Tudur Penllyn is mentioned in poem 44, a humorous poem in which Guto recounts his experiences driving the sheep of Sir Benet, parson of Corwen, to English markets. Tudur responded with a poem in which he satirizes Guto and accuses him of deceiving Sir Benet (poem 44a), and Guto then composed a poem to defend himself (poem 45). There are also two poems in which Tudur is satirized by both Guto (poem 46) and his own son, Ieuan ap Tudur Penllyn (poem 46a), as well as another poem in which Tudur defends himself (poem 46b). The subject of these poems is an account (probably fictional) of how Tudur’s testicles were bitten off by a wolf.
Tudur could trace his lineage back to Meirion Goch, a nobleman from Edeirnion who founded the lineage of Rhiw in Llŷn. The genealogical table below is based on WG1 ‘Meirion Goch’ 1, 3, ‘Rhirid Flaidd’ 3, 8; WG2 ‘Meirion Goch’ 3A.
As is shown, Tudur was the brother-in-law of one of Guto’s patrons, Einion ap Gruffudd of Llechwedd Ystrad.
Tudur was an excellent poet and a wealthy nobleman from Caer-gai in the parish of Llanuwchllyn in Merionethshire. There are at least 35 poems attributed to him, which consist of eulogies, elegies, greetings, petitions, reconciliation and satire. He was also a husbandman, keeping sheep and lambs, and the owner of cattle and horses. He would drive the sheep and lambs, selling their wool, and this is reflected in poems 44, 44a and 45. He sang poems to noblemen in both north and south Wales but, as he was a poet who practised at his own expense, these journeys should probably be seen as friendly visits rather than bardic circuits aimed at self-maintenance. His chief patrons were Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd of Corsygedol, Rheinallt ap Gruffudd of Mold and Dafydd Siencyn of Nanconwy. During the Wars of the Roses he supported the Lancastrians but also sang to some of the Yorkists. His wife Gwerful Fychan, his son Ieuan ap Tudur Penllyn and his daughter Gwenllïan were also poets (on Gwenllïan, see GGM 3–4; Johnston 1997). Like other ‘amateur’ poets, who were not so bound to the conventions of poetic craft, Tudur’s poems exhibit a more than usual freshness and variety, with fine descriptive powers and biting satire. See further, GTP (xiii for his dates); Roberts 1942: 141–51; idem 1943: 27–35; DWB Online s.n. Tudur Penllyn; GIBH 3, poems 1–3, Appendices iii–v and the commentary on them.
Johnston, D. (1997), ‘Gwenllïan ferch Rhirid Flaidd’, Dwned, 3: 27–32
Roberts, T. (1942), ‘Tudur Penllyn’, Y Llenor, xxi: 141–51
Roberts, T. (1943), ‘Tudur Penllyn’, Y Llenor, xxii: 27–35