RICHARDS, JOHN (Iocyn Ddu; 1795 - 1864) poet and adjudicator

Name: John Richards
Pseudonym: Iocyn Ddu
Date of birth: 1795
Date of death: 1864
Parent: James Richards
Gender: Male
Occupation: poet and adjudicator
Area of activity: Eisteddfod; Poetry
Author: Robert Thomas Jenkins

Born at Llannerch-y-medd, son of James Richards, shopkeeper, and nephew of John Richards, cleric - it is said that they were kinsfolk of Edward Richard of Ystradmeurig. He spent some years of his life (till 1844) at Liverpool, in the customs-house, but after 'marrying means' lived successively at Tre-Iorwerth (Bodedern, Anglesey) and at Caernarvon - he began building a mansion near Llannerch-y-medd, but died 17 November 1864, before it was finished. He was a schoolfellow of David James (1803 - 1871) and of Joseph Hughes (1803 - 1863) at Ystradmeurig, and throughout his life shared their interests - we have some awdlau of his. But he is best - though not too fortunately - remembered as one of the three 'chair' adjudicators at the 1849 eisteddfod at Aberffraw. The two serious competitors for the chair were Emrys (William Ambrose) and Nicander (Morris Williams). Eben Fardd was for 'chairing' Emrys, while Iocyn Ddu stood out stoutly for Nicander. The third adjudicator, Chwaneg Mon (Joseph Jones), thought that Bardd Du Môn (R. M. Williamson) should get the chair, but was over-persuaded by Richards to cast his final vote for Nicander. The decision provoked a heated controversy in the press - fuel was added to the flames by the fact that the winner and the two adjudicators who voted for him were Anglicans, while Eben Fardd and Emrys were Nonconformists.


Published date: 1959

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