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SAUNDERSON , ROBERT ( 1780 - 1863 ), printer and publisher ,

served his apprenticeship at Liverpool but afterwards went to the printing-office at Chester which printed Welsh books for Thomas Jones ( 1756 - 1820 ) (q.v.) and Thomas Charles — see under Humphreys , John ( 1734? - 1829 ) . In 1803 Charles and Jones decided to begin printing at Bala , and Saunderson was engaged to work there. Thomas Jones , in 1804 , withdrew from active participation and Charles carried on the business on his own account (but in his wife's maiden name, as he was in orders), with Saunderson as manager — apparently he received half the profits, besides his own wage as printer . When Charles and his wife d. ( 1814 ), Saunderson became owner of the business, and remained so till his death, 13 Dec. 1863 , at the age of 83. He had become one of Charles closest friends, and in 1806 had m. Rebecca Thomas , daughter of Charles 's favourite sister Elizabeth . He was at Charles 's bedside in his last illness and at his death; at the request of bishop Short (q.v.) of S. Asaph , he wrote reminiscences of Charles , which were afterwards printed in Y Goleuad , 22 June 1878 . Saunderson knew hardly any Welsh when he came to Bala , and was never quite at home in the language; he was therefore not at ease in the Calvinistic Methodist Society at Bala , and on Charles 's advice attached himself to the Established Church there, becoming indeed a zealous Churchman . His printing is regarded as very good, and he had Hebrew and Greek founts. He printed nearly all Charles 's work of the period 1803-14 , and in later years ( 1822-37 ) printed the excellent Anglican magazine Y Gwyliedydd , and other Anglican periodicals. There is a portrait of him on p. 219 of the second volume of Y Tadau Methodistaidd .

Of his sons, the eldest,

CHARLES SAUNDERSON ( 1810? - 1832 ), Siarl Wyn o Benllyn , was a poet .

He d. of cholera at New Orleans , 24 Oct. 1832 ( Seren Gomer , 1833 , 94), in his twenty-third year. His literary remains, Gweddillion o Waith Barddonol Charles Saunderson , were published by his father in 1845 (extracts in Beirdd y Bala , ed. O. M. Edwards ); there is an elegy upon him by Tegidon ( John Phillips , 1810 - 1877 , q.v.) , who had been one of his father's apprentices. Another son,

ROBERT SAUNDERSON , b. 9 Aug. 1814 ,

carried on the father's business, in partnership with his two sisters, till his death, 19 Aug. 1865 . In 1866 the printing and publishing establishment was sold to Edward Jones , another former apprentice of the elder Saunderson .


  • Ifano Jones , A history of printing and printers in Wales to 1810, and of successive and related printers to 1923 (1925) ;
  • D. E. Jenkins , Life of Thomas Charles (Denbigh, 1908) (consult index).


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

Corrections and additions:


Saunderson 's small diary is kept at N.L.W. ( NLW MS. 16370 ). Frances his unmarried sister, was buried in St. John's churchyard , Chester , 29 Nov. 1801 . See also Y Faner , 1864 ; Charles Saunderson was b. 15 March 1809 and christened 28 March . See also Y Gwyliedydd , x, 1833 , 218.


Rhiannon Francis Roberts, M.A., (1923-90), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959