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

Name: Gruffydd Dwnn
Date of birth: c. 1500
Date of death: c. 1570
Child: Harry Dwnn
Gender: Male
Occupation: country gentleman
Area of activity: Land Ownership; Royalty and Society
Author: Garfield Hopkin Hughes

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 ‘Syr’ Owen 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 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) 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 also stayed at Ystrad Merthyr when he was at Abergwili.


Published date: 1959

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