Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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LEWIS , HUGH ( 1562 - 1634 ), cleric, author, poet .

His forbears were bondsmen of the township of Bodellog near Caernarvon . His great-grandfather was known as William of Bodellog whose son William ap William m. Margaret Bennett and had three sons — Ieuan , Rhys , and Lewis . This Lewis m. Agnes , daughter of William Foxwist of Prysgol , a member of the lower gentry. Of this marriage four sons were born — Hugh , Griffith , Richard and John . Hugh Lewis the eldest, was given educational advantages that enabled him to enter All Souls' College , Oxford , 10 Aug. 1582 , ‘ aet. 20’; he graduated from Hart Hall in Jan. 1586/7 . It appears that during his Oxford days his interest in Welsh letters was intensified; he acquired a sound knowledge of Welsh metrics and became known as a poet of repute. For some years his career cannot be traced, but during that period he had been occupied in translating a treatise by Otto Werdmüller of Zurich which had been rendered into English , 1550 , by Miles Coverdale under the title A Spyrytuall and moost Precious Pearle teaching all Men to Loue and Imbrace ye Crosse . The Welsh version bore the title Perl mewn Adfyd and was first published in 1595 . A reprint of this book was edited by W. J. Gruffydd , 1929 . Hugh Lewis published the book from a desire to assist in the moral uplift of his country and to foster the use of his native language. In 1598 he obtained the rectory of Llanddeiniolen ; ten years later he became chancellor of Bangor cathedral , and in 1623 succeeded the renowned Edmund Prys (q.v.) as rector of Ffestiniog and Maentwrog . In 1612 he erected a mansion upon the site of his old home at Bodellog and resided here until his death, which occurred before 6 Nov. 1634 , the date on which his successor as chancellor was instituted. By his marriage with Ellen vch Rhytherch he had two sons, Morgan ap Hugh Lewis and William ap Hugh Lewis . Ellen d. in April 1634 ; she and her husband were buried in Llanwnda .


  • J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families (1914) , 123;
  • Foster , Alumni Oxonienses ;
  • W. J. Gruffydd , introduction to Perl mewn Adfyd (1595, 1929) , 1929 ;
  • Caernarvonshire Historical Society Transactions , 1944.


William Gilbert Williams, M.A., (1874-1966), Rhostryfan

Published date: 1959