Thursday, April 19, 2012

Forgotten Radnorian - Rev. John Bufton

The novel Gwen Penri - A Welsh Idyll published in London in 1899 - a tale of a Denbighshire banker's daughter attending college in Aberystwyth -  can't have been a great success, indeed a  reviewer in the Welsh newspaper Y Goluead complained that the author, who had migrated to Australia due to ill-health, must have forgotten everything he ever knew about Wales - if he knew anything in the first place!

So who was this Congregationalist minister and novelist with the Radnorian name of John Bufton?  According to this site Bufton was born in Llandrindod and died in Hobart, Tasmania in 1911, but it is the pseudonym Brynithon which gives a clue to his actual identity.  John was the son of James Bufton and his wife Mary Bowen, who at the time of the novelist's birth were farming Bryneithin in Llanbister parish.

Today Bufton is remembered for his 1905 opus Tasmanians in the Transvaal War, good copies of which sell for over £500.  A book of  interest, no doubt,  to Tasmanians and those interested in Australian participation in the Second Boer War, the background to the film Breaker Morant.

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