Fonds GB 0210 MSJDYFNBRITT - J. Dyfnallt Owen papers relating to Brittany

Identity area

Reference code



J. Dyfnallt Owen papers relating to Brittany


  • 1927-1952 (mainly 1944-1952) (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

5 volumes.

Context area

Name of creator

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.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Dr Geraint Dyfnallt Owen; Hove; Donation (with other papers including NLW MS 23322D and NLW, Rosser Family of Llansteffan Papers); October 1979

Content and structure area

Scope and content

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.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

All records donated to NLW have been retained apart from a few duplicates.


System of arrangement

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

Conditions of access and use area

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.

Language of material

  • Breton
  • English
  • French
  • Welsh

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, French, Welsh, Breton.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

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.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

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

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

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


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

December 2012.


  • English



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).

Archivist's note

Description compiled by Rhys Morgan Jones.

Accession area