Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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EVANS , WILLIAM EILIR ( Eilir ; 1852 - 1910 ), cleric, poet, and journalist .

Born 26 April 1852 at Garreg Lwyd , Cenarth, Carms. He was originally an Independent and was admitted as a student to the Presbyterian College , Carmarthen . Then he joined the Anglican Church and in 1878 went to S. David's College , Lampeter . [He held curacies at Llanfaelog ( Anglesey ), Devizes , and Aberdare , and was for a short period (having previously been master of the National school at Capel Dewi near Llandysul, Cards. ) assistant-master and chaplain of Stratford-on-Avon grammar school . In 1889 he became editor of the Carmarthen Journal . He removed to Swansea in 1891 , and in 1894 to Cardiff , where he was for thirteen years leader-writer to the Western Mail , and at times voluntary curate in S. David's church . Retiring in 1907 from his newspaper post (owing to the state of his health), he passed the rest of his days as curate at Llancarfan in the Vale of Glamorgan ]. In 1910 he published a selection of his poems and articles, Rhyddiaith a Chân . He d. 7 Dec. 1910 .

In Eilir 's early days there existed at Newcastle Emlyn a circle of poets which included among its members Myfyr Emlyn ( Benjamin Thomas , 1836 - 1893 ) , Rhys Dyfed ( Rees Arthur Rees ) , and others. Under their influence he began, as a young man, to write poetry and to compete in the local eisteddfodau . He won the chair at the South Wales eisteddfod held at Cardigan , 1878 , with an awdl on ‘ Civilisation ,’ which was published in 1884 . He translated Pope 's Essay on Criticism (his version was published in Yr Haul ) and Gray 's Elegy . He also published poems and articles in Y Byd Cymreig (a paper printed at Newcastle Emlyn ), Y Geninen , Y Traethodydd , Yr Haul , Y Dywysogaeth , Celt Llundain , Papur Pawb , The Aberystwyth Observer , and other papers.


  • Western Mail , 8 Dec. 1910 ;
  • ‘Atgofion’ in Rhyddiaith a Chân (1909) ;
  • information from Mr. Picton Davies , Cardiff.


David Gwenallt Jones, M.A., (1899-1968), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959