By the sudden death at his home at St Athan, near Cardiff, of Mr Thomas Williams (Brynfab), a notable link with the school of poets of the past his lost. He died in his chair by the fire, he was having a smoke after dinner. He was 77 years of age.
There is no student if Welsh literature young or old, who could fail to admire Brynfab, to pay him homage. A remarkable example of the esteem in which he was held support came from the University of Wales, as well as from the Gorsedd and other circles for the movement to secure him a Civil List Pension.
Brynfab was a member of the Gorsedd, and for a record number of years never failed to attend its functions during Eisteddfod Week.
His Last Poem
He was a frequent contributor to the “Wales Day by Day” column, where today appears a poem which came to the “Western Mail” offices in the day of his death. It is the last thing he wrote.
Born in Aberaman he was brought up after his sixth year at a farm near Treorchy. All his life he earned his living by farming on a small scale, and eleven weeks ago he left Hendre Farm, Pontypridd (where he had lived since he was 25 years old), to dwell in peaceful retirement at Hendre Wen, St Athan, helped by his small Civil List pension of £25 per year.
Brynfab began writing poetry when he was fifteen, and before attaining his twentieth birthday had won numerous prizes for literary ability. He was made a member of the Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eisteddfod at Birkenhead in 1878 when Gwalchmai was archdruid. At that Eisteddfod Ceiriog, Cynfaen, Hwfa Mon, and Iolo Caernarfon were present. Ceiriog was one of Brynfab’s examiners for the bardic degree. Crymlyn is now the only bard present at that Eisteddfod who only was present at that Eisteddfod who still survives.
The laurels which Brynfab won at the National Eisteddfod were many. At the Carnarvon festival of 1894, he won the prize for “penillion Telyn.” At the first Cardiff National Eisteddfod, the first prize for concatenated englynion was divided between “Brynfab” and the late Berw. Brynfab also won prizes at the National Eisteddfodau at Llanelly, Newport, Ffestiniog, Swansea, Llandudno, Carnarvon, and London.
Brynfab contributed freely to Welsh literature, both in prose and poetry, for over 60 years. His articles on Welsh folklore, Welsh history, and Welsh Archaeology are highly prized, and some of his lyrics are real gems, He was for many years examiner in the bardic examinations of the Gorsedd.
He loved the Vale of Glamorgan. The final stanza poem to “The Vale” written by him, which appeared recently in the “Wales Day by Day” column read:
Ym mhereaidd salmau temlau’r tir
A pharabl clir offeryn
Sant Athan a Bethesda’r Fro
Ac yn y fan y canaf I
Daith hifaith byd i’w therfryn
In the psalm of the temples of the land
And a clear toolbar
Sant Athan a Bethesda’r Fro
And that is where I sing
Goodbye world to their territory
During the war, he served as chairman of the war agricultural committee at Pontypridd, and as the representative of the Board of Agriculture on the military tribunal at Pontypridd. He was also inspector under the Ploughing Order.
He leaves a widow and one son of his second marriage; Mr Edwards Williams, 19 Cardiff Road, Treforest; four sons and one daughter of his first marriage, Mr Thomas Williams, Ford Farm, Llancarvan, Messrs John and Evan Williams, Glyntaff Farm, Treforest; Mr Rhys Williams, Hendre Farm, Treforest, and Mrs Jane Peel, Willowford, Upper Boat. His widow has two daughters by her first marriage, Mrs S.T. Harris, 45 Heol-y-Deri, Rhiwbina, and Mrs W.F. Bird, Tylchawen, Heol-y-Deri, Rhiwbina.
The funeral cortege will leave St Athan privately at Noon tomorrow (Friday) for Eglwysilan Abertridwr, which the cortege is expected to reach 2.30. All, friends are requested to meet at the church.
Tribute to “Brynfab” 11.07.1925
Pontypridd Bard awarded Annuity
Few persons can be said to be more deserving of recognition by the nation than Brynfab, who has been awarded a State annuity of £25 per annum. He is one of the stalwarts who, though leading a life of manual toil, have won an outstanding place for themselves in the literary life of their country.
Born at Aberaman in September 1848, and brought up after his sixth year at Fforch Orci Farm, near Treorchy, Brynfab has all his life earned his living by small farming, and though he is now in his 77th year, he still toils as hard as ever on his holding, Hendre Farm, near Pontypridd, where he has lived since he was 25 years old.
Brynfab began writing poetry when he was fifteen, and before reaching his twentieth birthday had won numerous prizes. He was made a member of the Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eisteddfod held at Birkenhead in 1878 when Gwalchmai was archdruid, At that Eisteddfod Ceiriog, Cynfaen, Hwfa Mon, and Iolo Caernarfon were present. Ceiriog was one of Brynfab’s examiners for the poet’s degree. Brynfab and Crymlyn are the only two of the bards present at that Eisteddfod who still survive.
The laurels which Brynfab has won at the National Eisteddfod are numerous. At Caernarvon Eisteddfod in 1894, he won the prize for “Penillion Telyn.” At the first Cardiff National Eisteddfod, the first prize for concatenated englynion was divided between Brynfab and Berw, He also won many prizes at the National Eisteddfodau at Llanelly, Newport, Ffestiniog, Swansea, Llandudno, Carnarvon, and London.
Brynfab is of course, well-known as a poet throughout Wales. He has contributed freely to Welsh literature, both in prose and poetry, for over sixty years. His articles on Welsh folklore, Welsh history, and Welsh archaeology are highly prized, and his adjudications on Welsh poetry are accepted as standards. His lyrics are amongst the treasures of Welsh literature, and no contributions to “Wales Day by Day” column are enjoyed more than those from his pen. Brynfab was for many years examiner in the bardic examinations of the Gorsedd.
During the war, he was chairman of the War Agricultural Committee at Pontypridd and the representative of the Board of Agricultural on the Military Tribunal at Pontypridd. He was also inspector under the Ploughing Order.
Death of Brynfab
A National Bereavement
The death occurred at St Athan, near Cardiff, of Mr Thomas Williams, the celebrated Bard, Brynfab, late of Hendre, Pontypridd, in which district he farmed for 52 years. He was 79 years of age and leaves a widow, five sons, and three daughters.
For many years he was a frequent contributor to “Tarian y Gweithiwr,” and some years ago was presented with an illuminated address and cheque for his services to the journal, and Mrs Williams was presented with a gold watch. He was a frequent competitor at National Eisteddfodau and a well-known penillion composer, and some years ago, was second in a “chair” competition to Professor W. J. Gruffydd.
Two years ago he was granted a Civil Pension of £25.00 per annum for his contributions to Welsh literature. He was a prominent member of the Pontypridd Cymmrodorion, only recently was presented with a walking stick from the members of that organisation upon leaving the Pontypridd district for St Athan.
Among the sons and daughters, he leaves are Miss Harris, wife of Mr S. Harris, Heol-y-Deri, Rhiwbina; Mrs W. F. Bird, of Rhiwbina Hill, and Mr Edward Williams, of Cardiff Road, Treforest.
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