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Hedd Wyn (13 January 1887 31 July 1917) was a Merionethshiremarker farmer and Welsh language poet of World War I.

Welsh bard

Born Ellis Humphrey Evans, the oldest of eleven children of Evan and Mary Evans, he used the Bardic name Hedd Wyn, Welsh for "Blessed Peace" (literal translation: white peace).

Evans spent most of his life on a hill farm, Yr Ysgwrn, near Trawsfynyddmarker, Merionethshiremarker (Gwyneddmarker). By the age of 28, he had won four Eisteddfod chairs for his poetry.

Evans' bardic chairs are on display at Yr Ysgwrn. The son of Evans' youngest sister Mary, Gerald Williams, still lives at Ysgwrn today, and regularly entertains visitors.

Killed in action

Hedd Wyn's gravestone in Artillery Wood Cemetery
Evans was awarded the Bardic Chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod, Birkenheadmarker, for his poem "Yr Arwr" ("The Hero"), written in the verse form known as an awdl. The award was posthumous, with the Eisteddfod Chair draped in black cloth during the award ceremony, Evans having been killed in Belgiummarker, serving with 15th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers, at Pilckem Ridge on the 31st of July during the Battle of Passchendaelemarker. (Another war poet, Francis Ledwidge, was killed on the same day.)

He is buried at Artillery Wood Cemetery, near Boezingemarker (section II, row F, grave 11).

1992 film

The story became the subject of the Oscar-nominated Welsh-language film Hedd Wyn in 1992. It won a BAFTA for the best foreign language film in the year of its release. It was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 1994 Oscars.

2009 novel

The Black Chair, a 2009 novel for young people, is based on the life of Hedd Wyn.

References

  1. Carradice, Phil (2009). The Black Chair. Pont Books. ISBN 9781843239789


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