Moelona

Moelona – Elizabeth Mary Owen

21 June 1877 - 5 June 1953

Moelona was a teacher, writer and columnist who had a wide range of interests and was earnest in her support for the Welsh language and Welsh culture. She came from a farming background, brought up on a farm, Moylon, in the village of Rhydlewis in southern Cardiganshire.

Even though she won a scholarship to attend the university at Aberystwyth she didn't follow any further education courses. She was appointed as a pupil-teacher at the school in Rhydlewis, a position which Caradoc Evans applied for – he was also brought-up locally and became a famous and notable author.

As a result of her daily work Moelona was aware of the dearth of Welsh language teaching materials and began to develop her own. She had written adult fiction, Dwy Ramant o’r De (1911), and then started to write for children. She competed in the Wrexham National Eisteddfod, 1912, and won the first prize of £5 for a children's novel which ‘described Welsh Life’ – Teulu Bach Nantoer was published in 1913 by Hughes a'i Fab.

Moelona then became well-known as a novelist, columnist and teacher. She wrote further novels for children and for adults such as Breuddwydion Myfanwy (1928) and Ffynnonloyw (1938) and the textbooks Priffordd Llên (1924) and Storïau o Hanes Cymru (1930).

It was difficult for Moelona to separate the novelist and the teacher/nationalist as she tried to lead and shape children's minds; she placed vocabulary sections in her books so that they could be used in the schoolroom, and many of her characters, such as the young people in Cwrs y Lli (1927), possess the author's ideals.

From 1914 onwards Moelona was responsible for the Children's Column in Y Darian (earlier it was Tarian y Gweithiwr) and started the paper's Women's Column in 1919. Y Darian’s editor was the Rverend John Tywi Jones, a Baptist minister and a widower also well-known for his patriotism and his efforts to support the Welsh language and its culture. Moelona and Tywi Jones became close and married in 1917. They later lived at Glais, Swansea, with Tywi’s daughters from his first marriage, Sophie and Gwyneth. It seems that there wasn't a close relationship between Moelona and the girls.

Moelona died in 1953 at Ceinewydd, New Quay, where she had lived since 1935 after Tywi's retirement.

Image from Llyfrgell Ceredigion Library