Former home of Silyn and Mary Roberts, Tanygrisiau

button-theme-womenFormer home of Silyn and Mary Roberts, Tanygrisiaubutton_lang_welsh

Beyond this gateway is the former home of Silyn and Mary Roberts, ardent Socialists and founders of the Workers’ Educational Association in North Wales. The couple lived here from 1905, when they married, until 1913. The house is a private residence – please don’t enter the grounds.

tanygrisiau_mary_robertsRobert Silyn Roberts (1871-1930) came from Cwm Silyn in Dyffryn Nantlle and started working in a slate quarry aged 13. He left five years later to study theology. He was a Methodist minister at a church in Lewisham, London, for four years and then, from 1905, at Capel Bethel, Tanygrisiau.

Mary Silyn Roberts (1877-1972), née Parry, grew up in London and, in 1900, was one of the earliest women to earn a degree at Aberystwyth University, subsequently becoming a lecturer there. In 1904 and 1905, she and Silyn visited Denmark to study adult education. She had won a scholarship to Denmark when she was a schoolgirl.

tanygrisiau_silyn_robertsShe and her husband dedicated their lives to improving the conditions of the working class. They had the chapel vestry extended for evening classes. In 1925, Robert founded the WEA’s regional branch. Mary later became the branch secretary. The WEA was founded in 1903 to provide education for working adults.

Mary was involved in the women’s suffrage movement before the First World War. During the war she worked for the Government as an agricultural organiser, giving talks in many towns, including Welshpool, to encourage women to grow more food in gardens and on farms.

In 1926 she gave a speech, in Welsh, at a peace rally in Hyde Park, London, after organising a women’s march for peace to London from Penygroes, Gwynedd.

Silyn was also a poet, winning the crown at the 1902 National Eisteddfod. He was involved in the Independent Labour Party and was later a Labour county councillor in Blaenau Ffestiniog. He travelled widely and translated a French novel which was published in Welsh, and wrote the novel Llio Plas y Nos.

With thanks to Angharad Tomos

Postcode: LL41 3RH    View Location Map