Birthplace of poet Cynan, Pwllheli

button_lang_welshbutton_lang_frenchBirthplace of poet Cynan, Pwllheli

Albert Evans-Jones was born here in April 1895. Better known by his bardic name Cynan, he was one of the most influential figures in Welsh literary and cultural life in the 20th century.

His father, councillor Richard Albert Jones, ran the Liverpool House confectionery shop and Central Restaurant here. In 1917 Cynan’s mother, Hannah Jane Jones (nee Evans), opened a women’s labour exchange here, claiming to supply “Ladies requiring superior Maids” as far away as Manchester, Blackpool and Aberystwyth. Others pwllheli_cynan_in_uniformon her books included shop workers, waitresses, cooks and kitchen maids.

Young Albert was schooled in Pwllheli before graduating at Bangor in 1916, shortly before joining the Royal Army Medical Corps. While on leave from training in Llandrindod, he preached at Pwllheli’s Tabernacl Baptist Chapel. He is pictured in uniform on the right.

His war experiences in France and Salonika influenced much of his subsequent poetry including Mab y Bwthyn, describing a young Welshman’s life in war service. This won him the crown at the National Eisteddfod in Caernarfon in 1921.

By then Cynan had been ordained and was working as a Presbyterian pastor. From 1931 until his retirement he was a university tutor in Bangor, living in Menai Bridge. He won the Eisteddfod crown again in 1923 and 1931 and the chair in 1924. He was also a dramatist and directed many plays, sometimes taking one of the acting parts himself.

He was the National Eisteddfod’s cofiadur (recorder) from 1935 to 1970, and had two stints as its archdruid. He modernised the festival’s governance and used his theatrical talents to reorganise its main ceremonies to widen their appeal. He was instrumental in the introduction of the “rheol Gymraeg” (the rule that all Eisteddfod competitions and performances must be in Welsh) when the festival was held in Caerphilly in 1950.

In 1963 he was made a freeman of Pwllheli. He was knighted in 1969 and died the following year. Click here for our page about his grave in Menai Bridge.

Postcode: LL53 5DH    View Location Map