Rev T. C. Phillips, M.A., M.C. Vicar of Aberaman
By D.T.L. 27.06.1925
“One of the most popular men in the diocese of Llandaff,” is a description that can well be applied to the subject of our sketch this week. Bright and cheerful in deposition, powerful as a preacher, and fully alive to the multifarious duties of a parish priest, he was, during the few years he has been “at the wheel” in Aberaman exercised a remarkable influence for good, and his keen sense of humour enables him to regard philosophically all the trials and troubles which periodically confront him.
The Rev. Thomas Ceredig Phillips was born at Morriston, but he comes from a good old Cardingshire family, his father having followed the sea as a profession for many years, and on retirement there – from served under the late Lord Swansea in various capacities.
His early education was obtained at the Morriston Board Schools, and he later became a pupil teacher and assistant master at the same school. In 1900, when he was 24 years old, he won an entrance scholarship to St. David’s College, Lampeter, and the following year he won the senior scholarship of the college which entitled him to proceed to Cambridge University.
As an undergraduate at St. Peter’s College he early decided to qualify for holy orders, and displayed such marked ability in his studies that it occasioned no surprise to his friends to find him graduating with honours in history in 1903. He obtained his M.A., degree in 1907.
Immediately after securing his M.A. he was ordained by the late Bishop Lewis at Llandaff Cathedral, his ordination to full priesthood being performed by Bishop Percival at Hereford Cathedral in 1905. His first curacy was at St. Catherine’s, Pontypridd, under the Rev. J. P. Griffiths, well known to Aberdarians as the brothers of the Archdeacon of Monmouth. He remained at Pontypridd for 11 years, and during that period established what is now a very flourishing Men’s Guild and Club House. The walls of Aberaman Vicarage carry many striking testimonies to the esteem in which he was held at Pontypridd and the genuine regret experienced by his departure in 1914 when he was appointed vicar of Crumlin.
He had not been long at Crumlin before the Great War broke out, and he promptly offered himself for service, being appointed chaplain to the 27th Casualty Clearing Station ar Salonica and later to the 78th Infantry Brigade, 26th Division. Whilst with the latter division he was mentioned in dispatches by the Commander-in-Chief for courage and devotion to wounded men during a raid, and for this he was awarded the Military Cross. Like all rave men the Vicar is naturally modest, and it was only after great pressure that I got him to relate he incident to me which brought him this coveted decoration.
At the conclusion of hostilities, he was stationed for a time at Varna, Bulgaria, and on being demobilised in 1919, he returned to his old parish at Crumlin. He ministered there with great success until 1921, when he succeeded the Rev. Joseph Morgan (now at Panteg) as vicar of Aberaman.
As previously stated, his advent to Aberaman has resulted in the Church of St. Margaret making great strides. Here again he has instituted a Men’s Club, Mothers’ Union, and Girls’ Friendly Society, and the success of these organisations is largely dur to his guiding influence. The genial Vicar, is a great believer in catering for churchgoers and is never happier than when planning some scheme for their enjoyment.
All departments of church life at Aberaman are in a healthy condition, and the large congregations that assemble each Sunday testify to his quality as a preacher of the Gospel.
Politics the Vicar has none, but he believes solely in the politics of Christ – that every man is his brother. He is a member of the Merthyr Board of Guardians for Aberaman Ward, having been first elected in 1922 and re-elected last April. This is a work which keenly interests him and for which he is naturally fitted, and his record of service on the Board does him infinite credit.
Mrs. Phillips was, prior to her marriage, a Miss Bell, of Dorking, Surrey. She met the Vicar first at Salonica, Mrs. Phillips being one of Queen Alexandra’s nurses out there. The union has proved a very happy one and has been blessed with two children.
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