SIR JOHN WYNN OF GWYDIR AND JOHN SPEED: ASPECTS OF ANTIQUARIAN ACTIVITIES SIR John Wynn of Gwydir in Caernarvonshire was a man typical of his age. As a prospering landed squire and the head of the family household, he had many functions to fulfil both in his capacity as landowner and local administrator. His routine pursuits, however, did not prevent him from acquiring a keen interest in cultural matters as befitted a man of his standing and background in Welsh society.1 He is known to have been particularly interested in the bardic system and encouraged bards to practise their craft by extending his patronage to many of them who visited Gwydir regularly and by preserving their output in manuscript. Simwnt Fychan, for example, testified to his willingness to support the bardic order in spite of a gradual estrangement among the younger gentry including some of Wynn's own sons. Un gwr o waed hen gorau, Acw sydd heb ein casau, Awn a cherdd lIe cawn chwarddwyr I dai gwin, enaid y gwyr.2 Owing to the respect and esteem which Wynn enjoyed in his local community much was expected of him, not only as a landed gentleman and all that entails but also as a cultured figure well-informed in all antiquarian and historical matters relating to his locality and the region in which he lived. Judging by his own correspondence and by the large corpus of bardic material contained in his 'Booke',3 he was particularly interested in the bardic craft and he was an expert on the genealogical affiliations of most of the north Wales gentry families including his own. This is clearly borne out in the evidence which he uncovers, confusing though it may seem, in his famous History of the Gwydir Family, an incomplete manuscript chronicle which displays in its very nature and purpose both the laudable and less complimentary features of the antiquarian activity of his day.4 In Wynn's mind, to write a narrative account of the fortunes of his own kindred up to the early days of his great-grandfather's settlement at Dolwyddelan, was both a challenge and an exercise which gave him much enjoyment. It gave him the opportunity to write history, however local and intricate it might be, as an antiquarian project in its own right which entailed the laborious task of collecting masses of material from Welsh chronicles and English administrative sources over a considerable period of time. The enjoyment and pleasure which he derived from this activity are clearly revealed in the manner in which he assembled the material and wrote his account in piecemeal fashion as time allowed.5 Both he and his immediate predecessors had built up a good library at Gwydir. His grandfather, John Wyn ap Maredudd, had been visited by John Leland, the 'King's Antiquary', sometime between 1536 and 1539.6 Wiliam Cynwal testified to Morus Wynn's regard for learning and to his possession of a rich library at