Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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GUTO'R GLYN , a bard who sang during the second half of the 15th cent. ( 1440-1493 );

if he is the author of the cywyddau to Sir Richard Gethin and Mathau Goch ( Gough ) (q.v.) then it must be presumed that he started to write a little earlier, i.e. c. 1432-5 . Guto'r Glyn was, according to Tudur Aled (q.v.) , the best bard for composing poems to men; the bard himself says, ‘ac erioed prydydd gŵr wyf.’ He knew how to praise; he also knew how to satirize as is shown by his biting references to Dafydd ab Edmwnd (q.v.) ; and he certainly could be humorous in a mischievous manner. Several cywyddau gofyn and cywyddau diolch by him, in which he shows his gift of description, have been preserved; another aspect of this gift is seen in his description of the Welsh country houses — Cwrt Moelyrch , the home of Sir Richard Herbert of Coldbrook , the house of the parson of Llandrinio , not to speak of the abbey of Valle Crucis , his place of refuge and sanctuary when he was old and blind . But his greatest strength as a bard is seen in his poems of praise and his elegies.

Guto'r Glyn was brought up in Glyn Ceiriog , the vale after which he is named. From that district he could journey easily to nine out of ten noble houses where he received a welcome in the course of his long life. Corwen was within reach; from there he could go, as a drover , taking the parson of Corwen 's sheep to England , losing them there, and engaging in a bardic controversy with the bard Tudur Penllyn (q.v.) because of the loss. The town which drew him naturally was Oswestry — and we find him there. Although he itinerated as a bard as far as Anglesey , Gwent , and Gwynedd , his region was that of Powys ; he calls the abbey of Strata Marcella ‘ein tŷ (‘our house’). He was fond of churchmen and abbots — the parson of Corwen ; David Kyffin and Richard Kyffin (q.v.) , deans of Bangor ; Siôn Mechain , the parson of Llandrinio ; the abbot of Shrewsbury ; and the abbots of Valle Crucis .

Politically, Guto'r Glyn was an adherent of the house of York ; some of his chief patrons , such as William Herbert , earl of Pembroke (q.v.) , and his brother, Sir Richard Herbert , Coldbrook , were Yorkists . He sang to king Edward IV . But he could not bear to see a Welshman killing a Welshman ; in 1468 , when Herbert overcame North Wales , he asks him to be merciful to the generous chieftains of Gwynedd and not to allow Englishmen to take their official positions. He says to Herbert in effect — ‘Bring all Wales together into one country’ ( Dwg Forgannwg a Gwynedd/Gwna'n un o Gonwy i Nedd ). Guto'r Glyn was, at heart, more Welshman than Yorkist , although according to the bard Gutyn Owain (q.v.) he wore the collar and badge of king Edward . He d. at Valle Crucis , c. 1493 , and the abbot , Dafydd ap Ieuan (q.v.) who had looked after him so tenderly during the vicissitudes of old age and blindness , saw also to his obsequies and funeral feast.


  • For details see Gwaith Guto'r Glyn (1939) , 1939 , where also is discussed the problem of his relationship to Guto ap Siancyn y Glyn.


Sir Ifor Williams, D.Litt., Ll.D., F.B.A., F.S.A., (1881-1965), Pontlyfni

Published date: 1959