was most probably an Anglesey man - ‘of the land of Meilyr,’ says Iolo Goch, though Iolo also locates him in Llŷn, and indeed further transports him to Bardsey. Iolo styles him ‘a famous poet,’ but all that we have to substantiate that claim is a single cywydd, preserved in two copies, Pen. MSS. 77 (441) and 78 (135). It would indeed seem that Ithel was no professional bard, but rather a quasi-squire, a mighty hunter and a boon companion (according to Iolo), and like the rest of his class a patron of bards. It was by his command (says Iolo) that Iolo Goch composed the very scurrilous lampoon, printed by Charles Ashton in his edition of Iolo (no. xl), upon the mother of the poet Gruffydd Gryg — see further the article on Gruffydd. An ‘elegy’ by Iolo, on Ithel's supposed death on Bardsey — assassinated, so it is hinted, by Gruffydd Gryg — can hardly be regarded as historical evidence; it is pretty clearly a ‘leg-pull,’ in the same genre as the lampoon mentioned above.
Published date: 1959
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