Poets of the Nobility

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Last updated: 05 October 2009

Otherwise known as the Poets of the Noblemen, Poets of the Gentry and Beirdd yr Uchelwy, this set of poets flourished after the downfall of the last native prince of Wales Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, and the cessation of royal patronage by Welsh princes.

The works of around 150 Poets of the Nobility have survived, much of which praise their praise their patrons' nobility, lineage, history, family and hospitality, and also include laments of death.

Poets of this period are also called Cywyddwyr, 'authors of cywyddau'. This type of poetry is still practised today in the Chair competition at the National Eisteddfod.

It was often the case that the more accomplished a poet the higher the social status of patronage he would enjoy. Many poets came from the same social background as their patrons so were well acquainted with the refinements of fine wine, food, clothing and rest of the benefits that a good patron could offer.

It was common for poems to be accompanied with music, often a harp. The poets also belonged to a professional guild, to protect their professional status as poets.

A number of distinguished poets are known to have lived in this period. The approximage dates in which they lived are known in certain cases; others are known by the dates they 'flourished', or wrote in public. They included: Iolo Goch (c.1320- c.1398), Dafydd ap Gwilym (fl.1320-70), Siôn Cent (c.1400-1430/45), Gutun Owain (fl.1450-98), Guto'r Glyn(c.1435-c.1493), Dafydd Nanmor (fl.1450-1480), Lewys Glyn Cothi (c.1420-89), Dafydd ab Edmwnd (fl.1450-97), Tudur Aled (c.1465-c.1525), Lewys Morgannwg (Llywelyn ap Rhisiart) (fl.1520-65), Wiliam Llŷn (c.1534/5-80) and Simwnt Fychan (c.1530-c.1606).

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