KYFFIN, EDWARD (c. 1558 - 1603), cleric and composer of metrical psalms

Name: Edward Kyffin
Date of birth: c. 1558
Date of death: 1603
Parent: Catrin Kyffin (née Lloyd)
Parent: Thomas Kyffin
Gender: Male
Occupation: cleric and composer of metrical psalms
Area of activity: Poetry; Religion
Author: Gildas Tibbott

It is believed that he was 'my brother Edward Kyffyn preacher' who is named in, and proved, the will of Morris Kyffin; if so, he was a son of Thomas Kyffin of Oswestry and Catherine the younger daughter of Robert Lloyd of Hartsheath, Flintshire. Very little is known about his career. He was born at Oswestry. He went to Jesus College, Cambridge, but he does not appear to have graduated. He was ordained deacon in London, 14 May 1585, at the age of 27, and priest at Bangor, 28 December 1590; he is also recorded as being one of the witnesses at an ordination service in the bishop's oratory at Bangor, 26 September 1593. He was curate of S. Martin Outwich, London, and it was probably there that he died from the effects of the great plague in 1603.

Kyffin was the author of Rhann o Psalmae Dafydd Brophwyd Ivv Canu ar ôl y dôn arferedig yn Eglwys Loegr (printed in London by Simon Stafford for T[homas] S[alisbury], 1603). It is doubtful whether this booklet was ever published; the N.L.W. copy is the only one extant, as far as is known. It contains only the first twelve psalms and the first five verses of the thirteenth, set to the metre known as awdl gywydd, side by side with the Biblical text and following Kyffin's epistle dedicatory giving the reasons which prompted him to undertake the work. In view of what Morris Kyffin says in the preface to Deffynniad Ffydd Eglwys Loegr, 1595, regarding the need for a metrical version of the psalms in Welsh, it is not improbable that it was at his instigation that his brother Edward undertook the task. Thomas Salisbury, in a letter to Sir John Wynn of Gwydir, states that Kyffin had composed about fifty metrical psalms before he fell a victim to the plague in 1603.

In one only of the three variant forms of the preliminary pages of Psalmae y Brenhinol Brophvvyd Dafydh … by Wiliam Middelton, 1603, there appears, on pp. 3-4, an elegy to the author, 'Mawl-gerdh farwnad i gapten William Middelton,' by Kyffin. It is not certain whether he or another of the same name, who graduated at Oxford and was vicar of Whitford and of Caerwys at the beginning of the 17th century, is the Edward Kyffin who is named as the author of 'The pronunciation of the Letters in the British tongue' together with 'A comparison of the pronounciation of the letters in Welsh, to the Greeke and Hebrew letters' which appear at the beginning of Car–wr y Cymru , 1631.


Published date: 1959

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