THOMAS, JOHN (Eifionydd; 1848 - 1922), founder and editor of Y Geninen

Name: John Thomas
Pseudonym: Eifionydd
Date of birth: 1848
Date of death: 1922
Gender: Male
Occupation: founder and editor of Y Geninen
Area of activity: Literature and Writing; Poetry; Printing and Publishing
Author: Robert (Bob) Owen

Born 6 August 1848 in a cottage near Clenennau in the parish of Penmorfa, Caernarfonshire. He lost his father when he was very young, received no formal schooling, and at 9 years of age, before he had learnt to read script, he was apprenticed in the printing office of Robert Isaac Jones (Alltud Eifion), Tremadoc, where the literary periodical known as Y Brython was being printed and published. He became an abnormally rapid compositor and afterwards worked at his trade at Pwllheli, Rhyl, and Machynlleth. In the meantime he had developed a keen interest in literature, particularly Welsh poetry. He had also begun to preach with the Congregationalists, and spent a period (1872-4) in the Congregational College at Brecon. Having slept in a damp bed on one of his preaching journeys he went to London to be under the charge of a physician; at the same time he worked for the firm of Eyre and Spottiswoode. From London he went to Caernarvon to the offices of Y Genedl Gymreig — at first as a compositor, afterwards in the business and clerical side of that office, eventually becoming the editor of that newspaper and of another newspaper, Y Werin. In 1881-2 he published, in two parts, Pigion Englynion fy Ngwlad. In 1881 Eifionydd founded Y Geninen, a literary journal which he edited until the time of his death.

This journal brought him into touch, particularly by correspondence, with a very large number of writers and poets. Another side of his work for Welsh cultural activities was due to his association with the ‘Gorsedd of the Bards,’ of which he became recorder. He was one of the founders of the ‘Cymdeithas Gorsedd y Beirdd’, rules for which he formulated; he also played a very prominent part in regard to the examinations for the various ‘grades’ of the ‘Gorsedd.’ He was himself a competitor in eisteddfodau, winning several prizes for poems. He died at Caernarvon, 19 November 1922 and was buried there.

Author

Published date: 1959

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