Former home of poet and journalist John Eilian, Caernarfon

LInk to Welsh translationFormer home of poet and journalist John Eilian, Caernarfon

Newspaper editor and poet John Eilian (1903-1985) lived here after moving to Caernarfon in 1953.

Born John Tudor Jones, he grew up on a farm at Llaneilian, Anglesey. He was an undergraduate at Aberystwyth and Jesus College, Oxford, but left both universities without a degree.

As a young journalist with the Western Mail in Cardiff he befriended colleague Caradog Prichard (author of Un Nos Ola Leuad). He spent three years in Basra as editor of The Times of Mesopotamia, and in his 30s edited The Times of Ceylon.

After moving to the Daily Mail in London in 1930, he and his wife Lilian established a popular magazine named Y Ford Gron (which translates as “The Round Table”). John returned to Wales in 1931 to be general editor and publisher at Hughes & Son in Wrexham, where he was the first editor of the Welsh-language newspaper Y Cymro.

For a quarter of a century from 1953 he was chief editor of the Herald papers (Yr Herald Cymraeg, Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald and Holyhead and Anglesey Mail). His involvement saved Yr Herald Cymraeg, which had been loss-making for years.

His first poetry volume Gwaed Ifanc (which means “Young Blood”) was published when he was 19 years old, and included work by Prosser Rhys, 22. He became well known as John Eilian after winning the National Eisteddfod’s principal poetry prizes. In 1947, when the Eisteddfod was in Colwyn Bay, he won the chair for his ode Maelgwn Gwynedd which touched on one of the great debates of the time: militarism versus pacifism. In Dolgellau in 1949, he received the crown for his pryddest (free-metre poem) Meirionnydd.

John was a royalist and was the Conservative Party’s candidate for Anglesey in the 1960s and 70s. He received the OBE honour for services to journalism.

With thanks to Geraint Persi and Caernarfon Civic Society

Postcode: LL55 1BE    View Location Map