Philanthropist meets beneficiaries of Welsh history scholarship

A philanthropist who donated half a million pounds to his alma mater has visited Aberystwyth University to meet the first postgraduate students to benefit from his generosity.

Scholarship holders
Left to right: Scholarship holders Rebecca Davies, Judith Tulfer and Simon Parsons; Dr David Jenkins; Emeritus Professor Paul O’Leary and Dr Steve Thompson Head of the Department of History & Welsh History

The Pennar Scholarship Fund was established by Dr David Jenkins, who studied for his degree and PhD in the Department of Welsh History 45 years ago.

During his visit to Aberystwyth University on 27 November, Dr Jenkins met the first beneficiaries of the Pennar Scholarship Fund and learned more about their research.

Reflecting Dr Jenkins’ own academic interests, the scholarship is awarded annually to a doctoral student undertaking research on the social and economic history of Wales and the Marches between the years 1500 and 2000.

The first three beneficiaries of the Pennar Scholarship Fund are: Simon Parsons, who is researching the origins of the wealth of those who invested in the railway companies of nineteenth century south Wales; Rebecca Davies, who is exploring the impact of the creation of the National Health Service (NHS) on the lives of working-class women in post-war south Wales; and Judith Tulfer, who is studying healing and protection charms created by nineteenth-century Welsh dynion hysbys (cunning men).

Dr Steve Thompson, Head of the Department of History and Welsh History, said:

“It was a real pleasure to welcome Dr David Jenkins back to the University today, and for him to have the opportunity to hear about the research being carried out by the beneficiaries of the Pennar Scholarship Fund. 

“It has been four decades since David himself was a student in the department where his interest in academic research on the history of Wales was ignited.  45 years on, that passion endures in the doctoral students whose studies his generous gift is supporting.”

Dr David Jenkins, who retired in 2017 after a 35-year career at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, said:

“I have had a great deal of personal fulfilment out of historical research over the last 45 years and it is a pleasure to enable another generation of researchers at a time when there is a lot more competition for grants than there was.”

The Pennar Scholarship Fund covers tuition fees and provides an income for the successful candidate along with funding towards travel and attending conferences.

It is one of the many generous scholarships and bursaries schemes available to students to study at Aberystwyth University. Further details are available by e-mailing:

Dr David Jenkins

Descended from a long line of Ceredigion seafarers, Dr David Jenkins has written widely on aspects of Welsh maritime, transport and industrial history.

He retired as Principal Curator of Transport at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales in 2017, after a 35-year career, and remains an Honorary Research Fellow of the Museum.

An Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of History & Classics at Swansea University, Dr Jenkins is also Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, co-editor of Cymru a’r Môr/Maritime Wales, member of the editorial board of Folk Life, and a Trustee of the British Commission for Maritime History. 

He has served as secretary of the Cardiff & Bristol Channel Incorporated Shipowners' Association for more than 30 years.


Alice Earp, Communications and Public Affairs, Aberystwyth University

Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2023 09:00:00 GMT