There is a record of the burial of ‘Benjamin Simon, a Pauper,’ at Abergwili, 1 March 1793, and Iolo Morganwg has left for us in his ‘Agricultural Observations,’ 1795 (N.L.W. MS. 13115, i.e. Llanover MS. C 28) a picture of the old man in his poverty. Iolo says that he was 90 years of age at the time of his death and that he had been a bookbinder by trade. Another tradition, however, has it that he was a bootmaker. His elegy on Griffith Jones of Llanddowror shows how greatly he, like many other contemporaries, was indebted to Jones and his schools. Simon, like so many other antiquaries and literary men of that generation, was a dissenter, and he is recorded as being a member of the chapel at Panteg, Carmarthenshire, in March 1743 (the Panteg Church Book, N.L.W. MS. 12362). Ben Simon was one of the group of copyists greatly influenced by Iaco ab Dewi. His most celebrated manuscript, ‘Tlysau'r Beirdd’ (N.L.W. MS. 5474) was written between 1747 and 1751, and his well-known collection of Dafydd ap Gwilym's works (N.L.W. MS. 5475) in 1754. Some of his other manuscripts are in the Cardiff City Library and at Oxford. His books and manuscripts were bought by Thomas Evans (Tomos Glyn Cothi) in 1790, and Iolo Morganwg made use of some of them at a later date. Ben Simon was also closely connected with Siôn Rhydderch. His best-known ballad is Marwnad ar Farwolaeth …, 17 o Ddynion yng Waith Glo'r Wern Fraith, ger-llaw Castell Nedd yn Sir Forgannwg, 1758. Another of his elegies was printed as a supplement to Llawlyfr Ysgrythyrawl, 1756.
Published date: 1959
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