In a series of thoroughly researched studies, Gomer M. Roberts became the chief historian of Welsh Methodism and the leading authority on Welsh hymnology, especially the life and work of William Williams , Pantycelyn . The sheer volume of his literary output is remarkable, especially when one considers that it was all accomplished during an extremely busy and demanding ministry. He contributed regularly to local papers, denominational and national publications, prepared radio scripts and talks, histories of chapels and hymnwriters, as well as numerous popular articles and essays. In 1938 he published Methodistiaeth Fy Mro and a constant stream flowed from his pen until 1980 when his final volume Mynwenta: Detholiad o Englynion y Beddau appeared. A full and detailed bibliography prepared by Huw M. Walters and K. Monica Davies was published in Gwanwyn Duw: diwygwyr a diwygiadau, a festschrift presented to him in 1982. Among his main works are Hanes Plwyf Llandybie (1939); Bywyd a Gwaith Peter Williams (1943): Y Per Ganiedydd, Vol. I (1949) and Vol. II (1958); Gwaith Pantycelyn (1960); Gweithiau William Williams, Vol. I (1964). Within the denomination he contributed regularly to the Historical Journal, serving as its editor, 1948-78, and President of the History Society, 1973-83. He delivered the Historical Lecture in 1942 and 1964 and the Revival Memorial Lecture in 1966. As part of his work with the History Society he edited Selected Trevecka Letters (1743-47) in 1956 and Selected Trevecka Letters (1747-94) in 1962. In 1973 he edited the first two volumes of Hanes Methodistiaeth Galfinaidd Cymru. In the same year he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly having already served as Moderator of the Association in the South. His bilingual history of the General Assembly, Y Can Mlynedd Hyn: These Hundred Years appeared in 1964 and in 1968 he delivered the Davies Lecture on the work and significance of Howell Harris , published under the title Portread o Ddiwygiwr (1969). He edited the Bulletin of ‘Cymdeithas Emynau Cymru’ from 1967 until 1977. Two of his hymns have been included in Caneuon Ffydd (2001). He was also a member of the Court and Council of the National Library of Wales. He was awarded an honorary M.A., 1949, and D.Litt., 1985, by the University of Wales.
Of medium height and sturdy build, he enjoyed good health until the last few years of his life, when he received every care from his wife and daughter, Mair . An entertaining companion with a keen sense of humour (sometime witty, sometimes sharp) and a great fund of stories and anecdotes, he was generous with his time and knowledge to young researchers. He took a great interest in people and supported the various institutions of Wales - the Welsh League of Youth, the Eisteddfod and the Welsh Nationalist Party. He was a close friend of Gwynfor Evans, MP, who spoke at his funeral.
He maried at Bethany, Ammanford , 23 Sept. 1930, Gwladys Jones , second daughter of Mr and Mrs Joseph Jones , Pantyffynnon. Gomer Roberts died 16 March 1993, aged 89, and was buried at Llandybïe .
J. E. Wynne Davies
Published date: 2009