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-------Mr. Evan Cule and the…


Mr. Evan Cule and the Vicar of Ystradyfodwg. To the Editor. Sir,—I shall be thankful to you for a little space in which to reply to Mr Evan Cule's last letter. My reason for stating that his asser- tion that "the first translation of Holy Writ into the Welsh language was made by Thomas Llewelyn, 07 Rhigos, in this parish," should bo taken with a great deal of ralt, is this: That there is no trustworthy historical evi- dence in existence in proof that such a tran- slation was ever made. About 27 years ago I gave, in connection with an Eisteddfod held at Pcntre, a prize of £ 5 for the best history of this Parish, which was won, I believe, by Mr M O. Jones,, Treherbert. In that history I for the first time a reference to this sup- posed translation by Thomas Llewelyn. My curiosity was aroused, and I felt a liltle elated ;n being the Vicar of a, rarisli where the first translation of the Scriptures into Welsh had been made, if it could be proved. From that time until now I have made many enquiries about this traditionary translation, and have consulted the highest authorities on Welsh His- tory and Bible translations, and the result has been in every case a failure to obtain any evidence of such a translation. I read some time ago in Gweirydd ap Rhys' "Hanes y Bry- taniaid," Vol. II, page 433, a reference to this supposed translation. He states that it is re- ported that "there is in the library of Sir Thomas Mostyn, of Gloddaeth, a letter from Thomas Llewelyn, of Rhigos, who was also known as Thomas Llewelyn Deio Powell, to Bishop Davies, urging him to translate the Scriptures into Welsh, and giving the Bishop a short account of his own translation of Ty dall's English Testament." Gweirydd ap Rhys gives also on the same page an extract from Gwallter Mechain, vol. II, page 191, which is a quotation from "Malkin's History of South Wales," stating that "there are strong reasons for the belief that Bishop Davies and W. Sales- bury in their translation of the New Testa- ment into Welsh made use of Llewelyn's tran- slation." Gwallter Mechain himself, so says Gweirydd ap Rhys, did not think so. I have taken considerable pains to find out whether these statements can be substantiated. Hav- ing heard from a friend that a catalogue of the Mostyn MSS., by Gwcnogfryn Evans,had been lately published by the Government, and that a copy had been deposited in the Untisn Museum, I wrote to the librarian of that Na- tional Institution requesting him to oblige me by making enquiries whether there is in the said catalogue a reference to such a letter. In the reply I received, and which now lies be- fore me, the writer states: "Gwenogfryn Evans' catalogue of the Mostyn MSS., which I have carefully examined, contains no men- tion of the letter of Thomas Llewelyn to Bishop Davies." I also requested the librarian to search "Malkin's History of South Wales" for the quotation referred to above. In his reply he states: "We have here only the first edition of Malkin, a quarto volume, published in 1804. I have read the pages (183--195), re- lating to Ystradyfodwg,, in our copy of this edition, and the passages given by Gwallter Mechain do not occur in it, nor do I find any mention at all of Thomas Llewelyn "Tri those pages, and a search in other parts of the volume where these passages might possibly have occurred, has been equally unsuccessful." I also wrote to two of the greatest living authorities on such matters for information. Ono replied that he was unable to give any in- formation on the subject. The other wrote: "If such a translation ever existed, I very much doubt whether Bishop Davies ever saw it, for he makes no reference to its existence in his preface to Salesbury's New Testament, a con- siderable portion of which was made by the Bishop himself,, and he refers in the same pre- face to the existence of a Welsh translation of a portion of the New Testament, which was in the possession of one of his ancestors, consi- derably before the time of Thomas Llewelyn; and I feeL sure that Llewelyn's translation would not have gone without notice had the Bishop seen or known of it." In his last let- ter Mr Ctde calls him Dr Thomas Llewelyn. I should be glad to know what authority he has for describing him as Dr. I do not think Mr Cule was accurate in the account he gave of the descendants of Thomas Llewelyn. Apo- logising to you for the length of this letter,— I am, etc., WILLIAM LEWIS, Vicar of Ystradyfodwg. April 5th, 1899.



Grand Banquet at Porth.