Dictionary of Welsh Biography

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

IFOR HAEL ( Ifor the Generous )

— this is the name given by Dafydd ap Gwilym (q.v.) to his chief patron , Ifor ap Llywelyn , Bassaleg, Mon. Although we are accustomed to calling it in WelshMaesaleg ’ there are definite proofs that the name was ‘ Bassalec ’ or ‘ Basselec ’ in the 12th cent. (see the ‘ Book of Llandaff ’) and earlier the lineage of Ifor is given in Pen. MS. 133 ( R. , i, 833) (180), ‘tredegyr ymassalec’ ( Tredegar in Bassaleg ), (181) ‘Gwern y klepa ymassalec’ ( Gwern y klepa in Bassaleg ) and the ancestry of the Philip who was there in 1550 is traced back to ‘ Tomas ap Ivor hael ap Llywelyn ap Ivor .’ The three brothers, Morgan , Philip , and Ifor Hael are named in Pen. MS. 176, 206 ( R. , i, 977); see also Mostyn MS. 114 (39-40) and Pen. MS. 140 (74-6) . For the complete pedigree see Dwnn , i, 218. Their mother was Angharad , daughter of Morgan ap Meredudd , lord of Tredegar (the Tredegar mentioned above). Her second husband was Dafydd ap Llywelyn , of Rhydodyn ; see Pen. MS. 176 (399) where Morgan ap Dafydd is described as ‘vnvam ac ifor hael’ (uterine brother of Ifor Hael ).

Angharad 's father d. c. 1331 ( J. H. Davies , in Trans. Cymm. , 1907 , 68); in an official inquisition held on that occasion, sworn testimony was given to the effect that Angharad his heiress was 32 years of age; in 1333 it was testified that she was forty! She must therefore have been b. either in 1293 or in 1299 , and the birth of Ifor may be assigned to c. 1313 or 1319 at the earliest. He would, therefore, have fl. c. 1340-60 . It is known that his eldest brother, Morgan , d. before 1384 ( Clark , Limbus Patrum , 310), but there is no certainty as to when Ifor or his wife Nest , d.; the year 1380 is a suggestion only. In Pughe 's edition ( 1789 ) of the works of Dafydd ap Gwilym there were printed four cywyddau to Ifor Hael and three awdlau, one of the awdlau being an elegy upon his death and that of Nest . The authorship of this particular awdl is, however, not beyond doubt; Lewis Glyn Cothi in the 15th cent. believed that Dafydd ap Gwilym had predeceased his patron — ‘ Aeth Dafydd gwawdydd drwy gŵr/I Nefoedd o flaen Ifor .’ For a further consideration of the matter consult Williams and Roberts , Cywyddau Dafydd ap Gwilym , 1914 , xvii-xx, and for Bassaleg see B.B.C.S. , vii, 277 [and see further the article on Dafydd ap Gwilym ].


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

Published date: 1959