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BERRY, ROBERT GRIFFITH (1869 - 1945), minister (Congl.) and writer

Name: Robert Griffith Berry
Date of birth: 1869
Date of death: 1945
Spouse: Hannah M. Berry (née Watkins)
Parent: Margaret Berry (née Williams)
Parent: John Berry
Gender: Male
Occupation: minister (Congl.) and writer
Area of activity: Literature and Writing; Religion
Author: John Dyfnallt Owen

Born 20 May 1869 in Llanrwst, Caernarfonshire son of John and Margaret (née Williams) Berry, the father originally from Penmachno and the mother from Llannerch-y-medd. He received his education in the local British, national, and grammar schools at Llanrwst. He was received into membership of Tabernacl (Congl.) church under the pastorate of Thomas Roberts. He proceeded with a scholarship to Bangor university college, where he took the first part of the B.A. degree course of London University, and, in 1892, he entered Bala-Bangor Theological College. He contributed to the college magazine (of which he was the first editor) light and witty sketches of students and events. His only pastorate was at Bethlehem, Gwaelod-y-garth, Glamorganshire, to which he was invited 3 August 1896. He married 10 August 1903, Hannah M. Watkins of Gwaelod-y-garth. They had one daughter.

In 1911 R. G. Berry, as he came to be known, became prominent as one of the pioneers of the drama in Welsh. Amongst his plays are Asgre lân, Owen Gwynedd, Ar y groesffordd, and Y Ddraenen wen : shorter plays are Noson o farrug, Cadw noswyl, Dwywaith yn blentyn, and Yr Hen anian. He mastered the art of setting his plays, the techniques of live dialogue, and soon learnt what was required in the portrayal of characters. His plays which were based on the familiar everyday life of Wales, achieved great popularity and were acted in all parts of the country. He was particularly successful in writing in a style which became popular but in which genuine Welsh idiom was not travestied. He also wrote, from time to time, satirical essays and parodies which are marked by their lively criticism and astuteness. His collection of short stories, Llawr Dyrnu, contains memorable sketches of local characters. For his services to the literature of Wales he was awarded the degree of M.A. (honoris causa) by the University of Wales in 1925. He was chairman of the Glamorgan Congregational Union in 1943 and in 1944 he delivered at Newcastle Emlyn a memorable address - 'Arglwyddiaeth Crist' - from the chair of the Welsh Congregational Union. He died 13 Jan. and was buried at Pen-tyrch cemetery, 16 January 1945.


Published date: 2001

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