MEILYR BRYDYDD (fl. c. 1100-1137), chief court-poet

Name: Meilyr Brydydd
Child: Gwalchmai ap Meilyr
Gender: Male
Occupation: chief court-poet
Area of activity: Poetry
Author: David Myrddin Lloyd

to Gruffudd ap Cynan at Aberffraw. He is considered the earliest of the ‘Gogynfeirdd.’ Meilyr, and Gwalchmai (his son), and his grand-children, appear to be the likeliest known instance in Wales of a line of hereditary poets, as was usual in Ireland, holding land in return for their eulogies of a particular line of rulers. Trefeilyr and Trewalchmai remain as place-names in Anglesey. Sir J. Morris-Jones noted a chronological difficulty in accepting as the work of Meilyr Brydydd the elegy to Trahaearn ap Caradog and Meilyr ap Rhiwallon who were slain at Mynydd Cam (1081). The only other remaining poems by him are the elegy to Gruffudd ap Cynan (1137) and the poet's own death-bed lament. In the former, as Sir J. E. Lloyd observed, we have the earliest extant expression in Welsh poetry of the spirit of the Welsh re-awakening which accompanied the rise of the princes of Gwynedd in the 12th century. In the lament Meilyr expresses a wish to be buried on Bardsey. It does not seem probable that he long survived his chief patron, and we know that his son, Gwalchmai, was of age to receive the patronage of Gwynedd princes before 1132 (see Hendreg. MS. 13a).

Author

Published date: 1959

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