Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JONES , IDWAL ( 1899 - 1966 ), educationist and university professor ;

b. 31 December 1899 in Pen-clawdd, Glam. , son of Llewelyn and Margaret (née Rees ) Jones . After attending primary school at Pen-clawdd , and the County School , Gowerton , he went on to University College , Aberystwyth where he graduated B.A. with Honours in English in 1922 . He gained his M.A. in 1924 with a dissertation on ‘ The Critical Ideas of Matthew Arnold, with special reference to French and German Criticism ’. He took his Diploma in Education at King's College , London University .

He had teaching experience at Llanmorlais elementary school, Glam. from 1919 ; then at the Westminster City (secondary) school 1924-1925 ; and in 1924 he took evening classes at the Working Men's College , London . He was appointed as Assistant Lecturer in the Education Department of the University College , Swansea 1925 where he became Senior Lecturer 1930-1939 , and for a period ( 1933-1934 ) was Acting Head of the department and College Correspondent to the Board of Education . From 1939-1960 he occupied the Chair of Education at the University College of Wales , Aberystwyth . He was the first Dean in the Faculty of Education at that college and established close academic links with Trinity College Carmarthen as well as with teachers and children within the wide Faculty hinterland. He was responsible for officially initiating the teaching of a subject (apart from Welsh) through the medium of Welsh in the University of Wales , and argued the case for this development with exceptional skill and perceptivity. He was an able committee-man: like all professors of Education he was weighed down with innumerable committees, but in such places he proved himself a generous and formidable advocate, completely unswerving in his stand for Welsh causes. Much of the success in establishing Welsh as a recognised medium of instruction at University level is due to him. Under his leadership the Department of Education at Aberystwyth developed as a significant international centre for bilingual studies. He himself lectured through the medium of Welsh on psychology in 1931 , and was one of the pioneers writing on modern psychology in the Welsh language (e.g. ‘ Yr hunan o safbwynt seicoleg ’, ‘ Cyfraniad James Ward i seicoleg ’; and ‘ Spearman ’ in Efrydiau Athronyddol . He did research into the history of Welsh education , and published work on Thomas Gee , ‘ The Voluntary System at Work ’ (in the Trans. of the Cymm. , 1933 ), the broadcast history lessons, ‘ Y plentyn a'r Eglwys ’, and ‘ Y Bardd a'r Athro ’.

He possessed an inherent nobility of spirit, and even in his last days of illness he was a strikingly elegant and charming personality. On June 29, 1933 he married Kitty , daughter of Sir John Herbert Lewis ( DWB , 556) of Plas Penucha , Caerwys ; and this was no doubt what impelled him to compile the standard bibliography of Thomas Jones of Denbigh and to edit a new edition of that Methodist leader 's autobiography in 1937 . He was forced by ill-health to retire prematurely from his chair in 1960 , due to an infirmity caused to a great extent by overwork during the war-years. He died January 3, 1966 at Caerwys and was buried in Colwyn Bay .


  • Official records at University College of Wales;
  • information from Kitty Idwal Jones .


Professor Robert (Bobi) Maynard Jones, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001