Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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SION CAIN ( c. 1575 - c. 1650 ), a herald bard ;

son of Rhys Cain (q.v.) , and b. probably before the family settled at Oswestry about 1578 . He succeeded his father in his profession, and he was regarded, in his day, as the last of the herald bards . He left some notes which suggest that he was also engaged in husbandry . He travelled widely in North Wales in the course of his occupation. The record of his public career begins with a visit to Lleweni , with other bards, at Christmastide, 1607 . Between that date and 1648 , there survive over 300 of his genealogical poems, mostly holograph. None of his compositions can be dated later than 1648 , and it may be concluded that he d. about that time. His wife d. 12 Oct. 1646 ( Pen. MS. 178 (79) ), and in a petition to colonel Mytton (q.v.) against the billeting of soldiers in his house ( 1644? ) he refers also to his family. His manuscripts became the property of Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt (q.v.) , who corresponded regularly with him. Nearly forty letters which were addressed to him on genealogical matters have survived ( Pen. MS. 327 ), together with collections of his poems ( Pen. MSS. 90, 116-7 ), a heraldic collection ( Pen. MS. 149 ), and a genealogical collection ( Pen. MS. 269 ). His poems are somewhat prosaic, and he could not vary much even in his opening lines. He was not equal to his father in craftsmanship. His armorial shields are much more untidy and his handwriting was much larger than that of his father.


  • Reports on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language (1898–1910) ;
  • N.L.W. Peniarth Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth) as above, and pedigree charts in the Pen., Leeswood, Plas Nantglyn, and Llanbedrog collections.


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

Published date: 1959