John Richards
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John Dyer Richards (1876 - 1927)

Reverend John Dyer Richards
Born in Saron, Carmarthenshire, Wales, United Kingdommap
Husband of — married 28 Jul 1908 in Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales, United Kingdommap
Died at about age 51 in Nanternis, Cardiganshire, Wales, United Kingdommap
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Profile last modified | Created 1 Apr 2018
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John Richards was born in Saron, Carmarthenshire, Wales.


John was born in the first quarter of 1876 to Job Richards and Mary (Dyer) Richards, the middle name of Dyer comes from his mother's maiden name.

His father Job, who died while john was 13 years old, was a minister at Moriah Congregational Church in Llanedy, this obviously influenced john as he followed in his father's footsteps and after graduating as a minister from Brecon College in 1903, he took his first post at Ebenezer Welsh Independent Chapel at Trawsfynydd Merionithshire in North Wales. The Cardigan Bay Visitor of the 8th September 1903 carries an article of his Ordination the previous week. The Bard Watcyn Wyn who had formerly taught John at Ammanford took part in the ordination ceremony.

During his time as a minister, John won a number of Eisteddfod Chairs for his poetry. The following is a list of his successes (It is not complete as verification is required for the full list)

  • Llandderfel 1905
  • Hendre (Ammanford) 1906
  • Towyn 1910
  • London 1913
  • Corwen 1913
  • Cwmmair 1914
  • Llanybydder 1914

John spent fourteen years at Trawsfynydd and during this time, he met, befriended, mentored and encouraged Ellis Humphrey Evans also known as the Bard "Hedd Wyn" and famously known for winning the chair at the Birkenhead Eisteddfod in 1917. This subsequently became known as the Eisteddfod of the Black Chair because Ellis Evans "Hedd Wyn", the winner, had died at the battle for Passchendaele some weeks earlier.

A film entitled Hedd Wyn was made in 1992 and as well as winning six 1994 BAFTA awards, it was also nominated in 1994 for an Oscar. The role of Reverend John Dyer Richards was played by Derec Brown.

While at Trawsfynydd, John married Elizabeth (Bessie) Morgans of Llanelly at a ceremony at Tabernacl in Llanelly on the 28th July 1908. Following the ceremony, the couple travelled to Aberystwyth for their honeymoon.

The census of 1911 shows the couple living in Trawsfynydd:-

2 Apr 1911: Bron Wnion, Trawsfynydd Merionethshire, Trawsfynydd, Merionethshire, Wales
Name Relation Status Sex Age Occupation Birth Place
John Dyer Richards Head Married M 35 Independent Minister Llandebie, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Bessie Richards Wife Married F 29 Llangendeirne, Carmarthenshire, Wales

In 1914, John and Elizabeth had their only child, a son John Morgan Dyer Richards

In December of 1917 John accepted a new posting as the minister of Moriah Welsh Independent Chapel Bedlinog Glamorgan and moved there with his family, in January of 1918, to take up the post. Following on from this, in 1922 John took a further posting and moved with his family to Nanternis near New Quay in Cardigan. He was the minister for both Maenygroes and Nanternis chapels.

John died while still at Maenygroes and Nanternis in 1927 aged 50. He is buried in the graveyard at Maenygroes. His grave, which is now difficult to read and hence locate, is the first grave on the right after entering the gate to the main cemetery site on the other side of the road to Maenygroes Chapel.

As a poet and eisteddfodwr John had the ability to mentor the young Hedd Wyn. Following his death, much of John's work, documents and manuscripts, were deposited at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. In addition, two of the Eisteddfod Chairs that he won, London in 1913 and Cwmmair in 1914 are located as of June 2018 at Maenygroes chapel.

Further information about the Eisteddfod and the Chairs, in Welsh, can be found at this site

Published Works

This is a list of works by J D Richards that have been published in various newspapers and journals during his lifetime. It is by no means exhaustive and additional items will be added as they are identified.



  • "England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008," database, FamilySearch ( : 1 October 2014), John Richards, 1876; from "England & Wales Births, 1837-2006," database, findmypast ( : 2012); citing Birth Registration, Llandilofawr, Carmarthenshire, Wales, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.
  • "England and Wales Census, 1881," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 December 2017), John Richards in household of Job Richards, Llandebie, Carmarthenshire, Wales; from "1881 England, Scotland and Wales Census," database and images, findmypast ( : n.d.); citing p. 21, Piece/Folio 5392/52, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey; FHL microfilm 101,775,479.
  • "England and Wales Census, 1891," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 10 December 2017), John Richards in household of Mary Richards, Llandebie, Carmarthenshire, Wales; from "1891 England, Scotland and Wales census," database and images, findmypast ( : n.d.); citing PRO RG 12, Carmarthenshire county, subdistrict, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.
  • "England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005," database, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2014), Bessie Morgan, 1908; from “England & Wales Marriages, 1837-2005,” database, findmypast ( : 2012); citing 1908, quarter 3, vol. 11A, p. 1955, Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales, General Register Office, Southport, England.
  • 1911 Census: "1911 Wales Census"
    Class: RG14; Piece: 34339; Schedule Number: 128; Registration District Number: 628; ED, institution, or vessel: 12
    Ancestry Sharing Link - Ancestry Record 1911Wales #937273 (accessed 10 October 2022)
    John Dyer Richards (35), married, Independent Minister, head of household in Bron Wnion, Trawsfynydd Merionethshire, Trawsfynydd in Ffestiniog registration district in Merionethshire, Wales. Born in Llandebie, Carmarthenshire, Wales.

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