R. Silyn Roberts Papers

Scope and Content

A large collection of papers containing letters from various correspondents to R. (Silyn) Roberts, some from prominent literary figures such as W.J. Gruffydd, T. Gwynn Jones and Cynan - one letter from David Lloyd George. The topics covered include the poetry of R. (Silyn) Roberts, his work with the WEA and the Labour Party, and personal matters. Some correspondence is addressed to Mrs Silyn Roberts, 1930-1939 and some from R. (Silyn) Roberts to his family, 1896-1930

There is an incomplete set of R. (Silyn) Roberts' diaries, 1896 -1930. Also, drafts of his own poetry, essays, adjudications, and notes on various subjects, including his own collections of poetry and his biography. There are notes on sermons, examination papers, research notes on Arthurian Legend, applications for posts, photographs, a labour party address and lecture notes when studying at UCNW and at Bala Theological College.

There are papers, including correspondence and accounts, relating to the First World War and the suffering experienced in Wales; the poetry of Hedd Wyn and the Hedd Wyn Memorial Fund, 1917-1926; a trip to the United States with the Moelwyn Choir to collect money towards the campaign against tuberculosis in Wales, 1911-1912.

Administrative / Biographical History

R. Silyn Roberts, Calvinistic Methodist minister, poet and social reformer was born in 1871 in Llanllyfni, Caernarfonshire. He worked as a quarryman before attending the University College of North Wales and the Bala Theological College. He served as a minister at the Welsh chapel in Lewisham, Kent and then in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Merionethshire.

He was an accomplished poet, winning the crown in the 1902 National Eisteddfod for his ode entitled Trystan ac Esyllt. He also published a collection of poetry under the title, Trystan ac Esyllt a Chaniadau Eraill (1904).

He was a labour councillor for the Merioneth County Council and travelled the United States lecturing on the campaign against tuberculosis in Wales. He published a pamphlet on the labour party, Y Blaid Lafur Anibynnol, ei Hanes a'i Hamcan (1908).

From 1922 R. (Silyn) Roberts was a lecturer for the extra mural department at the University College of North Wales and in 1925 he established the North Wales District of the Workers Educational Association.

He was married to Mary Parry of London and had two sons and a daughter. He died in 1930.

For further biographical material, consult the authorised biography Silyn : (Robert Silyn Roberts) 1871-1930 by David Thomas (1956)


The records were received at different occasions and as a result have been catalogued separately and incorporated into the General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts. They have been arranged according to record type mainly.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all users

Acquisition Information

Items 624 -626 are stated to have been deposited by Mrs Silyn Roberts whilst items 31111-31120 were presented by a nephew of R. (Silyn) Roberts, Mathonwy Hughes.


Description compiled by Elen Wyn Hughes, November 2001

Other Finding Aids

An item level catalogue is available at the Archives Department of the University of Wales Bangor. Reference numbers : General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts 624 - 626, 11509 - 11510, 15291 - 15359, 17135 - 17278, 19326 - 19852, 19983 - 20011, 20026 - 200030, 31111 - 31120, 32480 - 32481

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright conditions apply. Reprographics are made at the discretion of the Archivist.

Related Material

The Archive Department also holds the Hedd Wyn Manuscripts and the WEA Records for the North Wales District, which are unlisted as yet.