Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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EVANS , ELLIS HUMPHREY ( Hedd Wyn ; 1887 - 1917 ), poet

b. 13 Jan. 1887 , the eldest son of Evan and Mary Evans of Yr Ysgwrn , Trawsfynydd, Mer. He received his education, such as it was, at the elementary school and Sunday school , but his self-education went on unceasingly. His aptitude for poetry became evident at an early age and he was given every encouragement at home, for his father was by way of being a home-spun poet as his maternal grandfather had been. He was given the name Hedd Wyn at a concert held on the banks of Llyn y Morynion . He won the first of his six chairs at Bala in 1907 , and his awdl on Strata Florida gained him second place at the national eisteddfod at Aberystwyth in 1916 . Early in 1917 he enlisted in the 15th battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers . Before doing so he had already begun his awdl ‘ Yr Arwr ,’ half of which was written at Trawsfynydd . It was finished in camp at Litherland and was posted from France . When his pseudonym ( Fleur-de-lis ) was called out at the national eisteddfod at Birkenhead in 1917, 6 Sept. , it was announced that he was dead; he had been killed at the battle of Pilkem Ridge , 31 July . A volume of his poems, Cerddi'r Bugail , was published in 1918 . With the profits of this work, supplemented by subscriptions, a statue (by L. S. Merrifield ) was raised to him at Trawsfynydd . A 2nd ed. of the Cerddi was published in 1931 . Hedd Wyn 's chief delight was in poetry, and it was by competing that he perfected his craft.

Sources:

  • Cerddi'r Bugail , 1918 ;
  • Y Geninen , 1918 , 51, (Gŵyl Dewi), 15;
  • Cymru (O.M.E.) . 1918 , 33.

Author:

Rev. William Morris, M.A., O.B.E., (1889-1979), Caernarfon

Published date: 1959