Born 1731 at Llanaelhaearn, Caernarfonshire, son of Robert Lewis, farmer, for whom he acted as shepherd in his younger days. Being converted by Howel Harris on the occasion of a visit by the latter to the neighbourhood, he began to exhort with the Calvinistic Methodists.
He settled at Holyhead about 1760, when he obtained a licence from the bishop of Bangor to open a school. He was summoned before Bangor consistory court in August 1765 for keeping a school in Llaniestyn without a licence.
He was the author of many works on various subjects; these include Rhai Hymnau, 1760, which he wrote in conjunction with Richard Jones; Yr Anedigaeth Newydd, 1762, a translation of an English pamphlet, The New Birth; Drych y Cristion, 1766, which was the second edition of Carwr y Cymru published by T. Gouge and S. Hughes, 1677; Hymnau a Chaniadau, 1764; Rhyfyddeg neu Arithmetic, 1768, the first arithmetic book in Welsh; Geirlyfr Ysgrythurol, 1773, the first Welsh scriptural dictionary; Caniadau Preswylwyr y Llwch, 1778; Yr Athrofa Rad, 1788. While the books that Roberts wrote, compiled, and issued were good and valuable, his fame rests rather on his 'Almanacks,' which he commenced to issue about 1761 and continued to publish for the next forty-four years. After his death his son Robert Roberts (1777 - 1836) published the almanacks until 1837.
In 1766 he married Margaret Jones, Bodedern, Anglesey, by whom he had six children. He died 19 September 1806.
Published date: 1959
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