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Jim Parc Nest, Archdruid of Wales, 2010–2013

Archdruid (Welsh: Archdderwydd) is the title used by the presiding official of the Gorsedd.[1] The Archdruid presides over the most important ceremonies at the National Eisteddfod of Wales including the Crowning of the Bard, the award of the Prose Medal [cy] and the Chairing of the Bard. Although Iolo Morganwg was the first to preside over the Gorsedd when the National Eisteddfod came into being, his successor David Griffith, under the bardic name "Clwydfardd", was the first to be known by the official title "Archdruid".[2]

The Archdruid's regalia, devised by the early revivers of the eisteddfod during the early 19th century, includes a crown, a sceptre, and a breastplate in the form of a torc. These were redesigned in 1896 by Hubert von Herkomer, to be made of gold and decorated with oak leaves, symbolising the sacred groves associated with druidry. (The Welsh word for "oak" is "derw" from which "druid" is thought to be derived.)[3] A special ring of office was also introduced. The current sceptre has been in use since 1910, and a stola or cape was first worn in 1911 by the Archdruid "Dyfed".[4]

Since 1932, only former winners of the Eisteddfod Crown or Chair have been qualified to become Archdruid. By the beginning of the twenty-first century Prose Medal winners were included in this elite band and the first to be elected under this ruling was Robyn Llŷn (Robyn Léwis) (2002–05).[2] Christine James, who became Archdruid in 2013, is both the first woman and the first Welsh learner (i.e. a person not brought up with Welsh as his or her first language) to have held the title.[5]

Since the Second World War, only one Archdruid has served more than one three-year term. Albert Evans-Jones ("Cynan") was elected in 1950 and again in 1963, and was regarded as a liberal influence on the festival; he publicly accepted that the eisteddfod as it stands has no direct descent from druidic culture. He was knighted in 1969 for his services to Welsh culture, the only Archdruid to have been so honoured.[6]

List of Archdruids of Wales[edit]

The following is a list of Archdruids.[7][citation needed]

Term Name Bardic name Image
1888[notes 1]–1894 David Griffith Clwydfardd
David Griffith (Clwydfardd, 1800-94) NLW3364606 retouched.jpg
1895–1905 Rowland Williams Hwfa Môn
Hwfa Mon.jpg
1905–1923 Evan Rees Dyfed
Evan Rees (Dyfed).png
1923 John Cadvan Davies Cadfan
Revd John Cadvan Davies (Cadvan, 1846-1923) NLW3364602.jpg
1924–1928 Howell Elvet Lewis Elfed
1928–1932 John Owen Williams Pedrog
Revd John Owen Williams (Pedrog, 1853-1932) (Cong) NLW3365069.jpg
1932–1936 John Jenkins Gwili
1936–1939 John James Williams J. J.
1939–1947 William Williams Crwys
1947–1950 William Evans Wil Ifan
1950–1953 Sir Albert Evans-Jones Cynan
Cynan 1956 Aberdar.jpg
1954–1957 John Dyfnallt Owen Dyfnallt
1957–1960 William Morris [cy] William Morris
Archdruid William Morris.jpg
1960–1962 Edgar Phillips Trefin
1963–1966 Sir Albert Evans-Jones
(second term)
Cynan 1956 Aberdar.jpg
1966–1969 E. Gwyndaf Evans Gwyndaf
1969–1972 Gwilym Tilsley Tilsli
1972–1975 Brinley Richards Brinli
1975–1978 R. Bryn Williams Bryn
1978–1981 Geraint Bowen Geraint
1981–1984 James Nicholas [cy] Jâms Nicolas
1984–1987 W. J. Gruffydd Elerydd
1987–1990 Emrys Roberts Emrys Deudraeth
1990–1993 William R. P. George Ap Llysor
1993–1996 John Gwilym Jones [cy] John Gwilym
1999–2002 Meirion Evans [cy] Meirion
2002–2005 Robyn Léwis Robin Llŷn
2005–2008 Selwyn Griffith Selwyn Iolen
2008–2009 Dic Jones Dic yr Hendre
2010–2013 T. James Jones Jim Parc Nest
Y Prifardd Jim Parc Nest.JPG
2013–2016 Christine James[notes 2] Christine
2016–2019 Geraint Lloyd Owen Geraint Llifon
2019- Myrddin ap Dafydd


  1. ^ Clwydfardd claimed "I was appointed Archdruid in the year 1860; but it was in the Wrexham Eisteddfod in the year 1876 that I was licensed as the Archdruid of the Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain",[2] but the Gorsedd's website gives 1888.[7]
  2. ^ Christine James was the first female archdruid and the first Welsh learner archdruid.


  1. ^ Hanes Gorsedd y Beirdd. Bowen, Geraint and Bowen, Zonia; Cyhoeddiadau Barddas ,1991
  2. ^ a b c "The Archdruid". National Museum Wales. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  3. ^ Freeman, Mara. "Tree Lore: Oak". Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Archdruid's Robes and Regalia". National Museum Wales. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Eisteddfod names Christine James first woman archdruid". BBC News. 23 June 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Pwllheli to honour former National Eisteddfod Archdruid Cynan". Daily Post. 22 January 2016. Archived from the original on 24 January 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Archdderwydd". Gorsedd y Beirdd (in Welsh). Retrieved 20 September 2016.