PUGHE, IOLO AND MYFYR
Pughe, Myfyr and Iolo Morgannwg formed a powerful triad of scholarly Welsh leadership, based in London, until Myfyr’s death in 1814. Pughe had a consistently positive relationship of mutual respect with Owen Jones (Owain Myfyr), the extraordinarily generous source of funds for Welsh scholarship and Welsh community life in London. Pughe’s relationship with Edward Williams (Iolo Morgannwg) was also very close for many years, although they were scholarly rivals. Pughe was sensitive and skilled at encouraging Iolo to keep working when he was depressed.
Pughe and Iolo collaborated creatively on theories of Bardism. In 1794 Pughe uncritically included Iolo’s ideas on druidry in ‘The Heroic Elegies of Llywarç Hen,’ and in the third volume of their collaboration on the Myvyrian Archaeologie 1807,This was an ambitious encyclopedia of Welsh poetry, the Trioedd (the Welsh Triads), history and legends. The plan was to add a fourth volume for mediaeval prose, which would comprise ‘The Mabinogion.’ Iolo’s creativity of contribution is especially prolific.
Pughe acted as mediator when Iolo became hostile to Myfyr. By 1806 Iolo had turned against Pughe as well, but that Pughe continued his loyalty to Iolo’s Gorsedd.The Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain, the Gorsedd of Bards of the Island of Britain, is a dignified ceremony celebrating peace, and bardic arts, which Iolo Morgannwg successfully established in 1792. It continues today at the heart of the National Eisteddfod, the largest arts festival of Europe.
1759 Born 7 August, as William Owen, at Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, Meirionnydd, in Gwynedd.
1776 William Owen (Pughe) arrives in London at 17 yrs.
1783 Joined the Society of Gwyneddigion, London. Also involved with the Society of Cymmrodorion.
1784 Secretary of the Society of Gwyneddigion.
1789 President of the Society of Gwyneddigion.
1789 Assisted Owain Myfyr to edit Barddoniaeth Dafydd ap Gwilym.
1790 Married Sarah Elizabeth Harper. They would have three children.
1792 21 June Iolo Morgannwg held Gorsedd on Primrose Hill, London.
1792 Poetry of Llywarch Hen, with an English translation.
1792 Personal breakdown.
1793 Welsh Dictionary, Part 1. A mainstay of 19thC scholarship, clarified a host of Welsh words. Based on theories later discredited which confused orthography and constructed a prescriptive grammar.
1794 The Heroic Elegies of Llywarç Hen. Includes verbatim Iolo Morgannwg’s ideas on druidry.
1795 ‘The Mabinogion, or Juvenile Amusements, being Ancient Welsh Romances,’ in the Cambrian Register the first serious English language journal for Welsh history and literature. Edited by Pughe.
1799 Iolo began touring Wales to discover MSS. Tensions with Owain Myfyr and Pughe (Owe).
1799 Pwyll, episode 2, in the Cambrian Register, Vol II.
The translation was reprinted in 1821 in the Cambro-Briton with a few alterations.
1800 Owen (Pughe) showed Walter Scott his completed trans. of Peredur.
1801 Nov. Mabinogion text planned based on Llyfr Coch, but this did not happen. (Fulton p. 209, n. 14) (Carr, 116)
1801 Principle editor of The Myvyrian Archaiologie of Wales,
The Myvyrian Archaiologie of Wales, 3 vols (London, 1801–1807). William Owen (Pughe) principal editor, Owen Jones, & Edward Williams (‘Iolo Morganwg’) eds. 2 vols 1801, 3rd in 1807. Pughe responsible for almost all the work of preparing the material for the press. Second volune 1807.
1802 Pwyll Episode 2.
1802 Pughe (as William Owen) read paper to Society of Antiquaries re the Mabinogion as earliest Romance prose of Europe. Wrote to Scott of plans to publish the Mabinogion. (Johnston, 1958:323-4)
1802 New editions of Llyfr y Resolusion, viz. Dyhewyd y Cristion.
1803 The Welsh Dictionary in two large volumes, which included a Welsh grammar.
1803 ‘The Cambrian Biography‘ the first Welsh biographical dictionary. Lists Welsh heroes A-Z incl. Mabinogi persons Bendigeidfran, Pryderi, Rhiannon; and Arthur and Culhwch.
1803 – c. 1815 Involved with the prophetess Joanna Southcott’ cult.
1803-7 Pughe discussed publ. Mabinogion, Scott, Southey, William Taylor of Norwich.
1803 Colonel Vaughan of Hengwrt refused to lend his manuscript to Pughe.
1804 President of the Society of Gwyneddigion.
1804 – 1806 Owain Myfyr housed and pensioned Pughe and the family two years to support his work, chiefly the Myvyrian Archaiologie.
1805-7 Editor of the Welsh language journal ‘Y Greal,’ the Gwyneddigion and the Cymreigyddion.
1805 Pughe had by now trans. the four parts of the Mabinogi. George Ellis (eminent poet) offered preface and finance.
1806 Inherited property from his uncle, and moved to Egryn, near Nantglyn, but continued to visit London. Began using the name Pughe.
1807 ‘Rhetoreg neu Rheitheg,’ the work of Henri Perri, originally titled of Eglvryn Phraethineb.
1807 ‘The Myvyrian Archaiologie Part 2.
1807 Sponsors for Mabinogion publication, complain Pughe distracted by Joanna Southcott cult; he was an elder. Also preoccupied with management of his inherited estate.
