Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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LEWIS , Sir JOHN HERBERT ( 1858 - 1933 ), lawyer and politician ;

b. 27 Dec. 1858 at Mostyn Quay, Flints. , only son of Enoch Lewis (great-nephew of Thomas Jones ( 1756 - 1820 ) of Denbigh , q.v.) and of Elizabeth Roberts , Plas Llangwyfan, Denbs. He was educated at Denbigh , Montreal ( McGill University ), and [ Exeter College ] Oxford [ B.A. 1879 , M.A. 1884 ], and travelled widely. A lawyer by profession, he became in 1889 first chairman of the Flintshire County Council : he was one of the founders of the Intermediate school system in Wales . He entered Parliament in 1892 as a Liberal , representing the Flint boroughs until 1906 , the county until 1918 , and the University of Wales , a seat secured for Wales by his efforts, until his retirement in 1922 . A close friend of David Lloyd George and Thomas E. Ellis , and with an intense love of Wales , he took every opportunity of bringing Welsh matters to the fore in Parliament . His long and persistent advocacy of the claims of Wales for a share in the museum grants voted annually by Parliament to every country in the British Isles except Wales , resulted in the securing of public grants for the establishment and maintenance of a national museum and a national library for Wales ; he became the charter vice-president of the National Library in 1909 and its president in 1926 , and was most active in the attempt, which proved successful, to secure the inclusion of the new library as one of the beneficiaries under the (new) Copyright Act in 1911 . He was made a Liberal Whip in 1905 , parliamentary secretary of the Local Government Board in 1909 , and parliamentary secretary of the Board of Education in 1915 . He took an active part in arranging for the passing of this Act and of the Teachers' Superannuation Act , and in obtaining educational grants for ex-service men .

Sir Herbert Lewis (he had been made G.B.E. in 1922 ) was m. twice — ( a ) in 1886 to Adelaide (d. 1895 ), daughter of Charles Hughes (q.v.) , publisher , Wrexham , and ( b ) in 1897 to Ruth , daughter of W. S. Caine , M.P. ; by his second marriage he had a son and a daughter. He was made a privy councillor in 1912 , was constable of Flint castle , a freeman of Flint and Aberystwyth , an honorary LL.D. of the University of Wales ( 1918 ), and was awarded the gold medal of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion in 1927 . A serious accident in Aberystwyth in 1925 brought his public work to an end, and he d. on 10 Nov. 1933 at his home, Penucha , Caerwys, Flints.


  • W. Ll. Davies , The National Library of Wales , 1937 ;
  • Y Drysorfa , Oct. 1926 ;
  • Who was who? .


Professor Idwal Jones, M.A., (1889-1965), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959