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A surname that stems from a popular forename of Biblical roots, ‘Thomas’ features prominently in the frequently turbulent historical record.
While some were to be found with sword in hand, others gained fame through a colourful range of more peaceful endeavours and pursuits that include the worlds of literature, business, politics, the stage, sport and music.
Presented here is the vibrant tale of proud bearers of the name.
Of truly Biblical roots, "Thomas" derives from an ancient Aramaic word meaning "twin", and as a forename it was first popularised through reverence for the apostle Thomas, known as "doubting Thomas", because he at first doubted the truth of Christ’s resurrection.
Finally convinced, he went on to fervently preach Christ’s message throughout the Middle East and even much further afield – and is believed to have been martyred in India.
The name was also popularised in the Christian tradition through reverence for the twelfth century Archbishop of Canterbury and martyr St Thomas Becket, and for the thirteenth century Italian theologian St Thomas Aquinas, while as a surname it indicates "son of Thomas."
In Wales, the early heartland of those who would come to bear the Thomas name was the ancient kingdom of Brycheiniog – now modern-day Breconshire.