is a Welsh hymn, whose words were written in the 1800s by Daniel
James (shown above), also known by his bardic name of Gwyrosydd.
Daniel James was born on 13th January 1848 in a thatched cottage
in Llangyfelach Road, Treboeth, not far from Brynhyfryd Square.
He had little education and was almost entirely self-taught. His
father died young and he took on the role as the breadwinner.
In 1871 age 23, Daniel James married
Ann Hopkin, two years his junior. Daniel and his brother William
were working as hammers men in the heavy industries based in the
Lower Swansea Valley. A 'hammers man' was a type of 'Smith' in
the tinplate industry.
As a young
man he mastered a textbook of intricate rhythms and strict
metres of Welsh poetry. Encouraged by older members of
Mynyddbach Chapel and author D. W. Jones, he began to write
verse and pieces for recitation under the name of Gwyrosydd.
Daniel James was better known by his bardic name of Gwyrosydd.
Some have interpreted the name as meaning “Man of the Moors”,
Treboeth, then being largely moorland. Others claim Gwyrosydd is
the Old Welsh name for Oystermouth. By popular consensus its
meaning is “Truth Will Stand.
Gwyrosydd’s reputation has always suffered because of his known
liking to alcohol. His partiality to the demon drink made him
the bad boy of the Chapel. One Saturday night Daniel arrived
home the worse for wear after spending the night in a pub. His
long suffering wife wouldn't let him in the house, undaunted
Daniel bedded down in the pigsty at the end of the garden to
spend the night. Next morning he was awakened by the
congregation in the chapel next door singing hymns. He
immediately noticed that they were not singing the traditional
“Amen” at the end of the hymn. Daniel immediately rushed to put
pen to paper and the result was the poem composition Ble Mae’r
Amen (Where is the Amen?).
occassion, his wife gave him money to buy a pound of butter from
a shop in Morriston, Daniel found it impossible to pass the pub
and spent the cash. Afraid to go home with no butter he called
at a friend's house, he borrowed some money to buy the butter
and the next day the friend was given his reward, a beautifully
composed poem of thanks.
wrote Calon Lan, Wales’s other national anthem and his most
lasting memorial. It has always been a source of controversy.
Some have claimed it was written in the Cynon Valley, others
that it was penned in one of Daniel’s favorite pubs. But the
storey with most support says the tune was composed by, John
Hughes, manager of the Duffryn tinplate works. He liked it so
much; he immediately took it to Treboeth and asked Daniel to
write verse for it, which he did.
died on the 16th March 1920 age 73 years.