Lewis William Lewis "Llew Llwyfo" 1831 – 1901
Poet, novelist, and journalist

Lewis William Lewis

Lewis William Lewis was born on the 31st March 1831 in the village of Pensarn, Llanwenllwyfo, Anglesey. As a boy he worked in the Parys Copper Mines near Amlwch, and was later apprenticed to a Bangor draper. He then opened his own shop at Talsarn and after that a school in the same place.

In 1852 he was sub-editor of Y Cymro (Holywell). Then in 1855 he went to Liverpool to edit the Amserau, in 1858 he moved to Aberdare as editor of the Gwladgarwr and the Glorian. After three year later he moved to Denbigh where he was on the staff of Y Faner and, later still, to the Herald office at Caernarvon. He was also connected with the Gwron , the Gwalia , and the Genedl. In 1870 he went to the U.S.A. where he remained for some four years as joint editor of the Welsh newspaper, Y Wasg. Subsequently, he paid a second visit to the U.S.A.

His success as a composer of Welsh songs was very marked. Possessing a powerful baritone voice, he was generally the first to introduce his own productions. His services were frequently called for as adjudicator and conductor. He wrote much to the Geninen, and to the Welsh periodical press in Wales and America. He organized many concerts both in Wales and in the U.S.A. As a singer, Llew Llwyfo swept everything before him; he was also an eisteddfod conductor. In one way or another, he was one of the most gifted Welshmen of the 19th cent. He died on the 23rd March 1901 at Rhyl, and was buried in Llanbeblig cemetery, Caernarvon. A monument has been erected to his memory in Caernarvon.

Lewis William Lewis painted 1888
Lewis William Lewis painted 1888
The Caernarfon Royal Town Council

His Eisteddfodic successes include prizes for poems on:

Llew Llwyfo was a writer of ‘heroic’ verse. He won the chair with his ‘Gwenhwyfar ’ in the Merthyr Tydfil eisteddfod , 1859; with ‘Caradog ’ in the national eisteddfod held at Aberdare, 1861; with ‘Llewelyn ’ in the Rhyl eisteddfod , 1863; "Golyddan," Swansea, 1863; with ‘Dafydd ’ in the national eisteddfod held at Aberystwyth , 1865; with ‘ Arthur y Ford Gron ’ in the Chester national eisteddfod, 1866; with ‘Elias y Thespiad ’ in Ruthin eisteddfod , 1868; “Gruffydd ap Cynan," Wrexham, 1888; and "loan y Disgybl Anwyl," Llanelly, 1895. A selection of his poems, under the title, "Gemau Llwyfo," appeared in 1868 (Liverpool: T. Hughes). His elegy on "Golyddan" appears in Yr Eisteddfod, vol. 2, p. 69; and his poem on "David " in the same volume, at p. 281. He also wrote several novels, among them "Cydymaith yr Herwheliwr" (The Poacher's Companion), and "Llewelyn Parry, neu y Meddwyn Diwygiedig" (Llewelyn Parry, or the Reformed Drunkard.)

Besides these major awards he won a large number of lesser prizes at various eisteddfodau in Wales and the U.S.A. Here are his principal publications:

Awen Ieuanc , 1851; Llewelyn Parri: neu y Meddwyn Diwygiedig (novel), 1855; Huw Huws neu y llafurwr Cymreig (novel), 1860; Llyfr y Llais, 1865; Troadau yr Olwyn, 1865; Gemau Llwyfo , 1868; Y Creawdwr, Cerdd ddysg (didactic poem), 1871; Cyfrinach Cwm Erfin and Y Wledd a'r Wyrth (two novels, undated); Buddugoliaeth y Groes (epic poem), 1880; Cydymaith yr herwheliwr: neu a gollwyd ac a gafwyd. Chwedl Wledig , 1882; Drych y Prif Oesoedd … ynghyd a rhagdraith gan Llew Llwyfo , 1883; A Selection of Sacred and Secular Lyrics from the Welsh with English versions by Llew Llwyfo.


Poem by Alaw Goch (David Williams)

Heartily I wish you the very best – again,
And I shall come to visit you
One long day before the end of summer,
I pray so upon pain of my life.

And this, you should have Christmas time, - the gold,
And silver both very refined,
With bread and cheese, and beer and meat,
Fair Llew, all of it calennig for you.