I write my narrative essay about Daniel James. I would like to make it informative and filled with true lifefacts. You can read it below.
Daniel James (Gwyrosydd)
Daniel James (Gwyrosydd) 1848–1920 – A Celtic Poet of Fame.
Daniel James's father, also known as Daniel, was born in 1818, as was his mother, Mary. His father, by trade, was a mason. His parents were 30 years old when Daniel was born in 1848. Daniel was their second child as their daughter Mary was born in 1846. Then came William in 1852 followed by Marged (1854) and Catherine (1858). In 1851 the family were living in Lisbon Cottage, his sister Mary, was listed as a scholar, when she was then five. All his siblings attended school.
Daniel James was born on 23rd January 1848 in a thatched cottage in Llangyfelach Road, Treboeth, not far from Brynhyfryd Square.
Birth certificate Daniel James 23rd January 1848
At the top of Treboeth hill, crowning Mynyddbach Common still stands historic Mynyddbach Chapel, the mighty mother of many. To this shrine of independent faith, Daniel walked with his parents, passing the inclined railway that took coal from Mynyddbach and neighbouring collieries on its journey for export at Swansea docks.
And when he sat in humble devotion in the chapel, the message of God found a receptive and faithful heart. Even as a child, Daniel James might have known his future. The grinding works of the valley would claim his labour, but love of nature would be his permanent inspiration, and abiding faith in God, would be his inner strength.
His education was minimal, the little he had probably at a local drama school, he was almost entirely self-taught, even that was cut short when his father died young and he had to become the bread-winner.
By 1861, he left school age 13, he started as a manual worker at one of the Morriston ironworks. His father now 43 was still alive. William age 9 and Marged age 7, were at school.
Daniel and his family were living in 207 Llangyfelach Road, he became a puddler, a highly skilled tradesman, whose work ensured that the correct amount of carbon went into the mixture of iron and coal. Gwyrosydd was now active in the cultural life of the area.
Landore tinplate works
It was during this period that he mastered the intricacies of Welsh poetry and took the bardic name of Gwyrosydd. Encouraged by older members of Mynyddbach Chapel and author D. W. Jones, he began to write verse and pieces for recitation. Daniel James became 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”.
In 1871 age 23, Daniel James married Ann Hopkin, two years his junior. They set up home in a thatched cottage at Plas-Y-Coed Terrace, Llangyfelach Road, Treboeth. His mother was widowed and was working as a charwoman, William being 19, Marged 16 and Catherine 13. 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.
Daniel and Anne produced four daughters, Mary Hannah, Margaret Ann, Catherine Mary, Olwen and a son William Hopkin.
Gwyrosydd used a peculiar high chair in the snug of the King's Head. He often to be found sitting on his special high chair, composing verse for the friends who bought him drinks. Writing poems for pints became a habit. now a prized possession of Gwyrosydd Junior School.
This chair is now in the possession of Gwyrosydd Junior School
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.
Some had a very low regard for Daniel James – “A man who would sell his soul for a pint of beer. Daniel’s pubbing seemed a natural reaction for the working man that he always was and even if he was overly fond of the drink, did it matter? A great talent surely requires some licence. It became clear that Daniel was basically a good family man. He married twice, fathered nine children and took on three step-children. He was always kind, always smiling a real charmer.
"Gwyrosydd's handwriting as an adult was clear - if not beautiful.
An illustration of Daniel James’ handwriting
In 1885 age 37 Gwyrosydd's poetry book "Canneon Cymru" was published. One of the poems was call 'Dyfel Donc a Dor y Garreg' - 'a persistant knock breaks the stone'. Another verse was entitled 'Fy ewyther John yn mynd i America, 'My uncle John is going to America'. In it Gwyrosydd writes 'Yn ei henaint wedi cymryd, Yn ei ben a thaithmor enbyd' 'In his old age he has taken into his head a journey so awful'
By 1886 age 38 Daniel James had five children, their ages ranging from newly born to 15. Mary Hannah, Margaret Ann (1873), Catherine Mary (1878), William Hopkin (1882) and Olwen (1886). There may have been one other child, 'Little Florrie', but there are no details, whose grave is in Mynyddbach Cemetery.
On 24th December 1887, sadly Ann, Gwyrosydd's wife, age 38, died within 2 years of Olwen’s birth. Daniel was now a widower at the age of 40. At this time Margaret Ann and Catherine Mary were in school.
On 15th October 1888, a short time after Anne’s death, Gwyrosydd married a widow Gwenllian (nee Morgan) Parry, the ceremony took place at Swansea Registry Office. Margaret Ann was now 15, Catherine Mary 10, William 6 and Oliver 2. The marriage seemed a necessity for both Daniel and his bride Gwenny, herself being a widow with five children of her own, from her previous marriage, three sons, David J, Thomas, Gwilim and two daughters, Mary and Lydia.
