Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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MADOG BENFRAS ( fl. c. 1320-1360 ), poet ;

of Marchwiail, Denbs. His pedigree is given in Powys Fadog thus: ‘ Madog Benfras ap Gruffudd ap Iorwerth, arglwydd Sonlli, ab Einion Goch ab Ieuaf ap Llywarch ap Ieuaf ap Niniaw ap Cynfrig ap Rhiwallawn .’ His two brothers, Llywelyn Llogell ( parish priest of Marchwiail ), and Ednyfed , were also poets ; according to Iolo Morganwg their bardic teacher was Llywelyn ap Gwilym of Emlyn . Iolo also names them in connection with the last of three Renaissance eisteddfodau held, he claims, during the reign of king Edward III , and Madog is said to have won a chair and birchen wreath there for a love poem; however, no other testimony is found concerning these eisteddfodau. Madog was a close friend of Dafydd ap Gwilym ; both poets composed elegies to each other, and it is uncertain which of the two d. first. Not many of Madog 's poems remain; they include, in addition to the elegy on Dafydd ap Gwilym , a number of love poems, and one to the ‘ Halaenwr ’ ( salt merchant ). He was plaintiff in a number of cases tried at Wrexham in 1340 ( Arch. Camb. , V. v., 258; Cymm. , xxi).


  • Ifor Williams and Thomas Roberts , Cywyddau Dafydd ap Gwilym a'i Gyfoeswyr , 1935 (xciii, Thomas Roberts , 119);
  • Jones and Lewis , Mynegai i Farddoniaeth y Llawysgrifau (1928) ;
  • Brogyntyn MS. at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth 2;
  • NLW MSS 560, 834, 1260, 5269, 9111, 11087;
  • Archaeologia Cambrensis , V, v, 258;
  • Y Cymmrodor , xxi, 132;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • History of the Princes, the Lords Marcher, and the Ancient Nobility of Powys Fadog , ii, 140;
  • Iolo Manuscripts. A selection of Ancient Welsh Manuscripts … from the collection made by Edward Williams, Iolo Morganwg (1848) .


Ray Looker, (Mrs Ray Morgan), Cardiff / Rhymni

Published date: 1959