Lyons versus Thomas: the Jewess abduction ease*

On the evening of 23 March 1868, Esther Lyons, accompanied by two young women of about her own age, knocked on the door of Croome Villa, Roath, the home of the Reverend Nathaniel Thomas, minister of the Baptist Tabernacle, Cardiff. The Reverend Thomas was out for the day, but his wife, Laura Emily Ann Thomas, well known for her religious work among children and young people, was at home. But this was not a routine visit, for Esther, aged eighteen, was an orthodox Jewess, and she was running away from her family. It was the start of a cause celebre which was to shake the town of Cardiff, make headlines in the national press, and exercise a baneful influence on relations between the Jews of South Wales and the powerful Welsh Baptist community for generations to come.

The Lyons Case, or the Jewess Abduction Case, as most of the press

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