son of Maurice and Elizabeth Lewis, born at Nanty Mines, Llangurig, Montgomeryshire, 6 January 1880. Educated at Oswestry, Llanidloes, U.C.W., Aberystwyth, and the London School of Economics, he was appointed assistant-lecturer in Welsh history at U.C.W., Aberystwyth, 1910; professor of economics in 1912; first Sir John Williams professor of Welsh history in 1930. In 1925 he married Elizabeth Thomas, vice-principal of Barry Training College, who died in December 1942. He died suddenly 7 January 1942.
A D.Litt. (Wales) and D.Sc. (London), he was responsible for several early pioneer works on Welsh agrarian and social history. The Mediaeval boroughs of Snowdonia (1912) established principles for later work on the growth of municipal institutions in Wales. Some years earlier there had appeared ' The decay of tribalism in North Wales ' (The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1902-3), an impressionistic study revealing considerable insight, together with some studies in Welsh commercial history (Cymm., 14, Trans. R.H.S., 17, 1903) which foreshadow the best known work of Lewis's later years - Welsh port books (Cymm. Rec. Ser., 12, 1927). Diverted from his main interest by teaching and academic preoccupations Lewis never quite fulfilled his early promise, though he did much during his long tenure of the chair of economics to foster and encourage interest in Welsh history among successive generations of students. After returning to full-time research work in 1930, he concentrated on a variety of bibliographical projects, many of them still unfinished at the time of his death. Two calendars belonging to this phase of his career have been published - the second posthumously: Early Chancery proceedings (1937), and Augmentation proceedings (1950). Editions of valuable original material will also be found in various volumes of B.B.C.S and W. Wales Historical Records.
Published date: 2001
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