Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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THOMAS , ROWLAND ( c. 1887 - 1959 ), newspaper proprietor ;

b. c. 1887 at Oswestry , Salop , son of William Thomas and his wife. He was educated locally before entering the newspaper business , returning from World War I to succeed his father as director of the Caxton Press and chairman of Woodall, Minshall, Thomas and Co. Ltd. , Oswestry , who originally produced only The Border Counties Advertizer . He founded the Wrexham Leader in 1920 , later took over the Montgomeryshire Express , and in 1932 developed the Welsh language newspaper Y Cymro (formerly of Dolgellau ) as a national weekly paper for Wales . In 1921 he acquired the Welsh book publishing company of Hughes and Son , and the Principality Press , Wrexham . Although he did not speak Welsh , he did all in his power to sustain the language . On the advice of a panel of leading Welsh scholars and authors he printed and published a constant supply of Welsh books, periodicals and newspapers , work which was recognized by his election as a member of the Gorsedd of Bards in 1947 . He also developed the musical publishing activities of the press ; both he and his wife, Elizabeth (née Parry ) , were organists of Oswald Road Chapel (Presb.) , where he was an elder . He was a J.P. and became vice-chairman of the Oswestry bench . The publishing business had been transferred to his son Eric Lionel Thomas before he retired to live in Llandegfan , Anglesey . He d. suddenly, 17 May 1959 , at Harrogate .


  • Thomas Bassett , Braslun o hanes Hughes a'i Fab (Wrexham, 1946) ( 1946 ), 51-5;
  • Y Cymro , 21 May 1959 ;
  • The Times , 19 May 1959 .


Dr Mary Auronwy James, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001