Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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GRIFFITH , OWEN ( Ywain Meirion , Owen Gospiol , 1803 - 1868 ), ballad-writer and strolling ballad-singer ;

if we could be quite certain that he was the man who under the pseudonym Owen Meirion wrote the article on the history of Bala , in Y Brython , 1860 , 264-5, we could say that he was b. at Bala . He sang in fairs all over Wales — he is heard of, e.g. at Machynlleth , Holywell , Llanfyllin , Llanrwst , and the Caernarvonshire fairs , and he was very well known in South Wales . He always wore a top-hat. Some have it that he gave up ballad-singing and became a rag-collector ; in any case, it is certain that his last years, despite the kindness of Nicholas Bennett (q.v.) , were years of adversity. He d. a pauper at Llanbryn-mair , 24 June 1868 , at the age of sixty-five, and was buried there by the parish — on his tomb is an englyn by Mynyddog (q.v.) . We have fifty-nine of his ballads.

Sources:

  • Y Geninen , Oct. 1901 ;
  • reminiscences of him in Cymru (O.M.E.) , e.g. ii, 48, xiv, 64, xxii, 10, xxvii, 166-7;
  • D. Samuel , Cerddi Cymru casgliad o ganeuon Cymreig, hen a diweddar , Caernarfon , i, 20-2;
  • B. B. Thomas , Baledi Morgannwg , 1951 , contains two of his ballads, xviii and xxv;
  • Journal of the Welsh Bibliographical Society , vii, 60-4, 85, viii, 104 (a list of his known ballads).

Author:

Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959