RHYS CAIN (died 1614), a herald bard

Name: Rhys Cain
Date of death: 1614
Spouse: Catrin ferch Dafydd
Spouse: Gwen wraig Rhys Cain
Child: Elisabeth
Child: Dorithie
Child: Ann
Child: Siôn Cain
Child: Roger
Parent: Rheinallt ap John Wynn
Gender: Male
Occupation: herald bard
Area of activity: History and Culture; Poetry; Royalty and Society
Author: Evan David Jones

The older biographical dictionaries make him a native of Trawsfynydd, but it is more probable that he took his bardic name from another river Cain, in Mechain Iscoed. His pedigree is traced from Edwin, king of Tegeingl. His father was Rheinallt ap John Wynn, and his paternal grandmother was a daughter of Thomas Ireland of Oswestry, in which town he also resided for the greater part of his life. His younger children were christened there - Ann in 1579, Dorithie in 1587, Roger in 1589, and Elizabeth in 1592. There, too, his wife, Gwen, was buried 19 April 1603. He married again, Catherine verch Dafydd, who survived him. His bardic teacher, Wiliam Llŷn, left him, by the name of ' Rice ap Rinald alias Kain ', his books and rolls in his will, 1580, and Rhys composed an elegy upon his death in the form of a dialogue, as Wiliam Llŷn himself had done when his own teacher, Gruffudd Hiraethog, died. It is said that he was a painter, and that a picture of the Passion painted by him met with the disapproval of his fellow-townsmen. As a herald bard, who compiled pedigree charts for his clients, he had some knowledge of the art of painting, though his work was somewhat crude. His great visitation book, in which he entered his genealogical poems, was lost in the Wynnstay fire, 1859, but a considerable body of his work for the period 1574-90 survives in holograph (Peniarth MS 68 and Peniarth MS 69 ), and a collection of his elegies in (NLW MS 433B ). Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt regarded him as his mentor in genealogy. Ten letters written to him are preserved in Peniarth MS 327 and in Peniarth MS 178 in the same collection is an interesting record of the profits (£23 2s. 6d.) of one of his bardic itineraries. He was buried at Oswestry, 10 May 1614, and was succeeded in his profession by his son, Siôn Cain.


Published date: 1959

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