Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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The only reliable information about him which we have is contained in pedigrees (e.g. Pen. MS. 178 ) from which we learn that he was a grandson of Einion ap Collwyn (q.v.) who lived in Glamorgan at the time of the Norman Conquest , and that he was an ancestor of Rhys Brydydd of Llanharan and other well-known poets of the same line, such as Lewys Morgannwg .

Twenty poems are attributed to him in Iolo MSS. , 1848 , 228-51, which Edward Williams ( Iolo Morganwg ) claimed to have found in a manuscript book in the possession of John Bradford (q.v.) . Iolo also claimed that Rhys Goch had retained the use of the original Welsh metres, and as the Normans (acording to Iolo ) had brought the influence of the troubadours to Wales , he held that a romantic school had arisen in Glamorgan early in the 12th cent. (see Llanover MSS. C21 (134), C30 (121), C36 (246) , and that Rhys Goch was thus a forerunner of Dafydd ap Gwilym .

Doubts have been cast on this account by a number of Welsh scholars in turn, from Thomas Stephens to J. H. Davies , J. Glyn Davies , and Sir Ifor Williams , and it was completely disproved by G. J. Williams in Y Beirniad , viii, 211-26, where it is revealed that Iolo had refurbished five old poems, and composed the other fifteen himself. All of them contain many of the words and expressions which are characteristic of Iolo 's work, and there is no evidence that the historical Rhys Goch ap Rhiccert ever composed a line of poetry.


David Myrddin Lloyd, M.A., (1909-81), Aberystwyth / Scotland

Published date: 1959