Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , ROBERT ARTHUR ( Berw ; 1854 - 1926 ), cleric and poet ;

b. 8 April 1854 at Caernarvon , son of John Williams , sailor . His mother died when he was but 3 years old, and he was brought up by his aunt at Pentre Berw , near Holland Arms , Anglesey . He was apprenticed in a shop at Gaerwen , and began to take an interest in poetry. Moving to Bangor to work, he came under the influence of dean H. T. Edwards (q.v.) , and went to S. Aidan's College , Birkenhead , to prepare for holy orders. He was ordained deacon by bishop Campbell of Bangor , 4 June 1882 , and licensed to the curacy of Llanfihangel-y-pennant , Merioneth , where Thomas Edwards ( Gwynedd , q.v.) was rector . He was ordained priest , 8 March 1884 , and, in Nov. 1888 , went as rector to Llanfihangel-y-pennant, Caerns. From there, in May 1891 , he was appointed by bishop D. L. Lloyd (q.v.) vicar of Betws Garmon and perpetual curate of Waun Fawr . He remained there till his death, 16 April 1926 , and was buried at Betws Garmon . He m. Margaret , daughter of the Rev. John Jenkins , Llan-ym-Mawddwy , and had one daughter. Berw often competed in eisteddfodau , and in 1887 he won the chair at the London national eisteddfod for an awdl on queen Victoria . He was a skilful writer in cynghanedd and possessed no little descriptive power, even if his productions were not of outstanding merit. His services were frequently in demand as an adjudicator at eisteddfodau ; he acted in this capacity in respect of the chair poems at the national eisteddfod on over twenty occasions. He was a frequent contributor to Welsh periodicals .


  • Y Geninen , 1926 , 74;
  • Yr Haul , 1926 , 146, 153, 181;
  • The Records of the Diocese of Bangor in the National Library of Wales , N.L.W.;
  • Y Llan , 23 April 1926 .


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

Published date: 1959