Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ELIAS , JOHN ROOSE ( Y Thesbiad ; 1819 - 1881 ), poet and prose writer ,

b. 9 Dec. 1819 at Bryn-du , Anglesey , son of David Elias , Pentraeth , and Elizabeth Roose , and nephew of John Elias (q.v.) . He received his early education at a school kept by Owen Jones ( Meudwy Môn , 1806 - 1889 , q.v.) at Pen-y-garnedd ; and afterwards R. Hughes of Gaerwen was his tutor . Later he entered Tattenhall school . His parents had intended that he should assist them in the family business at Pentraeth , but the son had set his mind on being an engineer . He joined a Liverpool business firm, then moved to Manchester and acted for many years as a traveller for the North Wales district of a firm of Manchester warehousemen . On his father's death in 1856 he returned to the family business at Pentraeth , where he devoted his leisure to literary and antiquarian pursuits . He contributed a large number of articles to the Welsh and English press on literary, political, and social questions, in which he displayed considerable critical acumen. He reviewed a series of articles on the tithe question which had been published in Yr Herald Cymraeg ( 1865-7 ), and this essay is described by Mathetes ( John Jones , 1821 - 1878 , q.v.) as the most important contribution to this subject. He wrote a good deal of poetry both in English and Welsh and published a small collection of his compositions under the title Llais o'r Ogof , 1877 . At considerable expense to himself he attempted to establish a Welsh antiquarian society , but the venture failed through lack of support. He frequently adjudicated at national and local eisteddfodau , particularly on historical subjects. At first he called himself ‘ Thesbiad ,’ but when a writer attacked the Methodists in the press under this name he gave it up and called himself ‘ Y Thesbiad .’ In Manchester he came under the influence of the political movement founded by Cobden and Bright for the repeal of the Corn Laws , and being a staunch free trader he distributed the League 's literature on his travels through North Wales . He d. 19 Jan. 1881 .


  • Y Geninen , viii (Gŵyl Dewi), 57-61;
  • R. Roberts , Mynydd-y-gof; or, the History of a Welsh Calvinistic Methodist family (London, 1905) .


Idwal Lewis, Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959