Former clock shop of first Archdruid, Caernarfon


Link to Welsh translationFormer clock shop of first Archdruid, Caernarfon

Portrait of Clwydfardd, first Archdruid of WalesHere was the shop of clockmaker and watchmaker David Griffith. He later became the first Archdruid of Wales, the Gorsedd of Bards’ presiding officer. His portrait is shown here courtesy of the National Library of Wales.

David was born in 1800 in Denbigh, where his father Richard was a clockmaker. He came to Caernarfon in 1824 to start his own clockmaking business. Caernarfon was one of Wales’ largest towns, with a population of 4,595 in 1826, and its thriving slate trade made it an ideal place for new businesses.

David married Elinor Jones, from a Barmouth maritime family, at St Peblig’s Church in 1837. They had six children and lived in Turf Square and later Garnons Street, near the Wesleyan chapel. They left Caernarfon in 1856. His works included the clock which still adorns the Harbour Trust office near Caernarfon Castle, and Porthmadog’s town clock. He restored the clock at Abergele parish church when he was 83.

He walked long distances on Sundays to speak as a Wesleyan lay preacher. It’s said that he walked to Snowdon summit and back aged 84!

His bardic name was Clwydfardd (referring to his origins in Clwyd). He came to literary prominence by winning the silver medal for poetry at the 1824 National Eisteddfod, held in Denbigh. He became a literary adjudicator for the Eisteddfod in 1835 and was the festival’s official bard in 1849, a year before he was admitted to the Gorsedd.

In 1876 the Gorsedd created the new role of Archdruid of Wales. Clwydfardd remained Archdruid until the year of his death, 1894, when the Eisteddfod was in Caernarfon. This was the first time Gorsedd members dressed in robes of different colours, denoting their area of achievement.

David is not regarded as a significant poet – his works follow the longwinded fashion of eisteddfodic bards at the time – but as Archdruid and as an adjudicator he was highly regarded in Welsh society in the last quarter of the 19th century.

With thanks to W Gwyn Lewis and Caernarfon Civic Society

Postcode: LL55 1AG    View Location Map