Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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RHYS , ERNEST (PERCIVAL) ( 1859 - 1946 ), poet, author, and editor ;

b. 17 July 1859 in Islington , London , s. of John Rhys , a native of Carmarthen , who was a publisher's assistant in London , and Emma , dau. of Robert Percival , Hockerell, Herts. Soon after the birth of their son the parents went to live in Nott Square , Carmarthen , from where Ernest Rhys went to his first school; they afterwards proceeded to Newcastle-on-Tyne . It was from Newcastle-on-Tyne that Ernest Rhys was sent to the grammar school at Bishop's Stortford in his mother's native county, after which he attended a Newcastle-on-Tyne day school. Intended by his father for the university, Rhys chose instead to take up mining engineering as his profession. He spent some years at Langley , qualified, but then decided to go to London to pursue a career as an author . He left for London in Jan. 1886 .

The name of Ernest Rhys will be inseparably connected with his editorship of J.M. Dent 's ‘ Everyman's Library ’ in which by 1950 , nearly a thousand works had been included; Rhys had previously begun (in 1886 ) to edit the ‘ Camelot Series ’ for the same publisher . Many of his original publications (and some of the works which he edited ) deal with Welsh (or Celtic ) poetry, romance, and folklore; for lists see Who's Who , 1946 ; and the two autobiographical works named in the bibliography below. His wife Grace (d. 1929 ; dau. of Bennett Little , of Co. Roscommon , Ireland ) was also an author , one of her works being A Celtic Anthology , 1927 . Although he lived for the greater part of his life in London , Rhys and his wife spent much time in Wales . His (Saturday) ‘ Welsh Literary Notes ’ in the Manch. Guard. during the early years of the twentieth century were very widely read. Among Rhys 's works of Welsh (or Celtic ) interest were The Fiddler of Carne , 1896 , Welsh Ballads , 1898 , The Whistling Maid , 1900 , Lays of the Round Table , 1908 , and The South Wales Coast , 1911 ; he also wrote Readings from Welsh History which was at one time much used in Welsh schools. He d. 25 May 1946 in London .


  • The Times , 27 May 1946 ;
  • Who's who? , 1946 ;
  • and two autobiographical works — Everyman Remembers (London, Toronto, 1931) (London, 1931 ), and Wales England Wed. An autobiography, etc. (London, 1940) (London, 1940 ).


Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001