Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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RICHARDS , DAVID ( Dafydd Ionawr ; 1751 - 1827 ), schoolmaster and poet .

Born at Glanymorfa , a little township near Towyn, Mer. , 22 Jan. 1751 , son of John and Anne Richards . It has been said that when Richards was 16 years of age (or 14 according to N.L.W. MS. 2735 ) Evan Evans ( Ieuan Brydydd Hir ) (q.v.) came to Towyn as curate — but this cannot be right as he was curate there from 1772 to 1777 . However, in Ieuan Brydydd Hir Dafydd Ionawr found a teacher of poetry , and it was on Ieuan Brydydd Hir 's representation that his father agreed to send him to Edward Richard 's school at Ystradmeurig , where he excelled in mathematics and classics. Dafydd Ionawr therefore came under the influence of two of the greatest Welsh poets and scholars of the 18th cent. He was appointed a master ‘at C. A. Tisdaile 's school at Wrexham , and in 1774 went to Jesus College , Oxford , where, however, he only stayed one term. He again served as an assistant master under Tisdaile , who was by this time headmaster of Oswestry grammar school . In 1779 he became an assistant master at Carmarthen grammar school ; the same year the bishop of Llandaff refused to admit him to holy orders. Early in 1790 he was appointed master of the ‘ Towyn free school ’ (perhaps the old free school at Llanegryn ). In 1794 he moved to Dolgelley . On the death of his father ( 1798 ) he inherited the property of both his parents, which he transferred to a friend, Thomas Jones , on condition that he might spend the rest of his life as one of his family. He was a master at Dolgelley grammar school , 1800-7 . He d. 12 May 1827 and was buried at Dolgelley .

Here is a list of his works: Cywydd y Drindod , 1793 ; Hanes Bywyd Dafydd Ionawr , a broadside in the ‘free’ metre describing his journey to enlist subscribers for his cywydd and his lack of success; Y Mil-Blynyddau , 1799 ; Gwaith Prydyddawl , 1803 ; Joseph, Llywodraethwr yr Aipht , 1809 ; Barddoniaeth Gristianogawl , 1815 ; Cywydd y Diluw, yn dair Rhan , 1821 ; Cywydd y Drindod , 1834 ; Gwaith Dafydd Ionawr. Dan Olygiad y Parch. Morris Williams, M.A., Amlwch , 1851 .


  • In Nicander's edition of his work there is a biography of Dafydd Ionawr by R. O. Rees and a critical essay by Ieuan Gwynedd ;
  • NLW MS 265;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (by J. E. Lloyd );
  • Hanes Llenyddiaeth Gymreig, 1651–1850 (1893) 481-8.


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

Published date: 1959