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Rhif 2 1999

Not just another local printer and publisher : Richard Mason of Tenby (1817-81) /

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NOT JUST ANOTHER
LOCAL PRINTER AND
PUBLISHER: RICHARD MASON
OF TENBY (1817-81)
CHRIS BAGGS
On Boxing Day 1881, Richard Mason, printer and publisher
of North Cliff House, Tenby, died aged sixty-four. Mason
could not claim to be the first printer or publisher either in
Pembrokeshire or Tenby,l but he was certainly the most
prolific and most successful printer/publisher in the county
during the nineteenth century.2 Despite being non-Welsh born,
he merits twenty-four lines in the Dictionary of Welsh
Biography,3 as well as a brief note in T. Mardy Rees's Notable
Welshmen 1700-1900.4 Some two years after Mason's death
a laudatory article appeared in the periodical Red Dragon
entitled 'Notable Men of Wales: Richard Mason and the
Literature of his Time'.5 Written by the journal's editor,
Charles Wilkins, the article contained the following undated
tribute from Connop Thirlwall (Bishop of St. David's between
1840 and 1874):
What you have done for Welsh Literature, Mr. Mason,
will form part of the future history of Wales.
This essay will examine the nature of Mason's publishing
activities up to his death in 1881 and endeavour to uncover
the justification for such an extravagant claim.
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