Guto Nyth Bran (1700 – 1737)
Born in the Rhondda in Llwynycelyn, Griffith Morgan, later moved to a farm with his parents near Porth, and changed his name to that of the farm. He was a sheep farmer. This is a poem about the origins of The Nos Galan race, that is still in existence today.
This is the tale of Guto Nyth Bran,
Who ran as a boy and ran as a man.
Born in the Valleys in the year 1700,
Griffith Morgan changed his title, Why people wondered?
Because his family moved to the farm named Nyth Bran,
Where he tended the sheep, and ran free as they ran.
One day he caught a hare, as he rounded his sheep,
Another time he caught a bird in flight, as if it were asleep.
Word soon spread of this talented lad,
Who could run to Pontypridd in the little time he had,
Before the kettle boiled,
Or his breakfast was spoiled,
He’d be back at the farm, having gone 7 miles,
Sían Y Siōp came to visit, she was all smiles,
She had a proposition you see,
Telling him “You can be managed by me!”
Now he could run and win lots of cash,
Competitions were arranged as quick as a flash.
The first race he won and the prize was £400,
The spectators delight, knew no bounds.
They were betting you see, on this gifted boy,
With every race he won, he brought them money and joy.
He became so well known, it was hard to find competition,
So he retired for a while, forgetting his ambition.
Now his sweetheart, Sían Y Siōp , found him, one more race,
Against a man they called “Prince,” apparently worthy of the pace,
1,000 guineas, was the prize money at stake here,
and the villagers all gambled on the one that they held dear.
It is said that as he ran, he stopped to say hello and chat,
As the man known as ‘Prince’ sped past him, sneering like a rat,
But in 53 minutes, Guto won the race,
Because when he was ready, he just picked up the pace,
Prince’s face was a picture, and very, very red,
Then Sian patted Guto’s back, and the poor man dropped dead.
6th February 2013