Hedd Wyn


Hedd Wyn is buried in the Artillery Wood war cemetery near Boezinge, Belgium, Europe.

Photo © Gareth L Evans

Hedd Wyn

Hedd Wyn, whose real name was Ellis Humphrey Evans, was born in Trawsfynydd in Wales - the eldest son of a farmer. He received little formal education but developed a skill for poetry at an early age. At the age of 19 he won the chair at the Penbedw Eisteddfod.

In 1910 he took the bardic name Hedd Wyn - meaning  'blessed peace' in Welsh - inspired by the sunlight in the Meirionydd Valleys.

In 1917 he joined the 15th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and was sent to the Western Front. He fought in the Battle of Passchendaele - where he was seriously wounded and died shortly afterwards from his injuries on the 31st July. He was 30 years old.

He was posthumously awarded the chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod for a poem he had submitted under the pseudonym 'Fleur de Lis' before reaching the front line. The Black Chair he won can now be found at his home farm of Yr Ysgwrn.

After the war, a petition was submitted to the War Graves Committee to allow extra words to be added to his gravestone - namely: Y Prifardd Hedd Wyn (The Chief Bard, Hedd Wyn).

Wyn was an expert in Welsh forms of poetry of which there are 24. The most complex of these is the awdl form - which is similar in some ways to an ode. Hedd Wyn's poetry was also influenced by the Romantic poets and in particular Shelley. However, some of his best work was inspired by WW1.

There is a commemorative statue of him in Trawsfynydd, Gwynedd, Wales.

Pan deimlodd fyned ymaith Dduw
Cyfododd gledd i ladd ei frawd;
Mae swn yr ymladd ar ein clyw,
A'i gysgod ar fythynnod tlawd.
From 'Rhyfel'





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