Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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MORGAN , RHYS ( c. 1700 - c. 1775 ), a poet

living in the farmhouse of Pencraig-nedd in the parish of Cadoxton in the Vale of Neath . It is possible, although this cannot be proved definitely, that he was one of the descendants of Thomas Llywelyn of Rhigos (q.v.) . Iolo Morganwg says that he was carpenter , weaver , harpist , and a preacher with the Nonconformists . It is tolerably certain that he was a member at the ‘ Hen dŷ Cwrdd ’ (‘ Old Meeting-house ’) in Blaen-gwrach ; two persons bearing the name of Rees Morgan figure in the list of members in 1734 , the one an elder and the other a deacon . But it is as a poet that he earned a name for himself in the annals of Glamorgan . He was, doubtless, trained in the bardic craft by one of the pupils of Edward Dafydd , of Margam (q.v.) , but the man who probably influenced him most was Dafydd Lewys (q.v.) , Llanllawddog , vicar of Cadoxton from 1718 to 1727 , a man who knew Iaco ab Dewi and Moses Williams . It was thus that Rhys Morgan came into touch with the followers of Edward Lhuyd , and that provides one explanation for the poetic revival witnessed in the hill-country of Glamorgan during the first half of the 18th cent. He also came into contact with Siôn Rhydderch ( John Roderick , q.v.) , and this probably accounts for the fact that he and his fellows started to hold eisteddfodau similar to those arranged in North Wales . He sent some of his works to be published in the Welsh almanacks of the period. Rhys Morgan devoted himself to the mastery of the grammars of the bards ; when Siôn Rhydderch was looking for a ‘pattern’ awdl for inclusion in his grammar published in 1728 , he received one from Rhys Morgan . Nevertheless, few of his productions are extant, and they do not show overmuch merit; and yet Rhys Morgan was a fairly important figure in the history of the literary revival in Glamorgan .

Sources:

  • Yr Ymofynnydd , 1897 ;
  • D. Rhys Phillips , The Hist. of the Vale of Neath , Swansea, 1925 , 1925 , 541-6;
  • G. J. Williams , Traddodiad Llenyddol Morgannwg , 1948 , 1948 , 230-1, 259-300.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959