ROWLANDS, EURYS IONOR (1926-2006), Welsh scholar

Name: Eurys Ionor Rowlands

Date of birth: 1926

Date of death: 2006

Gender : Male

Occupation: Welsh scholar

Area of activity: Poetry; Scholarship and Languages

Authors: Robert Geraint Gruffydd, Brynley Francis Roberts

Eurys Rowlands (Eurys Rolant) was born in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, in 1926, on of the five children of R.J. Rowlands (’Meuryn’) and his wife Margaret. Educated at Penrallt primary school and Caernarfon County School, he was a student in the Welsh department, University College of North Wales, Bangor, for a term during the 1944-45 session before being called up to the Royal Air Force where he was a clerk for three years. He returned to Bangor in 1948 and graduated with first-class honours in Welsh in 1950 and gained his M.A. in 1955 for a dissertation on the work of the poet Lewys Môn. He was appointed Welsh teacher at Holyhead comprehensive school in 1953 but towards the end of 1956 he was appointed a lecturer in the Celtic Department at Glasgow University. In 1958 he was appointed lecturer in Welsh and Welsh history in the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Cardiff where he remained for 11 years. During his time in Cardiff it became apparent that he was suffering from a serious and progressive mental illness that led to his resignation. He was awarded the Sir John Williams Fellowship by the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth for 1972 -73 which enabled him to resume his research and early in 1974 he was invited to take up a lectureship in Welsh at University College Dublin. He remained in Dublin until the summer of 1978 but again was forced to resign his post owing to the recurrence of his illness. He subsequently lived in Cardiff, Chester and Liverpool.

There is no doubt that Eurys Rowlands was one of the most able Welsh scholars of his generation. With a broad range of interests his main of area of research was the work of the poets of the gentry, especially the so-called Golden Age of the poets of the cywydd period between c.1330 and c.1530. He was master of every aspect of the work of these poets: their historical and political background, their relationship with their patrons and with one another, the manuscript tradition of their work and especially their metrical skills and artistry. He edited Gwaith Lewys Môn (Cardiff, 1975) and Gwaith Owain ap Llywelyn ab y Moel (Cardiff, 1984), he revised and completed editions of Gwaith Iorwerth Fynglwyd (Cardiff, 1975) and of Gwaith Rhys Brydydd a Rhisiart ap Rhys (Cardiff, 1976) and he also prepared a useful selection of poems, Poems of the Cywyddwyr (Dublin, 1976). He published a host of innovative articles and notes in this field as well as a new edition of Awdlau Cadeiriol Detholedig y Ganrif Hon, 1900-25 (1959) and Llywarch Hen a’i Feibion (Aberystwyth, 1984). He was an able student of linguistics and his published notes on Welsh grammar and syntax reveal how knowledgeable he was in contemporary linguistic theory. He was a poet of merit though he published little of his poetry.

He married Nina Bevan and they had a son and daughter. Eurys Rowlands died in hospital in Liverpool 18 April 2006; his funeral was at Bangor crematorium 25 April.