Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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RHYS , MORGAN ( 1716 - 1779 ), circulating schoolmaster, and hymn-writer ;

b. 1 April 1716 at Efail-fach , Cil-y-cwm, Carms. , son of Rhys and Anne Lewis . Little is known about his early days. He worked as a circulating schoolmaster in various places in Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire between 1757 and 1775 , and references to his industry as a teacher are found in Welch Piety . In 1770 he was called by his contemporaries ‘a Methodistical preacher ,’ and his will makes it clear that the Methodist society was his spiritual home. Towards the end of his life he lived at Cwm Gwaun Hendy , Llanfynydd , and he was buried in Llanfynydd churchyard, 9 Aug. 1779 .

He published his first collection of hymns, Golwg o Ben Nebo, ar Wlad yr Addewid , from Farley's press , Bristol , in 1755 , and this was followed by Cascliad o Hymau [ sic ] ( Carmarthen , 1757 ) and Casgliad o Hymnau, etc. ( R. Thomas , Carmarthen , 1760 ); Golwg o Ben Nebo (2nd imp., Thomas , Carmarthen , 1764 ); Golwg ar Ddull y Byd, etc. , 1767 ; Golwg ar Ddinas Noddfa (which includes an elegy on the death of Ester Siôn of Llansawel ), 1770 ; Griddfanau'r Credadyn , 1772 ; Griddfanau Credadyn (a different book) c. 1774 ; Y Frwydr Ysprydol (jointly with Thomas Dafydd ), c. 1772-4 ; and Golwg o Ben Nebo (3rd imp., Ross , Carmarthen , 1775 ). He also published a number of elegies: Marw-Nad: … Lewis Lewis … Llanddeiniol (which includes some hymns), 1764 ; Marwnad … rhai o Weinidogion ffyddlon yr Efengyl ( Howell Davies , William Richard , and Siôn Parry ), 1770 ; and Hanes Byr o Fywyd … Morgan Nathan, yn Llandilo-fawr (including hymns by Morgan Rhys and M. Nathan ), 1775 . His hymns are characterized by profound spiritual experience, and he always gives a prominent place to the person of Christ . Examples of his work are to be found in every collection of Welsh hymns.

Sources:

  • Y Traethodydd , 1872 , 57;
  • Yr Adolygydd , 1851 , 330;
  • Y Drysorfa , 1931 , 241;
  • Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , xvii, 12, xxxiii, 78;
  • Y Cofiadur , 1934 , 34;
  • H. Elvet Lewis , Gwaith Morgan Rhys. Rhan 1 Golwg o ben Nebo (yn ol argraffiad 1775) , Cardiff, 1910 , 3-20;
  • J. Thickens , Emynau a’u Hawduriaid , 1945 , 144;
  • Gomer M. Roberts , Morgan Rhys, Llanfynydd , Caernarfon, 1951 , 1951

Author:

Rev. Gomer Morgan Roberts, M.A., (1904-93), Pont-rhyd-y-fen / St Dogmael's / Llandybïe

Published date: 1959