Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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A native of the countryside around Denbigh , he was possibly related to Maurice Birchinshaw who graduated B.Gramm. in 1511 , and B.C.L. in 1515 , from Magdalen College , Oxford , and became rector of Denbigh in 1543 ; he d. 1564 . In N.L.W. MS. 5272 (185) , is preserved a letter by William Myddelton to ‘his cousin Wilm Birchinsha and Owen Meurig ’, wherein he advises them to be civil to their tutor . And as for Birchinshaw , says Myddelton , ‘while he is capable of writing a good cywydd he will never learn one good habit.’ Both of them, it seems, prefer making love to the fair sex, and tippling, and ‘to procure gold they live as wandering minstrels.’ On p. 182 of the same manuscript an englyn to Rhys Grythor ( Rhys the Fiddler ) by Birchinshaw is dated 30 Nov. 1584 , and in Chirk Castle Accounts 1605-66 (4) appears a reference to rents paid for land held by four men, of whom one, named Burchinshawe , may be the poet . Sometimes called SirW. Birchinshaw , he was, perhaps, trained for the priesthood . He was a contemporary of Morris Kyffin . Most of his poems have been preserved in N.L.W. MSS. 567, 1553, and 5272 .


  • W. M. Myddelton , Chirk Castle Accounts, A.D. 1605-1666 (St. Albans, 1908) ;
  • Foster , Alumni Oxonienses , 1500-1714 , 126.


Dr David Jenkins, C.B.E., M.A., D.Litt., (1912-2002), Penrhyn-coch, Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959