Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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THOMAS , JOHN ( Siôn Wyn o Eifion ; 1786 - 1859 ), poet ;

b. at Chwilog , in the parish of Llanarmon, Caerns. His father was Thomas Roberts , brother of Siôn Lleyn ( John Roberts , 1749 - 1817 , q.v.) , poet . When Siôn Wyn was 9 years of age he met with an accident, being crushed between a cart and a wall near his home. After recovering from this mishap he went to a school kept by Isaac Morris of Pentyrch Isaf who had taught Eben Fardd and Dewi Wyn (qq.v.). Three years later he suffered from a severe illness which left him frail and decrepit for the rest of his life. He is said to have spent twenty-five years in bed, living on nothing but curds and whey. He was interested in books and music and learned to read and enjoy English books, especially Milton and Cowper , whose ‘ Negro's Complaint ’ he translated into Welsh . The Critical Review and other periodicals were lent him by the Gwynfryn family, and distinguished people like Fenton the historian and Shelley the poet used to visit him. Welsh books were lent him by Dafydd Ddu Eryri and others ( Adgof uwch Anghof , 42), and we hear of him sending an awdl on the subject of Music for adjudication by Dafydd at the Caernarvon eisteddfod , 1821 , but it arrived too late for inclusion with the others. As might have been expected from one who had led a life of seclusion, Siôn Wyn was mild and gentle and, accordingly, some of his hymns, e.g. ‘ Mawl Plentyn ’ ( Gwaith Barddonol , 179) are particularly suitable for children. He d. 8 July 1859 and was buried in Pen-lan chapel burial ground .

Sources:

  • Gwaith barddonol Siôn Wyn o Eifion sef, J. Thomas, Chwilog ; yng nghyd a chofiant o fywyd yr awdwr , Tremadog, 1861 , 1910 ;
  • ‘Adgof uwch Anghof.’ Llythyrau lluaws o Brif Enwogion Cymru , 1883 , 42, 139-58, 187-91;
  • Y Traethodydd , 1900 , 277;
  • Y Brython , iii, 111;
  • Y Geninen , March 1906 , 62;
  • Bangor Manuscript at University College North Wales Library, Bangor Gwyneddon 16 (60);
  • Golud yr Oes cylchgrawn cenedlaethol er cefnogi llenyddiaeth, cerddoriaeth, celfyddyd, addysg, gwladgarwch, a chrefydd ; hollol rydd, ac heb fod yn dal cysylltiad ag unrhyw blaid, yn wladol na chrefyddol , Caernarfon, 1862-1864 , ii, 160.

Author:

Griffith Thomas Roberts, M.A., Llanrug

Published date: 1959