Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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HUWS , RHYS JONES ( 1862 - 1917 ), Independent minister ;

b. 13 June 1862 at Tal-y-wern Fach , Penegoes , near Machynlleth . His father was the superintendent of the lead-washings at the Dyfngwm and Dylife works; his mother hailed from the line of Eos Morlais ( Robert Rees , q.v.) . The family went to live at Llechwedd-du , Dylife , and it was there, in the National school , that he received his early education. When he was about thirteen he embarked on his career as a teacher in the British school at the neighbouring village of Staylittle . In March 1878 he went to the British school at Llanbryn-mair to complete his course as a pupil teacher ; in those days the school was held in the schoolroom of the ‘ Old Chapel .’ He remained there until mid-summer 1880 , when he was appointed to the charge of Aberhosan school . Two years later he gained his teaching certificate. Owing to the death of the minister he was called upon to exercise his gift for public speaking, and began to preach there. He then went to the University College , Aberystwyth , intending to take a degree: ‘ he was at the college for years but did not distinguish himself as a student .’ He received a call to Barmouth and Cutiau , and was ordained there 28 June 1894 . In July 1896 he moved to Bethel , Llanddeiniolen, Caerns. , and in Sept. 1905 to Bethesda, Caerns. In 1912 he became the first minister of the new church at Bryn Seion , Ammanford , where he d. 21 Nov. 1917 . He was buried in the Aberhosan chapel burial ground.

He was a man of great energy and of quite unusual ability in many respects; it is difficult to think of anybody who accomplished more in so short a time. ‘ As a preacher he was original and fresh, and in spite of a distinctly monotonous voice was always effective because of his obvious sincerity .’ As a poet he was sometimes called the leader of the ‘New Poets’ and when he won the chair at the Merioneth eisteddfod ( 1894 ) with a pryddest , he aroused a controversy which raged in the press for a long time. He soon gave up competing, however, and turned to writing prose of high quality. As a teacher of children he was quite outstanding and probably did more than anybody else to originate the children's eisteddfodau which were later to become so popular.

Sources:

  • W. J. Gruffydd , Hen atgofion blynyddoedd y locust (1936) , xi;
  • ‘Gwylfa,’ Gweithiau Llenyddol Rhys J. Huws (Llanelli, 1932) , 1-20;
  • Ysbryd yr Oes , Feb. 1907, 21-4;
  • Log-Book of Llanbrynmair School (1863-90);
  • ‘Cadvan,’ Pryddest 'Dydd Coroniad,' : testyn y gadair yn Eisteddfod Gadeiriol Meirion, Dolgellau, Calan Ionor 1894 (Holywell, 1894) ,’ introduction;
  • Y Geninen , Jan. 1896 .

Author:

Reverend Richard Griffith Owen, M.A., (1890-1973), Bangor

Published date: 1959