Williams, Robert (1767-1850) (DNB00)

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WILLIAMS, ROBERT (1767–1850), Welsh bard, son of William Williams, was born at Betws Fawr in the parish of Llan Ystumdwy, Carnarvonshire, in 1767. His father was a small freeholder, and he succeeded him in the occupation of Betws Fawr, moving, however, towards the end of his life to Mynachty in the same district. ‘Robert ap Gwilym Ddu,’ as he was styled in bardic circles, became first known as the winner in 1792 of the Gwyneddigion Society's medal for the best ode on the ‘Massacre of the Bards.’ This was, however, his only success of the kind; a home-keeping farmer, he devoted himself henceforth to the writing of religious verse and eschewed eisteddfodau. He was the close friend and bardic tutor of his neighbour, David Owen (1784–1841) [q. v.] (‘Dewi Wyn’), and shared Owen's mistrust of the eisteddfod authorities of the day. His poems, almost entirely religious or commemorative, were published at Dolgelly in 1841 under the title ‘Gardd Eifion.’ They show a remarkable power of vigorous, clear expression, and include some of the best known stanzas in the language. Williams died on 11 June 1850, and was buried at Aber Erch. He married late in life; his only child, a daughter, Jane Elizabeth, died in 1834, at the age of seventeen, and ‘Gardd Eifion’ contains a touching elegy upon her.

[Williams's Eminent Welshmen; Leatheart's Hist. of the Gwyneddigion; Gardd Eifion.]

J. E. L.