He is said to have been a native of Gwynfe, Carmarthenshire, but in 1783 he was living at Llandybïe, and it is thought that he was the ‘Owen Watkin’ who, there, married Joyce William of Cwm Aman, 21 November 1783. He was a miller by trade, and throughout his life was compelled to move from place to place in pursuit of his calling. He lived for a time at Cwmgrenig-fach, Cwm Aman, and later at Llwyn Uchedwel, near Glais, in the Vale of Swansea; later still he moved to Cefn Myddfai, Llangyfelach, and Melin Gurwen. His last home was at Melin-y-gurnos, in the Vale of Swansea. In 1869 a monument was erected over his grave in the parish churchyard, Ystradgynlais, according to which he was born in 1751 and died 29 March 1813. Thomas Levi (Y Traethodydd, 1866, 406) says that he died 29 March 1813 at the age of 62, but a writer in Y Geninen, March 1906, 43, says that he died in 1816 at the age of 65. It seems probable that he is the ‘Owain William, Gurnos Mill’, whose burial is recorded in the church register of Ystradgynlais 26 February 1814. Several of his ballads were published, e.g. the ballad of the Brynmorgan Explosion (Voss, Swansea, 1812). But his best-known poem is the one on the divinity of Christ — Cân yn dangos fod Crist yn Dduw, etc. (Voss, 1806, and several later editions). This poem had no small significance in the dispute between the Unitarians and the Trinitarians at the beginning of the 19th century. Cynhyrchion Barddonol yr Hen Felinydd Owen Dafydd Cwmaman was published at Ystalyfera in 1904.
Published date: 1959
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