ROWLANDS, ROBERT JOHN (‘Meuryn’; 1880 - 1967), journalist, writer, poet, lecturer, preacher

Name: Robert John Rowlands
Pseudonym: Meuryn
Date of birth: 1880
Date of death: 1967
Spouse: Margaret Rowlands
Child: Eurys Ionor Rowlands
Parent: Mary Rowlands
Parent: William Rowlands
Gender: Male
Occupation: journalist, writer, poet, lecturer, preacher
Area of activity: Education; Eisteddfod; Literature and Writing; Poetry; Religion
Author: John Roberts Williams

Born at Ty'n Derw, a smallholding at Aber near Bangor, Caernarfonshire, May 22, 1880, son of William and Mary Rowlands. When he was three years of age he met with an accident; he dislocated his thigh and as a consequence of unsatisfactory treatment he was lame for the rest of his life. His father died when he was six years old. He was educated at Aber National school at a time when the ‘Welsh Not’ was in force. Following a brief period as a shop assistant in Llanfairfechan he moved to Isaac Foulk's printing and publishing office in Liverpool; for a short time he also sold insurance policies in Porthmadog where he was a close friend of ‘Eifion Wyn’ (Eliseus Williams). Whilst in Liverpool he became a correspondent for Y Darian and Yr Herald Cymraeg and was subsequently responsible for the Liverpool edition of the latter. He played a prominent role in the Welsh life of Liverpool and was one of the founders of Undeb y Ddraig Goch and a promoter of its successful eisteddfod. In the 1921 national eisteddfod in Caernarfon he was awarded the chair for his ode ‘Min y Môr’, and in November of that year he moved to Caernarfon as editor of Yr Herald Cymraeg and Papur Pawb. April 1937 saw the amalgamation of Yr Herald and Y Genedl Gymreig which were housed in adjacent premises. They became one paper in combination with Papur Pawb, Y Werin a'r Eco under the editorship of Meuryn until his retirement in March 1954. In 1923 he also followed ‘Eifionydd’ (John Thomas) as editor of Y Geninen, continuing in that role until the periodical ceased publication in 1928. Following its revival in 1950 Meuryn became co-editor with S.B. Jones (1894 - 1964) see JONES (Family) until his death 2 November 1967. At the time of his death he was a widower; he left 2 sons and 3 daughters. He was buried in Caernarfon cemetery.

He was a man of wide interests — a naturalist with a particular enthusiasm for medicinal herbs, a photographer, a chess player and in his youth, a billiards player. On Sundays he preached in Welsh Methodist churches and on week-nights he was a W.E.A. lecturer. He was the author of numerous books varying in content from adventure stories to poems and plays. (For a list of his works see David Jenkins, Y Genhinen, Winter 1967-68, the memorial issue to Meuryn.) Both as a journalist and an individual he was at all times a man of strong views and one who had a very great interest in writ ing correct and polished Welsh; he would drum the linguistic rules into his correspondents. For years he ran evening classes on Welsh prosody and when Dr. Sam Jones first presented Ymryson y Beirdd on the radio from Bangor Meuryn was one of the adjudicators and later the only adjudicator. His bardic name has been incorporated into Welsh as a new word, meuryn denoting the adjudicator in poetic contests. After retiring from the Herald Office, he assisted young poets through his poetry column, Cerdd Dafod, in Y Cymro.


Published date: 2001

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