Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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THOMAS , JOHN ( Eifionydd ; 1848 - 1922 ), founder and editor of Y Geninen ;

b. 6 Aug. 1848 in a cottage near Clenennau in the parish of Penmorfa, Caerns. He lost his father when he was very young, received no formal schooling, and at 9 years of age, before he had learnt to read script, he was apprenticed in the printing office of Robert Isaac Jones ( Alltud Eifion ), Tremadoc (q.v.) , where the literary periodical known as Y Brython was being printed and published. He became an abnormally rapid compositor and afterwards worked at his trade at Pwllheli , Rhyl , and Machynlleth . In the meantime he had developed a keen interest in literature , particularly Welsh poetry. He had also begun to preach with the Congregationalists , and spent a period ( 1872-4 ) in the Congregational College at Brecon . Having slept in a damp bed on one of his preaching journeys he went to London to be under the charge of a physician ; at the same time he worked for the firm of Eyre and Spottiswoode . From London he went to Caernarvon to the offices of Y Genedl Gymreig — at first as a compositor , afterwards in the business and clerical side of that office, eventually becoming the editor of that newspaper and of another newspaper, Y Werin . In 1881-2 he published, in two parts, Pigion Englynion fy Ngwlad . In 1881 Eifionydd founded Y Geninen , a literary journal which he edited until the time of his death.

This journal brought him into touch, particularly by correspondence, with a very large number of writers and poets. Another side of his work for Welsh cultural activities was due to his association with the ‘ Gorsedd of the Bards ,’ of which he became recorder . He was one of the founders of the ‘ Cymdeithas Gorsedd y Beirdd ’, rules for which he formulated; he also played a very prominent part in regard to the examinations for the various ‘grades’ of the ‘Gorsedd.’ He was himself a competitor in eisteddfodau , winning several prizes for poems. He d. at Caernarvon , 19 Nov. 1922 and was buried there.

Sources:

  • Y Genedl , 21 and 28 Nov. 1922 ;
  • Y Brython (Liverpool), 23 and 30 Nov. 1922 ;
  • Y Geninen , 1923 , 1-15;
  • Yr Ymwelydd Misol , Wrexham, 1903-14 , 1912 , 24-5;
  • Who's who in Wales .

Author:

Robert (Bob) Owen, O.B.E., M.A., (1885-1962), Croesor

Published date: 1959