Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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RICHARD ap JOHN of Scorlegan , Llangynhafal, Denbs. ( fl. 1578-1611 ); gentleman, poet, patron of bards, and copyist .

He traced his pedigree through Edwin ap Grono to Hywel Dda and Rhodri Mawr . His father, John Wyn ap Robert ap Griffith , was a waiter in the queen's ewry , but he died of the plague before the children, Richard , John Wyn , and Catherine , had reached their majority. Lewis ab Edward and Gruffudd Hiraethog (qq.v.) wrote elegies on his death. The children and their mother, Margaret , daughter of Griffith ab Edward of Plas y Bold , appear to have returned to Scorlegan . The grandfather, Robert ap Griffith , d. in 1572 (elegy by Simwnt Vychan ) and was succeeded at Scorlegan by Richard ap John . He m. Alice , daughter of Richard Thelwall of Plas-y-ward (q.v.) , who d. at the Caerwys eisteddfod of 1568 . She d. 25 Nov. 1584 , leaving nine children, Robert Wyn , Edward , John Wyn , Thomas , John Lloyd , Simon , Dorothy , Margaret , and Blanche (elegies by Simwnt Vychan and Edward ap Raff ). According to Robert Vaughan , Richard ap John m., secondly, ‘ Jane verch James ,’ by whom he had children. A metrical translation into Welsh in 1586 of The Boke of John Maundeville is attributed to Richard ap John . It survives in copies in N.L.W. MS. 1553 and Pen. MS. 218 . A carol by him is preserved in B.M. Add. MS. 9817 . There was a bardic tradition in the family, and his uncle, Edward Wyn , an alderman of Ruthin (d. 1578 ), was a good poet according to the elegy which Edward ap Raff (q.v.) composed on his death. Richard ap John 's transcripts of Welsh prose and poetry survive in the following manuscripts: Pen. 159-60 (bardic grammars), Llanst. 172 (‘ Brut y Tywysogion ’ with interpolations from English sources), Llanst. 36 , and Cardiff 63 (collections of poems). These manuscripts were written between 1578 and 1611 . Notes by him are to be found in other manuscripts. He was ill in 1590 and Edward ap Raff composed englynion on the occasion, and a cywydd in 1605 to solicit a pair of spectacles on his behalf from Hugh Edwards of prince Henry 's ewry.


  • Reports on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language (1898–1910) ;
  • Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies , v, 287-327;
  • The National Library of Wales Journal , v, 201;
  • Peniarth Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth) 268, 261.


Evan David Jones, F.S.A., (1903-87), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959