Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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MORGAN, DEWIDewi Teifi ’; (1877-1971), poet and journalist.

Dewi Morgan was born 21 December 1877 at Brynderwen, Dôl-y-bont, Ceredigion, the son of William Morgan (1852-1917) and Jane Jones (1846-1922). When he was two years old, the family moved to Garn House, Pen-y-garn where his father kept a grocer's shop, and ran a coal and haulage business.

Dewi received little formal education: after helping in his parents' business for a few years, he joined the staff of the Cambrian News in Aberystwyth. In time he became the Welsh editor of that paper and the sub-editor of Baner ac Amserau Cymru under Prosser Rhys. He held these positions for over fifty years, until his retirement in 1964. He contributed hundreds of well-written articles and obituaries to these papers and also to journals like Y Goleuad, Y Drysorfa and Heddiw.

Dewi was self-educated. He belonged to a cultured family and as a young man he was involved in the many educational and cultural activities associated with Capel y Garn, Bow Street. It was his headmaster at Ysgol Rhydypennau, John Evans, who awoke in him an interest in literature. He became an avid reader, learnt the cynganeddion and started to compete in local and regional eisteddfodau, winning his first chair at the age of twenty two. Through his friendship with T. Gwynn Jones, his knowledge of Welsh literature deepened and he was also introduced to European literature. He succeeded in learning more than one European language.

He won prizes at the National Eisteddfod for englynion and hir a thoddeidiau many times, but the pinnacle of his career as a competitor was winning the Chair at Pwllheli in 1925 with an awdl entitled ‘Cantre'r Gwaelod’. Most of his eisteddfod poems are no more than very polished exercises in composing on a set topic using cynghanedd, the work of an accomplished wordsmith. He did, however, in his old age, produce some remarkable epigrammatic englynion and elegies in cywydd form.

His main contribution to Welsh literature was in promoting Welsh culture in the north of Ceredigion and in encouraging and guiding young poets and prose writers as an adjudicator in local and national eisteddfodau and editor of the poetry column of Y Faner. Among those indebted to him include D. Gwenallt Jones, T. Ifor Rees, Caradog Prichard, T. Glynne Davies, J. M. Edwards, Iorwerth C. Peate and Alun Llywelyn-Williams.

Dewi Morgan died aged 93 at Bronglais hospital Aberystwyth 1 April 1971 and he was buried in Garn cemetery 6 April.

Sources:

  • Nerys Ann Jones, Dewi Morgan Cofiant , 1987, with photographs;
  • Tom MacDonald, Western Mail , 6 April 1971.

Author:

Dr Nerys Ann Jones, Dunblane

Published date: 2011