Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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GRIFFITH , WILLIAM JOHN ( 1875 - 1931 ), writer of short stories ;

b. at Bwlan , Aberffraw , Anglesey , 15 Sept. 1875 , son of Thomas Lewis Griffith , farmer and valuer , and Margaret Griffith of Bwlan . The family went to live at Cefn Coch farm , Llansadwrn , near Beaumaris , where Griffith lived until he was 24 years of age. He was educated at Llansadwrn and at Beaumaris grammar-school , won an agricultural scholarship to the university college , Bangor , and took a short course there. His father returned to his old home, Henllys Fawr , Aberffraw , leaving Griffith in charge of Cefn Coch , but after about three years he too returned to Henllys Fawr , where he spent the remainder of his life. He joined the army in 1914 but on the death of his father in 1916 was discharged to look after the farm; he was an able farmer . He d., unmarried, 7 Oct. 1931 . He began to write short plays for the local dramatic societies but did not come into prominence until his very amusing short stories appeared in Y Genedl Gymreig . He won the Genedl eisteddfod prize in 1924 with his story ‘ Eos y Pentan .’ A year later his story ‘ Yr Hen Siandri ’ was published in the same paper and from that time on his reputation was assured. He wrote five other stories for the Genedl as well as a number of articles. In 1938 the stories, edited by T. Rowland Hughes , were published under the title Storïau'r Henllys Fawr ( Aberystwyth ). His stories, though hilarious, are not merely comic, for they are full of rural atmosphere and are based on the philosophy and observation of the countryman.


  • Personal recollections, and information received from his sister, Mrs. Prys Owen .


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

Published date: 1959