Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JAMES , IVOR ( 1840? - 1909 ), first registrar of the University of Wales ;

b. c. 1840 in Mon. , a descendant of the Arnold family of Llanfihangel Court (q.v.) . Educated at Queens’ College , Cambridge , he took to newspaper work in London ; he also tried the law and started preparing for holy orders. He was settled near Swansea at the time when the movement for the establishment of a university college for South Wales was in its stride. He threw all his energies on the side of Swansea as the site, and although the decision went in favour of Cardiff he became the first registrar of the new college in 1883 , the advocates of Cardiff realizing that his value as fighter might be of much service to the new institution. He was instrumental in securing the Enoch G. R. Salisbury (q.v.) collection of books relating to Wales and the Border counties for the college at Cardiff . With W. Cadwaladr Davies (q.v.) he was joint secretary of the University of Wales Charter Committee , and he became the first registrar , in March 1895 , of the new university, holding the fort until he retired in 1906 .

Throughout the years Ivor James had shown that he had the instincts of the researcher and the scholar . He believed that the hero of S. T. Coleridge 's poem, ‘ The Ancient Mariner ,’ was a Welshman , Captain Thomas James ( D.N.B. ), and published ( Cardiff , 1890 ), The Source of the Ancient Mariner . He devoted special attention to a study of the history, literature, religion, and education in the Wales of the 16th and 17th cent. , and published in 1887 a pamphlet The Welsh Language in the 16th and 17th Centuries . He wrote to the Traethodydd in 1886 , and contributed four articles to Wales (ed. O. M. Edwards ) in 1894 and 1895 on Maurice Kyffin . He d. 13 April 1909 at Cardiff , aged 69.


  • Western Mail , 14 April 1909 ;
  • The Nationalist (Cardiff) , May 1909 ;
  • NLW MSS 3482, 4301-39.


Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth

Corrections and additions:

JAMES , IVOR ( 1840 - 1909 ; DWB , 423),

b. Ivor James , or IVOR BARNOLD ROBERT JAMES , as be called himself, 21 Sept. 1840 , at Britannia , in the village of Rock , and the parish of Bedwellte, Mon. , s. of Robert James and Mary ( Arnold ) , his wife. Hence, on the distaff side, he had connections with the family of Llanthony and The Court , Llanfihangel Crucorney (see DWB , 13-14) . The family moved to Llansamlet where the father was schoolmaster . Ivor James was a journalist in London for a while and he was also interested in reading documents at the British Museum before going to Cambridge . He m., c. 1870 , Margaret Elborough Pruen , d. of Dr. Henry Pruen , rector of Ashchurch, Glos. Read E.R.G. Salisbury (not E.G.R.).


  • See also South Wales Daily Post , 14 Apr. 1909 ;
  • W. Samlet Williams , Hanes a Hynafiaethau Llansamlet (History & antiquities of Llansamlet) (Dolgellau, 1908) (Dolgellau, 1908 ).


Prys Morgan, Swansea

Published date: 1959