Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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ROBERTS , ROBERT GRIFFITH ( 1866 - 1930 ), Baptist minister, and writer ;

b. 13 Dec. 1866 , at Tyddyn Llidiart , Dyffryn Ardudwy , younger son of Morris and Catrin Roberts ; the father, a ‘character,’ was a Calvinistic Methodist , but the mother ( née Evans , of a family hailing from Llanystumdwy — and a descendant of the Lloyd s of Cwmbychan in Ardudwy , for whom see under Lloyd , John , 1733 - 1793 ) was a Sandemanian Baptist , and brought up her two sons in that connexion — the followers of John Richard Jones (q.v.) . Baptized c. 1880 , and elected deacon when not quite 17, R. G. Roberts soon felt chafed by the rigidity of the little connexion, and went over to the older Baptist denomination. His schooling (at Dyffryn , and at Towyn, Mer. ) was interrupted; but in 1886 he went to the Baptist College at Llangollen , and thence to the University College at Bangor , where he fell under the spell of ( Sir ) Henry Jones (q.v.) , and took eagerly to philosophy . He broke down during his final B.A. (London) examination ( 1892 ) and had to return home to regain health; he afterwards put in some terms at Aberystwyth , studying philosophy. In June 1896 he became pastor of the Baptist church at Dolgellau ; he moved in June 1902 to the important church at Cefnmawr, Denbs. , and finally ( June 1907 ) to that of Caernarvon . He was one of his denomination's leading preachers — not revivalistic or rhetorical, but cogent and close-reasoning, as became his strongly philosophical cast of mind. It has been held that his period at Cefn-mawr was the apex of his career as a preacher ; and certainly a serious throat affliction ( 1910-11 ), which compelled him for some months to desist from preaching, must have laid a restraint upon him in the subsequent years. A long illness in 1928-9 ended with his death on 3 Jan. 1930 . He was a man of unusually wide and modern reading, chiefly, of course, in philosophy (especially psychology ) and theology . His editorship of Seren Gomer ( 1909-11 ) was cut short by the enforced retirement already mentioned, but later on he contributed much to the periodical press. A few of his addresses (notably a sketch of the history of liberty, and an essay on the influence of philosophy on modern theology) were reprinted in the memorial volume named below; his articles in Y Geiriadur Beiblaidd ( 1924-6 ) won much praise; and an essay on John Philip Davies (q.v.) was printed in Traf. Cymd. Hanes Bed . for 1927 .

Sources:

  • H. Rees (ed.), Cyfrol Goffa Robert Griffith Roberts , 1933 , including a memoir ( 1933 );
  • E. Morgan Humphreys , Gwyr Enwog Gynt argraffiadau ac atgofion personol , Aberystwyth , ii ( 1953), 90-9 .

Author:

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

Published date: 1959