Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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GIBBON , LEVI ( 1807? - 1870 ), ballad-writer and singer ;

b. at Cwmfelin-mynach , Llanboidy, Carms. , described as tall and strong, with jetblack hair and beard. Thirty-five of his ballads are known to have been printed, the majority of them dealing either with contemporary social problems or with the adventures of lovers. At his best, for instance in his religious ballads or those which relate his personal experiences, he writes with restraint and sincerity, but on the whole he pays little regard to craftsmanship and too often exceeds the limits of good taste. He was blind (according to one of his ballads, from the age of twenty-five) and was accompanied to the South Wales fairs by his daughters, one member of the group singing the ballad and another playing the fiddle . He suffered considerable hardship as a result of his blindness , and there is evidence that he and his family were afforded relief at Carmarthen workhouse in Feb. 1844 . He d. at Blaen-y-waun in Llanwinio parish, 1 Aug. 1870 , at the age of sixty-three; his wife Ann d. 30 Jan. 1897 , at the age of ninety-two; both are buried in the same grave in the Baptist graveyard at Ramoth , Cwmfelin-mynach .

Sources:

  • Journal of the Welsh Bibliographical Society , vii, 2 (70-2);
  • B. B. Thomas , Baledi Morgannwg , 1951 ;
  • Diary or Jnl. of a Llanboidy policeman, 1844 [manuscript in private hands];
  • Y Geninen , 1891 , 286, 1897, 50;
  • Pembrokeshire County Guardian , 22 Feb., 18 May 1906 ;
  • personal knowledge.

Author:

Benjamin George Owens, M.A., Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959