Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

2 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



JUDCiH QWJLYM WILLIAMS DEAD. A Typical Welshman. With deep regret we announce the death of his/ IfonBur* Judge 'Gwilyiil Williams, of the Glaniprganshire .Circuit, and chairmaft of the Glamorganshire Quarter Sessions, which took place on Sunday morning, at his residence, Mi skin Manor, Llantrisant. The news was not unexpected, for the judge had been seriously ill for some days, and recent bulletins clearly indicated that the end was not far off. His Honour, who was in his 67 th year, had been under the care and treatment of Dr. Gwyn Lawrence, of Bath, and Dr. William Davies, of Pontyclun, during the past three months for heart failure. He had been able, however, to discharge his public duties until three weeks ago, and presided .at the Glamorgan Quarter Sessions at Cardiff, on March 3rd, a special sessions for the hearing of assessment appeal cases. This was his last public appearance. Jt was on Sunday p week that he was taken seriously ill, when at Langland Bay, and on the Monday he returned to Miskin. Since then he had been gradually sinking. When the last hour came, he was surrounded by all the family, save his youngest son, Mr. Arthur Williams, who is lying ill in the South of France, and retained his consciousness to the very last. He was buried at Llantrisant Church on Wednesday last. Judge Gwilym Williams was once, and not inaptly, described as one of the most represen- tative Welshmen of his age. Few who knew him will question the description, and certainly no description would have been more acceptable to the Judge, himself. His patriotism and sense of nationality were; not things apart, to be worn and divested as occasion might demand it was ingrained in the very texture of the man; his love of race and of country amounting almost to a passion. There is no record of the Judge paving ever himself written barddoniaeth, but he was the son of a bard, was well versed in the poetic literature of his people, was a friend and patron of all Welsh literati, and was among the firmest and most steadfast friends the Eisteddfod has ever known. But if he was not a bard he was an orator of whom his contemporaries were proud: As an accomplished and eloquent after- dinner speaker he was possibly without a rival, and few were the great public functions in Glamorganshire in which the oratory of the Squire of Miskih did not form a delightful feature. It is curious that a man of Judge Gwilym Williams' artistic^ temperament should have deliberately selected the law as a profession. His father, the late Mr. David Williams, of Ynygcynon and Miskin Manor, had meant him to follow in his footsteps as mining engineer and colliery owner, and directed his early education and training with that end in view. Many of the Judge's earlier years were actually spent in the Ynyscynon coalpit, qualifying as colliery manager, and it was somewhat against his father's wishes that he abandoned the mine and became a law student. Undoubtedly his success and popularity in later years, first as a Stipen- diary and then as a County Court Judge, may be attributed largely to the experience he gained in those early years, and the insight which it gave him into the actual conditions of the lives and occupations of the inhabitants of the teem-- ing valleys among whom he discharged his judicial work. Judge Gwilym Williams was born in May, 1839, at Aberdare, and was his father's eldest son. A second son was named Gomer-for "Alaw Goch," the father, was a thorough Cymro, and it was from him the Judge inherited that deep love of country that was so marked a char- acteristic of him all through life. Alaw Goch," as already said, was a bard of eminence, and not the least of the services rendered by the Judge, to his country's literature was his publi- cation; in 1903, for private circulation, of a volume of his father's poetical works, edited by the late critic and. master of Welsh poetry, Dafydd Morganwg. "The name of Alaw Goch," wrote Dafydd M organ wg, in the preface to that work, will be revered while Ynyscynon, Aberdare, exists, for the good work he accom- plished. His love of Welsh literature was almost without limit, and he sacrificed much for its sake. '1 He came to the rescue of 'Y Gwlad- garwr,'published at Aberdare, when that news- paper was on the point of perishing, and he, too, kept it going until it was sufficiently established to maintain itself. No one knows the expense he voluntarily incurred in putting the National Eisteddfod on a sure and permanent basis. His co-workers in that great national effort were Sir Hugh Owen, of London; Archdeacon Griffiths, of Neath Mr. J. Griffiths (Gohebydd), London, etc. They succeeded in bringing about an Eisteddfodic revival in Wales, and opened out a new era for the National Eisteddfod. It was they who arranged it should be held alternately iu North and South, and