Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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PRYDDERCH , RHYS ( 1620? - 1699 ), Independent minister and schoolmaster .

Born at Ystradwallter , near Llandovery, Carms . It is known that he had children in 1650 and it may be surmized that he was b. c. 1620 . Ystradwallter was the homestead of his ancestors, and it was there that he began his well-known school, which was kept up for forty years. It is not known where he was educated.

On 4 Dec. 1662 he was fined in the archdeacon's court at Carmarthen for refusing to attend his parish church. Thenceforward until the end of his days he was a staunch Independent . In spite of many tempting offers he refused to give up his new faith. Although he was not then ordained, he looked after small Independent congregations on the lower slopes of the Epynt . The main centre of those congregations was at Castell Craig y Wyddon . He travelled much to preach — from Llywel to Llanwrtyd and from Llandovery to the borders of Radnorshire .

He moved shortly after the death of Henry Maurice ( 1634 - 1682 ) , in 1682 , to Aber-llyfni , Brecknock . He and seven others were licensed at the same quarter sessions to preach and teach in Brecknock . He had already been ordained — on 25 Jan 1688 . Thereafter he was the chief minister in charge of the Brecknockshire churches. His pupils at the Aberllyfni school numbered between 80 and 100, and he was given a grant of £6 a year from the Common Fund of the ‘Happy Union’ ( 1690-2 ). He became very well known as teacher and preceptor . Among his many pupils was William Evans , Pencader , the first head of the Carmarthen Academy . He published Gemau Doethineb , a valuable collection of proverbs and proverbial lore. He d. 25 Jan. 1699 .


  • Act books, 1660-8 , in N.L.W.;
  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , iii, 587-8;
  • Y Cofiadur , nos. 13 and 16;
  • Manuscript (the property of the Presbyterian Board) published by Alexander Gordon under the title Freedom after Ejection. A Review (1690–1692) of Presbyterian and Congregational Nonconformity in England and Wales, 1917 , 143, 336.


Reverend John Dyfnallt Owen, M.A., (1873-1956), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959