Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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ROWLANDS , ROBERT JOHN (‘ Meuryn ’; 1880 - 1967 ), journalist, writer, poet, lecturer, preacher .

Born at Ty'n Derw , a smallholding at Aber near Bangor, Caerns. , May 22, 1880 , son of William and Mary Rowlands . When he was three years of age he met with an accident; he dislocated his thigh and as a consequence of unsatisfactory treatment he was lame for the rest of his life. His father died when he was six years old. He was educated at Aber National school at a time when the ‘ Welsh Not ’ was in force. Following a brief period as a shop assistant in Llanfairfechan he moved to Isaac Foulk 's printing and publishing office in Liverpool ; for a short time he also sold insurance policies in Porthmadog where he was a close friend of ‘ Eifion Wyn ’ ( Eliseus Williams ) . Whilst in Liverpool he became a correspondent for Y Darian and Yr Herald Cymraeg and was subsequently responsible for the Liverpool edition of the latter. He played a prominent role in the Welsh life of Liverpool and was one of the founders of Undeb y Ddraig Goch and a promoter of its successful eisteddfod . In the 1921 national eisteddfod in Caernarfon he was awarded the chair for his ode ‘ Min y Môr ’, and in Nov. of that year he moved to Caernarfon as editor of Yr Herald Cymraeg and Papur Pawb . April 1937 saw the amalgamation of Yr Herald and Y Genedl Gymreig which were housed in adjacent premises. They became one paper in combination with Papur Pawb , Y Werin a'r Eco under the editorship of Meuryn until his retirement in March 1954 . In 1923 he also followed ‘ Eifionydd ’ ( John Thomas ) as editor of Y Geninen , continuing in that role until the periodical ceased publication in 1928 . Following its revival in 1950 Meuryn became co-editor with S.B. Jones ( 1894 - 1964) see JONES (Family) until his death 2 Nov. 1967 . At the time of his death he was a widower; he left 2 sons and 3 daughters. He was buried in Caernarfon cemetery.

He was a man of wide interests — a naturalist with a particular enthusiasm for medicinal herbs , a photographer , a chess player and in his youth, a billiards player . On Sundays he preached in Welsh Methodist churches and on week-nights he was a W.E.A. lecturer . He was the author of numerous books varying in content from adventure stories to poems and plays. (For a list of his works see David Jenkins , Y Genhinen , Winter 1967-68 , the memorial issue to Meuryn .) Both as a journalist and an individual he was at all times a man of strong views and one who had a very great interest in writ ing correct and polished Welsh ; he would drum the linguistic rules into his correspondents. For years he ran evening classes on Welsh prosody and when Dr. Sam Jones first presented Ymryson y Beirdd on the radio from Bangor Meuryn was one of the adjudicators and later the only adjudicator . His bardic name has been incorporated into Welsh as a new word, meuryn denoting the adjudicator in poetic contests . After retiring from the Herald Office , he assisted young poets through his poetry column, Cerdd Dafod , in Y Cymro .

Sources:

  • Personal information;
  • Mairwen and Gwynn Jones , Dewiniaid Difyr llenorion plant Cymru hyd tua 1950 (Llandysul, 1983) ;
  • Yr Herald Cymraeg (a'r Genedl) , 6 Nov., 20 Nov. 1967 .

Author:

John Roberts Williams, Caernarfon / Llan-rug

Published date: 2001