Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ELLIS , WILLIAM ( Gwilym ab Elis ; 1752 - 1810 ), hymn-writer and balladist , of Bala ;

b. at Ty-nant in the parish of Llanycil, Mer. , son of Ellis and Jane William . His wife's name was Ellen and in 1780 they were living in the township of Ismynydd ; between 1780 and 1790 they had four children. He d. Dec. 1810 and was buried at Llanycil . It was for his benefit that Ychydig o Hymnau , etc. (undated), written by Edward Parry ( 1723 - 1786 ) (q.v.) of Llansannan , William Evans ( 1735 - 1805 ) (q.v.) of Bala , and others, was published — &‘for a poor man called William Ellis .’ A number of his own hymns are to be found in the second part of the book. It is thought that he is the ‘ Gwilym ab Elis ’ who, in 1786 , published a hymn-book, Ychydig o Hymnau a Chaniadau Newyddion , etc., at Trevecka . There are twenty-five hymns in this collection, one of them being very well known. The collection includes a ‘carol’ and a secular poem; two ballads, c. 1790 , are attributed to him in J. H. Davies 's list.


  • Y Traethodydd , 1874 , 483;
  • J. H. Davies , A Bibliography of Welsh Ballads printed in the 18th century (1908-11) , 144;
  • Llanycil parish register.


Reverend Gomer Morgan Roberts, M.A., (1904-93), Pont-rhyd-y-fen / St Dogmael's / Llandybïe

Published date: 1959