At this time (October 1888) Daniel was working as a 'weigher' or traffic manager in the Landore tinplate works.
His work gradually became well known but did not bring Daniel wealth. He always worked hard and had to continue working. About 1889, when Landore tinplates works closed and when unemployed, Daniel, Gwenny and their family moved to the Cynon Valley, where Daniel worked as a miner, to keep his family together and worked in mines in Tredegar, Dowlas and Cwmgarw.
During one spell of unemployment Daniel was befriended by his admirer Thomas Glyndwr Richards, who found him employment at Mountain Ash Colliery, where he worked for twenty years. Fifteen years in Nixon’s colliery.
This T. G. Richards was a conductor of the famous Mountain Ash Royal Male Voice Choir, which toured America at the close of the 19th century.
It was from Mountain Ash Gwyrosydd went to Blaengarw and it was there while struggling to right a derailed tram underground, that he chalked on the tram the following verse.
Dyma fi o dan y ddaear - Yn scwto, scwto - Cael fy maesddu gan hen ddram’ - O damo, damo.
Herbert Street, Blaengarw
No. 8 Herbert Street, Blaengarw
Calon Lan Wale’s “second national anthem”, is known, loved and given voice all over the world.
By 1894, when Landore tinplates works closed, Daniel, Gwenny and their family moved to the Cynon Valley, to 8 Herbert Street in Blaengarw where Daniel worked as a miner, in mines in Tredegar, Dowlas, Cwmgarw and eventually Mountain Ash. They had three more children - Myfyr (1890), Gwenfron (1891) and Tawe (1893), the latter at No. 2 Herbert Street, Blaengarw.
In 1895, sadly Gwenny, died within two years of giving birth to Tawe. Tawe was subsequently brought up in Llangyfelach by Gwyrosydd's sister Marged and her husband Thomas Davies, Marged was 41. Tawe was called Tawe James-Davies. Tawe in turn became a father of six daughters, they all used the two surnames.
In 1898 'Aeron Awen Gwyrosydd' were published - Mountain Ash. Daniel continued to work in the Tredegar, Dowlais and Cwmgarw areas and during a spell of unemployment his admirer T. Glyn Richards, conductor of the famous Mountain Ash Male Voice Choir, found him work in Mountain Ash.
In January 1903, Gwyrosydd had more sadness to come, his son William Hopkin, died at the age of 20. William injured his foot in an accident at the International Colliery, he developed lockjaw and died.
In 1916, in failing health, Gwyrosydd at the age of 68, left the mines and was given a Council job as a cemetery caretaker.
He made his last journey home to live in Morriston, with Olwen Longstaff, the youngest daughter of his first marriage, and her husband. His only income was a weekly pension of 7/6d. His friend and admirer, the Swansea Dentist, Ernest Williams, helped him out regularly and there were occasional contributions from the Swansea Mabinogion Society. Friends arranged for a petition to ask the Prime Minister for a Civil list pension for Gwyrosydd, but he died before anything became of it. He was buried in the cemetary of his beloved Mynyddbach Chapel.
He died on the 16th March 1920 age 73 years. He wrote the words of the famous hymn and rugby anthem ‘Calon Lan’ to the music, by John Hughes (1872-1914) of Landore.
It is only in Treboeth that he is remembered, a Street and School are named after him.
In 1936 16 years after his death, a bronze plaque was erected in his memory outside Treboeth Public Hall
As well as an unveiling ceremony, there was a memorial service at Moriah chapel, when a packed congregation paid its own tribute to Gwyrosydd with an emotional rendition of ‘Calon Lan’
His legacy of course is 'Calon Lan' and a wealth of Welsh poetry.
His pseudonym - Gwyrosydd either means – Man of the Moors - Man of Gower - or The Truth Is.
Poor in worldly goods, he might have had the comfort of knowing that he had given Wales a hymn to last forever.
On 28th June 1941 his daughter Mary died and is buried in the family grave in Mynyddbach cemetery.
Relations of Daniel James
Gwyrosydd’s grave and headstone is at Mynyddbach Cemetery.
In Memory of Ann, beloved wife of Daniel James, Treboeth, who died on December 24, 1887, 38 yrs old. See the grave of a Dear one who was pure sunshine, undefiled to her family. Also William James, his son 20 yrs old. Also the above Daniel James (Gwyrosydd) who died March 16 1920 73 years old. Pure heart so full of goodness. Also daughter of the above, Mary, who died June 28 1941, 68 yrs old. Come ye blessed of my father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you.