Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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TUDUR PENLLYN ( c. 1420 c. 1485-90 ), bard .

For his pedigree, see Pen. MSS. 125, 139, 176 , Wrexham MS. 1 , and Stowe MS. 669 . He was Tudur Penllyn ap Ieuan ap Iorwerth Foel , but in one manuscript he is called Tudur Penllyn ap Dafydd ap Ieuan ap Iorwerth Foel . He traced his descent from Meirion Goch , an Edeirnion nobleman who was the founder of a house in Rhiw ( Llŷn ) and the ancestor of some of the gentle families in that hundred. We do not know where Tudur Penllyn was born nor where he was brought up, but it is not unlikely that he spent his childhood, as he spent his old age, in Penllyn , the hundred from which he took his name. After reaching manhood he lived at Caer-gai , in the parish of Llanuwchllyn , apparently by right of his wife, Gwerful , daughter of Ieuan Fychan ap Ieuan ap Hywel y Gadair ap Gruffydd ap Madog ap Rhirid Flaidd (see Powys Fadog , ii, 119; vi, 119, 129). It appears that, in addition to being a poet , Tudur Penllyn was a sheep grazier and a drover , who traded in the wool of his sheep ; this, however, did not prevent him from following the custom of the strolling bards and visiting the halls of the nobility in North and South Wales . His principal patrons were Gruffydd Fychan of Gors-y-gedol (he wrote a cywydd of praise to this warrior some time between 1461 and 1468 when, with Dafydd ap Ieuan ab Einion , he was defending Harlech castle against Edward IV 's adherents), Rheinallt ap Gruffydd of Mold (he wrote an awdl on the vengeance taken by this nobleman on the men of Chester when Robert Byrne , their mayor , was slain; Rheinallt died either in 1465 or 1466 ), and Dafydd Siencyn , one of the faithful supporters of Jasper Tudor and Henry of Richmond , a man who was famous for his raids on England . As might have been expected, Tudur Penllyn was favourably inclined to those noblemen who stood up for their rights at a time of fierce enmity between the Welsh and English . He excelled in writing panegyrics, whether of men or women, but there was also an edge to his satires, and his descriptive writing was admirable. His son, IEUAN AP , was also a poet .


  • Thomas Roberts , ‘Tudur Penllyn,’in Y Llenor , xxi, 141-51; xxii, 27-35;
  • Jones and Lewis , Mynegai i Farddoniaeth y Llawysgrifau (1928) , 382-8;
  • Abraham Jenkins , ‘The Works of Tudur Penllyn and Ieuan Brydydd Hir yr Hynaf’(thesis for the degree of M.A., University of Wales, 1921).


Professor John Ellis Caerwyn Williams, M.A., B.D., (1912-99), Bangor / Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959