Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JAMES , JAMES ( Iago Emlyn ; 1800 - 1879 ), Congregational minister and poet .

Born in the parish of Bettws Ifan, near Cardigan, in 1800, the son of David and Mary James. By November 1809 the parents had died, and he was cared for by his grandmother at Dinas, near Newcastle Emlyn. For some years he was engaged in business in various places, including Bristol.

In 1840 he entered the college at Carmarthen , and subsequently served pastorates at Llanelly, Cardiff, Newport, and Portishead. His health failed him, and he retired to Clifton, Bristol, where on 4th March 1844, he married Jane Mince at Clifton Parish Church. The 1861 census records him as a ‘lodging house keeper’ at 14 Frederick Place, Clifton, with his wife, but in 1871, only his wife and her unmarried sister, Maria Mince, were recorded at this address. He d. 5 Jan. 1879, and was buried at Bristol .

He was a competent scholar and a poet of some repute. A volume of his poems was published in 1848, as Cyfansoddiadau Buddugol a Cherddi Ereill, another volume in 1863 as Gweithiau Barddonol Iago Emlyn, and an essay on The Philosophical Construction of Celtic Nomenclature in 1869.


  • Eminent Welshmen: a short biographical dictionary of Welshmen ... from the earliest times to the present (1908);
  • Notable Welshmen (1700–1900) (1908);
  • The Congregational Year Book , 1880;
  • NLW MS 9261;
  • Additional Information by Stephen Emlyn-Jones.


Griffith Milwyn Griffiths, M.A., Aberystwyth

Marion Löffler, Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959