ROBERTS, JOHN JOHN (Iolo Caernarfon; 1840 - 1914), Calvinistic Methodist minister, poet, and prose-writer

Name: John John Roberts
Pseudonym: Iolo Caernarfon
Date of birth: 1840
Date of death: 1914
Spouse: Ann Roberts (née Williams)
Child: John Roberts
Parent: John Roberts
Gender: Male
Occupation: Calvinistic Methodist minister, poet, and prose-writer
Area of activity: Eisteddfod; Literature and Writing; Poetry; Religion
Author: Robert Thomas Jenkins

Born at Tir-bach, Llanllyfni, Caernarfonshire, son of a John Roberts who had moved to that district in 1824 from Amlwch, on the decline of the Parys Mountain copper works. He had very little early schooling, and when quite young worked with his father in the Nantlle slate quarries.

He began to preach in 1867, went to Clynnog school and thence (1868-1872) to Bala Calvinistic Methodist College. In 1873 he became pastor at Trefriw, was ordained in 1874, and in the same year married Ann Williams (1846 - 1910) of Castellgoed in Eifionydd. In 1879 he was called to Tabernacle Calvinistic Methodist church at Portmadoc, and remained there till his retirement in 1909. He died 5 November 1914, aged 74.

He had been moderator of the Calvinistic Methodist General Assembly in 1900, moderator of the North Wales Association in 1906, and ' Davies Lecturer ' in 1907, and indeed figured conspicuously in the administration of his connexion; but he was at his best as a preacher and a public speaker.

He wrote much poetry, won the crown at the national eisteddfod twice (1890, 1892), and quite a number of prizes for poems of various kinds; and he adjudicated in the 'crown' competitions on several occasions. He was of the school to which the designation 'the New Poets' was applied [on this matter see T. Parry , History of Welsh Literature, tr. H. I. Bell, 359-61], and his work is typical of that school.

He published seven books: Oriau yng Ngwlad Hud a Lledrith, 1891; Ymsonau, 1895; Myfyrion, 1901; Breuddwydion y Dydd, 1904; Cofiannau Cyfiawnion, 1906; Crefydd a Chymeriad (the 'Davies Lecture'), 1910; and a biography (1912) of Owen Thomas.


Published date: 1959

Article Copyright:

The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.

Find out more on our sponsorship page.