Guto composed a poem to request a hawk from Huw Bulkeley on behalf of Rhisiart Cyffin, dean of Bangor (poem 60). The only other poem addressed to Huw is a praise poem by Lewys Môn (GLM poem I). Both poems were composed when Huw was deputy constable of Conwy castle.
The genealogical table below is based on WG1 ‘Bulckley’ 2, ‘Marchudd’ 6, WG2 ‘Iarddur’ 5D, E; L. Dwnn: HV ii: 91–2. The names of Guto’s patrons are underlined.
Through his mother, Elen daughter of Gwilym of Penrhyn, Huw was related to most of Guto’s patrons in Gwynedd. He was a nephew of both Wiliam Fychan of Penrhyn and Robert Trefor of Chirk, and a second cousin of both Wiliam ap Gruffudd of Cochwillan and Rhisiart Cyffin, dean of Bangor. Furthermore, through his sister Sioned’s marriage, he was a brother-in-law of Huw Lewys of Prysaeddfed. His wife’s name is unknown.
Huw Bulkeley lived in Beaumaris on Anglesey, but his family and its name originated from Cheadle in Cheshire (60.14n). The family settled on the island c.1452–3 when William Bulkeley was appointed deputy constable of Beaumaris castle (Carr 1982: 218; ByCy 51–2). William married Elen daughter of Gwilym of Penrhyn, the most powerful man in north Wales at the time, and the union played a key part in establishing the Bulkeleys as a Welsh family of note (Jones 1961: 3).
Some information has survived concerning Wiliam’s and Elen’s sons, namely Huw, Rhisiart and Roland. Rhisiart was appointed archdeacon of Anglesey c.1500, an office which he held until his death in 1525, and Roland (fl. c.1460 until 10 July 1537) was appointed constable of Beaumaris castle on 4 July 1502 (Breese and Wynne 1873: 122). Both Guto and Lewys Môn refer to Huw’s position as deputy constable of Conwy castle (60.17; GLM I.45–6). Unlike Harlech, Conwy castle was in Crown hands throughout the Wars of the Roses. In the Chirk castle documents Huw is named as deputy constable in 1482 for the constable Edward Woodville (‘Chirk Castle’ 10744). This Edward was probably the brother of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV (this document is the only proof that he was constable of the castle in 1482). Less than a year later Huw’s name appears in a letter that his father, William Bulkeley, received from the Crown. William is requested to persuade his son, Huw, to hand Conwy castle over to the duke of Buckingham (Jones 1961: 5; Evans 1995: 121). It seems that the agreement was not to Huw’s liking, yet on 16 May 1483 the duke of Buckingham was appointed constable of the castle by Richard III. In his poem to Huw, Lewys Môn suggests that the disagreement lasted for three years (GLM I.30). However, it seems that Huw managed to keep his position as deputy constable of the castle until at least 1490. His father died in that year and he is named as deputy constable in his will (Carr 1982: 220). Indeed, Jones (1961: 6) argues that he may have held the office until his death in 1504.
Breese, E. and Wynne, W.W.E. (1873), Kalendars of Gwynedd (London)
Carr, A.D. (1982), Medieval Anglesey (Llangefni)
Evans, H.T. (1995), Wales and the Wars of the Roses (second ed., Stroud)
Jones, D.C. (1961), ‘The Bulkeleys of Beaumaris, 1440–1547’, AAST: 1–20