Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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AUGUSTUS , WILLIAM (‘ Wil Awst ’), a prescientific weather forecaster and translator .

He lived at Cil-y-cwm , near Llandovery, Carms. , at the close of the 18th cent. The precise dates of his life are unknown, but he was living in 1794 when John Ross of Carmarthen printed The Husbandman's Perpetual Prognostication . This work is a curious collection of weather lore written partly in Welsh and partly in English . The source of the Welsh portion (which is largely a translation of a well-known English text) is acknowledged by Augustus at the close of the section in the following terms: ‘Rhai o'r pethau hyn a argraphwyd yn Saesneg ac a gyhoeddwyd yn gyffredinol mewn llyfyr a elwir “ A Prognostication for ever made by Erra Pater ”.’

Apart from this publication we know little of Augustus except the great reputation which he possessed locally for his ability to forecast (within the hour, it is said) the onset of rain, frost, gales, or thunderstorms . William Augustus would appear to be in the succession of the ancient Greek meteorologists , and, as the title of his work indicates, he writes (as they did) primarily for the husbandman , who from primitive times belonged to the class most likely to be directly concerned with weather prognostication .

Sources:

  • W. Rowlands , Cambrian Bibliography , Llanidloes, 1869 , 689-90;
  • Rhestr gyda nodiadau byrion, o Enwogion Cymreig o 1700 i 1900 , National Eisteddfod Association, 1908 ;
  • J. H. Davies , Rhai o hen ddewiniaid Cymru , 1901 .

Author:

Professor Emrys George Bowen, M.A., F.S.A., (1900-83), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959