Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ROBERTS , JOHN IORWERTH ( 1902 - 1970 ), schoolmaster and secretary of Llangollen International Eisteddfod ,

b. 8 Mar. 1902 in Warrington , son of William John Roberts , Presb. minister , and his wife Harriet , daughter of Edward Roberts , minister of Engedi (Presb.) , Brymbo , onetime chairman of Denbighshire education committee . The family moved to Pontrhythallt , Llanrug, Caerns. in 1911 and he attended Penisa'r'waun school , and then Brynrefail intermediate school ( 1914-19 ) and the Normal College , Bangor ( 1920-22 ). After teaching in several schools in Denbighshire , including Grango intermediate school , Rhos , and Penycae elementary school , he was appointed headmaster of Pentredwr school , near Llangollen , where he stayed till his retirement in 1964 , having succeeded in converting his school into a model ‘unofficial’ Welsh school. He worked diligently as financial secretary of the New Wales Union and was an elder and secretary of Rehoboth chapel , Llangollen , for many years. As an ardent supporter of eisteddfodau he became associated with the Llangollen International Eisteddfod from its inception in 1947 , and gave valuable service as secretary and chairman of the financial committee for a period. He was joint secretary of the Eisteddfod council when he died. Another of his interests was local history . He held classes on the topic for the Workers’ Educational Association , and his lecture on the 1858 Llangollen eisteddfod to the Denbighshire History Society was published in the Society's journal in 1959 .

He m. (1) Dilys Alwen Jones (d. 11 July 1965 ) in Rehoboth chapel , Llangollen , in Aug. 1934 and they had one daughter; and m. (2) Dilys Jones of Llangollen in King Street Presb. Chapel , Wrexham , in 1969 . He lived at Isgaer , Birch Hill , Llangollen , when he d. suddenly on 17 March 1970 and was interred in Llantysilio cemetery.


  • The Wrexham Leader , 20 and 27 March 1970 ;
  • Y Goleuad , 22 Apr. 1970 ;
  • information from his sister Gwyneth Richards, Denbigh .


Dr Mary Auronwy James, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001