Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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HOPKIN , LEWIS ( c. 1708 - 1771 ), poet ;

son of Lewis Hopkin of Llanbedr-ar-fynydd ( Peterston-super-Montem), Glam. , one of the descendants of Hopcyn Thomas Phylip , Gelli'r-fid , a writer of cwndidau . He learnt the craft of a carpenter ; he became a master of other crafts also. When he was a young man he moved to the parish of Llandyfodwg and it was there, at Hendre Ifan Goch , that he made his home until he d. in 1771 . He became a Nonconformist and was a member (and deacon , according to some) of the congregation at Cymer . His son says that he used to hold services in some farms in the upper parts of Glamorgan and that he had a pulpit which he used when he preached in the barn in Hendre Ifan Goch . He was a man of importance in the Nonconformist circles of upper Glamorgan ; a son of his, Lewis , was minister of the Congregational church at Bromyard, Herefs. He was also a prominent figure in the literary revival that took place in Glamorgan in the first half of the 18th cent. He devoted himself to the mastery of the Welsh bardic craft and to the arranging of bardic eisteddfodau similar to those held in North Wales . He sent some of his compositions to the journal called Trysorfa Gwybodaeth , 1770 ; in 1813 , his son-in-law, John Miles , published a collection of his poetical works under the title of Y Fel Gafod . He is not a great poet , but his work shows the results of the attempts which he had made to study the language and to master cynghanedd and the ‘twenty-four metres.’ He, undoubtedly, was the most gifted of those persons who were associated with that literary revival, and the one who exerted the greatest influence on the literary life of Glamorgan in that period. He was also the bardic teacher of Edward Evan , and Iolo Morganwg admits that Hopkin taught him. He was a well-read and cultured man; it is claimed that he was well-acquainted with English literature of the 18th cent. ; he had Latin and French books in his library. He was buried at Llandyfodwg ; Iolo Morganwg published an elegy to him in 1772 under the title of Dagrau yr Awen .

Another of Lewis Hopkin 's sons was HOPKIN HOPKIN ( 1737 - 1754 ), known as ‘ Hopcyn Bach ,’ a dwarf, of whom there is an account in Gent. Mag. , 1754 , 191 and, more fully, in Hopkiniaid Morganwg , 108-11. He was exhibited in London ; he never weighed more than 17 lb., and is said to have d. of ‘mere old age.’ His suit, court coat and gauntlet are today in the National Museum of Wales. He d. 19 March 1754 .

Sources:

  • Hopkiniaid Morganwg , 1909 , 1909 , 70-148;
  • G. J. Williams , Traddodiad Llenyddol Morgannwg , 1948 , 1948 , 231-6, 282-9;
  • Iorweth Peate, Guide to the Collection of Welsh Bygones , National Museum of Wales, 1929 , 79.

Authors:

Emeritus Professor Griffith John Williams, M.A., (1892-1963), Gwaelod-y-garth, Cardiff

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

Published date: 1959