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Date: 16/02/15

Hanesion Hanesydd

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Llun o'r Dr. John Davies (Bwlchllan)/Photo of Dr. John Davies

John Davies
Hanesydd, darlledwr, gwladgarwr
g. 25 Ebrill 1938, f. 16 Chwefror 2015

John Davies
Historian, broadcaster, patriot
b. 25 April 1938, d. 16 February 2015

Y mae llawer o bobl sy'n fwy cymwys na fi i sn am gyfraniad enfawr John Bwlchllan (fel yr adwaenid ef i gynifer ohonom ni) i faes astudio hanes ein cenedl, ac i ymhelaethu ar ei ran allweddol yn y frwydr dros hawliau'r Gymraeg. Y cyfan gallaf innau ddweud yw y bydd ei gyfrol Hanes Cymru yn esiampl a llinyn mesur ar gyfer pob hanesydd a ddaw ar ei l, a bod ei benderfyniad tawel yn sylfaen ar gyfer y brwydrau dros yr iaith a ddaeth yn sgl sefdylu Cymdeithas Yr Iaith - ac yntau'n un o'i sylfaenwyr - yn ystod dyddiau tanboeth y chwedegau ac y tu hwnt.

Hoffwn ei gofio heno fel dyn, fel cymeriad, un yr adwaenwn pan oeddwn yn byw yn Neuadd Pantycelyn - y neuadd y bu'n warden drosti am ddeunaw mlynedd - yn yr wythdegau cynnar.

Pan welais Fwlchllan y tro cyntaf, yr oedd yn ymddangos yn union fel yr oeddwn i'n disgwyl i academydd ymddangos - tei a siwt llwyd braidd yn llac, efo osgo dyn a oedd yn cario pwysau ei ddoethineb yn ysgafn ac yn ddi-rwysg. Yr oedd yn bresenoldeb tawel a sicr yng ngweithgareddau pob dydd y neuadd, un a roes i'r myfyrwyr y rhyddid a'r hunan-hyder i redeg gweithgareddau heb iddo ymyrryd ond iddo roi cyngor fel y bu'r angen neu'r galw.

Nid oedd yn cymryd ei hunan cymaint o ddifrif, chwaith; priodoledd yr ystyriaf pob tro yn rhinwedd ym mhob un sydd wedi ysgwyddo cyfrifoldeb. Cofiaf y 'Pantomeim' a gynhaliwyd yn Lolfa Panty tua diwedd fy nhymor cyntaf yno, a J. Gareth Parry o Bwllheli yn codi a rhoi dynwarediad o'r Warden a oedd i'r dim - llais, cetyn a phopeth. A neb yn chwerthin mwy na Bwlchllan ei hun.

Gwneuthum smonach o'm harholiadau Rhan Un (ac nid yr arholiadau yn unig, gan hynny), ac felly yr oedd bwlch o ryw pymtheng mis heb i mi ei weld. Pan ddychwelais (o drwch blewyn) i Banty yn Hydref 1983, cefais fy syfrdanu wrth weld y trawsffurfiad a oedd wedi dod drosto yn y cyfamser, o leiaf o safbwynt ei wisg. Efallai y gwisgai'r siwt (yr un un, efallai) wrth ddarlithio yn yr Adran Hanes; ond wrth mynd a dod yn y neuadd ei hun, yr oedd bellach yn ffafrio rhywbeth llawer llai ffurfiol - jns a siaced denim, yr holl siop. Tybiais ar y pryd ei fod o wedi cyrraedd ei Argyfwng Canol Oed ac yr oedd yn ceisio ail-afael ar ei lencyndod. Nid oeddwn yn siwr yr adeg honno beth i'w feddwl am y gweddnewidiad, ond yr un hen gymeriad oedd o dan y denim, wrth gwrs. Felly ei deulu hefyd, a fu'n byw mewn grwp o ystafelloedd ar ben dwyreiniol Panty - Janet ei wraig, eu dwy ferch, ac yn enwedig eu meibion Guto a Ianto, a oedd yn gymaint rhan o fywyd a hwyl y neuadd ag unrhyw un ohonom ni'r myfyrwyr.

Yr oedd John Bwlchllan yn un o'r ffigyrau cwbl hanfodol hynny wrth greu cymuned gref, glos a gwr fel yr un yr adwaenwn ar lethrau Penglais blynyddoedd maith yn l. Cofiaf ei gadernid tawel, ei ffraethineb parod a chwaraeus, a'i ymroddiad i'r gwerthoedd eangfrydig sydd yn nodweddiadol o'r gwir ddiwylliedig.

Hedd i ti, John.

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The History Of An Historian

There are many people better qualified than I am to speak of the enormous contribution of John Bwlchllan (as he was known to so many of us) to the study of our nation's story, and to expand upon his key rle in the fight for our language's rights. All that I can contribute to that is to say that his volume A History Of Wales will be an example and yardstick for all the historians who come after him, and that his quiet determination was a foundation for the battles for the language which came in the aftermath of the establishment - with him as a founding member - of Cymdeithas Yr Iaith during the fires of the sixties and beyond.

Tonight, I would like to remember Bwlchllan the man, the character, one whom I came to know when I lived in Pantycelyn Hall - where he was Warden for eighteen years - in the early eighties.

The first time I ever saw him, his appearance was the epitome of how I had imagined a university academic would look - a tie, a somewhat baggy grey suit, and with the demeanour of a man who carried the weight of his knowledge lightly and without fuss. He was a quiet and sure presence in the quotidian events of the hall, one who gave his residents the freedom and self-confidence to run events without undue interference, except to offer advice as the call and need arose.

He didn't take himself too seriously, either; a trait I have always considered a virtue in anyone who bears responsibility. I remember the 'Pantomime' which took place in the Lounge in Panty towards the end of my first term there, with J. Gareth Parry from Pwllheli getting up and doing an impression of the Warden which was accurate in all particulars - voice, pipe, the lot. And no-one was laughing more than Bwlchllan himself.

I made a mess of my Part One exams (not just the exams either, truth be told), and so there was a gap of about fifteen months when I didn't see him. When I returned (by the skin of my teeth) to Panty in the autumn of 1983, I was astonished to see the transformation which had come over him in the interim, at least from the point of view of his dress. Perhaps he still wore the suit (and perhaps it was the same one) when he lectured in the History Department, but in his comings and goings in the hall, he now favoured something far less formal - jeans and a denim jacket, the whole kaboodle. I assumed at the time that he had reached his Mid Life Crisis and that he was trying to recapture his youth. I wasn't really sure how to take this change, but he was the same old character beneath the denim, of course. So also his family, who lived in a suite of rooms at the eastern end of the hall - his wife Janet, their two daughters, and particularly their sons Guto and Ianto, who were as much a part of the life and fun of the hall as any of us students.

John Bwlchllan was one of those essential figures for creating the sort of strong, close and civilised community which I discovered on the slopes of Penglais so many years ago. I remember his quiet strength, his ready wit and his commitment to those values of freedom and tolerance which are a characteristic of the truly cultured.

Peace be with you, John.