David Griffiths 1837 – 1889

General Secretary of “Y Cor Mawr”

Mr David Griffiths
David Griffiths was born in Pendryn Cych in the parish of Cenarth on the 11th December 1837.  Very little is known about his early life but it seems he was extremely intelligent and if he had used his incredible intellect properly, and showed a little more self-respect, doubtless he would be one of Wales’ greatest poets and a great public figure. Along with the Rev John Williams, Newcastle Emlyn, he was prominent in starting “Y Byd Cymreig” (The Welsh World) or, as it was first called “Cyfaill y Werin” (The People’s Friend) in 1863 of which Brythonfryn was editor for some years.  He started to win prizes in the Eisteddfodau as early as 1858 and in 1879 he won the chair of Eisteddfod Gadeiriol Eryri (Snowdonia) which was held in Llanberis.  The subject was “Crefydd” (Religion) and that poem has been published.

We do not know for certain when he came to Aberdare but I know he was one of the most important and enthusiastic elements in forming “The Great Choir” that competed in Crystal Palace conducted by Caradog in 1872 and 1873, at that time he was employed as a lawyers clerk in the Aberdare Valley. Brythonfryn was extremely influential in the Aberdare valley at that time due to his poetry, essays, recitations, oratory and music, he adjudicated all these subjects and sometime solely, he also was a conductor. Some of his poetry was published in local papers and South Wales papers.

On the 20th December 1875 he was inaugurated as minister of the small church in Penderyn, Breconshire, but his connection was not a lengthy one.

Soar Chapel Penderyn December 1875

Sunday and Monday, the 19th and 20th of this month, the ordination of Mr D. Brythonfryn Griffiths, pastor of the Congregational Church above took place. He preached monthly at the church for over the last three and a half years, and during that period the congregation has increased greatly. Last year a new gallery was built in the church, and paid for before the opening. Sunday morning, Mr Griffiths, at two o’clock, preached by the Rev. D. Griffiths, Elim, Cwmdare, and at 6, by the Rev. J. Joseph, Hirwain. Monday at 11, started by the Rev. J. Morgan, Cwmbach; sermon was bright and clear on the Nature of the Church, by the Rev. D. Jones, B.A., Merthyr. Questions were asked and asked for a sign of agreement and the minister of the church, by the Rev. J. Morgan, a prayer for God’s blessing on the union by its spirit, by the Rev. J. M. Bowen, Pendarren; delivered a on the duties of the minister, the Rev. W. Edwards. At two o’clock, it was started by the Rev. W. S. Davies, Llwydcoed & Rev. J. M. Bowen, a mighty, and also the Rev. R. Evans, Bethel, Aberdare, debt-service of the church. At six begun by Mr D. Watkins, Bethel, and preached by the Revs. W. S. Davies, Llwydcoed and D. Morgan, Ystradfellte.

Soar Chapel Penderyn
Soar Chapel Penderyn

The death of Mr D. Griffiths “Brythonfryn”, Aberdare 20th June 1889

Sadly have to announce the death of the poet and the lienor able above, which took place last Friday night, about a quarter to ten, he was 52 years old. He was well known throughout North and South as a writer and poet of more than average ability, and faithfully served the Welsh press for over 30 years. The funeral takes place on Wednesday afternoon, starting from the house at 61, Pembroke Street, about half past three o’clock.

The grave of David Griffiths