Emrys ap Iwan

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Emrys Ap-Iwan (24 March 1851 – 6 January 1906), was born Robert Ambrose Jones in Abergele, Conwy (then in Denbighshire). He was a literary critic and writer on politics and religion. He is often seen as one of the most important forerunners of modern Welsh nationalism.

Emrys was the son of a gardener who was employed on a nearby estate. After working in a shop in Liverpool for a time he trained at Bala Theological College. In 1874 he went to Lausanne in Switzerland to teach English in a private school and to study languages, developing a love of the French language and literature which had a great influence on his later writings. He later went to Germany to teach English in Bonn and Gie├čen.

On his return to Wales the Calvinistic Methodist church refused to ordain him a minister because of his opposition to the policy of building English-language chapels in mainly Welsh-speaking areas of Wales. He was eventually ordained a minister in 1884 and then served as a pastor to several churches in Denbighshire, including Rhewl and Ruthin, for the rest of his life.

Emrys ap Iwan was a fervent advocate of the Welsh language and of Welsh nationalism and believed in self-government for Wales within a federal system of government. He was a prolific writer of newspaper articles in Welsh, three volumes of which were later published, as were two volumes of his sermons.

A Secondary School in Abergele is named Ysgol Emrys Ap-Iwan in his honour.


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