Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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ROBERTS , THOMAS ( 1884 - 1960 ), educationalist and scholar ;

b. 26 Dec. 1884 at Pandy , Llanuwchllyn, Mer. , s. of John Roberts . He was educated at Llanuwchllyn school , Bala county school and the University College of North Wales , Bangor . He graduated with honours in Welsh in 1907 , and took his M.A. degree in 1910 . He was a school teacher at Abertyswg, Mon. 1907-08 , and in a school in London 1908-10 . He was then appointed Welsh tutor at the Normal College , Bangor , and was vice-principal from 1920 till his retirement in 1949 .

As a scholar Thomas Roberts was interested in the works of the poets of the gentry throughout his life. The subject of his M.A. dissertation in 1910 was the poetry of Gruffudd ab Ieuan ap Llywelyn Fychan . In 1914 he published Gwaith Dafydd ab Edmwnd in the Bangor Welsh Manuscripts Society ” series. The work was based on many MS copies, but the editor did not attempt to produce a definitive text or to list variant readings. This was a busy time for Thomas Roberts , for there also appeared in 1914 Cywyddau Dafydd ap Gwilym a'i Gyfoeswyr , in which he collaborated with Ifor Williams (see below) , being responsible for the introductions to the works of the contemporaries — Gruffudd ab Adda , Madog Benfras , Gruffudd Gryg and Llywelyn Goch — and for the texts of their poems. In the second edition, which appeared in 1935 , Thomas Roberts added some poems and revised the introductions. In 1925 he took part in another joint effort, this time with Henry Lewis (see above) and Ifor Williams , to produce Cywyddau Iolo Goch ac eraill , in which Thomas Roberts dealt with Gruffudd Llwyd and Ieuan ap Rhydderch . The introductions were amplified and the text amended for the second edition in 1937 .

There was a long interval till the appearance of Gwaith Tudur Penllyn ac Ieuan ap Tudur Penllyn in 1958 . The pattern here is similar — a full introduction dealing with the life and background of the poets, a discussion of the authenticity of the poems, and one new feature, some comments on the poets’ metrical usages. A standard text based on every available MS copy is provided, with detailed notes. This volume shows the editor at his best.

In addition to these works Thomas Roberts published several articles on his chosen field. In everything he did he was thorough and meticulous, and he always strove to maintain the highest standards of scholarship.

He m. Gwyneth Edwards of Llandudno in 1920 , and they had one dau. He d. 25 Aug. 1960 .

Sources:

  • Information from the Normal College archives and from Mrs. Llio Ellis-Williams ;
  • personal knowledge.

Author:

Sir Thomas Parry, D.Litt., (1904-85), Bangor / Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001