William Cywnal d. 1587/88

This cywydd poet originated from Ystaby Ifan from the boarder country in Denbighshire and flourished in the 16th Century during the bardic revival period supported by the London Welsh Societies. William Cywnal had been the pupil of Gruffudd Hiraethog. being awarded his apprenticeship under his supervision at Caerwys Eisteddfod. Indeed Gruffudd Hiraethog had fondly remarked about William poetical prowess when he was referred to as awyenddol yw William Cywnal.

William is probably better remembered for the bardic dispute that occurred between the archdeacon of Merioneth Edmund Prys and Wiliam Cywnal between 1580-1587/8. It commenced from the cynwal for the promised archers bow to Rhys Wyn. The dispute although drawn out was ended with the death of Wiliam Cywnal d. c 1587/8. The controversy is considered to be essentially about the changing role within society. The effects centred between the tradition learning and that of the new renaissance and its new humanistic thinking. Moreover William Cywnal considered that Edmund Prys with his university education had not been instructed in the legitimate bardic training of the traditional poets. A tradition, kept among the bards', in turn outsiders of its confines would then possibly classify it as a bardic secret.


Thomas G, Eisteddfodau Caerwys, Cardiff uni Press 1969

Morrice, J.C. M.A., The Manuel of Welsh Literature, Jarvis and Foster, Bangor 1909

Stephens, M., (Eds.), The New Companion to the Literature of Wales, University of Wales Press, Cardiff 1998

Original September 15, 2003