Gwalchmai Manuscripts

Scope and Content

Papers and commonplace books (8 items) of the Rev. Richard Parry (Gwalchmai). They include a treatise on the origins and growth of nonconformity in Anglesey, notes on sermons heard by him at Llangefni and Llannerch-y-medd, 1827-1830; poetry and adjudications delivered at various local eisteddfodau in North Wales, 1870-1877.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Parry, commonly known by his bardic name, Gwalchmai, was an Independent minister, poet and man of letters, born on 19 January 1803 in Llannerch-y-medd. His father Richard Parry, was a currier and leather manufacturer. His mother was from Gwalchmai and had inherited a fairly considerable portion from her family. Thomas Parry was his brother. They were all Calvinistic Methodists.

Gwalchmai received an elementary education at a local church, but left at the age of twelve to be apprenticed as a saddler. He was very interested in books, and played a prominent part in the work of the chapel, and was even elected deacon while still a young man. It was during this period that he began to compete in the eisteddfodau. In 1829 Caledfryn became Independent minister at Llannerch-y-medd, and the two became friends. It was Caledfryn who taught him the art of cynghanedd. Before long, Gwalchmai joined the Independents and began to preach in their chapels. In 1836 he was ordained as joint minister (with Robert Roberts of Treban) at Bryngwran.

In 1838 he left to take charge of the churches at Henryd and Conwy, where he remained for ten years. In 1848 he went to Llandovery, but he does not seem to have been happy there, and in 1850 he returned to north Wales and settled at Ffestiniog, where he had charge of Llanffestiniog and Bethania churches. Four years later he returned to Conwy. His mind was now set on establishing a church at Llandudno, which was rapidly developing as a seaside resort and, with this in view, he moved there. With the support of a number of wealthy English people he succeeded in building a chapel for both English and Welsh services. He retired in 1881.

Gwalchmai was also one of the joint editors of Y Dysgedydd from 1853 to 1864. He won ten eisteddfod chairs and a great number of other prizes. He published, Adgofion am John Elias, 1859; Enwogion Mn, 1877; Glan Geirionydd, with notes; Yr Adroddiadur Barddonol, 1877; and History of Ancient Eisteddfodau. He was one of the most prolific Welsh writers of the 19th century, but not much of his work is of permanent value. He died 7 February 1897.


Arranged chronologically

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all users

Acquisition Information

Donated by Llew Tegid of Bangor


Description amended by Elen Wyn Hughes, September 2002.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue at item level available at the Archives Department of the University of Wales Bangor.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright conditions apply. Reprographics made at the discretion of the archivist.

Related Material

See also the Papers of Rev. R. Peris Williams, also held at the Archives Department of the University of Wales Bangor. A collection level description is available on the Archives Hub.