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Updated 04/25/2013


Calon Lân
Music by John Hughes
Lyrics by Daniel James

Calon Lân 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?).

On another 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.

He 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.

He died on the 16th March 1920 age 73 years.


Lyrics by Daniel James

I ask not for ease and riches
Nor earth's jewels for my part
But I have the best of wishes
For a pure and honest heart.

Oh, pure heart so true and tender
Fairer than the lilies white
The pure heart alone can render
Songs of joy both day and night.

Should I cherish earthly treasure
It would fly on speedy wings
The pure heart a plenteous measure
Of true pleasure daily brings.


Eve and morn my prayers ascending
To God's heaven on wings of song
Seek the joy that knows no ending
The pure heart that knows no wrong.