Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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WILLIAMS , WILLIAM ( Gwilym Cyfeiliog ; 1801 - 1876 ), poet and hymn-writer ;

b. 4 Jan. 1801 at Winllan , Llanbryn-mair , son of Richard Williams ( Calvinistic Methodist exhorter ) and Mary Williams (one of the descendants of Henry Williams (q.v.) of Ysgafell , and sister of the Rev. John Roberts ( 1767 - 1834 ) (q.v.) of Llanbryn-mair ), and elder brother of the Rev. Richard Williams ( 1802 - 1842 ) (q.v.) of Liverpool . He was educated at the school kept by his uncle and at the school of William Owen ( 1788 - 1838 , q.v.) . He returned home to help his father on the farm and in a flannel mill which he owned. About 1822 he acquired possession of some land, houses, and a flannel mill at Pont Dolgadfan , where he went to live. For a time he held the posts of vestry clerk , assistant overseer , and parish registrar . He was married three times — (1) 1828 , to Anne Evans of Minffordd ; (2) 1834 , to Mary Morris of Dolgwyddyl , Trefeglwys (who was descended from Elystan Glodrydd , q.v.) ); and (3) 1845 , to Mary Evans of Tyn-llwyn , Llanbryn-mair . He had ten children — among them Richard Williams of Celynog , Newtown ( 1835 - 1906 ) (q.v.) . From 1823 on, pieces of poetry by Gwilym Cyfeiliog were frequently published in Y Dysgedydd , Goleuad Cymru , Y Drysorfa , Seren Gomer , and the Gwyliedydd . His awdl on ‘ The founding of St. David's College ’ was awarded the second place at the Carmarthen eisteddfod , 1823 , when Daniel Ddu o Geredigion (q.v.) won the first prize. He won the prize at the Llanfaircaereinion eisteddfod , 1826 , for a series of englynion on ‘ The starry sky .’ He excelled in his treatment of the classical forms of poetry and was accounted a good writer of englynion . His hymn, ‘ Caed trefn i faddau pechod yn yr Iawn ’ is well known and has been translated into the language of the Khasi Hills . He d. 3 June 1876 at Pont Dolgadfan , Llanbryn-mair . His son, Richard Williams of Newtown , collected and published his works in 1878 under the title, Caniadau Cyfeiliog .

Sources:

  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies , second ed., 1894 ;
  • N.L.W. Bont Dolgadfan Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales ;
  • Y Cronicl (‘S.R.’), Sept. 1876 .

Author:

William Emyr Williams, C.B.E., Ll.D., (1889-1958), Wrexham

Published date: 1959