Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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HUGHES , GARFIELD HOPKIN ( 1912 - 1969 ), university lecturer and Welsh scholar ;

b. 13 Dec. 1912 at Hendy , Pontarddulais, Glam. , son of John and Rachel Hughes . He was educated at Hendy council school , and Llanelli grammar school before going to U.C.W. , Aberystwyth , in 1932 , where he was awarded the Cynddelw Scholarship in 1934 and graduated with first-class honours in Welsh in 1935 , and in English (class II, i) in 1936 . Following a teacher training course, he was appointed student-assistant in the Welsh department at Aberystwyth in 1937 ; he was promoted assistant lecturer in 1940 , lecturer in 1947 , senior lecturer in 1960 , and reader in 1968 , serving as acting-head of the Welsh department , 1968-69 . He gained his M.A. in 1939 for a thesis on the life and work of Iaco ap Dewi ( James Davies , DWB , 129) . He was a member of the language and literature committee of the Board of Celtic Studies of the University of Wales , the committee of the Bibliographical Society of Wales , the Methodist Praise Committee , and of the Methodist History Society . In 1952 he m. Kathleen Jones , and they had one daughter. He d. in Brompton Hospital , London , 16 Sept. 1969 , and was buried in Aberystwyth cemetery.

The field of study which first attracted him was the scholarship and culture of Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire , as shown by his earlier publications, viz. Iaco ap Dewi, 1648-1722 ( 1953 ); ‘ Ben Simon ’, N.L.W. Jnl. , 5; ‘ Halsingod Dyffryn Teifi ’, Eurgrawn , 1941 . His wide reading and culture enabled him to place emphasis on the contemporary history and literature of the books and periods which he studied. He had recourse to his extensive knowledge of English literature when discussing the literature of Wales , as revealed particularly in his many reviews in The Welsh Review , Traethodydd , Llenor and Llen Cymru . But even though he took a great interest in the works of the early bards ( Gogynfeirdd ) and the Arthurian legend (topics on which he lectured), his main field of research became the history of Welsh prose from the Renaissance to the 18th c. , with particular attention to the 17th c. He published Rhagymadroddion 1547-1659 ( 1951 ); an edition of Theophilus Evans , Drych y prif oesoedd, 1716 ( 1961 ); Theophilus Evans a Drych y prif oesoedd ( 1963 ); Gweithiau William Williams, Pantycelyn, II , prose ( 1967 ); and numerous articles in Welsh journals, as well as a number of contributions to The Dictionary of Welsh Biography . His other main fields of research included the history of the Welsh Wesleyan Methodists and early Welsh hymnology. His wide reading was evident in all his work which was also characterised by discerning criticism and sound judgement.


  • Information from his widow;
  • personal knowledge.


Dr Brynley Francis Roberts, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001