Born at Glanymorfa, a little township near Towyn, Meironnydd, 22 January 1751, son of John and Anne Richards. It has been said that when Richards was 16 years of age (or 14 according to N.L.W. MS. 2735) Evan Evans (Ieuan Brydydd Hir) came to Towyn as curate — but this cannot be right as he was curate there from 1772 to 1777. However, in Ieuan Brydydd Hir Dafydd Ionawr found a teacher of poetry, and it was on Ieuan Brydydd Hir's representation that his father agreed to send him to Edward Richard's school at Ystradmeurig, where he excelled in mathematics and classics. Dafydd Ionawr therefore came under the influence of two of the greatest Welsh poets and scholars of the 18th century. He was appointed a master ‘at C. A. Tisdaile's school at Wrexham, and in 1774 went to Jesus College, Oxford, where, however, he only stayed one term. He again served as an assistant master under Tisdaile, who was by this time headmaster of Oswestry grammar school. In 1779 he became an assistant master at Carmarthen grammar school; the same year the bishop of Llandaff refused to admit him to holy orders. Early in 1790 he was appointed master of the ‘Towyn free school’ (perhaps the old free school at Llanegryn). In 1794 he moved to Dolgelley. On the death of his father (1798) he inherited the property of both his parents, which he transferred to a friend, Thomas Jones, on condition that he might spend the rest of his life as one of his family. He was a master at Dolgelley grammar school, 1800-7. He died 12 May 1827 and was buried at Dolgelley.
Here is a list of his works: Cywydd y Drindod, 1793; Hanes Bywyd Dafydd Ionawr, a broadside in the ‘free’ metre describing his journey to enlist subscribers for his cywydd and his lack of success; Y Mil-Blynyddau, 1799; Gwaith Prydyddawl, 1803; Joseph, Llywodraethwr yr Aipht, 1809; Barddoniaeth Gristianogawl, 1815; Cywydd y Diluw, yn dair Rhan, 1821; Cywydd y Drindod, 1834; Gwaith Dafydd Ionawr. Dan Olygiad y Parch. Morris Williams, M.A., Amlwch, 1851.
Published date: 1959
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