Welsh Journals

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Sir Samuel Meynck, who furnished such a full and valuable pedi- gree of the Pryse family in his History of Cardiganshire, described the house of Gogerddan, as seen in the early part of the last century, with rather disappointing brevity, merely remarking that Gogarthan stands in a forest of fir and has a very respectable appearance." He added, It is celebrated as the birthplace of Rhydderch ab Jevan Llwyd, a poet of the first rank, who lived in the age after Dafydd ab Gwilym." The statement that Rhydderch lived in the age after Dafydd ab Gwilym is somewhat puzzling for the following reason. There is a little homestead in this parish known as Bro Gynin, which would appear to mean Gynin's Lland. Who the original Gynin was might be hard to say, but no doubt some of us have visited that place feeling more or less convinced that it was the birthplace of the greatest of our Welsh poets, Dafydd ab Gwilym, and that it was to Bro Gynin, his paternal home, that he retired in his declining years of life. The greater number of the biographers of this poet agree in stating that he was born about the year 1340 and died about 1400. In the collection of his poems, published by Owen Jones and William Owen in 1789, may be seen, on page 468, an elegy on Rhydderch ab Jevan Llwyd o'r Gogerddan. This same elegy is also included amongst the poems of Dafydd ab Gwilym given in "Gorchestion Beirdd Cymru." It, therefore, does not seem possible that Rhydderch lived at Gogerddan in the age after Dafydd ab Gwilym, if that bard really composed the elegy. It has, however, been suggested by more recent authorities that the Rhydderch, whom Sir Samuel Meyrick mentions, was not himself a poet, but that a son of his, Ieuan, who is known to have won literary distinction and whose poems in MS. may now be studied at the Welsh National Library, may possibly have been born at Gogerddan. This Ieuan ap Rhydderch ap Jevan Llwyd, probably outlived Dafydd ab Gwilym. But although we would like to believe that the old house of Gogerddan stood here when Dafydd ab Gwilym lived at Bro Gynin, there is, unfortunately, no actual evidence that it did so; and indeed it is generally understood that the original mansion was built some sixty years after Ab Gwilym's death, that is in 1460. On the other hand, it would be interesting to know when and by whom the ancient and well-known air, "I Bias Gogerddan," was com- posed, as the Welsh words seem to point to some story of the house of Gogerddan during a period of warfare, which might perhaps be that of the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century. Rhys, who figures in the family pedigree as of Gogerddan," was the great-grandson of Rhydderch, who was descended from Gwaethfoed, Prince of Ceredigion, and who lived in the Vale of Ayron. This Rhys seems to have migrated thence to Gogerddan and his son, Richard ap Rhys, afterwards knighted, became known in course of time as the first Pryse of Gogerddan. His son, John Pryse, married Elizabeth, a grand-daughter of Sir Thomas Perrot, who was descended from the Earl of Norfolk, a son of Edward 1st., King of England, by his second wife, Margaret of France. This John Pryse of Gogarthan