Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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ROWLAND , ROBERT DAVID (‘ Anthropos ’; ?1853 - 1944 ), minister (CM), poet and writer ;

b. about 1853 , the exact date and place not known. He was the adopted son of Robert and Beti Rowland , who lived in the village of Tyn-y-cefn , near Corwen . After some schooling he was for a time a stable-boy at Aber Artro , near Llanbedr, Mer. , and afterwards apprenticed to a tailor . Not much is known about this period in his life; he seems to have worked at his trade in Shrewsbury and Rhosymedre , and probably in other places, but he went to Holt Academy when he was about twenty, and began to preach in 1873 , entering Bala College the following year. During his time in Bala he was for a short period a teacher at the local school, and in 1877 he published his first book of verse, Y Blodeuglwm . He did not proceed to a pastoral charge at once, but entered journalism in Caernarfon , first on the staff of Yr Herald Cymraeg , and afterwards of Y Genedl Gymreig , being editor of the latter paper from 1881 and 1884 . He also assisted Evan Jones , Caernarfon ( DWB , 461-2) , with the weekly Amseroedd . Ord. in 1887 he became the pastor of Beulah (CM) church , Caernarfon , in 1890 , retiring in 1933 . In 1912 he succeeded Rev. Thomas Levi ( DWB , 543) as editor of Trysorfa'r Plant , resigning in 1932 when his services to Welsh literature were recognised by the grant of a civil list pension . He was a good preacher , but confined himself almost entirely to preaching in the smaller country churches. As a writer and poet he was known wherever the Welsh language was spoken; he had more than twenty books to his credit — collections of essays on books, people, and nature, some poetry and stories. His best works are Y Pentref Gwyn , early reminiscences, and Y Ffenestri Aur , a collection of essays. He was a regular contributor to many Welsh papers and magazines. From 1904 until 1914 he had written a weekly literary column for Baner and, despite his great age, was contributing a weekly article to the Herald up to the time of his death. As a prose writer he was descriptive, humorous and, when he chose to be so, incisive. As a poet he allowed sentiment to obscure a true lyrical gift. He was one of the wittiest men in Wales , and some of his sayings were long remembered. He d. at his home in Caernarfon , 21 Nov. 1944 , and was buried in the town cemetery. He was twice married, but had no children.

Sources:

  • Personal knowledge;
  • The Liverpool Daily Post , 22 Nov. 1944 ;
  • Blwyddiadur y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , 1946 .

Author:

Edward Morgan Humphreys, O.B.E., M.A., (1882-1955), Caernarfon

Published date: 2001