Born 5 or 6 February 1801 at Bryn y Ffynnon, Denbigh, eldest son of Thomas and Mary Williams. His father, a weaver, also kept a shop. He was educated at a number of schools in the town but c. 1814 his father became financially embarrassed; the shop was sold and the family removed to Henllan-street where the father continued his work as a weaver. The son was sent to his grandfather and uncle at Llanrwst to learn weaving and then returned to assist his father. From c. 1820 to c. 1826 he kept a school in the Methodist chapel at Denbigh.
In 1827 he quarrelled with some of the Methodist elders, and became a member of the Congregational church at Swan-lane. He was encouraged to begin preaching with them and for four months he was a student at Rotherham College. He was ordained minister of the churches at Peniel (Llannerch-y-medd) and Maenaddwyn on 2 June 1829. He later held pastorates at Pendref (Caernarvon), 1832-48; Aldersgate-street, London, 1848-50; Llanrwst, 1850-56; Beulah near Bangor, 1856-7; and Groes-wen, Glamorganshire from 1857 till his death on 23 March 1869. He was thrice married and had one son, William (Ap Caledfryn), and a daughter, Margaret Mary. Caledfryn was admitted a bard at Caernarvon in September 1821 and he won the chair for his awdl on the wreck of the Rothesay Castle at Beaumaris in 1832. He published Cyfarwyddiadur i Ddarllen ac Ysgrifennu Cymraeg (A Guide to reading and writing Welsh), 1821; Grawn Awen, a volume of verse, 1826; Drych Barddonol neu Draethawd ar Farddoniaeth (An essay on Poetry), 1839; Grammadeg Cymreig (A Welsh Grammar), 1851; and Caniadau Caledfryn (a further volume of verse), 1856. He edited Gardd Eifion, the works of Robert ap Gwilym Ddu in 1841, and Eos Gwynedd, the works of John Thomas, Pentrefoelas (1742 - 1818), in 1845, and a collection of hymns in 1860. He contributed essays on Robert ap Gwilym Ddu and Dewi Wyn o Eifion to Y Drysorfa in 1852 and 1853. He edited many periodicals, including Y Sylwedydd, (1831), Tywysog Cymru (1832-3), Y Seren Ogleddol, [ 1835-6 ], Yr Adolygydd, [ C'von, 1838-9 ], Cylchgrawn Rhyddid [ 1845-6 ], Yr Amaethydd [ 1845-6 ]. He assisted with Yr Adolygydd [ Cardiff, 1852-63 ], Y Gwron Cymreig [ 1852-6 ], Y Gwladgarwr [ 1863-8 ], and Y Dysgedydd. [See also under Hugh Hughes, (1790 - 1863) and Jones, Josiah, T. ]. He was a frequent adjudicator at eisteddfodau, and many complaints were made about his scathing criticisms. He opposed the ideas of many contemporary poets and critics, and urged greater simplicity and directness in cynghanedd poetry. He supported the Liberal movement by speeches and pamphlets. He was prominent in the Anti-Corn-Law League, the Peace Society, and the Society for the Liberation of Religion. He opposed Sir James Graham's Factory Bill in 1843 and gave evidence on behalf of Nonconformists before commissioner Johnson in 1846. In the Temperance movement he opposed total abstinence, preferring temperance. His autobiography, together with some of his verse and prose works, was published under the title Cofiant Caledfryn (ed. Scorpion) by H. Evans, Bala, in 1877.
Published date: 1959
Article Copyright: http://rightsstatements.org/page/InC/1.0/
The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.
Find out more on our sponsorship page.