JONES, EMYR WYN (1907 - 1999), cardiologist and author

Name: Emyr Wyn Jones
Date of birth: 1907
Date of death: 1999
Spouse: Enid Llewelyn Jones (née Williams)
Spouse: Margaret Pierce (née Williams)
Child: Carys Jones
Child: Gareth Wyn Jones
Parent: James Jones
Parent: Ellen Jones (née Jones)
Gender: Male
Occupation: cardiologist and author
Area of activity: Medicine; Literature and Writing
Author: D. Ben Rees

Emyr Wyn Jones was born on 23 May 1907 in Waunfawr, Caernarfonshire, the second son of the Rev. James Jones (1858-1926), a Methodist minister, and his wife Ellen (née Jones). His brother James died in 1923 at the age of twenty-four. Emyr attended primary school in Waunfawr and Sir Hugh Owen County School in Caernarfon, and went on to follow in his elder brother's footsteps at Liverpool University, where he graduated with first class honours in Medicine and Surgery in 1928.

After gaining his MD in 1930 and MRCP in 1933, he joined the consultant staff of the Liverpool teaching hospitals in 1935. In 1938, he was appointed to the Liverpool Royal Infirmary where he was head of the Cardiology Department from 1945 until his retirement in 1972. He also taught medicine at Liverpool University, and was Director of Cardiac Studies there from 1966. For a period before and immediately after the war he also served as consultant to the three main hospitals in north Wales, Bangor, Rhyl and Wrexham, as well as holding a clinic in Rodney Street which was attended by many Welsh people. Later he was Vice-Chairman of the Welsh Hospitals Board (1968-1974) and together with the Chairman, Gwilym Prys-Davies, pressed for due recognition of the Welsh language within the health service.

In 1936 he married Enid Llywelyn Williams (1909-1967), daughter of Dr David Llewelyn Williams and sister to Alun Llywelyn-Williams. They had one daughter, Carys (b. 1937) and one son, Gareth Wyn (b. 1940). During the intense bombing of Liverpool in the Second World War, the family moved first to Enid's parents' house in Old Colwyn before settling in Llety'r Eos near Llansannan. That house became a meeting-place for Welsh writers, musicians, doctors and pacifists, and its cultured atmosphere is evoked by Alun Llywelyn-Williams in his poem 'Taith i Lety'r Eos'. Emyr continued his work as consultant in Liverpool throughout the war. On the family's return to Liverpool in 1948, Enid Wyn Jones embraced the Welsh religious and cultural life of the city, including preaching in many of the small Welsh chapels of Merseyside, while Emyr played a major role in societies such as the Liverpool Welsh Choral Union, of which he was President 1971-1987. They were both strongly attracted by the history and practices of the Quakers.

Enid Wyn Jones died on 15 September 1967 in a plane above Bangkok on her way home from representing Wales at a YWCA World Conference in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband by her side. Emyr published a moving tribute to her in Y Traethodydd, 'Teyrnged Serch ' ('A Tribute of Love', 1969), and edited In Memoriam (1968) and Cyfaredd Cof (1970) in her memory. In 1973 he married Megan, the widow of Professor Thomas Jones Pierce. They moved initially to Manchester, where Megan worked as Warden of Ellis Llwyd Jones Hall, while also spending time at her house in Rhiw, near Aberdaron, which became their permanent home in 1988.

Emyr Wyn Jones contributed extensively to the National Eisteddfod, being admitted to Gorsedd y Beirdd in 1952 under the bardic name 'Emyr Feddyg', and, in 1967, being elected as Administrative Druid of the Gorsedd, a post which he held until 1987 serving seven Archdruids. He was elected Chairman of the Eisteddfod Council (1973-1976), before becoming President of the Court of the National Eisteddfod (1983-1986). In 1987, he was elected a Fellow of the National Eisteddfod of Wales.

After his retirement he became a prolific author in Welsh and English on a wide range of historical subjects. An indefatigable researcher, his work can be seen in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography and numerous journals. His main interests were the Liverpool Welsh, the Quakers, Henry Tudor and the Battle of Bosworth, and Henry Morton Stanley. In Henry Stanley: Pentewyn Tân a'i Gymhlethdod Phaetonaidd ('A Firebrand and his Phaetonian Complex', 1992) he demonstrated that Stanley was a consummate liar. In his own field he published several volumes of essays which reflect his interest in traditional medicine: Ar Ffiniau Meddygaeth ('On the Frontiers of Medicine', 1971), Ysgubau'r Meddyg ('The Doctor's Sheaves', 1973), Bysedd Cochion ac Ysgrifau Eraill, (Foxgloves and Other Essays', 1977), and Cyndyn Ddorau ('Stubborn Protectors', 1978).

In 1971 he was awarded an OBE. In recognition of his many contributions to the medical and cultural life of Wales, he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Wales in 1987 and in 1997 admitted as a full member of the Welsh Academy. Over the years he served on numerous public bodies, including the Boards of both the National Library and National Museum of Wales, the University of Wales Court, Cardiff Medical College Council, Denbighshire Historical Society, Undeb Cymru Fydd and the Cymmrodorion Society.

Emyr Wyn Jones died at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor on 14 January 1999. The Merseyside Welsh Heritage Society organized a Festival in November 2022 in remembrance of Enid and Emyr Wyn Jones with lectures presented by his son, Emeritus Professor Gareth Wyn Jones, Bangor, and his grandson, Professor Richard Wyn Jones, Cardiff.


Published date: 2024-04-04

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