Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAFYDD , EDWARD ( c. 1600 - 1678? ), bard , of Margam, Glam.

His birth may be assigned to c. 1600 -there is a cywydd which he wrote in 1623 . Iolo Morganwg said that his bardic teacher was Llywelyn Siôn , of the neighbouring parish of Laleston . He was the most prominent of the Glamorgan bards of the 17th cent. ; in all probability he can be regarded as the last of them who was a professional bard . He sang awdlau and cywyddau to the landed gentry of Glamorgan ; to judge by his work that is extant it was only very rarely that he went as itinerant bard to the neighbouring counties. He is not very important as a poet , although his poems show that he had inherited the traditional lore of the bards, the details concerning bardic verse, the old vocabulary, and the cyfarwyddyd (the traditional story-tellers ’ store of tales, etc.), and the stories and tales which were part of the ‘dower’ of the Welsh bard . Nevertheless, little would have been known of him if Iolo Morganwg had not ‘resurrected’ him and made him into one of the chief figures in the bardic annals of the county. Edward Dafydd was, says Iolo , one of those who had arranged and ‘ordered’ ‘ Dosparth Morgannwg ,’ that is, the Glamorgan system of poetic measures as they are found in Cyfrinach Beirdd Ynys Prydain , 1829 . Iolo further maintained that it was at ‘ Gorsedd Bewpyr ’ (the ‘ gorsedd ’ held at Beaupré ) in 1681 that this ‘dosparth’ was confirmed, with Edward Dafydd as one of the penceirddiaid ( chief bards ). All this is but a dream by Iolo . No work at all by Edward Dafydd is known to be later than 1665 . Two persons of the name of ‘ Edward David ’ were buried at Margam in 1678 ; it may be that Edward Dafydd was one of them. Some of his work in his own hand is in ‘ Llyfr Hir Llanharan ’ in the Cardiff Public Library ; there is another collection in N.L.W. Llanover MS. B. 20 . Some poems attributed to him are in Llanover B. 12 , relating to the time of Cromwell and Charles II . Amongst these is a cywydd welcoming Charles on his return to England ; it is obvious that its author was a staunch Royalist . All writers have thought that this was by the Margam bard , but it must be conceded that the style is rather different from that of the poems which are in ‘ Llyfr Hir Llanharan ’ and in Llanover B. 20 . The same manuscript has a number of cwndidau which are attributed to the poet ; some of this material is contained in ‘ Caniadau Gwent a Morganwg ,’ an unpublished work by L. J. Hopkin-James .

The Margam bard had a son called DAFYDD EDWARD; a few poems by him, mainly englynion , are found in manuscript.

Sources:

  • G. J. Williams , Traddodiad Llenyddol Morgannwg , 1948 , 96-101.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Griffith John Williams, M.A., (1892-1963), Gwaelod-y-garth, Cardiff

Published date: 1959