Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ELLIS , ROBERT ( Llyfnwy ; 1805 - 1872 ), parish clerk (1829-72) and poet .

Christened at Llanllyfni church , 20 Oct. 1805 son of Ellis and Ann Dafydd , Penbryn Bach , Llanllyfni, Caerns. He married Catherine Williams of Llandwrog in 1830 and they had seven children.

As a poet , he was known by the name Llyfnwy . In 1852 he published Lloffion Awen Llyfnwy , a collection of his verse, but disarmed criticism by admitting in his introduction that he did not aspire to the first rank as he never had a full term's education in his life. He wrote a great many carols , especially for the annual watch-night service at the parish church, and was one of the last to use the alliterative form for this type of verse. A selection of his carols was published after his death under the title Carolau Awen Llyfnwy . He could turn out an excellent englyn, and many of these are to be seen on the tombstones in Llanllyfni and the neighbourhood.

His interests were not confined to poetry, for he was also a musician ; he conducted the instrumentalists in Llanllyfni church . He died 14 April 1872 .


  • W. R. Ambrose , Hynafiaethau, cofiannau, a hanes presennol Nant Nantlle y traethawd buddugol yn Eisteddfod Gadeiriol Pen-y-groes, Llun y Pasg, 1871 (1872) , 84-5;
  • Enwogion Sir Gaernarfon (1922) , 65-6;
  • Y Llenor , ix, 47-55;
  • T. Parry , Hanes Llenyddiaeth Gymraeg (1944) , 234;
  • Bishops' transcripts, N.L.W.


Canon Gwynfryn Richards, M.A., Conway / Llandudno

Published date: 1959