Iolo Morganwg

Edward Williams was born on the 10th of March 1747 in Penon, Llancarfan, Glamorgan. He is more common known by his bardic name of Iolo Morganwg meaning ‘Iolo of Glamorgan’. Like his father, by trade Iolo was a stonemason.

To some Iolo Morganwg is considered a genius, being one of the founders of the Unitarian movement in Wales, an “influential Welsh antiquarian”, poet, a supporter of the French Revolution and a literary forger. It has been said that he was one of Europe’s most successful forgers, forging poems which he attributed to the 14th century poet Dafydd ap Gwilym, medieval chronicles and counterfeit traditions associated with the history of Glamorgan.

Iolo was an excellent poet in both Welsh and English. He was suported by his fellow poets including Lewis Hopkin, John Bradford and Edward Evans. A well known poem of his is the ‘Cywydd i Ddyfalu Serch’, that he had written for his future wife ‘Euron’. He later married ‘Euron’ in 1781. Later in 1787 they had a child by the name of Taliesin.

Taliesin (b.1787 - d.1847) was to follow his father in becoming a stonemason and a poet. He was also a teacher who went on to establish his own school in ‘Merthyr Tudful’. Taliesin enjoyed competing in the National Eisteddfod, he saw success in the Cardiff Eisteddfod of 1834 and the Abergavenny Eisteddfold of 1838.

During 1783 Iolo became a farmer for a brief period of time. Later he opened and bookshop and a grocers in the Cowbridge area.

It is known that Iolo had an addiction to Laudanum which may have distorted his view of the world meaning that he may of found it difficult to differentiate between fact and fiction. Iolo started taking Laudanum “to cure a troublesome cough” and he later became dependant on the drug.

Iolo is also connected to ‘The Maid of Cefn Ydfa’ story as he claims that the Wil Hopcyn buried at Llangynwyd Church is that who was involved with Ann Maddocks (Nee Thomas). He also claims that Wil was the author of “Bugeilio'r Gwenith Gwyn” (Watching The White Wheat). It is thought at only the core of “Bugeilio'r Gwenith Gwyn” was written by Wil Hopcyn or is genuinely old and the Iolo himself completed “Bugeilio'r Gwenith Gwyn” as it is today.

Iolo later died in 1826 aged 79.

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Image: Iolo Morganwg

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