the first Eisteddfod under the new arrangement was held at Aber- dare in 1861. In that festival the literati of North and South were united in one loving brotherhood. For his great labours in connec- tion with that movement a national testimonial was presented to Alaw Goch, in the form of an illuminated address and a gold medal at the Aberdare Temperance Hall on the 15th January, 1862." It was in 1863 that Judge Gwilym Williams was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple, and he practised for some years on the South Wales circuit, where he became known as an accom- plished Welsh scholar and a brilliant linguist. In 1872 when the Pontypridd Stipendiary Act came into force and a paid magistrate was required for the Pontypridd and Rhondda district there was an agitation for a Welsh- speaking magistrate, and the appointment was conferred by the Liberal Government upon Mr. Gwilym Williams. Never was a public appoint- ment more fully justified by results. The official recognition then given of the need of a know- ledge of Welsh by magistrates sitting in Wales sent a thrill of joy throughout the Principality, and the name of the new Stipendiary became familiar as a household word. Before then to hear any case tried in Wales in Welsh by a Welsh Judge and Welsh lawyers was an ex- perience unknown. The Stipendiary threw himself heart and soul into the public life of the district and the Eisteddfodic movements of the time. He became President of the Rhondda Chamber of Trade, a body that comprised all classes, and was intimately associated with the South Wales Provincial Eisteddfod. In the Rhondda, too, the Stipendiary's purse was ever open for the promotion of all good works, for the Squire of Miskin, as he was called, was a considerable owner of land and royalties in the valley, Trealaw for instance, being built entirely on the Judge's land, and so called in memory of his father. Though himself a Liberal and a Dissenter, albeit not attached to any particular church, the Judge distinguished not in his benevolence between church and chapel. In 1884, after 12 years' good work as the Pontypridd Stipendiary, Mr. Gwilym Williams was promoted to The County Court Judgeship. of the Mid-Wales Circuit, in succession to his Honour Judge Owen, who was removed to the Cardiff and Newport Circuit on the retirement of Judge Selfe. Presiding in April, 1884, at the annual banquet of the Rhondda Chamber of Trade, his Honour, referring to his promotion and impending departure, said- "When I came to the Rhondda 12 years ago to administer justice in a very rough and ready way, I had very little experience beyond what I had gained at the foot of the Gamaliel of Merthyr and Aberdare, Mr. Fowler. It is very gratifying now that I am relinquishing the posi- tion of Stipendiary magistrate to find that all are pleased with the way I have discharged the duties. Notwithstanding that I had to deal with the worst characters in the district, no per- sonal affront or insult was ever offered to me. I did not come to the district Stipendiaryship as a great lawyer. I was not born a great lawyer. My early youth was passed in a coalpit, manag- ing or endeavouring to manage a coalpit. It was my intention, or rather that of my father, that I should manage a coalpit all my life. I do not know what caused a change to come oyer the spirit of my dream. Before I was called to the Bar, circumstances occurred which com- pelled me to go back to look after the coal, and for a time 1 abandoned the idea of becoming Lord Chancellor and devoted myself to the collieries. I was not successful in that vocation and was called to the Bar in June, 1863." His stay in Mid-Wales was a short one, for in 1885, within twelve months, he returned to Glamorganshire to succeed the late Mr. B. T.. Williams as the County Court Judge for that circuit. In that capacity, his intimate knowledge of colliery matters proved of inestimable value to him, and of equal benefit to the litigants who came before him, especially in respect of actions under the Workmen's Compensation Act, upon so many of which he had to adjudicate. The late judge also had a close acquaintance with the social conditions of the people, and in his legal decisions he applied that sound common sense for which he was so eminently characteristic in all his dealings. He also possessed a pretty wit, whilst he could at times be sarcastic, but it was sarcasm of the type which did not leave behind a wound. In 1864, Judge Williams married the eldest daughter of the late Mr. W. Williams, of Aber- pergwm, the eminent scholar, geologist, and patriot, whose sister, Mrs. Jane Williams (Llinos) rendered eminent service to her country by her collection of Welsh airs which she noted down for the singing of peasants in the Vale of Neath. Hospitality was a strong trait in his Honour's character, and Miskin Park was frequently the venue of galas, gymkanas, and bazaars for all sorts of good objects. ■. S