Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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EDWARDS , WILLIAM ( 1790 - 1855 ), Gwilym Callestr (but much better known as ‘ Wil Ysgeifiog ’), poet ;

b. in a cottage called Plas Iolyn , at Caerwys, Flints. He was a millwright , but excessive drinking turned him into a tramp and a beggar Talhaiarn ( Gwaith , ii, 200-2) has an amusing tale about him. He was more than once confined in an asylum, and in fact d. in Denbigh asylum . But he was a poet of merit, and in particular a good englynwr . He took the prize at Beaumaris eisteddfod in 1832 for an awdl ( Seren Gomer , 1832 , 312), and at Mold , 1823 , for an englyn . His elegy on Thomas Price ( Carnhuanawc , q.v.) in 1853 , printed in Golud yr Oes , 1863 , 112-3), was written in the asylum. Much of his work is scattered through the pages of Seren Gomer , Y Gwladgarwr , Yr Eurgrawn , Y Geninen , and Cymru (O.M.E.) . He published a volume, Cell Callestr ( Trefriw , 1815 ), of his own poetry and that of others. Talhaiarn ( John Jones , 1810 - 1869 , q.v.) and Caledfryn ( William Williams , 1801 - 1869 , q.v.) had a monument placed on his grave at Ysgeifiog, Flints. The precise days of his birth and death have not been ascertained.


  • Hanes Llenyddiaeth Gymreig, 1651–1850 (1893) , 596;
  • Cymru (O.M.E.) , xviii, 302.


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

Published date: 1959