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Letter sent by John Morris-Jones to his sweetheart Mary, New Year's Day 1892 [page 1 of 4]

Letter sent by John Morris-Jones to his sweetheart Mary, New Year's Day 1892 [page 1 of 4]
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This item comes from: Department of Manuscripts and Archives, University of Wales, Bangor (Item reference: Casgliad John Morris-Jones / John Morris Jones Collection).  If you would like to see the original item, or require information regarding copyright, please contact the repository/contributor named above.


John Morris-Jones sent this letter to his sweetheart, Mary Hughes, Siglen, Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, on New Year's Day, 1892. He wrote the first half of the letter in verse form and the first page also includes a watercolour sketch painted by John Morris-Jones himself. In his letters, John expresses his feelings for Mary quite freely, but it is clear that Mary is not as open in her letters to him. At the end of this letter John asks why Mary does not express herself as freely in her letters as she does when they are together - he would like her to tell him more about the things she has been doing, and not to write as though she is addressing a stranger ('paham nad ydi Mary bach y llythyrau ddim mor rydd, mor "confiding", a'r Fary bach fydd yn eistedd ar fy mynwes ac yn fy mreichiau i? ... Gadewch i mi gael peth o'ch hanes a pheidiwch ag ysgrifennu fel at rywun dierth'). There is a happy ending to the story, however, for John and Mary were married in 1897, and had four children.

John Morris-Jones (1864-1929) was born in Llandrygarn, Anglesey, but was brought up at Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll. He was educated at Friars School, Bangor, and Christ College, Brecon, before graduating in Mathematics at Jesus College, Oxford, in 1883. During his time at Oxford, he began to take an interest in Welsh studies under the influence of Sir John Rhŷs, and studied Celtic for a year. In 1886, he was one of the founding members of 'Cymdeithas Dafydd ap Gwilym' - the Welsh student society at Oxford. In 1889, he was appointed lecturer in Welsh at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, and was made Professor of Welsh six years later. He was knighted in 1918.

John Morris-Jones excelled in a number of literary fields: he edited the work of Ellis Wynne, 'Gweledigaethau y Bardd Cwsc' (1896), and published a pioneering analysis of the strict metres ('cynghanedd') in his volume 'Cerdd Dafod' (1925). He is perhaps best known for his work as a grammarian: in addition to his substantial work, 'A Welsh Grammar, Historical and Comparative' (1913), and 'Welsh Syntax' (published posthumously in 1931), he broke new ground in his attempts to reform the orthography of the Welsh language in his volumes 'Welsh Orthography' (1893) and 'Orgraff yr Iaith Gymraeg' (1928).

Gathering the Jewels ref: GTJ15150

Department of Manuscripts and Archives, University of Wales, Bangor

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