SAUNDERSON, ROBERT (1780-1863), printer and publisher

Name: Robert Saunderson
Date of birth: 1780
Date of death: 1863
Spouse: Rebecca Saunderson (née Thomas)
Child: Robert Saunderson
Child: Charles Saunderson
Gender: Male
Occupation: printer and publisher
Area of activity: Printing and Publishing
Author: Robert Thomas Jenkins

He served his apprenticeship at Liverpool but afterwards went to the printing-office at Chester which printed Welsh books for Thomas Jones (1756 - 1820) and Thomas Charles - see under John Humphreys (1734? - 1829). In 1803 Charles and Jones decided to begin printing at Bala, and Saunderson was engaged to work there. Thomas Jones, in 1804, withdrew from active participation and Charles carried on the business on his own account (but in his wife's maiden name, as he was in orders), with Saunderson as manager - apparently he received half the profits, besides his own wage as printer. When Charles and his wife died (1814), Saunderson became owner of the business, and remained so till his death, 13 December 1863, at the age of 83.

He had become one of Charles closest friends, and in 1806 had married Rebecca Thomas, daughter of Charles's favourite sister Elizabeth. He was at Charles's bedside in his last illness and at his death; at the request of bishop Short of St. Asaph, he wrote reminiscences of Charles , which were afterwards printed in Y Goleuad, 22 June 1878 .

Saunderson knew hardly any Welsh when he came to Bala, and was never quite at home in the language; he was therefore not at ease in the Calvinistic Methodist Society at Bala, and on Charles's advice attached himself to the Established Church there, becoming indeed a zealous Churchman.

His printing is regarded as very good, and he had Hebrew and Greek founts. He printed nearly all Charles's work of the period 1803-14, and in later years (1822-37) printed the excellent Anglican magazine Y Gwyliedydd , and other Anglican periodicals. There is a portrait of him on p. 219 of the second volume of Y Tadau Methodistaidd . Saunderson's small diary is kept at N.L.W. (NLW MS 16370A ). Frances his unmarried sister, was buried in St. John's churchyard, Chester, 29 November 1801.

Of his sons, the eldest was

CHARLES SAUNDERSON (1809 - 1832), ('Siarl Wyn o Benllyn') poet

Born 15 March 1809 and christened 28 March. He died of cholera at New Orleans, 24 October 1832 (Seren Gomer, 1833, 94 ), in his twenty-third year. His literary remains, Gweddillion o Waith Barddonol Charles Saunderson, were published by his father in 1845 (extracts in Beirdd y Bala, ed. O. M. Edwards ); there is an elegy upon him by Tegidon (John Phillips, 1810 - 1877) who had been one of his father's apprentices.

Another son was

ROBERT SAUNDERSON (1814 - 1865), printer and publisher

Born 9 August 1814, he carried on the father's business, in partnership with his two sisters, till his death, 19 August 1865. In 1866 the printing and publishing establishment was sold to Edward Jones, another former apprentice of the elder Saunderson.



Published date: 1959

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