Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JAMES , JOHN ( Ioan Meirion ; 1815 - 1851 ), writer ;

b. at Ty-gwyn , Llan-ym-Mawddwy, Mer. , younger son of John James (who survived him) and his wife Sarah ; the father was a deacon in the Independent church at Dinas Mawddwy , and the elder son, Hugh James ( 1809 - 1875 ), became Independent minister of Brithdir (near Dolgelley ) and of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain, Mont. John James went up to London at an early age; his occupation there is not known, but he married a rich wife, and at the close of his life was living at 4 Tysoe Street , Wilmington Square . He wrote a good deal, in Welsh and in English , and on Talhaiarn 's testimony was a leading member of the Cymreigyddion Society . Unfortunately for his fame, he was appointed in 1846 one of the twelve assistant-commissioners in the inquiry into education in Wales — probably because of his Nonconformist background, though he was no longer a Nonconformist . His reports (included in the Commission's printed Report) were furiously attacked; he was severely handled by Lewis Edwards ( ; and see Edwards 's Traethodau Llenyddol , 374-421); lesser critics than Edwards spoke of him as a Judas . In July 1847 he became secretary to the trustees of the ‘ Welsh Charity School ’ in London ; and when the Anglican newspaper Y Cymro was removed from Bangor to London in 1830 , James became its editor . He d. 24 April 1851 (from a kick by his horse on Blackheath ), and was buried in the churchyard at Llan-ym-Mawddwy ; according to his tombstone he was then 36.


  • Gwaith Talhaiarn (London, 1855-1862) , i, 435;
  • Y Dysgedydd , 1851 , 192;
  • Y Brython , v, 451-2;
  • Bye–Gones, relating to Wales and the Border Counties , 1894 , 427;
  • Rachel Leighton , Rise and progress the story of the Welsh Girls' School and of the Honourable and Loyal Society of Ancient Britons (1950) , 102.


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959