Statue of Thomas Charles, Bala
The statue of Methodist leader Thomas Charles outside Capel Tegid is the work of a sculptor who was also a musician and a leading light in London’s Welsh community.
Thomas Charles (1755-1814) settled in Bala and was one of the most influential figures in Methodism’s rapid growth in Wales. Many generations of Welsh children were taught the story of Mary Jones, who walked 42km (26 miles) – barefoot – to buy a bible from him.
Inspired by the Circulating Schools in his native Carmarthenshire, Thomas established a similar system for children in rural North Wales. He used the original Methodist chapel here for school classes. You can read more about him on our page about his former home in Bala.
In 1867 fundraising began for a marble statue of him which was to be placed in front of the chapel and surrounded by railings. The chapel, which became known as Capel Tegid, was then being rebuilt. The old photo, courtesy of the National Library of Wales, was taken by John Thomas and shows the statue soon after its completion in 1875.
The statue was created by William Davies (pictured here), known by his bardic name ‘Mynorydd’. He was born in Merthyr Tydfil in 1828. He learned to play several musical instruments as a child, but after moving to London in 1844 he chose to become a sculptor rather than a musician.
Mynorydd lived latterly in Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill. He was a driving force behind the development of the Welsh chapel in Charing Cross Road. He conducted Welsh choirs and taught singers. His eldest daughter Mary was a “distinguished soprano”.
Postcode: LL23 7EL View Location Map