Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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RANDALL , HENRY JOHN ( 1877 - 1964 ), known generally by his many friends as Harry Randall , lawyer and historian ;

b. 13 Dec. 1877 , at Bridgend, Glam. , s. of William Richard Randall , a solicitor of that town, and his wife, Hannah (née Johnston ) . He was educated at Bradfield and was LL.B. (Lond.) . He followed his father's profession and was admitted a solicitor in 1900 , retiring from practice in 1962 . He was secretary of the Bridgend District Law Society 1911-21 ; its president in 1928 and again in 1960 .

He was notable not only in his profession but was a man of very wide interests, especially in the field of local history in the Vale of Glamorgan , where he lived all his life. He was a member of the Camb. Arch. Assocn. , becoming its president in 1928 and was honorary treasurer 1936-51 ; a member of the Board of Celtic Studies for 22 years and of the Ancient Monuments Board for Wales until 1959 ; joint editor of the South Wales Record Society from 1929 ; F.S.A. and a member of its Council in 1949 ; and president of The Cardiff Naturalists’ Society , 1946-47 . He was a member of the Athenaeum Club . A further example of his sense of responsibility to the community was that he served as an officer in the Welch Regiment in the Volunteer and Territorial Forces from 1895 to 1918 .

Noteworthy amongst his many legal papers was ‘ Law and geography ’ 1918 , in the Evolution of Law series , vol. III, and ‘ Beginnings of English constitutional theory ’ 1919 , in the Wigmore Celebration Legal Essays . His first published book, History in the open air , came in 1936 , followed in 1944 by The Creative centuries .

In 1946 the Camb. Arch. Assocn. turned to him for an authoritative account of Roman Wales for its centenary volume of Arch Camb . and his able contribution ‘ The Roman period ’ filled that need very adequately. He continued to record his deep interest in his native county with, in 1955 , his book Bridgend: the story of a market town and, in 1961 , The Vale of Glamorgan, studies in landscape and history .

He was closely associated with the National Museum of Wales for nearly 40 years, having become a member of its Art and Archaeology Committee in 1925 , then a member of the Court of Governors in 1937 and of the Council in 1938 . He was treasurer of the Museum , 1952-62 , and in that period made, perhaps, his greatest contribution in founding the ‘ Friends of the National Museum of Wales ’, of which he was chairman , 1954-64 . His services to his native county and country were recognised by the conferment upon him, in 1963 , of the degree of LL.D. by the University of Wales .

In 1916 he m. Olga Ruth Brewis ; there were no children. He d. 4 Nov. 1964 at his home, ‘ Erw Graig ’, Merthyr Mawr , Bridgend , and a memorial service was held on 9 Nov. at St. Mary's Church , Nolton , Bridgend , followed by cremation.

Sources:

  • The Times , 9 Nov. 1964 ;
  • Archaeologia Cambrensis , 113 (1964) ;
  • National Museum of Wales Annual Report , 1964-65 , p.11;
  • Friends of the N.M.W., 10th ann. Rep. 1-3;
  • Who was who?
  • and personal knowledge.

Author:

Colonel H. Morrey Salmon, (1891-1985), Cardiff

Published date: 2001