Hedd Wyn : Canrif o Gofio

S4C | 1 x 60minutes

Hedd Wyn is arguably Wales’ best known poet. 100 years after his death, Ifor ap Glyn tells his story, one that was to become one of Wales’ most enduring tragedies.

To mark the centenary of the death of Hedd Wyn – arguably Wales’ most famous poet – National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn, re-assesses his life and work.

In 2013, Hedd Wyn’s nephew Gerald Williams, took the decision to sell Yr Ysgwrn, the farm where Hedd Wyn was raised, to the Snowdonia National Park. We see how the site was transformed into a modern visitor centre, so as to preserve Hedd Wyn’s legacy for future generations.

Ifor follows the bard’s footsteps to Abercynon, where he spent three months working as a coal miner, before moving on to Liverpool, visiting some of the locations which would have been known to him there during his military training. In France and Belgium, Ifor follows his final days and minutes, explaining how he completed and sent his winning poem to the National Eisteddfod of 1917 whilst marching towards the battle which was to cost him his life.

Whilst Hedd Wyn became an iconic figure here in Wales, so too did the chair, posthumously awarded to him a few weeks after his death, and which became known as The Black Chair. In St.Clears, Ifor visits Hugh Hayley, the man tasked with restoring the chair to its former glory, and gains an insight into the remarkable woodcarvings embedded in its ancient oak, a living testament to the skill of Belgian master craftsman Eugeen Vanfleteren.

Featuring fascinating first hand accounts, interviews recorded during the 1960s and 70s with family and friends, letters sent from the front and contemporary newspaper articles, Ifor re-assesses the poet’s life and work. Why does this story continue to fascinate us so? What would Hedd Wyn have achieved had he lived? Maybe these are questions that can never be fully answered, but one thing’s for certain, Hedd Wyn’s name will continue to echo through the ages.