William John Gruffydd

William John Gruffydd

William John Gruffydd

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Professor William John Gruffydd (14 February 1881 – 29 September 1954) was a Welsh academic, poet, writer, and politician.

Family and Education

Gruffydd was born in Gorffwysfa, Bethel, in the parish of Llanddeiniolen, Caernarfonshire the son of a quarryman. He went to Bethel primary school and then Caernarfon School followed by Jesus College, Oxford. In 1909 he married Gwenda Evans the daughter of a minister of religion from Abercarn. They had one son. During the First World War he served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in the North Sea and in Egypt attaining the rank of Lieutenant.

Celtic poet and academic

Gruffydd specialised in Celtic culture. He became a schoolteacher and worked in Scarborough and then for two years at Beaumaris Grammar School before taking a post as assistant lecturer in Celtic studies at University College, Cardiff in 1906; from 1918 until 1946 he was Professor of Celtic. He was President of Council of the National Eisteddfod of Wales and edited Y Llenor ('The Littérateur', a highly influential Welsh language journal of literature published by the university). He wrote poetry and prose and contributed to Welsh scholarship by publishing important histories of Welsh literature and legend.


Gruffydd took an interest in Welsh politics and social questions, coming from a nonconformist, radical family. He was a member of Plaid Cymru and served as deputy vice-president in 1937. However, Gruffydd voiced disagreement with Plaid......
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