Martha Llwyd

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Martha Llwyd (1766 – 16 October 1845) was a Welsh poet and hymnist, born in the small Carmarthenshire village of Cynwyl Elfed.

Despite being unable to read or write, Martha Llwyd composed many hymns and poems which she kept in her memory and taught to others. Her hymns became very popular and were sung far and wide during her lifetime. She was regularly visited by the Methodist leader and fellow hymn-writer William Williams Pantycelyn to discuss their work, and it is alleged that some of her hymns were published under his name.[1] Very little of Martha Llwyd's work remains, and most of her hymns have been lost to posterity.[2]

Martha was born Martha Williams at Nantbendigaid Farm in the parish of Cynwyl Elfed, but her family moved to Y Felin farm in the neighbouring parish of Llanpumsaint when she was a baby and it was there that she grew up. In 1785 she married Dafydd Llwyd, a local blacksmith and prominent member of the village's Methodist community. The couple lived together in the centre of the village and had nine children - six boys and three girls. The rigours of raising such a large family took its toll on Martha's health and with time she became severely crippled. Nevertheless, she was a faithful member of Bethel Methodist Chapel in the village of Llanpumsaint and was often seen outdoors, carried aloft in her chair by her children or neighbours.[3]

Martha died at the age of 79, only one year after the death of her husband Dafydd Llwyd. They share a grave under the yew tree at the parish church in Llanpumsaint. It is inscribed with the anglicised form of their names: David and Martha Lloyd.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carmarthenshire County Council, plaque in Llanpumsaint village park
  2. ^ E. Wyn James, "Merched a'r Emyn yn Sir Gâr", Barn, 402/3 (July/August 1996), p.29; Thomas, Arwyn (2004) Hanes Llanpumsaint, Carmarthenshire County Council Libraries and Community Learning Section
  3. ^ Thomas, Arwyn (2004) Hanes Llanpumsaint, Carmarthenshire County Council Libraries and Community Learning Section