Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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FISON, ANNA (Morfydd Eryri , 1839-1920), linguist, poet and educator.

She was b. on 14 Feb. 1839 , at Barmingham , Suffolk , the daughter of Thomas Fison by his second wife, Charlotte , and the youngest of his twenty children. She was educated in London , at Cheltenham , and on the Continent ; she went to live with one of her brothers at Oxford , and became proficient in the classics and a number of modern languages . She began, too, to take an interest in Welsh at the instigation of Dr. Charles Williams , principal of Jesus College .

In 1871 she married David Walter Thomas , and their children (two sons and three daughters) were brought up good Welshmen and Welshwomen. One of their sons was the priest and scholar Evan Lorimer Thomas. She threw herself into Welsh life, holding night classes for the local quarrymen ; she was instrumental in aiding many of them to pursue their studies further. She also competed in eisteddfodau , and at the Cardiff national eisteddfod in 1883 she won the prize for a poem (in English ) on Llandaff . She took an active part in the attempts made in the ’70s and ’80s to reform the national eisteddfod . In 1884 she was a candidate for the chair of modern languages at the University College of North Wales , Bangor , and was nearly elected.

She died at Dyffryn Ardudwy , 12 Feb. 1920 , and was buried at Holyhead .


  • W. Glynn Williams , Memoir of Mrs. Anna Walter Thomas (Holywell, 1925) ;
  • Morfudd Eryri, Papur Pawb (Caernarfon, 1893-1916), 12 January 1895, p.4
  • personal enquiries.


Thomas Iorwerth Ellis, M.A., (1899-1970), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959