Mary Edith Nepean

Mary Edith Nepean (1876 – 1960, EW) was born in Llandudno and was an artist, musician, novelist, columnist and wartime nurse. Her father, John Bellis, was an ‘Overseer of the Poor’ – an official who administered relief such as money, food and clothing to Llandudno’s poor. Young Edith attended St George’s School and also studied painting under Scottish artist Robert Fowler. She studied music under Dr Rowland Rogers, of Bangor. After the outbreak of the First World War, she volunteered as a Red Cross nurse for the duration of the war. Her first novel ‘Gwyneth of the Welsh Hills’ was published in 1917 and adapted for the 1921 silent movie of the same name, starring Madge Stuart and Lewis Gilbert. Nepean dedicated this book to the ‘Welsh Wizard’ – former Prime Minister David Lloyd George who advised her to start writing professionally after reading some of her early eisteddfod entries. She wrote a further thirty novels. As a columnist for Picture Show magazine, she took readers behind the scenes of the studios at Elstree, Pinewood and Shepperton, interviewed the stars and introduced readers to the latest blockbusters. Her wide circle of friends included Cardiff-born Ivor Novello. Despite her popularity, only four mourners attended her funeral.


  • Gwyneth of the Welsh Hills (1917)
  • Welsh Love (1919)
  • Cambria’s Fair Daughter (1923)
  • Bryn Came to the Valley (1946)
  • Starlit Folly (1955)

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