Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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GRUFFUDD ap MAREDUDD ap DAFYDD ( fl. 1352-1382 ), an Anglesey poet

whose entire work is contained in R.B.H. Poetry columns 1198-1220 and 1313-36. His name appears as part-owner of three townships in the commote of Talybolion , namely Aberalaw , Carneddawr and Dronwy , and he is represented in the genealogies as a descendant of Trahaearn Goch of Llŷn . Apart from a few ribald poems, his 2,500 odd lines of poetry divide themselves mainly into three classes according to their subject matter, namely religious poems, eulogistic and elegiac poety, and love poetry. His awdlau to the Rood of Chester , to God , and to the Virgin Mary are fair examples of his adherence to the bardic traditions in both subject and mode of expression. His eulogies and elegies are addressed to the members of one family, namely Tudur Fychan (d. 1367 ), Hywel fab Gronwy , Gronwy Fychan (d. 1382 ), and Syr Hywel y Fwyall (d. c. 1381 ), and he could be most aptly called the household or family bard of the house of Penmynydd (see under Ednyfed Fychan ). It is not improbable that he composed the exceptional ode inviting Owain Lawgoch ( Owain ap Thomas ap Rhodri , q.v.) to recover his patrimony. He excels in his love poems. In one instance he makes for his beloved's home at Tref Lywarch on a ‘breastplated steed’ and urges it to make haste. His magnificent elegy to Gwenhwyfar o Fôn bears the characteristics of sincerity, and one may well believe that ‘the privation of a long life without her’ was the expression of a genuine and real experience. His mode of expression was the traditional metrical system of the awdl , but he was undoubtedly one of the first to introduce englynion at the beginning of an awdl . Though he was a contemporary of the early poets of the cywydd period, he refrained from using that metre. His special attribute is the skilful, sensible elegance expertly woven into such an intricate pattern.

Sources:

  • Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies , i, 123-33;
  • Registrum Vulgariter Nuncupatum. ‘The Record of Caernarvon…’ Record Commission, 1838 , 58-9;
  • J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families , 1914 , 396;
  • T. Parry , Hanes Llenyddiaeth Gymraeg , 1944 , 38, 41, 50-1, 94, 106;
  • The Cheshire Sheaf, being local gleanings, historical & antiquarian , 3rd series, xxii, 37, 39, 45.

Author:

William John Davies, Aberystwyth / Llanidloes

Published date: 1959