Born at Abergwili, Carmarthenshire. He received very little education before he was apprenticed to a weaver. Because of his musical talent he was allowed to join the band of the Carmarthen Volunteers; he became the head of the fife band of the company. After serving with these volunteers in Ireland he was appointed head of the National Society's school at Llandovery, where he spent the remainder of his life. His greatest service to music was rendered by visiting local churches to instruct the choristers in psalmody. He competed against Walter Davies (Gwallter Mechain) at the Carmarthen eisteddfod of 1819; he also submitted an awdl at the Brecon eisteddfod of 1822. He was, however, more important as an editor than as a poet, for it was he who collected and edited the material for Blodau Dyfed: sef Awdlau, Cywyddau, Englynion, a Chaniadau, Moesol a Diddanol, a gyfansoddwyd can Feirdd Dyfed … (Caerfyrddin, 1824). This is a good example of the local-anthology type of publication; it is still of interest and use as a source-book for information on the literature of Wales, and on the history of the provincial eisteddfodau. Besides examples of the work of the editor (some of them written for the Carmarthen and Brecon eisteddfodau) the volume contains a selection of poems by Evan Evans (Ieuan Brydydd Hir), Jenkin Thomas, Cwm-du, Cardiganshire, Eliezer Williams, Daniel Evans (Daniel Ddu o Geredigion), James Davies (Iago ap Dewi), D. Rowland (Dewi Brefi) of Carmarthen, Edward Richard of Ystradmeurig, Evan Thomas of Llanarth, D. Lloyd of Llwynrhydowen, D. Jones of Llanwrda, John Jenkins (Ioan Siengcyn) of Cardigan, Francis Thomas (‘y Crythwr Dall o Geredigion’), Ifan Gruffydd of Tŵr-gwyn, and others. Some of the material for his anthology was obtained by him from what is now N.L.W. MS. 19. He is probably the ‘Ioan ab Hywel’ some of whose work is found in N.L.W. MS. 1238 (a Thomas Edwards, Twm o'r Nant MS.). He died 18 November 1830, and was buried in the churchyard of Llandingat, Llandovery.
Published date: 1959
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