Born 6 April 1872, son of Enoch Jones, Cefnmaelan, Dolgellau, Merionethshire, and Jane, the daughter of Lewis Jones, Maesbryner. He was educated at Dolgellau grammar school and Aspatria agricultural college; he received the degree of M.Sc. from Durham University and was a Fellow of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. He was appointed assistant lecturer at U.C.N.W., Bangor in 1893, responsible for extension classes in agriculture in north Wales. In 1899 he became lecturer at Armstrong (now King's) College, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The University College of Wales, Aberystwyth set up its department of agriculture in 1890 — a year later than Bangor — and as in Bangor internal teaching was combined with extension work. The department fell into disarray on the departure of the first lecturer and in 1907 the college took the bold step of appointing Bryner Jones — well-qualified and experienced but still young — to a new chair of Agriculture. From then onward the department, together with the college farm (of which he was director) flourished and he became the undisputed leader of agricultural education in Wales. He also came to the forefront as an administrator. In 1912 the special needs of Wales began to be recognised. An arrangement was made whereby the development of two official schemes covering agricultural education and livestock improvement was entrusted to an Agricultural Commissioner, advised by an Agricultural Council for Wales. Bryner Jones was the obvious choice for appointment both as commissioner and chairman of the Council, the college wisely agreeing that he could carry out these duties while remaining Professor of Agriculture. The outbreak of War in 1914 dictated a change of emphasis, and Bryner Jones became increasingly involved in the work of the food production department of the headquarters. The widening experience and personal contacts he thus gained were later to be of great value to Wales.
In 1919 the Board of Agriculture was given a new title and wider duties; it became the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It set up a Welsh department at Aberystwyth, with Bryner Jones, who now resigned his professorship, as the first Welsh secretary. For the next twenty years he presided over a department which grew slowly but steadily as the ministry's work expanded. Nevertheless, it continued to regard agricultural education and advisory work at all levels together with livestock improvement as its main responsibility. One beneficial result of this policy and of the Secretary's leadership became evident during World War II. The all-important County War Agricultural Executive Committees in Wales were able to enlist an exceptional band of experienced and well-trained farmers and technical officers in the vital task of increasing food production.
A fine physique enabled Bryner Jones to remain fully active until his death. After the strenuous war years from 1939 to 1944, when he officially retired, he continued to act as the Minister's liaison officer and was chairman of Montgomeryshire committee from that time until 1947. But this was not the final chapter in his long career. From 1948 to 1953 he was deputy chairman of the newly formed Agricultural Land Commission for England and Wales and was chairman of the Welsh Agricultural Land Sub-commission. During this period the Sub-committee conducted a far-reaching survey of farming conditions in mid-Wales. The results were published in 1955 in The Mid-Wales Investigation Report. He also managed and began to rehabilitate the Glan-llyn section of the Wynnstay estate after its transfer in part settlement of death duties.
Ever since his arrival at Aberystwyth, Bryner Jones had taken a broad view of his responsibilities. Consequently, he was engaged in a range of activities which today are often assigned to full-time staffs. Thus he was president of the Welsh Mountain Sheep Flock Book Society from 1913 to 1919, while his keen interest in Welsh black cattle was recognised by his election to the Society's presidency in 1944-45. Another institution which owed a great debt to him was the National Show — now the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show. He acted as honorary director, 1908-10, was chairman of its council from 1944 to 1953, and became its president in 1954. His other life-long interests were Dr Williams' School, Dolgellau, to which he gave generous service for 25 years as chairman of the governors, and U.C.W., Aberystwyth. He was a member of the college council from 1920 till his death. He did much to ensure that the Welsh Plant Breeding Station, with George Stapledon as first director and Professor of Agricultural Botany, came to Aberystwyth. In recognition of his services to higher education the University of Wales awarded him the hon. degree of LL.D. in 1938. His official career was fittingly marked by the award of C.B.E. in 1920, C.B. in 1934, and a knighthood in 1947.
Sir Bryner was the author of the first Welsh book on the scientific principles of manuring, Egwyddorion gwrteithio (1907); he edited Livestock of the farm and numerous reports of agricultural experiments. He was a contributor to the Welsh Jnl. of Agric., first published in 1925, on behalf of the Welsh Agricultural Education Conference of which he was chairman.
He was unmarried. He died 10 December 1954 and was buried at Brithdir, where his grandfather Cadwaladr Jones (1783 - 1867) had been Congl. minister.
Published date: 2001
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