HIRAETHOG, GRUFFYDD (d. 1568?), Welsh poet, generally supposed to have written from 1520 to 1550, was a native of Llansannan in the hundred of Tegengl in Denbighshire, and lived at the foot of the Hiraethog range of mountains in that county, whence he assumed his bardic name. He was a pupil of the poet Tudyr Aled, and he himself instructed the poets William Lleyn, Simwnt Vychan, William Cynwal, and Sion Tudyr, all of whom attained to local eminence in the difficult rules of Welsh prosody. William Lleyn wrote an elegy on his great teacher, ‘hardd ben bardd byd,’ as he calls him. This elegy confirms the statement that Gruffydd Hiraethog was buried in the chancel of the church of Llangollen. It also suggests that Hiraethog was among those invited to Plas Iolyn, the house of Dr. Ellice Price, counsel of the marches of Wales, at the time of the Caerwys Eisteddfod in 1568, and that he died suddenly about that date. Lleyn's elegy, two manuscripts of which are among the Hengwrt MSS. at Peniarth House, is printed in Rees Jones's ‘Gorchestion Beirdd Cymru,’ 1773, pp. 98, 293, as well as one by Hiraethog himself on ‘Gruffydd ab Robert Fychan.’ Most of Hiraethog's poems still remain in manuscript. The titles and first lines of sixty-four of them are given on the cover of the ‘Greal,’ and to these many more might be added. The Myfyr MSS. in the British Museum contain no fewer than seventy-eight. In the catalogue of the Hengwrt MSS. at Peniarth House, Merionethshire, the property of W. W. E. Wynne, esq. (cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. p. 106), twenty volumes contain various poems of Hiraethog, ranging in date between 1539 and 1565 (see Archæol. Cambr. 3rd ser. vol. xv., 4th ser. vols. i. and ii.). Hiraethog wrote many of his poems in a poetical contest with Sion Brwynog, who in one of his replies refers to Hiraethog as a ‘cripil’ (cripple) (see extracts in G. ab Rhys, Hanes Llenyddiaeth Gymreig, pp. 299–302). His ‘Cywydd yr Eiddiges’ was printed in the ‘Gweithiwr Cymreig,’ 11 July 1889. Williams, in his ‘Eminent Welshmen,’ says ‘he wrote a history of all Britain and other countries.’ Probably this may be one of the works ascribed to Hiraethog which remain in manuscript at Peniarth.
[Wilkins's Literature of Wales, pp. 153, 208; Williams's Eminent Welshmen.]
HIRSCHEL, SOLOMON (1761–1842), chief rabbi, born in London in 1761, was son of Rabbi Hirsch Levin Berliner, at the time chief rabbi of the Great Synagogue. His father, who was lineally connected with many eminent Jewish rabbis in Germany or Poland, was appointed to the chief rabbinate of Halberstadt in 1765, and subsequently to that of Berlin. While at Berlin Rabbi Hirsch joined Moses Mendelssohn, at the request of Frederick the Great, in translating the rabbinical code of Jewish ordinances into German. Solomon Hirschel left England with his father in 1765, zealously applied himself to biblical and Talmudical study, married at the age of seventeen, and in 1793 became chief rabbi of Prenzlau in Prussia. In 1802 he succeeded Tewele Schiff, as chief rabbi of the German and Polish congregation of Jews in London. He performed the duties of his office for forty years with much wisdom and tact. Under his rule the Jewish community in England was emancipated from almost all legal disabilities. Hirschel was a pious observer of Jewish customs, and was much troubled in his old age by the cry raised by a section of his congregation for a reformed ritual. The agitation led to a secession in the last year of his life. Some of his sermons were printed; one on the death of Nelson in 1805 attests his simple faith and political loyalty. His latest published sermon is dated 1837. He died in London on 31 Oct. 1842, and was buried in the Jewish cemetery in the Mile End Road on 2 Nov., amid notable demonstrations of respect. A memorial sermon preached by Henry Hawkes at Portsmouth on 27 Nov. 1842, and published in 1843, proves the veneration felt for him throughout the country. His library was purchased for the Beth Hammidrash, London, where it is still preserved. Hirschel was of very dignified presence, and his portrait, painted by Barlin, was engraved by Holl. He left four sons and four daughters, twenty-eight grandchildren, and twenty-four great-grandchildren.
[European Mag. March 1811 (with portrait); Picciotto's Sketches of Anglo-Jewish Hist. pp. 307–10; Dr. H. Adler on the Chief Rabbis of England, in papers read at the Anglo-Jewish Exhibition, 1888, p. 287; Voice of Jacob, 11 Nov. 1842; Morais's Eminent Israelites, pp. 142–4; Jewish World, 16 Jan. 1888 (pedigree).]
HIRST, WILLIAM (d. 1769?), astronomer, was the eldest son of William Hirst, D.D. (d. 1760), master of Hertford free school, vicar of Bengeo, and rector of Sacomb, Hertfordshire. He was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he went out B.A. in 1750–1 as fifteenth junior optime, and proceeded M.A. in 1754. He became a navy chaplain. In April 1754, being then resident at Hornsey, Middlesex, he communicated to the Royal Society an ‘account of a fire-ball’ seen there (Phil. Trans. vol. xlviii. pt. ii. pp. 773–6), which led to his election as fellow on 20 Feb. 1755. In 1755 he sailed in the Hampton