OBITUARY THOMAS JONES PIERCE (1905-1964) The sudden and tragic death of Professor Thomas Jones Pierce has shocked us all. Never robust, he had struggled valiantly against recurring ill-health, but latterly he appeared much stronger and even to the end there were vain hopes that his remarkable powers of resilience would again sustain him. His passing on 9 October 1964 was a cruel impoverish- ment to Welsh historical studies and an acute personal loss to his many friends. Born in Liverpool on 18 March 1905, he was educated at one of the city's leading schools and at the University of Liverpool, where he graduated in 1927 with First Class Honours in History. After a period as Research Fellow, he was appointed Assistant Lecturer at the University College of North Wales in 1930 and here he remained for fifteen years. His duties included much extra-mural work, in which he retained an abiding interest. At Bangor he laid the foundations of his scholarly work, already begun at Liverpool, and so great was his devotion that he took leave of absence for a session, at his own charge, in order to pursue those researches which were to bear fruit in such articles as The Growth of Commutation in Gwynedd during the Thirteenth Century and The Gafael in Bangor MS. 1939. In 1945 he became Special Lecturer in Welsh History at Aberystwyth and he was the natural choice for the Research Professorship subsequently established. His duties were at first divided between the National Library and the University College of Wales, but upon the formal termination of his association with the Library he was able to devote more of his time to the Department of Welsh History. At the National Library he may not have found wholly satisfying the work of calendaring family papers, many of which lay outside his main field of interest. These years, however, saw the appearance of the admirable introduction to Clenennau Letters and Papers and they also gave him those special insights into the later history of agrarian develop- ments which were to prove so valuable. Thereafter, a succession of articles displayed an increasing grasp of the intricacies of Welsh medieval society. At the time of his death he was about to embark upon a major work, the product of a lifetime's research. But he was robbed of his achievement and we, who remain, of an outstanding contribution to the history of medieval Wales. Nevertheless, a great deal was achieved. It is, of course, possible that he would have modified some of his early views-on pastoral nomadism, for example-but much has been done which will not need to be done again. A few of his articles are certainly 'difficult' in the sense that they were not designed to pander to a mere dilettante interest. He was too