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Generous donation funds research work on Gwenallt and Old College law development

Mr Francis Glynne Jones, centre, with Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, Director of Welsh Language and External Relations at Aberystwyth University and Manon Rogers, Appeal Officer at the University's Development and Alumni Relations team.

A research project into the work of the poet Gwenallt and the development of a Law Room and Moot Court as part of the ambitious plan for the Old College has received a significant financial boost.

At a special reception on Tuesday 20 September, retired Wrexham solicitor Francis Glynne Jones presented £50,000 to the University in memory of his late brother Colin Glynne Jones, his father Hywel Glynne Jones, his grandfather Cyril Oswald Jones and great grandfather Humphrey Bradley Jones, the poet Garmonydd.

The donation, made with monies from the estate of his brother, Colin, will be divided equally between the two projects which are led by the Department of Welsh & Celtic Studies the Department of Law & Criminology.

Although Francis Glynne Jones himself studied at Cambridge, his father, brother and other members of the family studied at Aberystwyth University.

His brother, father and grandfather also served as President of the Chester and North Wales Law Society in turn.

Presenting the donation, Mr Jones said: “My family has many many connections with Aberystwyth University and I am delighted that I have been able to recognise them in this way. I’m a firm believer that education is everything for the future, and the future of our country is dependent on education. The Law Room and Moot Court, as part of the Old College project offers the exciting prospect of bring the law alive, how it should operate and make it more human, and I am also very pleased to support the work on Gwenallt, given the rich bardic tradition in our family.”

Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, Director of Welsh Language and External Relations at Aberystwyth University, said: “It was a great pleasure to welcome Francis Glynne Jones to the University and to recognise the family’s generosity. The two projects that will benefit from this donation offer us exciting opportunities; on the one hand to develop an all-important resource for a new generation of Law graduates, as we celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Department, the oldest in Wales, and on the other hand to facilitate academic study into the life and work of one of the great Welsh literary figures of the twentieth century.”

As part of the exciting plans to transform the Old College, a new Law Room and Moot Court will be created for the Department of Law & Criminology , and the donation will contribute to the realization of this valuable new resource.

Professor Emyr Lewis, Head of Aberystwyth University’s Department of Law & Criminology, said: “This generous donation is a significant boost to the plan to create a contemporary Moot Court and Law Room in the Old College. The Court will be a huge asset to our students and to the Department. It will offer an unparalleled venue to host moots, giving students the opportunity to sharpen their debating and reasoning skills, while getting a taste of court work. It will also be a space for more general education about the justice system, including involvement with the public, in order to increase public understanding of the law and crime.”

Earlier this year, a collection of objects and manuscripts belonging to the poet and pacifist Gwenallt was presented to the University by his granddaughter, Elin Gwenallt Jones.

Now housed in the National Library, they will be an important resource for a study by PhD student Gruffydd Rhys Davies, whose work will be funded by this donation.

Professor Mererid Hopwood from the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies said: “This donation has opened the door for us to accept Gruffydd Rhys Davies as a PhD student and realize a special research plan – one of local and national importance. Through the generosity of Mr Francis Glynne Jones and family, and in partnership with the National Library of Wales, we can proceed to analyse this new material and challenge some of the traditional perceptions about Gwenallt as a man and a writer. As a Department we are most grateful and are very much looking forward to getting started.”

It is hoped to feature elements from the Gwenallt collection in a permanent exhibition about the University in the redeveloped Old College.