Nantlle Valley History

Clynnog Fawr


Morys Clynnog (MAURICE CLENOCKE) c. 1525 - 1581

In 1558, he was appointed Bishop of Bangor, but when Catholicism was banned following the death of Queen Mary, he escaped to Rome. He was head of the English College there; the purpose of the college was to prepare priests to return to Britain to restore the Catholic Faith. In 1575 he recommended the Pope to send 6,000 men to dethrone Queen Elizabeth 1st. It has been discovered recently that he conspired with others to land an expedition on the coast of Arfon but the raid was a failure.

Quoted from the Welsh Biography (Bywgraffiadur Cymreig) to 1940

CLYNNOG , MORYS (or MAURICE CLENOCKE ) ( c. 1525 - 1581 ), Roman Catholic theologian ; his birthplace, in all probability, was Clynnog-fawr in Caernarvonshire. He went up to Christ Church , Oxford, where he graduated B.C.L. in 1548. After being successively chaplain to ( cardinal ) Reginald Pole, Rector of Orpington, Kent, and Dean of Shoreham and Croydon, he was, in 1556, appointed rector of Corwen, by Goldwell, bishop of S. Asaph.

On the death of William Glyn (q.v.) in 1558, he was raised to the see of Bangor but, before he was consecrated, Queen Mary died and he went into voluntary exile rather than conform with the new dispensation under Elizabeth.

In 1561 he, Bishop Goldwell, and Gruffydd Robert, archdeacon of Anglesey, arrived in Rome. Goldwell was appointed warden of the English Hospital in that city, Gruffydd Robert became chaplain in 1564, and Morys Clynnog ‘Camerarius’ in 1567. In 1577 he was appointed warden.

The following year Owen Lewis, Archdeacon of Hainault and later Bishop of Cassano, succeeded in establishing the English College in Rome, and Morys Clynnog was elected rector with a staff of three Jesuits to assist him in teaching the English and Welsh students. Clynnog was alleged to have shown favouritism to the Welsh, and a riot occurred, but there is a suspicion that this was instigated by the Jesuits who wished to gain control of the college. At any rate, he was forced to resign in 1579 after the English students, who had threatened to leave the college if he did not do so, had sent a petition to Cardinal Morone protesting against his administration, and a deputation to the pope to demand his removal.

Father Agazzari, a Jesuit, was appointed in his place. In 1580 we hear of Morys Clynnog embarking at Rouen. It is believed that he was drowned early in 1581 on his way to Spain.

In 1568 he published a little book in the form of a catechism. It was called Athravaeth Gristnogavl , had an introduction by Gruffydd Robert , and was printed at Milan.

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