He was generally known as ‘ Joni Bardd ’ in his neighbourhood and he fulfilled the function of folk poet conscientiously. He had a burning interest in Welsh and English poetry, and particularly in collecting and publishing the work of some of the poets of his own and neighbouring areas . He edited some of the works of Ap Alun Mabon , Gwrid y Machlud ( Blaenau Ffestiniog , 1941 ); Ioan Brothen , Llinell neu Ddwy ( Blaenau Ffestiniog , 1942 ); Gwilym Deudraeth , Yr Awen Barod ( Llandysul , 1943 ); Rolant Wyn , Dŵr y Ffynnon ( Blaenau Ffestiniog , 1949 ) and R.R. Morris , Caneuon R.R. Morris ( 1951 ). One of his close friends was Ellis Humphrey Evans (‘ Hedd Wyn ’, DWB , 229) and he assisted J.R. Jones with the publication of Cerddi'r Bugail . He assisted with collecting the contents of O Drum i Draeth by Eliseus Williams (‘ Eifion Wyn ’, DWB , 1036) and with the preparation of biographies of Owen Griffith Owen (‘ Alafon ’, DWB , 718) and John John Roberts (‘ Iolo Caernarfon ’, DWB , 870) . He also assisted T. Gwynn Jones in collecting material for his book Welsh Folklore and Folk-custom ( 1930 ). He took particular delight in his friendship with T. Gwynn Jones (see below) and received several manuscripts from him, including the ode Gwlad y Bryniau after the bard himself had written it (‘ wedi i'r bardd ei hun ei hysgrifennu ’).
He lectured a great deal to literary societies on the poets of his locality and he collected many of the works of the poets and authors of Gwynedd , e.g. Alafon , Elfyn , Isallt , W. Pari Huws ( DWB , 402) , Gwilym Prysor , Carneddog ( Richard Griffith , see above ), Glaslyn ( Richard Jones Owen , DWB , 719) , Barlwydon , Gwilym Morgan , Awena Rhun , Glyn Myfyr , Llifon ( William Griffith Owen , see under Owen Griffith Owen , DWB , 718) , and others. He also ensured that the poets, authors and musicians of the locality were commemorated in a worthy manner. He arranged the erection of a gravestone for Robert Owen Hughes (‘ Elfyn ’, DWB , 390) and a memorial stone (a stone from Cwm Pennant ) to ‘ Eifion Wyn .’ With another friend and T. Gwynn Jones , he insisted on having a slate tombstone on the grave of Robert Roberts , ‘ Y Sgolor Mawr ’, 1834 - 1885 ( DWB , 877) in Llangernyw churchyard. He was responsible for the memorial near the home of Thomas Lloyd ( 1841 - 1909 ; ‘ Crych Elen ’, DWB , 589) in Dolwyddelan — the money for this project came from a lady in America . He saw to it that a memorial stone was erected to Edward Stephen (‘ Tanymarian ’, DWB , 923) at Rhyd Sarn , Maentwrog , and he arranged a meeting to commemorate Morgan Llwyd ( DWB , 594-5) and to unveil a memorial to him at Cynfal Fawr . He later collected and edited a substantial memorial volume, Morgan Llwyd o Wynedd: Coffa Morgan Llwyd ( 1952 ). He also collected money for the Sir O.M. Edwards ( DWB , 192-3) memorial fund. He was a regular contributor to the newspapers and journals of his time: Y Glorian ; Y Rhedegydd (a great deal, for many years); Y Genedl (he contributed a weekly column for some years — ‘ Nodion Meirion ’); Yr Herald Cymraeg (many essays on poets and authors); Y Brython ; Y Faner ; Y Dydd ; Y Cymro (in which the popular column ‘ Y Fainc Sglodion ’ appeared); Cymru ; Y Genhinen ; Cymru'r Plant ; Trysorfa'r Plant ; Y Drysorfa Fawr ; Yr Eurgrawn ; Yr Haul ; Y Goleuad ; Seren Cymru . Shortly before his death he saw the publication of Y Fainc Sglodion: casgliad o rai o straeon y chwarel a'r capel … ( 1953 ). Over many years he sent various materials which were valuable (particularly to the social historian) to the National Library of Wales , including numerous scrap-books; hundreds of letters (some personal ones and some by notable Welsh people); manuscripts of the works of several poets and authors; various documents such as the accounts of local institutions, craftsmen and industries; minutes and reports of ecclesiastical and secular bodies; poems and election addresses — local and county; local folktales; programmes of eisteddfodau , concerts and literary societies; pictures of Ffestiniog people; memorial poems and cards. He sent similar materials to the library of the University College of North Wales in Bangor . He d. 6 Jan. 1954 , at his home, and was buried with his wife (who had pre-deceased him twelve years previously) at Bethesda cemetery, Blaenau Ffestiniog . He was a notable example of a cultured common man, ready to help others, and motivated in all his activity by his concern for matters of culture.
Dr Meredydd Evans, Cwmystwyth
Published date: 2001