Dafydd Jenkins (1911–2012), scholar of medieval Welsh law (inter plurima)
Dr Paul Russell writes:
Professor Dafydd Jenkins, legal historian and the doyen of medieval Welsh law, died in the early hours of Sunday 6 May at the age of 101. Born on 1 March 1911, he lived long enough to have had at least four careers. He was born in London to Cardiganshire parents, attended Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he read Natural Sciences followed by Law, and was called to the Bar in 1934. He then worked as a barrister in Carmarthen and in 1938 was secretary of the campaign to have the Welsh language recognised in Court. A conscientious objector during the war, he bought a farm at Trawsnant in Ceredigion and farmed that in the forties and fifties, a farm he still owned at his death. He was influential in Welsh agricultural circles and was instrumental in establishing farming co-operatives in Wales. In the forties and fifties he conducted evening classes on agricultural topics for the Extra-Mural Department of the University of Wales College, Aberystwyth, and from 1965 lectured in the Law Department at Aberystwyth, eventually holding a chair in Legal History and Welsh Law, (1975–1978), until his retirement.
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One of his great achievements was the establishment of Seminar Cyfraith Hywel which meets twice a year to discuss matters of Welsh law and over the years has been a remarkably productive source of volumes of essays and edited texts on various aspects of medieval Welsh law, such as the laws of women, suretyship, the laws of court, the Three Columns (on homicide, arson and theft), and another one is in the making on the Law of Wild and Tame. He continued to attend the meetings until recently, and on 6 March 2011 we held a special meeting to celebrate his 100th birthday on the previous St David’s Day. He was unable to attend the last few meetings of the seminar, and there was, and will continue to be, a Dafydd-shaped gap in the front row.
He is buried next to his wife at Capel Penrhiw, Joppa, next door to his farm at Trawsnant.
SEMINAR CYFRAITH HYWEL
IN HONOUR OF DAFYDD JENKINS
5 March 2011
National Library of Wales
10.30 Coffee in Pen Dinas Cafe
11.00 Education Room
Chair: Prof Thomas Charles-Edwards
Dafydd Walters - Cydweithrediad, hen a chyfoes / Co-operation, ancient & modern
Sara Elin Roberts - Pontefract Castle and Welsh law
Christine James - Dafydd (Llwyd) : Dosbarthwr
Huw Pryce - J. E. Lloyd and the Welsh laws
Chair: Prof Robin Chapman Stacey
Noel Cox - The contribution of Dafydd Jenkins to the study of Welsh Legal History at Aberystwyth
Thomas Charles-Edwards - Llyfr Colan and Llyfr Iorwerth
Paul Russell - Iorwerth ap Madog, Llyfr Iorwerth, and Latin C
Morfydd E. Owen - Oh K
1.00 Buffet Lunch in Pen Dinas Cafe
We are extremely grateful to the National Library for allowing us to hold the meeting in the Library.