Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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DWNN , GRUFFYDD ( c. 1500 - c. 1570 ), country gentleman ;

the most distinguished of the Dwnns of Carmarthenshire and the first to live at Ystrad Merthyr , near Kidwelly , a mansion erected in 1518 . He was twice m. and had eight children, the eldest of whom was 11 years old in 1533 , but he lived to see his family disintegrate in the many epidemics of the period. Poets like SyrOwen ap Gwilym , Harri ap Rhys ap Gwilym , Thomas Vychan , Wiliam Llŷn , Gruffydd Hiraethog , Owain Gwynedd , and others wrote verses in honour of him, his children, and his home, and their poems are enshrined in Llanst. MSS. 40 and 133 , and N.L.W. MS. 728 . He was alive in 1566 when Wiliam Cynwal (q.v.) addressed a poem to him, but none of the bards wrote for him after that.

Gruffydd Dwnn is important as one of the country gentlemen who in the 16th and 17th cent , undertook the work of copying and collecting manuscripts , although he is not as famous as some — such as John Jones ( c. 1578 - 1658 ) (q.v.) of Gelli Lyfdy . The finest examples of his work are to be found in Llanst. MS. 40 and in the notes in Mostyn MS. 184 , but there is evidence that other manuscripts have been lost. Some very notable manuscripts were at one time in his possession, e.g. Hendregadredd , Pen. 70 and 109 , etc. He was obviously a patron of the bards , but it should be noted that William Salesbury (q.v.) also stayed at Ystrad Merthyr when he was at Abergwili .


  • The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1941 , 136-43;
  • Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies , ix, 110.


Garfield Hopkin Hughes, M.A., (1912-69), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959