Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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HUMPHREYS , HUGH ( 1817 - 1896 ), printer and publisher ;

b. at Caernarvon , 17 Sept. 1817 , son of David Humphreys , hatter , a native of Tre'r Ddôl, Cards. Apprenticed when he was 12 years old with Peter Evans , printer , Castle Street , Caernarvon , Hugh Humphreys began business as a printer on his own account at Tan-y-bont in Caernarvon , in 1837 . He had courage and enterprise, and the small printing business soon developed into a large concern which included printing , bookselling and photography amongst its activities. His first apprentice was Griffith Parry (q.v.) . Hugh Humphreys became a pioneer of cheap books in Wales with his series of penny books, on the lines of Chambers's Miscellany , and he also published a series of sixpenny books. Amongst the most important books which he issued were the edition ( 1883 ) of Pennant 's Tours in Wales , which John Rhys , afterwards principal of Jesus College , Oxford , edited for him; a new edition ( 1864 ), edited by Cynddelw , of Gorchestion Beirdd Cymru ; a translation by Eben Fardd , of Chambers's Information for the People ( 1856 ), a translation of Josephus ( 1882 ), and editions of the poetical works of Dewi Wyn , Cawrdaf , Ieuan Brydydd Hir , and Cynddelw (qq.v.). In 1855 he began to publish a weekly newspaper , Y Telegraph , which does not appear to have lived for more than a few weeks. In Sept. 1862 appeared the first number of a monthly magazine, Golud yr Oes , but this was also given up in Dec. 1864 , the publisher , who was also the editor , stating that it stood in the way of other publishing ventures which he had at heart. As his business grew he built Paternoster Buildings at the corner of Castle Square . He took a prominent part in the life of the town and was mayor in 1876-7 . He was a local preacher among the Wesleyans . Politically he was a Conservative . He m. 5 June 1845 , a Cornishwoman , Mary Crane Davy , daughter of captain Davy , Llandudno , an engineer ; d. 2 May 1896 , and was buried at Llanbeblig .

Sources:

  • Y Traethodydd , 1901 , 279;
  • Y Geninen (Gŵyl Dewi), 1913 , 61;
  • Ifano Jones , A history of printing and printers in Wales to 1810, and of successive and related printers to 1923 , 1925 , 146, 148.

Author:

Edward Morgan Humphreys, O.B.E., M.A., (1882-1955), Caernarfon

Published date: 1959