Dr. Henry John Randall: Solicitor and Historian

Caroline Street, c.1900!

Henry John Randall was born at Mount Pleasant, Bridgend on the 13th of December, 1877. He was the son of William and Hannah Randall and grandson of the renowned solicitor John Randall, close friend and associate of Countess Caroline of Dunraven, for it was he who managed her estates.  For his services to Countess Caroline she erected the Randall Memorial Drinking Fountain, Court Road in his memory.

During 1881 it is known that Henry or Harry as he was known, was living with his grandmother Martha Prichard Randall at Slade House, Southerndown.  Not much is known about the childhood of Henry but we can guess it was one of discipline and wealth, as his family were one of the most influential families in the area at the time.

Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather Henry went to Bradford College to train as a solicitor (1896) - he later qualified in 1900. Henry became the sectary of the Bridgend Law Society in 1911 - then President of the society from 1938 until 1960. During the august of 1916 he married Olga Brewis at Newcastle-upon-tyne Cathedral; they moved to Merthyr Mawr in 1926.

As well as being a notable solicitor, Henry was an incredibly respected  historian - his main interests being in his native county.  He was closely linked with the National Museum of Wales as he became a member of its Art and Archaeology Committee during 1925, a member of the Court of Governors in 1937 and of the Council in 1938. He became the treasurer of the National Museum of Wales in 1952 and was so for the next ten years. He was the founder of 'Friends of the National Museum of Wales' - His services to his native county and country were recognised by the conferment upon him, in 1963 , of the degree of LL.D. by the University of Wales .

  • He was a member of the Board of Celtic Studies for twenty-two years. 
  • Jointed editor of the South Wales Record Society in from 1929. 
  • He wrote an account of Wales in The Roman period as his contribution to the centenary volume of the journal Archaeologia Cambrensis in 1946.
  • The Cardiff Naturalists’ Society for the period of 1946/47 
  • He was elected Chairman of the Bridgend District Local History Society in 1952.
  • Henry published 'Bridgend: The Story of a Market Town' in 1955.
  • His last publication titled 'The Vale of Glamorgan, studies in landscape and history' was published in 1961. 

Dr Henry Randall died at the age of 86 at his home Erw Graig, Merthyr Mawr on the 4th of November, 1964. A memorial service was held on the 9th of that month at St. Marys Church, Nolton - later followed by cremation at Thornhill, Cardiff.

"And so farewell little town of mine. For more than a century and a quarter you have sheltered my family, and I am the last of my name that you will ever know. May you ever continue in a condition of quiet prosperity as you have always done, remembering that the spectacular is not always the enduring, and that size is no measure of value".
 - Bridgend: The Story of a Market Town. -

Post Office (Davies Buildings) c.1900!

1 comment

  1. You and your readers may like to know that I have just placed a page online regarding H J Randall as part of the Cardiff Naturalists Society 150th Anniversary celebrations http://cardiffnaturalists.org.uk/htmfiles/150th-68.htm

    Andy Kendall (former president CNS)


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