Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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RHYGYFARCH ( RICEMARCHUS ; 1056/7 - 1099 ).

He was the eldest of the four sons of the learned Sulien (q.v.) , his father being a native of Llanbadarn-fawr and twice bishop of S. Davids . Apart from the fact of his belonging to a clerical family of good birth, little if anything is known about his life. His only teacher, it is said, was his father. Very probably he was a priest at S. Davids (not bishop , as Annales Cambriae, MS. C , states). Among his extant works are a Life of S. David , some Latin verses in a psalter at Trinity College , Dublin , and a ‘ Lament ’ (ascribed to him in B.M. Cotton MS. Faustina C. i ). This latter is a short Latin poem bewailing the increasing oppression of the Welsh by the Normans . His chief work, the Latin Life of S. David , was probably written about A.D. 1090 , to advocate the claims of S. Davids to be the metropolitan church of Wales , independent of Canterbury . The author drew his material for the sixty-eight chapters of the Life proper ‘from very old manuscripts ( Vita , chapter 66), found chiefly at S. Davids itself. Its style is turgid, its contents a hazardous mixture of the miraculous and the historical. He d. in his forty-third year, leaving a son SULIEN (d. 1146 ), who was brought up by the clergy of Llanbadarn Fawr , and gained fame as a teacher there.


  • Wade-Evans , Life of St. David (London, 1923) , 1923 ;
  • A History of Wales: from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest , ii, 459-61;
  • Annales Cambriae (1860) ;
  • Brut y Tywysogion


Professor William Hopkin Davies, M.A., Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959