Llyfr Melyn Tyfrydog

Reference: NLW MS 23969F

Here we have a volume of pedigrees, poems and antiquarian notes, dated 1766 (but compiled around 1763-9), in the hand of the bard and gentleman Hugh Hughes and entitled ‘Llyfr Melyn Tyfrydog [ne]u’r Gell Gymmysg’ (p. xxv). The manuscript was bought from descendants of Hugh Hughes in October 2007. This is the first genealogy book to be digitised by the National Library.

Hugh Hughes

Hugh Hughes (Huw ap Huw / Huw Huws / Y Bardd Coch o Fôn, 1693-1776) was a poet, editor and translator from Llwydiarth Esgob, in the parish of Llandyfrydog, Anglesey. Hughes started composing poetry when he was young, and came to the attention of the famous literary man Lewis Morris (Llywelyn Ddu o Fôn, 1701-1765) and his brothers. Hughes therefore became central to the literary circle of ‘Morysiaid Môn’ and a corresponding member of  the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, a Welsh cultural society established by Lewis Morris and his brother Richard in 1751. Some years before the end of Hugh Hughes’ life and after his wife’s death, he moved to Mynydd y Gof Du, Holyhead to live. He died there in May 1776, and was buried in ‘Eglwys y Plwyf’ cemetery, Holyhead.

The manuscript

Pedigrees of the descendants of the Fifteen Tribes of North Wales, mostly Anglesey families, fill the first part of the volume (pp. 1-91; the families are listed on pp. xxvii-xxix). The coloured coats of arms of the family of Llwydiarth Esgob are appended to the pedigree of Hugh Hughes himself on p. 40).

The volume also contains antiquarian notes, triads and wisdom, together with a great number of Welsh poems, some copied from the ‘Telyn Ledr’ of William Morris (1705-1763) of Holyhead, and others from Evan Evans’ Some specimens of the poetry of the antient Welsh bards (London, 1764).

Amongst contemporary poems in the manuscript are compositions by David Ellis (1736-1795), Evan Evans (‘Ieuan Brydydd Hir’, 1731-1788), Hugh Hughes, Robert Hughes (‘Robin Ddu yr Ail o Fôn’, 1744-1785), and Goronwy Owen (1723-1769). Antiquarian notes of a later period were added to the manuscript, until c.1858.

The manuscript was repaired and re-bound in the National Library, and the original leather covers were kept safe with the manuscript. Hugh Hughes’ will, dated February 27 1776 is also kept with the manuscript, as well as two letter fragments from the 19th century.

Further reading

  • Dafydd Wyn Wiliam, Hughes, Hugh (1693–1776), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Sept 2004)
  • Maredudd ap Huw, Diogelu “Llyfr Melyn Tyfrydog”, Tlysau’r Hen Oesoedd, 26 (October), p. 3
  • Rhiannon Francis Roberts, Hughes, Hugh, (1693-1776), Welsh Biography Online

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