Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ROWLAND , JOHN ( fl. 1760-1764 , printer at Bodedern , Anglesey , and Bala, Mer.

It used to be thought by some bibliographers that John Rowland was in some way or other connected with the Anglesey printing press of Lewis Morris (q.v.) . Ifano Jones ( Hist. of Printing and Printers in Wales ) has, however, shown conclusively that no connection existed. John Rowland started to print at Bodedern in 1760 . His stay there, however, was short, as next year he is found printing at Bala . Under the year 1741 in his Cambrian Bibliography William Rowlands records Ym Ddiddan rhwng Rhobin Criwso a Bardd y Cwsg amy blynyddau dros byth , and adds that it was a kind of almanack for the year 1741 . He also quotes part of a line from a stanza — ‘A'i brintio ym Môn ’ (‘printed in Anglesey ’) which suggested to him ( Rowlands ) that the work had been printed at the Bodedern Press . The printing is so badly done, as indeed was most of John Rowland 's work, that one is led to the conclusion that the printer was Rowland . Ifano Jones suggests, however, that the book was wrongly entered by Rowlands under 1741 , instead of 1761 , and so it was a Bala publication. Rowlands errs also in recording Pedwar o Gywyddau … (‘ Argraffwyd gan J. Rowland Bala Tros Richard Reinallt Siopwr ’) under 1748 ; this could not have been printed before 1761 , any more than Dyfyrwch ir Cymru neu Ddewisol Ganiadau ( Rowlands , op. cit., under 1750 ) could have been printed in Dublin ; the reference to Dublin in the imprint is probably fictitious; possibly the Dyfyrwch was a product of the Bodedern press in 1760 — it forms ‘part one’ of Pedwar o Gywyddau , a Bala production. At least four books issued from the Bodedern press ( Ifano Jones , op. cit., 59, and Rowlands , op. cit.); possibly also, as already suggested, the Dyfyrwch forms a fifth. In addition, at least three ballads ( Y Traethodydd , 1880 , 220) came from this press.

Amongst the books printed by John Rowland at Bala , where his press was at work from 1761 to 1764 , was Cynhwysiad byr o feddyliau'r eglwys a ymgorpholodd o dan y drefn hon yn Sir Fonwy: Pa un sy'n ymgyfarfod yn bennaf yn y Neuadd yn y Pant-têg gerllaw Pont y Pool [see under Lewis , M. J. ]. Some ballads were also printed at the Bala press during the period 1761-4 .


  • To the sources named already add J. H. Davies , A Bibliography of Welsh Ballads printed in the 18th century (1908-11) .


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

Published date: 1959