Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ROBERTS , CARADOG ( 1878 - 1935 ), musician .

Born 30 Oct. 1878 in Rhosllanerchrugog, Denbs. , the son of John and Margaret Roberts . He showed musical talent when he was quite young and won several prizes at eisteddfodau. After a short period as pupil-teacher in the local elementary school he spent three years learning the craft of carpenter , but relinquished that in order to devote himself to the study of music. He was given lessons on the piano and the organ by Dan C. Owen , Rhosllanerchrugog , Norton Bailey , Dr. J. C. Bridge ( organist of Chester cathedral ), and Herr Johannes Weingartner .

In 1894 he was appointed organist of Mynydd Seion Congregational church , Ponciau , near Wrexham , a post which he held for nine years. He became A.R.C.O. in 1899 , F.R.C.O. in 1900 , A.R.C.M. in 1901 , L.R.A.M. in 1902 , and Mus. Bac. (Oxon.) in 1905 ; he later ( 1911 ) took his doctorate in music at Oxford , the youngest Welshman and the first from North Wales to do so. In 1904 he became organist and choirmaster at Bethlehem Congregational church , Rhosllanerchrugog , retaining that post until he died.

He was director of music at Bangor University College from 1914 until 1920 ; he was also conductor of the Rhosllanerchrugog and Llandudno choral societies. He edited Y Caniedydd Cynulleidfaol , 1921 , and Caniedydd Newydd yr Ysgol Sul , 1930 . His services as organist , adjudicator , and conductor of hymnody-festivals were much in demand. Among his most successful compositions were ‘ Bore'r Pasg ’ (a song), ‘ Crossing the Bar ’ (test piece at the Neath national eisteddfod , 1934 ), ‘ Cleddyf yr Ysbryd ’ ( Caernarfon national eisteddfod , 1935 ). In addition, he composed (or arranged) several hymn-tunes , most of which, e.g. ‘ Rachie ’ and ‘ In Memoriam ’ (in memory of Harry Evans ) , are included in Welsh hymnaries.

He died 3 March 1935 , and was buried in Rhosllanerchrugog cemetery.


  • Y Cerddor , July 1908 and April 1935 ;
  • Y Dysgedydd , May 1935 ;
  • Y Geninen , 1950-1.


Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn

Published date: 1959