Daniel Walters (1762-87)

Daniel Walters, son of John Walters, was educated at Jesus College, Oxford (1780-1), but left without a degree to work as an assistant teacher with Dr Samuel Parr, Norwich. At the request of his older brother John, he returned to Glamorgan in 1783 to work as a teacher in Cowbridge Grammar School. The following year, he was appointed headmaster when his brother moved to Ruthin. Daniel's surviving diaries (Cardiff 4.304 & Cardiff 3.167) provide an interesting insight into family life and the community in the Vale of Glamorgan, and they also record Iolo's visits to the Walters family home in Llandough during 1777-8.

Although Daniel was a generation younger than Iolo, he was a considerable influence on his older friend's literary tastes. For example, it was Daniel who suggested that he, Iolo, and his brother John should form a corresponding circle in order to discuss literary matters (NLW 21283E, no. 512, Daniel Walters to Iolo Morganwg, 27 June 1782). English poetry was Daniel's main delight and one of his poems, 'Landough, A Loco-descriptive Poem', was published as an appendix to his brother John's volume, Poems, with Notes (1780).

Iolo's dealings with the Grammarians suggest that his main interest during his youth was Welsh poetry, and G. J. Williams surmised that it was Daniel who stimulated Iolo's interest in English poetry. Daniel certainly encouraged Iolo to publish his own poems in English and became annoyed with Iolo when he claimed to have given up writing temporarily after his marriage (NLW 21283E, no. 513, Daniel Walters to Iolo Morganwg, 1 October 1782). Daniel also discussed with Iolo the Rowley poems and the Chatterton controversy.

For Iolo, Daniel and his brother John were valuable channels for learning about contemporary fashions in English literature. But the influence worked both ways. Daniel considered Iolo his poetic master and often sought his advice regarding Welsh history and literature. Daniel and Iolo were birds of a feather and together they fantasized about Glamorgan's romantic past. In a letter to his brother John, Daniel tells him that he and Iolo intended building a grotto in an appropriate romantic location in Crabble Woods, near Beaupré, where they would drink tea together.

However, a rough sketch of his introduction to Poems, Lyric and Pastoral (1794) suggests that their relationship cooled and that Daniel had behaved badly towards Iolo during his incarceration at Cardiff (LlGC 21387E, no. 1). Daniel died in 1787, and in another draft of the introduction to his English poems Iolo refers to him with tenderness and admiration (NLW 21387E, no. 10).