Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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MORRICE , JAMES CORNELIUS ( 1874 - 1953 ), priest and Welsh scholar ;

b. 10 Dec. 1874 at Porthmadog, Caern. , s. of James Cornelius Morrice , engine driver , and his wife Margaret (née Thomas ) . He was educated at Porthmadog county school and University College Bangor ( 1897 ) where he graduated with first-class hon. in Welsh in 1900 , the first to do so, it is claimed: he gained his M.A. with a dissertation on ‘ The poems of William Lleyn ’ in 1902 . Ord. deacon in 1900 and priest in 1901 he served as curate in Mallwyd , Newport (Pemb.) and Amlwch ( 1902 , 1903 ), chaplain in the training ship Clio , and a sub-canon of Bangor cathedral before being inducted rector of Ffestiniog and Maentwrog , 1910-12 , and vicar of St. Mary's Bangor , 1913-20 . He was vicar of St. Margaret's Oxford , 1920-26 , and while he was there he gained his B.Litt. ( 1920 ) and D.Phil. ( 1923 ) from Corpus Christi . He was vicar of Holyhead , 1926-27 , and served afterwards in various English parishes as listed in Crockford 's.

He was a very productive scholar in the period after he left college. He edited the first vol. in the Bangor Manuscripts Soc. , Gwaith barddonol Howel Swrdwal a'i fab Ieuan ( 1908 ) and in the same series Detholiad o waith Gruffudd ab Ieuan ab Llewelyn Vychan ( 1910 ), both editions based on British Museum (Library) MSS. His main work, Barddoniaeth William Llŷn , was published in 1908 , followed by A manual of Welsh literature ( 1909 ) based on lectures he had given at University College Cardiff , 1902-03 . Morrice was one of the first generation of editors of the work of the cywydd poets and though these editions have the shortcomings of their period he could have become an acknowledged editor and literary historian and he could have followed a univesity career. He was nominated by the College Board for the chair of Welsh at St. David's College Lampeter in 1903 but the college Council did not accept the proposed arrangements. He was for a time lecturer in Welsh at University College Cardiff . Wales in the seventeenth century appeared in 1918 and his D.Phil. dissertation, Social conditions in Wales under the Tudors and Stuarts , in 1925 .

He retired from the rectorship of Helmdon Brockley, Northants in Oct. 1951 ; he d. 22 Jan. 1953 in Bournemouth .


  • Crockford's Clerical Directory , 1951-52 ;
  • Who was who? ;
  • The Biographical Index of W. W. Price, Aberdâr (at the National Library of Wales and Aberdare Public Library) ;
  • Y Llan , 31 Jan. 1941 , 3;
  • Welsh Gossip , 28 Nov. 1923 ;
  • University of Wales Bangor records 16446;
  • D. T. W. Price , History of St. David's University College (1990) (1990) .


Dr Brynley Francis Roberts, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001