Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JAMES , DANIEL ( Gwyrosydd : 1847 - 1920 ), poet ;

b. 13 Jan. 1847 at Tre-boeth , Swansea, the son of Daniel James, a stone mason, and his wife Mary (née Morgan). His parents belonged to Mynydd-bach Independent church, the subject of many poems by Gwyrosydd . Having lost his father at an early age, he became a puddler at Morriston iron-works , and afterwards worked at Landore tin-plate works . Mastering the prosodical textbook of Dafydd Morgannwg ( D. W. Jones , q.v.) , he began to write verse over the pseudonym Dafydd Mynyddbach , but at D. W. Jones 's suggestion he later assumed the name Gwyrosydd . His lyrics, and his pieces for recitation, became very well known. In his middle age the Landore works closed down, and he found work successively at Tredegar , Dowlais , and then Blaengarw by 1891 , and eventually (for twenty years) Mountain Ash — fifteen years in one of Nixon's collieries , and then (in failing health) under the local authority. He returned to Morriston in 1918 to live with his daughter and son-in-law, d. there 11 March 1920 , and was buried at Mynydd-bach ; a memorial tablet was placed on the Tre-boeth Public Hall in 1936 . He was twice married, to Ann Hopkin, and then to a widow, Gwenllian Parry (née Morgan), in Swansea in 1888. She died in 1895. Gwyrosydd left two sons and two daughters. Much of his verse, unassuming and very popular, appeared first in periodicals and newspapers, but collections of it were also published: Caneuon Gwyrosydd ( Plas-marl , 1885 ), Caniadau Gwyrosydd ( Cwmafan , 1892 ) (this includes the extremely popular hymn ‘ Calon Lân ’), and Aeron Awen Gwyrosydd ( Mountain Ash , 1898 ); the first two were reprinted in 1909 ( Cardiff ), and a posthumous collection was compiled by the ‘ Mabinogion Society ’ of Swansea .

Sources:

  • O. T. Hopkins in Y Darian , July-Aug. 1918 ;
  • ‘Awstin’ in Cambria Daily Leader , 12 March 1920 ;
  • South Wales Weekly Post , 20 Feb. 1920 ;
  • ‘Dictionary of Welsh Biography.’ 27 vols., N.L.W. MSS. 9251–77 .

Author:

David Myrddin Lloyd, M.A., (1909-81), Aberystwyth / Scotland

Published date: 1959