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National Library of Wales
Owen, J. Dyfnallt, papers relating to Brittany

Reference code(s): GB 0210 MSJDYFNBRITT

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: J. Dyfnallt Owen papers relating to Brittany

Short Title: Owen, J. Dyfnallt, papers relating to Brittany

Creation date(s): 1927-1952 (mainly 1944-1952)

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 5 volumes

Name of creator(s): Dyfnallt


Administrative/Biographical history: The Rev. John Dyfnallt Owen (Dyfnallt, 1873-1956), poet, writer and journalist, was born at Coedffalde, Glamorgan, on 7 April 1873. He was Congregational minister at Lammas Street, Carmarthen, 1910-1947. He won the crown at the 1907 National Eisteddfod in Swansea and was made Archdruid of Wales in 1954. From 1927 he edited the weekly Welsh newspaper Y Tyst. Dyfnallt was, from 1908, a member of the Celtic Congress. He visited Brittany in 1928, publishing his accounts of the journey in Y Tyst (collected in O Ben Tir Llydaw (Merthyr Tydfil, 1934)). He became friends with leading Breton nationalists and literary figures, including Taldir and the Abbé Perrot. Dyfnallt's daughter Meirion (1905-1991) and son Geraint (1908-1993) also became deeply interested in Breton matters. Dyfnallt died in Aberystwyth on 28 December 1956.
Following the Liberation of France from Nazi occupation in 1944 many Breton nationalists were imprisoned or otherwise punished by the French authorities on charges of collaboration. Dyfnallt was among the prominent Welshmen who sought to defend some of those affected, campaigning on their behalf and writing in their defence in the Welsh press. He was part of a delegation from the Council of the National Eisteddfod to visit France in April 1947, on the invitation of the French government, to inquire into the situation.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers, 1927-1952, of the Rev. J. Dyfnallt Owen relating to the imprisonment of Breton nationalists and the alleged suppression of Breton language and culture by the French state following the Second World War, consisting of correspondence, written accounts of the treatment of individual nationalists, papers relating to the visit of the Welsh delegation to Brittany in 1947, a typescript draft of Yann Fouéré, Breton Nationalism (Cardiff, [1946]), and other general papers.


Language/scripts of material: English, French, Welsh, Breton.

System of arrangement: Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 23878-23882E.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply

Finding aids: The manuscripts are recorded in the volume NLW, Manuscripts Relating to Brittany (1998), along with other papers relating to the treatment of Breton nationalists in post-War France.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records donated to NLW have been retained apart from a few duplicates.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated (with other papers including NLW MS 23322D and NLW, Rosser Family of Llansteffan Papers) by Dr Geraint Dyfnallt Owen, Hove, October 1979.


Related material: See also NLW, Papurau'r Parch. J. Dyfnallt Owen, and NLW MSS 23317-46 (Geraint Dyfnallt Owen Manuscripts).

Publication note: Cyngor yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, Adroddiad y Ddirprwyaeth o'r Cyngor a Ymwelodd â Llydaw yn Ebrill, 1947 (Cardiff, 1947).


Note: Title based on contents.

Archivist's note: Description compiled by Rhys Morgan Jones. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Geraint Elfyn Jones, Bywyd a Gwaith John Dyfnallt Owen (Swansea, 1976); [Yann Fouéré], Breton Nationalism (Cardiff, [1947]); Yann Fouéré, La Maison in Connemara: The History of a Breton (Oughterard, 2011); Daniel Leach, 'Bezen Perrot: The Breton nationalist unit of the SS, 1943-5', Journal of Interdisciplinary Celtic Studies, Vol. 4 (available online,, viewed November 2012).

Rules or conventions: Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH

Date(s) of descriptions: December 2012

Dyfnallt, | 1873-1956 | Archives
Dyfnallt, | 1873-1956 | Correspondence
Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru. | Cyngor
France | History | 1945-1958
France | History | German occupation, 1940-1945
Nationalism | France | Brittany
World War, 1939-1945 | Collaborationists | France | Brittany

Personal names
Dyfnallt , 1873-1956
Fouéré , Yann

Corporate names

Brittany (France)

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