Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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GWERFUL MECHAIN ( 1462? - 1500 ), poetess .

All that is known of her is that she was the daughter of Hywel Fychan of Mechain in Powys , confirmation of which is to be found in a cywydd written by Dafydd Llwyd , who sent Llywelyn ap Gutun (q.v.) to her with an expression of his love. It is known that bits of her poems were still preserved in the memory of country folk as late as the 19th cent. , for both Ap Vychan and Sir Owen M. Edwards refer to this. In Eminent Welshmen and Enwogion Cymru she is confused with Gwerful , daughter of Madoc of Tanad ; Guto'r Glyn 's poems were not addressed to Gwerful Mechain . Gwerful Mechain 's poems were born of the whim of the moment; she wrote a beautiful cywydd on the passion of Christ ; she produced an occasional striking englyn and she was deeply moved by jealous wives, and scurrilous poets such as Ieuan Dyfi and Llywelyn ap Gutun , whom she castigated with broad and biting humour.


  • Leslie Harris , ‘Barddoniaeth Huw Cae Llwyd’ (an unpublished dissertation, 1933 , now in the N.L.W.).


Leslie Harries, M.A., (1901-88), Llaneurgain, Flintshire

Published date: 1959