A letter in the hand of Ann Griffiths (1776-1805)

Reference: NLW MS 694D

Ann Griffiths is considered to be one of Europe's leading religious poets on the basis of a fairly small body of work composed over a period of less than ten years. There are also a small number of letters that echo the fiery spirituality of her poetry.

Ann Griffths was born at the beginning of 1776 on Dolwar-fach farm, Llanfihangel yng Ngwynfa, north Powys. It is likely that she received some measure of education and that she was immersed in the local poetic traditions. The family was devout and regularly attended the local parish church. They also enjoyed pastimes such as the noson lawen, singing with the harp and dancing.

Gradually members of the family came under the influence of the evangelical or Methodist revival. During the mid 1790s Ann experienced this spiritual revival and joined the Methodist society or seiat that met at Pontrobert. During this period she started composing rhymes and hymns which she would recite to Ruth Hughes, a maid on Dolwar-fach farm. Ruth memorised these works, and they were eventually published by her husband, John Hughes, Pontrobert.

Following the death of her father early in 1804 Ann married, but the loss of her father affected her deeply both mentally and physically, and in August 1805 after giving birth to a daughter who survived for only two weeks, she died and was buried in Llanfihangel cemetery.

Ann wrote down only a few of her poems, and nothing has survived in her own hand apart from this letter to her friend Elizabeth Evans. It also includes a verse composed by her.

Further reading

  • Siân Megan. Gwaith Ann Griffiths, Llandybïe : Christopher Davies, 1982
  • A.M. Allchin. Ann Griffiths : the furnace and the fountain, Cardiff : University of Wales Press, 1987