Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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GWYN , RICHARD ( c. 1537 - 1584 ), or WHITE , RICHARD , Roman Catholic martyr .

Born at Llanidloes c. 1537 . He was brought up as a Protestant and went first of all to Oxford and thence to S. John's College , Cambridge . In 1562 he left Cambridge and returned to Wales He kept school in various places in the Wrexham district and while he was at Overton was converted to Roman Catholicism . It appears that he had to move from place to place to evade the authorities; he was captured at Wrexham in 1579 but succeeded in making his escape. In July 1580 he was arrested for the second time and after being imprisoned for four years was, 9 Oct. 1584 , convicted of high treason and executed at Wrexham , 17 Oct . He wrote five poems, which he called carols, strongly attacking Protestantism and defending Roman Catholicism . He is regarded by the Church of Rome as its first martyr in Wales .


  • T. P. Ellis , The Catholic Martyrs of Wales, 1535-1680 , 18-33 (and the authorities quoted therein);
  • History of the Princes, the Lords Marcher, and the Ancient Nobility of Powys Fadog , iii, 128-64;
  • T. H. Parry-Williams , Carolau Richard White (1931) ;
  • A. H. Dodd in. English Historical Review , 1944 , 354-5.


Emyr Gwynne Jones, M.A., (1911-72), Bangor

Published date: 1959