Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ROBERTS , GRIFFITH ( 1735 - 1808 ), physician at Dolgelley, antiquary, and collector of manuscripts ;

christened 6 Sept. 1735 in the church of Llanfihangel y Pennant, Caerns. , son of Dr. Robert Roberts ( 1707 - 1769 ), Isallt , Dolbenmaen ; for the family pedigree, see J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees , 359 — it was a branch of the Cesail Gyfarch family, and produced an exceptionally large number (? thirty) of medical men. He practised at Dolgelley , living for some years in what was later known as ‘ Hen Dŷ'r Doctor ’ ( Plas Isa ) and now forming part of the Golden Lion hotel . At Dolgelley he had access to the Hengwrt manuscripts (in Welsh and other languages) which, in his day, were still at Hengwrt . Moreover, he himself owned several manuscripts, many of which now form part of the Hengwrt-Peniarth collection in N.L.W. ; for particulars, with references also to other Welsh manuscripts, which he owned, see the ‘Introduction’ to N.L.W. Handlist of Manuscripts , i, xii-xiv. He was, in consequence, looked upon by other persons who wished to see or copy manuscripts in Hengwrt as the natural mediator between them and the owners of the collection; some of these persons also visited him for that purpose and to see his own manuscripts. By his wife, Margaret — (who d. 1806 ), he had two sons — William , who joined the Navy as a surgeon , and Griffith , who succeeded his father in practice at Dolgelley , but only for a few years, for he d. in 1815 ; he, too, collected manuscripts . Griffith Roberts senior was also interested in the Anglesey copper mines and in mining operations in Merioneth . He d. 28 Dec. 1808 . Fuller details can be obtained from numerous letters in N.L.W. noted in the reference cited above; see also Merioneth Hist. Soc. Jnl. , i, 119-21.


  • The two main sources have been enumerated above;
  • to them add B. B. Thomas , The Old Order based on the diary of Elizabeth Baker (Dolgelley, 1778 - 1786) , Cardiff, 1945 .


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

Published date: 1959