Born 8 April 1770 at Cilbronnau Farm, Llangoedmor, Cardiganshire. He was educated at the local school; then went to Carmarthen Academy, and thence to Jesus College, Oxford, from which he moved to Merton College, where he graduated B.A. in 1791. The same year he was ordained deacon and went as curate to his uncle, Dr. Lewis, rector of Whippingham, I.O.W. In 1799 he became chaplain to H.M.S. Agincourt in the West Indies, being later transferred to H.M.S. Theseus. He returned home to recover his health, and after convalescence was appointed rector of Manordivy, Pembrokeshire, and, in 1807, vicar of Kerry, Montgomeryshire, the living being in the gift of Thomas Burgess, bishop of S. Davids. He died 20 November 1829.
He built a new parsonage at Kerry, and the poets called it ‘The Court of Ifor Hael,’ for during the first week of every year he kept open house for ‘all comers provided only that they could compose an englyn, sing a song, or play the harp.’ In August 1818, bishop Burgess came to Kerry and the two decided ‘to make an attempt to rekindle the bardic skill and ingenuity of the principality … by holding eisteddfodau in different places in the four provinces.’ The first of these eisteddfodau was held in the Ivy Bush inn, Carmarthen, on 8 and 9 July 1819; that was how the provincial eisteddfodau came into being. Ifor Ceri directed all of them until the 1829 eisteddfod at Denbigh when he opined that English influence was gradually creeping in and that they were becoming an ‘Anglo-Italian farce.’ He wrote articles in The Cambrian Quarterly Magazine and the Gwyliedydd. His manuscripts are in the N.L.W. His main interest was the collection of old airs and melodies, some of which were published by Maria Jane Williams of Aberpergwm in Ancient Welsh Music, and many by Bardd Alaw in his Welsh Harper.
Published date: 1959
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