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MORGAN , WILLIAM (JOHN) ( Penfro ; 1846 - 1918 ), cleric, eisteddfodwr, and hymn-writer ;

b. 14 Dec. 1846 at Nevern, Pembs. ; his father, David Morgan , removed early to Llanfihangel-penbedw and afterwards to Boncath , at both of which he was parish clerk and precentor . The son, musical like his father, was educated at Cardigan grammar school and Lampeter ( B.A. 1871 ). Ordained in 1871 , he was licensed to Llanrwst , where he formed close contacts not only with the famous englynwr , Trebor Mai (q.v.) , but also with the eccentric Gwilym Cowlyd (q.v.) , whose ‘opposition’ eisteddfodau on the shores of lake Geirionydd he frequented — indeed, Penfro never became acclimatized in the ‘orthodox’ national eisteddfod, although in later years he was a prominent figure in the provincial Powys eisteddfod . From 1875 till 1878 he was curate at S. Asaph , where he acquired some repute as a preacher . In 1878 he became vicar of Pennant, Mont. , then ( 1887 ) vicar of Llansantffraid (Glan Conwy) and, finally ( 1904 ), rector of Manafon, Mont. , where he d. 23 June 1918 , and where a tombstone and a tablet commemorate him; he was married; his wife and two of their four children had predeceased him. Penfro was a copious writer of verse , but is today remembered chiefly for his hymns. A memorial volume, Penfro: Cyfrol Goffa , of his verse, with a short biography, was published at Dolgellau in 1924 .


  • The memorial volume;
  • Y Geninen , March 1920 , 17-19.


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959