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Rhys Prichard

1579?-1644. Welsh clergyman and poet. Details of his family background and early education are uncertain, but he graduated from Jesus College, Oxford. He was ordained and given the living of Wytham in Essex (1602), but in August of the same year he was presented the vicarage of Llandovery and in 1613 added to it the rectorship of Llanedi-both in Carmarthenshire. In 1614 he was made a canon at Brecon Collegiate Church and in 1626 chancellor of St. Davids. He composed a substantial body of moral and religious poetry in a popular idiom, and it is symptomatic of their flavor that they were (posthumously) published by the Puritan Stephen Hughes between 1659 and 1681, the 1681 volume being a complete collection of his poetry bearing the title Canwyll y Cymru. The simplicity and directness of these poems, and their similarity to the folk poetry popular among the uneducated, commended them to a large public, and they soon became an integral part of the Welsh religious tradition.