Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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HUMPHREYS , EDWARD MORGAN ( 1882 - 1955 ), journalist, writer and broadcaster ;

b. 14 May 1882 in Dyffryn Ardudwy, Mer. , eldest son of John and Elizabeth Humphreys . His brothers were Humphrey Llewelyn and John Gwilym . His mother was the niece of Edward Morgan ( DWB , 642-3) , Dyffryn , preacher and writer , and a cousin of R.H. Morgan ( DWB , 650) , Menai Bridge , pioneer of short-hand in Welsh . His great-grandfather was Richard Humphreys ( DWB , 396-7) , a preacher noted for his wit, a teetotaller and a pioneer in education . E.M. H. was educated at Barmouth and Porthmadog county schools . He began his career as a solicitor at Porthmadog but abandoned it because of his poor health and returned home to Maeldref , Dyffryn Ardudwy , where his father farmed . The family moved to Liverpool where he began to write and take an interest in journalism . He became a correspondent for the Barmouth Advertiser in 1904 . After a short period on the staff of a Runcorn newspaper he had the experience of following the revival meetings of Evan Roberts (see below) as correspondent for the Liverpool Courier . His impressions also appeared in Y Genedl Gymreig . He became friendly with the evangelist but was not moved in the heat of the revival. He was also correspondent for the North Wales Observer under the editorship of William Eames (see above) . When Eames joined the sub-editorial staff of the Manchester Guardian E.M. H. accepted an invitation to be editor of Y Genedl Gymreig and the English newspaper at the Caernarfon office, and in this period he became friendly with T. Gwynn Jones (see below) who worked at the time in the same office. He wrote English verse (including sonnets) and an occasional Welsh poem. In Jan. 1908 he was elected president of the Caernarfon Fabian Society . He was editor of Cymru for a short period and of Y Goleuad on two occasions. In 1918 he returned to Y Genedl , maintaining his connection with the paper until 1930 when he resigned to be a freelance writer . From 1919 he regularly contributed articles to the Liverpool Daily Post under the pen name ‘ Celt ’ and in 1927 he became special correspondent to the Manchester Guardian , contributing an uninterrupted series of reports from the national eisteddfod and other matters relating to Wales . He was a keen eisteddfod supporter and never missed the national event between 1919 and 1953 . His eloquence and sonorous voice soon won him a place as a broadcaster . Despite his frail health he was a diligent and methodical worker and contributed a number of articles to the DWB . It was he who discovered the story-telling gift of W.J. Griffith , Henllys Fawr ( DWB , 302) . He served the Caernarfonshire Agricultural Committee as assistant executive officer , 1939-49 , and continued to write and lecture in his spare time. He was a tutor with the Workers’ Educational Association . He received an hon. M.A. (Wales) in 1927 , and O.B.E. in 1953 . He was a vice-president of the Hon. Soc. of Cymm. , a member of the Welsh panel of the British Council and the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art . He was not prominent in the Presbyterian Church of Wales but he attached great importance to the dignity of the pulpit and he disliked untidiness. He was a member of Engedi church , Caernarfon , and was a well-known figure in the town because of his dignified appearance. He was diverting company and read widely. He m. Annie Evans , daughter of E.J. Evans , former minister of Walton Park Welsh Presbyterian church , Liverpool , but they had no children. He won the friendship of some of the leaders of the nation and D. Lloyd George (see below) thought highly of his opinion. R.T. Jenkins (see below) ‘enjoyed a quarter century of pure friendship’ with him.

He was one of the pioneers of the detective novel in Welsh and had the gift of composing acute biographical articles . He published Dirgelwch yr anialwch ( 1911 ); Rhwng rhyfeloedd ( n.d. ); Yr etifedd coll ( n.d. ); Y llaw gudd ( 1924 ); Cymru a'r wasg ( 1924 ); Dirgelwch Gallt y Ffrwd ( 1938 ); Detholiad o lythyrau'r hen ffarmwr ( 1939 ); D. Lloyd George ( 1943 ); Ceulan y llyn du ( 1944 ); Y wasg yng Nghymru ( 1945 ); Gwŷr enwog gynt , ( 1950 ), 2 ( 1953 ); Profiadau golygydd ( 1950 ); and Gorse glen (trans. of Hugh Evans ' Cwm Eithin ; 1948 ). He was an independent person and his life was a constant struggle against ill health. He wrote swiftly and concisely in Welsh and English . As John Eilian commented, ‘ having a sincere warm love towards the old country which his senses could comprehend — the excitement of Snowdonia , the peace of Merioneth and the sound of the western sea ’, that was patriotism to him. He d. 11 Jun. 1955 at Caernarfon . D. Tecwyn Evans (see above) another of his friends, officiated at his funeral. His remains were buried in the town cemetery.

Sources:

  • Y Genedl , 23 May 1905 , 21 Jan. 1908 , 19 Jan. and 9 Feb. 1925 ;
  • Baner ac Amserau Cymru , 15 Jun. 1955 ;
  • Y Cymro , 16 Jun. 1955 ;
  • Yr Herald Cymraeg (a'r Genedl) , 13 Jun. 1955 ;
  • Y Traethodydd , Oct. 1955 ;
  • Y Genhinen , 1954-55 , 1962-63 ;
  • Y Llenor , 10, 1931 ;
  • The Times , Manchester Guardian , The Liverpool Daily Post ;
  • E. Morgan Humphreys Manuscripts at the University College of North Wales at the University College, Bangor, nos. 15747-65;
  • information from R. Maldwyn Thomas .

Author:

Gwilym Arthur Jones, (1925-98), Bangor

Published date: 2001