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PRICHARD , RHYS (‘ Yr Hen Ficer ’; 1579? - 1644 ), cleric and poet ;

b. in all probability at Llandovery, Carms. Rice Rees (q.v.) , in the introduction to his edition of Canwyll y Cymry , 1841 , gave it as his opinion that ‘ there was reason to suppose that his father was a considerable land owner in that neighbourhood, and that his name was Dafydd ap Richard ap Dafydd ap Rhys ap Dafydd ,’ but this must not be accepted as a fact. Anthony Wood had made the suggestion that the vicar had received his early education ‘in those parts,’ a phrase which Rice Rees thought ‘was sufficiently wide to cover the whole of South Wales ,’ but the phrase probably means nothing more than ‘in the neighbourhood.’ Rice Rees went on to suggest that the vicar went to the Brecon (Christ College) school but, in doing so, overlooked the fact that Carmarthen grammar school had been founded by queen Elizabeth in 1576 , three years before the vicar was born. It is true that Llandovery is nearer Brecon than Carmarthen , but in those days the journey from Llandovery to Carmarthen was the easier of the two. It is accordingly more than likely that the vicar received his early education at Carmarthen . He went to Jesus College , Oxford , when he was about 18 years of age. He was ordained priest in Wittham or Wytham , Essex , 26 April 1602 , graduated B.A. the following June, and on 6 Aug. the same year was presented by Anthony Rudd , bishop of S. Davids from 1594 to 1614 , with the living of Llandovery , which was in the parish of Llandingad and had a chapel of ease at Llanfair-ar-y-bryn . The king , on 19 Nov. 1613 , appointed him rector of Llanedy in the diocese of S. Davids and he was allowed to hold both appointments by permission of the archbishop , 28 Oct. 1613 , confirmed under the great seal on the 29th of the same month. This, in turn, led to his being appointed chaplain to Robert , earl of Essex . On 17 May 1614 the archbishop appointed him prebendary of Christ College , Brecon ; he was compelled by Laud to take his M.A. degree and, on the resignation of Richard Baylie , B.D. , of S. John's College , 14 Sept. 1626 , was made chancellor of S. Davids , and later canon , the living of Llawhaden being attached to the post. He d. about Dec. 1644 , and was buried in the cathedral churchyard.

The work of vicar Prichard was published by Stephen Hughes (q.v.) — the first part in 1659 , and the second part either at the end of 1659 or in 1660 . In 1672 Stephen Hughes issued another edition which had as a supplement ‘ The Fourth Part of the Work of Mr. Rees Prichard, Vicar of Llanymddyfri in the County of Carmarthen ,’ and in 1681 he published a complete edition: Canwyll y Cymry: sef, Gwaith Mr. Rees Prichard, gynt Ficer Llanymddyfri, A brintiwyd or blaen yn bedair rhan wedi ei cyssylltu yn un Llyfr .


  • Wood , Athenae Oxonienses (1813–20) (1st ed. 1691 and 2nd ed. 1721);
  • Y Cymmrodor , xiii, Sir John Ballinger's article on the bibliography of Vicar Prichard's poems;
  • Y Seren Foreu, neu Ganwyll y Cymry sef gwaith prydyddol (Llandovery, 1841) , gan y Diweddar Barch. Rice Rees, B.D. , 1841 ;
  • D. Gwenallt Jones , Y Ficer Prichard a 'Canwyll y Cymry' (Caernarfon, 1946) .


David Gwenallt Jones, M.A., (1899-1968), Aberystwyth

Corrections and additions:

PRICHARD , RHYS ( DWB , 795-6).

Witham is the present form of ‘ Wytham ’. Rhys Prichard had a son, Samuel , whose daughter, Elizabeth , m. Thomas , son of Roger Mainwaring , Bishop of St. David's. Rhys Prichard 's work was first printed during or before 1658 . The 1659 edition indicates that this was the second time that this part was printed. See the article by Eiluned Rees in J.W.B.S. , X, 36-41; [also Nesta Lloyd , Cerddi'r Ficer ( 1994 )].


Published date: 1959