Ellis Wynne

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Lasynys Fawr
Plaque on house at Lasynys Fawr

Ellis Wynne (7 March 1671 – 13 July 1734) was a Welsh clergyman and author of one of the most important and influential pieces of Welsh language literature.[1]


Born in Lasynys Fawr (grid reference SH596327) near Harlech, Gwynedd, Wynne excelled at school and entered Jesus College, Oxford on 1 March 1692. There is historical debate as to whether or not he graduated, and little evidence to support either claim, but local tradition suggests that he was studying law before he was convinced to take holy orders by his friend Humphrey Humphreys, Bishop of Bangor and, afterwards, of Hereford.[citation needed] Wynne married for the first time in Llanfihangel-y-traethau Church in 1698.[2] He was ordained a priest in December 1704. During his life, he was priest of the parishes of Llandanwg, Llanbedr and Llanfair.


Although a respected priest, Welsh translator and hymn writer (a translation of Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living appeared in London, 1701, republished 1928), Wynne is remembered today largely because of his literary output.

His Gweledigaetheu y Bardd Cwsc (Visions of the Sleeping Bard), first published in London in 1703 was an adaptation of Sir Roger L'Estrange's translation of the Spanish satirist Francisco de Quevedo's Sueños (1627; "Visions"), savage pictures of contemporary evils.[3] It is regarded as a Welsh language classic. It is generally said that no better model exists of such "pure" idiomatic Welsh, before writers had become influenced by English style and method. At least 32 editions of it had appeared up to 1932, and at least three translations of it into English were made.[4]

On the title page of the book, the words Y Rhann Gyntaf (The First Part) appear; it has been suggested that Wynne had indeed written a second part – a "Vision of Heaven" – but on hearing that he had been charged with plagiarism of the first part, he destroyed the manuscript. The charges of plagiarism were never substantiated and are today regarded as false.

Later obscurity[edit]

Wynne's later life is as obscure as the early part of his life, and we know little of what became of him after the publication of the Gweledigaethau. He was buried under the altar at Llanfair (near Harlech).


  1. ^  Lloyd, John Edward (1900). "Wynne, Ellis". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 63. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 261–262. 
  2. ^ Hughes, Robert (30 October 2007), The Parish Church Llanfihangel-y-Traethau Ynys (PDF), retrieved 2016-03-24 
  3. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  4. ^ Dictionary of Welsh Biography Retrieved 5 February 2017.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°52′27″N 4°05′14″W / 52.874233°N 4.087257°W / 52.874233; -4.087257