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In 1920 , when the University College of Swansea was founded, he was persuaded by the new principal , Franklin Sibly (see below) , to join him there as a Welshman who understood the needs of a college in a Welsh industrial district. For some years Ernest Hughes was the only lecturer in the arts faculty there, but his main task initially was to bring the new college to the notice of the public and obtain their support. He lectured on the history of Wales in the area which the college was to serve, and gave the proceeds of the lectures to the fund to establish the college library.
He continued to lecture in Welsh and English to external classes and cultural societies after a chair of history was established in 1926 -he had been an independent lecturer until then. During the whole of his period as history Professor in Swansea he insisted that every student in his department take a course in Welsh history. So great was his respect for the highest academic standards that he did not lecture on this topic himself in college but entrusted the work to Glyn Roberts (see below) who had the research qualifications that were impossible for him to attain with his poor and deteriorating eyesight . He restricted himself to his own special field, namely that of the constitutional history of England in the Middle Ages . He prepared those lectures with the help of his wife, who read for him. He lectured to the first-year students on Europe after the fall of Rome . Many of the colourful phrases, clearly enunciated in his melodious voice, remained in the memory of generations of his students.
He was chairman of Swansea Drama Co. for many years, as well as serving as actor and producer . He led the Union of Welsh Drama . He was chairman of the Swansea Orpheus Musical Soc. for years, and sang folk-songs well. He served on the councils of the National Eisteddfod and was drama adjudicator in the festival many times. He showed much zeal for the unity of the University of Wales and served regularly on its committees. He worked for Undeb Cymru Fydd during the difficult years of World War II and afterwards. He was a member of the court of governors of N.L.W. He presided over the Swansea and Llanelli branch of the Historical Association , fostering connections between the teaching of history in schools and in his college. Although he was not able to write much himself, he constantly urged others to do so. He collected material for the magazine Y Beirniad for Sir John Morris-Jones ( DWB , 668-9) and supervised its finances.
When a studio was opened in Swansea by the B.B.C. he broadcast in English to the schools of Wales , and when the ‘ Welsh Interval ’ was provided he discussed the topics of the day in Wales for some years. He was a zealous Calvinistic Methodist and an excellent Sunday school teacher who attracted to his class in Trinity , Swansea , men of all ages and denominations. He continued to be active with cultural movements after he retired from his chair in 1944 .
He d. 23 Dec. 1953 in Swansea and was buried in Llanycil churchyard. He m. twice: (1) in 1907 , Sarah Agnes , daughter of William Thomas ( coal merchant ), Aberystwyth . She d. in 1918 leaving two daughters; (2) in 1920 , Sarah ( Sally ) , daughter of Thomas Evans , Abergavenny , who d. in 1967 . They had two sons.
Marian Henry Jones, Aberystwyth
Published date: 2001