1808 Cadwedigaeth yr iaith Gymraeg.
1814 Death of Joanna Southcott. Death of Owain Myfyr.
1815 Death of Sarah Elizabeth Pughe, William Pughe’s wife. Pughe is now 56, an ageing man by the standards of his day.
1818 Third episode of Pwyll. Cambrian Register vol 3.
1819 Coll Gwynfa, a translation of Milton ‘s Paradise Lost.
1819 Tegid (27yrs) in correspondence with Pughe re Mabinogi; becomes based at Christ Church Oxf.
1819 Pughe writes of the Mabinogion as two groups: approx. Arthurian and other (Pedair Cainc, Maxen, and Lludd). In the Cambro Briton he announces he will publish the complete set.
1820 President of the Society of Gwyneddigion.
1821 ‘The Tale of Pwyll.’ Cambro-Briton. Reprint with a few edits from 1795.
1822 ‘Hu Gadarn‘ A cywydd in three cantos.
1822 Received the degree of D.C.L. from the University of Oxford.
1825 Pughe issues a prospectus to fund the Mabinogion. which slowly brought some support.
1825 Health diminishing, Pughe moved back to Wales at 66.
1826 Death of Iolo Morgannwg.
1827 Pughe advertised forthcoming Mabinogion in Croker’s Fairy Tales of S. Ireland.
1829 -30 Pughe laments lack of support in Cambrian Quarterly Magazine. Cymmrodorion Society, and the Gwynedd, Powis, Gwent and Dyved Societies then offer funds.
1829 ‘The Mabinogi: Or, the Romance of Math ab Mathonwy.’ Cambrian Quarterly Magazine. From an inexact copy RB possibly Moses Williams’ Llanstephan MSS. 90.
1833 ‘Hanes Taliesin’ published in two Parts, in the Cambrian Quarterly.
1834 Pughe by now had completely restructured his ‘Mabinogion’ in readiness for publication. I, Pwyll, Branwen, Manawydan, Math; II, Culhwch, Peredur, Geraint; III, Maximus, Rhonabwy, Lludd. The Lady of the Fountain was not placed in any group.
1835: 4 June. Death of William Owen Pughe at his home at Egryn, near Nantglyn, aged 76. In the autumn of that year Charlotte Guest records in her journal the idea of creating a collection of Welsh myths.
1837 Welsh Manuscript Society founded, to save and publish old MSS. Guest began her own translation of mediaeval prose tales, and published the first volume of ‘The Mabinogion‘ in 1838.
# Carr, Glenda. (1993) ‘William Owen Pughe’ Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru, in Welsh.
# Dictionary of Welsh Biography online Pughe, William Owen. [Accessed 14/12/13]
# Iolo Morgannwg website [Accessed 14/12/13]
# Johnston, Arthur. 1957. “William Owen-Pughe and the Mabinogion.” National Library of Wales Journal 10 (3): 323–28.
# Phillips, David Rhys. 1921. Lady Charlotte Guest and the Mabinogion; Some Notes on the Work and Its Translator, with Extracts from Her Journals. Carmarthen: W. Spurrell & Son. .txt available online.
BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR THIS ARTCILE
# Carr, Glenda. (1993) ‘William Owen Pughe’ Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru, in Welsh.
# Davies, Sioned. 2007. The Mabinogion. Oxford: OUP.
# Dictionary of Welsh Biography ‘William Pughe.’
# Guest, Charlotte. 1838. The Mabinogion; from the Llyfr Coch O Llergest and Other Ancient Welsh Manuscripts; with an English Translation and Notes. 7 vols. Tonn Press, Llandovery, Wales; and Longmans, London; simultaneously.
# Guest, Charlotte. 1849. The Mabinogion. Vol. 3 vols. Llandovery, Wales; and London; simultaneously.: Tonn Press, Llandovery; and Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans. http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/author?name=Schreiber%2c%20Charlotte%2c%20Lady%2c%201812-1895
# Guest, Charlotte. 1877. The Mabinogion. London: Quaritch.
# Johnston, Arthur. 1957. ‘William Owen-Pughe and the Mabinogion.’ National Library of Wales Journal 10 (3): 323–28.
# Pughe, William Owen, and Morgannwg, Iolo, eds. 1801. Myvyrian Archaelogie 2 Vols. Sponsored by Owain Myfyr and by subscriptions.
# Pughe, William Owen. 1803. The Cambrian Biography: Or, Historical Notices of Celebrated Men Among the Ancient Britons. London: E. Williams. See text on google books.
# Pughe, William Owen, and Morgannwg, Iolo, eds. 1807. Myvyrian Archaelogie 3rd Vol. Sponsored by Owain Myfyr and by subscriptions.
# Pughe, William Owen. 1821. “The Tale of Pwyll.” Cambro-Briton Journal 2 (18): 271–75.
# Pughe, William Owen. 1829. “The Mabinogi: Or, the Romance of Math Ab Mathonwy.” The Cambrian Quarterly Magazine and Celtic Repository 1: 170–79.
(First published Dec. 2013 : Shan Morgain)
ALSO« Library Index
NOTES [ + ]
|1.||⇑||This was an ambitious encyclopedia of Welsh poetry, the Trioedd (the Welsh Triads), history and legends. The plan was to add a fourth volume for mediaeval prose, which would comprise ‘The Mabinogion.’|
|2.||⇑||The Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain, the Gorsedd of Bards of the Island of Britain, is a dignified ceremony celebrating peace, and bardic arts, which Iolo Morgannwg successfully established in 1792. It continues today at the heart of the National Eisteddfod, the largest arts festival of Europe.|