Ellis Wynne

WYNNE , ELLIS ( 1670/1 – 1734 ), cleric, and author of an outstanding Welsh prose classic ; b. 7 March 1670/1 , at Y Lasynys , near Harlech and in the parish of Llanfihangel-y-Traethau, Mer. , son of Edward Wynne , who descended from a well-known Merioneth family ( Wynne of Glyn Cywarch ), and his wife, who had inherited Y Lasynys . It has not been ascertained, as yet, where Ellis Wynne received his early education nor how he spent his life until he entered Jesus College , Oxford , on 1 March 1691/2 . It used to be thought that he left Oxford without graduating, but more recent evidence ( A. Ivor Pryce , The Diocese of Bangor during three centuries and N.L.W. Vivian MS. 31 ) seems to point to graduation ( B.A. , afterwards M.A. ). Degree or no degree, there is abundant evidence that the author of Gweledigaetheu y Bardd Cwsc was a man of superior education and much culture. Local tradition suggests that he was a student of the law before his kinsman, Humphrey Humphreys , bishop of Bangor and, afterwards, of Hereford (q.v.) , persuaded him to take holy orders. He was ordained deacon on 24 Dec. , and priest on 31 Dec. 1704 .
Ellis Wynne m. (1), Sept. 1698 , Lowry Wynne of Moel-y-glo , a kinswoman and a neighbour (she d. July 1699 , at the birth of their first-born Edward , who d. before he was 2 years old), and (2) Lowry Lloyd , Hafod Lwyfog , Beddgelert . Nine children were born of the second marriage; of these William , the second child, and Edward , the youngest, are noticed below.

On 1 Jan. 1704/5 , Ellis Wynne became the incumbent of the neighbouring parish of Llandanwg ; he also had charge of the chapelry of Llanbedr . In Nov. 1706 he wrote to lady Margaret Owen , widow of Sir Robert Owen (of Brogyntyn , Salop , and associated also with Glyn Cywarch, Mer. ), the letter beginning — ‘ My Parishioners of Llandanwg and my Self are extreamly desirous of a Chappell again at Harlech … ’ ( N.L.W. Brogyntyn manuscript reproduced, as is another letter by him, in a N.L.W. Brogyntyn manuscript, in Dauganmlwyddiant Ellis Wynne, Llawlyfr y Dathliad , 1934 , and in Jnl. Mer. Hist. Soc. , 1949 ). In 1711 he relinquished the cure of Llandanwg (with Llanbedr ) and from July of that year until his death he was the incumbent of Llanfair-juxta-Harlech . (For further details about his life as priest and his life generally, including details of books and manuscripts which he owned, see the Dauganmlwyddiant … handbook , already cited.)

Wynne is remembered, largely and indeed mainly, by virtue of his Gweledigaetheu y Bardd Cwsc (‘ The Visions of the Sleeping Bard ’), first printed (in London ) in 1703 , a Welsh prose classic, of which at least thirty-two editions had appeared up to 1932 , and of which at least three translations into English were made; for details of editions and translations, see Jnl. of the Welsh Bibliog. Soc. , iv, 199-208). The author had previously published ( London , 1701 ) a translation, under the title of Rheol Buchedd Sanctaidd … , of Jeremy Taylor ‘s Holy Living , whilst, in 1710 , appeared his edition of the Welsh Book of Common Prayer . In the latter appeared his best-known Welsh hymn, that beginning ‘ Myfi yw’r Adgyfodiad Mawr ’; four other hymns by him, together with a version of a psalm, and two carolau plygain , all in Welsh , appeared after his death in a work, published by his son Edward in 1755 , in Prif Addysc y Cristion … He d. 13 July 1734 , and was buried under the altar at Llanfair-juxta-Harlech .