of his college, where he continued to reside as a tutor. On the resignation of Dr. F. Mansell he confidently expected to succeed him as principal of Jesus, but, being disappointed in this hope, he threw up his tutorial work, and, though still remaining at Oxford, lived in retirement. In 1665 Ellis, who had taken the B.D. degree on 17 Oct. 1661, became rector of St. Mary's, Dolgelly, Merionethshire, succeeding his kinsman, Dr. John Ellis. While still at Oxford he had devoted himself largely to the study of Welsh antiquity, and had made himself a recognised authority on the subject. At the request of Robert Vaughan, who purposed publishing a revised and enlarged edition of Powell's 'History of Cambria,' but who was unable to find time for the work, Ellis undertook to carry it on, incorporating his own notes with Vaughan's additions and corrections. One hundred and twenty-eight sheets of the book had been printed by Hall of Oxford, when Ellis refused to proceed, alleging that all the materials with which he had been supplied by Vaughan had been already utilised by Percie Enderbie in his 'Cambria Triumphans.' As the latter work was published in 1661 and the sheets of Ellis's book are dated 1663, it is curious that he did not make the discovery earlier. Persisting in the belief that he had been anticipated in his researches, Ellis published nothing further. In 1775, however, there was issued, together with a 'History of the Island of Anglesey' by H. Rowlands, 'Memoirs of Owen Glendowr, being a well-compiled History of the Transactions during the whole war, originally written by Mr. Thomas Ellis, and now faithfully copied out of a manuscript in the Library of Jesus College.' Ellis died in the spring of 1673 at his birthplace, Dolbemaen, and was there buried.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 992; Fasti, ii. 70, 91, 260; Williams's Eminent Welshmen.]

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