Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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CYNWAL , WILLIAM (d. 1587 or 1588 ), poet ,

of Ysbyty Ifan, Denbs. , disciple of Gruffudd Hiraethog (q.v.) , and graduate of the second Caerwys eisteddfod ( 1568 ). A large number of his poems, written chiefly in strict metre, remain, and many of them are in holograph (e.g. Mostyn MS. 111 ). They consist of eulogies, elegies, and begging-poems to various members of the North Walian gentry , and poems of religion, love, satire, and controversy — the best-known of his bardic controversies is the long one between Edmwnd Prys (q.v.) and himself. He also produced works of heraldry (e.g. Bangor MS. 5943 ), a chronicle ( Pen. MS. 212 ), a grammar ( Cardiff MS. 38 ), and part of a dictionary, extant in the hand of Edward Williams ( Iolo Morganwg ) ( N.L.W. MS. 13142 ). A copy of his will, made shortly before his death, is kept at N.L.W. He was buried at Ysbyty Ifan , and an elegy on him was written by Edmund Prys .


  • Heraldic Visitations of Wales and Part of the Marches (1846) , ii, 278;
  • Peniarth Manuscript in the National Library of Wales 128 (680);
  • Llanstephan Manuscript at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth 137;
  • Llechid Jones MS. 10 ( NLW MSS 6495-6);
  • Geiriadur Bywgraffyddol o Enwogion Cymru ;
  • O. G. Jones , Gweithiau Gethin sef casgliad o holl weithiau barddonol a llenyddol (Llanrwst, 1884) ;
  • Y Llenor , x, 122;
  • Reports on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language (1898–1910) , ii, 718;
  • Christ Church MSS. in Oxford;
  • [ T. R. Roberts 's Edmwnd Prys, archddiacon Meirionydd traethawd bywgraffyddol a beirniadol (Caernarfon, 1899) , 1899 , prints the controversial cywyddau exchanged by Cynfal and Prys].


Ray Looker, (Mrs Ray Morgan), Cardiff / Rhymni

Published date: 1959