Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ELLIS-GRIFFITH , Sir ELLIS (JONES) ( 1860 - 1926 ), barrister and M.P. ;

b. 24 May 1860 in Birmingham , where his father, Thomas Morris Griffith , was a builder . While Ellis Griffith was still a child, his father retired and the family came to live at Tŷ Coch , Brynsiencyn , Anglesey . He went to school at Brynsiencyn and Holt and was one of the first batch of students at the University College , Aberystwyth . He graduated in the University of London when he was 19 years of age, won an open scholarship to Downing College , Cambridge , in 1880 , and took his degree with first class honours in the law tripos [of 1883 , taking the first place in that class]. He was president of the Union at Cambridge and was elected a Fellow of his college. In 1887 he was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple and joined the North Wales and Chester circuit . He was appointed recorder of Birkenhead in 1907 and retained the appointment until 1912 . He took silk in 1910 . Both as a lawyer and as a public speaker he was noted for his sparkling wit and for his ability to coin a telling phrase. In 1892 , as a Liberal , he contested unsuccessfully the Toxteth division of Liverpool ; but, in the general election of 1895 , he was elected Liberal member for Anglesey — a seat he held until 1918 when he was defeated by Sir Owen Thomas (q.v. in Appendix) , the Labour candidate . In 1912 he was elected chairman of the Welsh Parliamentary Party in succession to Sir Alfred Thomas (q.v.) , who had been elevated to the House of Lords as lord Pontypridd . In the same year he was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Home Office and took a prominent part in steering the Welsh Disestablishment Bill through the House of Commons . He resigned in 1915 . He was appointed a member of the Privy Council in 1914 and was created a baronet in 1918 . After having lost his seat in Anglesey he was again chosen as Liberal candidate but withdrew in 1921 . In 1922 he was one of three candidates for the University of Wales seat but was again unsuccessful. In Dec. 1923 he was elected as Liberal member for the Carmarthen district, but he resigned in 1924 , and his parliamentary career came to an end. He d. very suddenly, 30 Nov. 1926 , while attending the assizes at Swansea , and was buried in Llanidan churchyard, Brynsiencyn . He m. in 1892 Mary , daughter of Robert Owen , Tŷ Draw , Mold . There were two sons and one daughter of this marriage, of whom only one son, Ellis Arundel , who succeeded to the title, survived him. Sir Arundel d. in June 1934 and Lady Ellis-Griffith in 1941 .


  • Newspaper articles;
  • personal knowledge;
  • T. Huws Davies in The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1926-7 ;
  • information received from Mrs. Gwilym Davies , Aberystwyth.


Edward Morgan Humphreys, O.B.E., M.A., (1882-1955), Caernarfon

Corrections and additions:


B. 23 May 1860 . See his biography by T.I. Ellis , 1969 .


Published date: 1959