He was born about 1544, son of Sion (John) ap Rhys of Tyddyn Du in the parish of Maen Twrog, Merionethshire, and his wife, Sian (Jane), daughter of Owain ap Llywelyn. On 16 March 1565 he entered St. John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1568, in M.A. 1571, and was a Fellow in 1570. On 14 March 1573 he became rector of Festiniog, with its chapelry of Maen Twrog, and on 5 November 1576 archdeacon of Merioneth. About the same time, he became chaplain to Sir Henry Sidney, lord president of Wales. On 16 April 1580 there was added to the living he already held the rectory of Llanenddwyn with its chapelry of Llanddwywe, and on 8 October 1602 he was made a canon cursal (second canonry) of St Asaph Cathedral.
He died in 1624, and was buried in Maen Twrog church. He was twice married: first, to Ellin, daughter of John ap Lewis of Pengwern, Festiniog, by whom he had two sons, John and Robert, and a daughter Jane; secondly, to Gwen, daughter of Morgan ap Lewis of Fronheulog (his first wife's cousin), by whom he had three sons, Ffoulk (Ffowc), Morgan and Edmund
Prys composed in the strict Welsh metres, and took an active part in the bardic life of his time. He engaged in duels of satiric verse, crossing swords with his neighbours, Thomas Price[disambiguation needed] (fl. 1586-1632), Siôn Phylip, Waelod, and William Cynwal of Penmachno. The last encounter is known for its length (fifty-four poems on both sides), and the fact that the archdeacon's adversary died while it was proceeding. But Prys's reputation rests on his translation of the psalms into free Welsh verse, suitable for congregational singing. At least nineteen editions of the Salmau Can appeared, chiefly in editions of the Bible. A rendering of the psalms into the strict metres by Captain William Myddelton had been issued in 1603, and a freer translation of thirteen by Edward Kyffin had appeared in the same year. In 1621, however, to a new issue of the Welsh version of the Book of Common Prayer was appended Prys's translation of the whole of the psalter. He rejected the bardic metres in order to adapt his work for popular use.
Prys is mentioned by Dr. William Morgan as one of three who rendered him assistance in the preparation of his translation of the Bible (1588). Dr. John Davies also addressed to him the preface to his grammar (Antiquae Linguae Britannicae, &c., 1621).
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