Here we have a manuscript of the ode ‘Yr Arwr’ (The Hero) in the hand of the bard Hedd Wyn (Ellis Humphrey Evans, 1887-1917) which won him the chair at the Birkenhead National Eisteddfod following his death in 1917. This manuscript is one of the final drafts he created of the ode. The original is part of the National Eisteddfod collection which is held here at the National Library. Hedd Wyn is considered one of Wales’ most prominent bards, and his ode ‘Yr Arwr’ is considered to be his greatest work.
The manuscript was presented to the National Library by J R Jones, a head teacher from Llwyncelyn, Trawsfynydd in March 1934. The ode is only one part of the manuscript. The manuscript also contains other items in the bard’s hand, as well as photographs of Hedd Wyn, and a note book full of the bard’s works in the hand of J R Jones himself. J R Jones was one of the main founders of a local committee created by Hedd Wyn’s friends and contemporaries in Trawsfynydd in 1917 to commemorate the bard. The committee was responsible for collecting together Hedd Wyn’s works and publishing them under the title Cerddi’r Bugail (The Shepherd’s Poems) in August 1918, under the editorship of J J Williams. Donations collected by the committee went towards creating a memorial for the bard which was unveiled at Trawsfynydd in August 1923.