hedd wyn

Video | In Memory of Hedd Wyn

Ellis Humphrey Evans, known historically by his bardic name, Hedd Wyn, was killed on July 31st 1917, the first day of fighting at the ridge of Passchendaele. As part of the hundred year anniversary commemorations of his story, which has taken on mythological status in Wales, Wales Arts Review presents a series of archive films looking at the poet’s life and legacy.

First up is Paul Turner’s 1992 drama, which went on to become the first Welsh language movie to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Hedd Wyn was written by Alun Llwyd and stars Huw Garmon in the title role.

Secondly, we have the Hedd Wynn episode from S4C’s series looking at Welsh poets, the highly acclaimed Gwlad Beirdd.

Next we have a short documentary looking at the work done to preserve Yr Ysgwrn, the home of Hedd Wyn, when it changed hands from the family estate to the Snowdonia National Park Trust.

Finally, an extremely rare clip of two friends of Hedd Wyn discussing his verse.

Hedd Wyn (born Ellis Humphrey Evans, 13 January 1887 – 31 July 1917) was a Welsh language poet who was killed near Ypres, Belgium, during the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I. He was posthumously awarded the bard’s chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod. Evans, who had been awarded several chairs for his poetry, was inspired to take the bardic name Hedd Wyn (Welsh: blessed peace) from the way sunlight penetrated the mist in the Meirionyddvalleys.[1]

His style, which was influenced by romantic poetry, was dominated by themes of nature and religion. He also wrote several war poems following the outbreak of war on the Western Front.