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TOMAS ab IEUAN ap RHYS ( DWB , 975).

He. d. 1617 .


Corrections and additions:

TOMAS ap IEUAN ap RHYS ( c. 1510 c. 1560 ), writer of cwndidau (short religious songs or carols) ;

grandson of Rhys Brydydd (q.v.) and cousin of Lewis Morgannwg (q.v.) . Although the home of this bardic family was in Tir Iarll and although Rhys Brydydd lived at Llanharan , yet it is said in Llanover MS. E4 (written c. 1613-4 ) that Tomas ab Ieuan ap Rhys lived at Llandudwg ( Tythegston ). Nevertheless, he and his family were closely connected with Llangynwyd . Little is known of his life. He says in one of his cwndidau that he was imprisoned in the town of Kenffig ; in another he says that his wife sent him to gather seed-corn in the Vale of Glam. He sang before the monasteries were dissolved — he has a poem in praise of the abbey at Margam . It is sometimes thought that he was alive in 1584 but there is no poem by him which can be proved to have been written after 1560 . Although he belonged to a family of well-known penceirddiaid he had not mastered the old bardic lore, as is evidenced by his poem to the Rood at Llangynwyd . On the contrary he chose to adopt the measures used by the wandering bards ; he followed their style and, in consequence, his work is full of those errors which were condemned by the penceirddiaid . Nevertheless, he was a professional bard , and he used those measures not only when writing religious poems but also when he praised the landed gentry and when composing elegies . He also wrote daroganau (prophetic poems) and thus was of some repute in Glamorgan as a prophet . It was probably this tradition which induced Iolo Morganwg to concoct so many strange tales concerning him. These fictions were repeated in books of the 19th century . His elegy was written by his friend Hopcyn Tomas Phylip . The bulk of his work was printed in Hen Gwndidau ( 1910 ).


  • Hopkin-James and Evans , Hen Gwndidau, Carolau, a Chywyddau (1910) , 1910 , ix-liv, 1-51, 282-3;
  • G. J. Williams , Traddodiad Llenyddol Morgannwg (1948) , 1948 , 110-43.


Emeritus Professor Griffith John Williams, M.A., (1892-1963), Gwaelod-y-garth, Cardiff

Published date: 2001