Dictionary of Welsh Biography

A new website has been created for The Dictionary of Welsh Biography. It will be launched at the beginning of November 2018 and will include new content, functions and design. Head over to biography.wales now to see what's new!

This website will eventually be replaced by biography.wales. In the meantime, we would like to hear from our users so you're welcome to send us any questions or feedback that you may have.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

LEWIS , HUGH ( 1562 - 1634 ), cleric, author, poet .

His forbears were bondsmen of the township of Bodellog near Caernarvon . His great-grandfather was known as William of Bodellog whose son William ap William m. Margaret Bennett and had three sons — Ieuan , Rhys , and Lewis . This Lewis m. Agnes , daughter of William Foxwist of Prysgol , a member of the lower gentry. Of this marriage four sons were born — Hugh , Griffith , Richard and John . Hugh Lewis the eldest, was given educational advantages that enabled him to enter All Souls' College , Oxford , 10 Aug. 1582 , ‘ aet. 20’; he graduated from Hart Hall in Jan. 1586/7 . It appears that during his Oxford days his interest in Welsh letters was intensified; he acquired a sound knowledge of Welsh metrics and became known as a poet of repute. For some years his career cannot be traced, but during that period he had been occupied in translating a treatise by Otto Werdmüller of Zurich which had been rendered into English , 1550 , by Miles Coverdale under the title A Spyrytuall and moost Precious Pearle teaching all Men to Loue and Imbrace ye Crosse . The Welsh version bore the title Perl mewn Adfyd and was first published in 1595 . A reprint of this book was edited by W. J. Gruffydd , 1929 . Hugh Lewis published the book from a desire to assist in the moral uplift of his country and to foster the use of his native language. In 1598 he obtained the rectory of Llanddeiniolen ; ten years later he became chancellor of Bangor cathedral , and in 1623 succeeded the renowned Edmund Prys (q.v.) as rector of Ffestiniog and Maentwrog . In 1612 he erected a mansion upon the site of his old home at Bodellog and resided here until his death, which occurred before 6 Nov. 1634 , the date on which his successor as chancellor was instituted. By his marriage with Ellen vch Rhytherch he had two sons, Morgan ap Hugh Lewis and William ap Hugh Lewis . Ellen d. in April 1634 ; she and her husband were buried in Llanwnda .


  • J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families (1914) , 123;
  • Foster , Alumni Oxonienses ;
  • W. J. Gruffydd , introduction to Perl mewn Adfyd (1595, 1929) , 1929 ;
  • Caernarvonshire Historical Society Transactions , 1944.


William Gilbert Williams, M.A., (1874-1966), Rhostryfan

Published date: 1959