Tag Archives: Welsh history

Guest post: The Rees Family and the Cardiff Eisteddfod

This guest post comes from Vicky Shirley, a third-year PhD student in the School of English, Communication, and Philosophy. Her thesis examines the reception and re-writing of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae in England, Scotland, and Wales. She is currently preparing an article for publication on the reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth by Welsh and English antiquarians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the Salisbury Library in Special Collections has been integral to her research. The Salisbury Library contains a number of classic works of Welsh medievalism, such as the The Cambrian Register and Myrvyrian Archaiology of Wales. Special Collections also holds several microfilms of manuscripts belonging to the eighteenth-century antiquarian Lewis Morris, who thought that the Brut y Tysilio was the original Welsh source of Geoffrey’s Historia Regum Britanniae, and the reception of his theory is the subject of her article.


My research for my article has recently led me to Rice Rees’ Essay on the Welsh Saints, or the Primitive Christians, which was published in 1836. Rice Rees (1804-39) was a cleric and scholar, and his essay was the winning entry in one of the essay competitions at the Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod, which was held in Cardiff in 1834. Rice Rees’ uncle, William Jenkins Rees (1772-1855), was instrumental in re-introducing the Eisteddfod to Wales in the nineteenth century. The Gwyneddigion Society had tried to revive the annual Eisteddfod in the late eighteenth century, but they only ran between 1789 and 1794 in Bala, St. Asaph, Llanrwst, Denbigh, and Dollgellau respectively. In October 1818, several Welsh clerics antiquarians, including W. J. Rees, met in Montgomeryshire, and proposed to establish provincial societies for the study of Welsh literature in in Dyfed, Gwynedd, Gwent, and Powys. These societies were responsible for hosting eisteddfodau in their provinces, and the first one was held at Carmarthen in 1819. W. J. Rees also helped to re-establish The Honourable Society of the Cymmrodorion, and the second society (1820-43) oversaw the activities of the local Cambrian Societies.

William Jenkins Rees (1772-1855)

William Jenkins Rees (1772-1855)

The Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod was held on 20th-22nd August 1834 at Cardiff Castle, by the invitation of John Crichton-Stuart, the 2nd Marquess of Bute. The young Princess Victoria and the Duchess of Kent were invited to the Eisteddfod, and several Welsh literati were also present at the event, including Lady Charlotte Guest and Taliesin Williams, the son of Edward Williams (Iolo Morganwg), who won the Bardic Chair that year. In his opening speech, the Marquess remarked that:

[t]he Eisteddfodau shew a character of good-will and harmony and kindness, joining together all persons of Celtic origin, in one bond of social attachment and literary enjoyment. They are meetings in which we are desirous to shew our forefathers; to recall to memory the history of former days; and to shew the regard that we ever cherish to our departed ancestry.[1]

Lady Charlotte Guest includes a short account of the Cardiff Eisteddfod in her journal. She did not the Marquess’ opening speech in very high regard – she preferred the oratory of William Price instead, and he eventually became one of the judges. A transcript of both speeches was included in the report of the Gwent and Royal Eisteddfod, which was printed by The Glamorgan, Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian.

eisteddfod

In his essay, Rees provides an ‘ecclesiastical history of the Britons, from the introduction of Christianity, or more especially from the termination of Roman power in Britain, to the end of the seventh century’.[2] The scope of Rees’ narrative is similar to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae, which describes the history of Britain from its foundation by Brutus of Troy to the death of Cadwalladr, the last king of the Britons in 682. The two narratives correspond with each other as they use similar sources, including a variety of ancient Welsh poems, triads, and genealogies. These texts were being steadily recovered in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as scholars and antiquarians began to publish many works of Welsh literature for the first time.

cardiffeisteddfod

Despite the similarities between his essay and the Historia regum Britanniae, Rees was sceptical of Geoffrey. Like many scholars and historians, Rees thought Geoffrey was a translator, who added his own fabulous inventions to his work. In particular, Rees attacks Geoffrey for his inaccuracy, and in a section on Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, he remarks that:

Geoffrey of Monmouth states that Dewi, archbishop of Caerleon, died in the monastery which he had founded at Menevia, where he was honourably buried by order of Maelgwn Gwynedd. This event is recorded by Geoffrey as if it happened soon after the death of Arthur, who died A.D. 542. According to the computations of Archbishop Usher, St. David died A.D. 544, aged eighty two […] But it must be allowed that the dates quotes by Usher are very uncertain, and depend upon the authority of writers who lived many centuries after the events which they record. The older generations, and the names of contemporaries, rend it necessary to place the birth of David about twenty years later than it is fixed by Usher; and his life may be protracted to any period short of A. D. 566. [3]

The death of Arthur and David is one of the few dates that are mentioned in the Historia regum Britanniae, and so this point of contention is one of the few examples where Rees could directly challenge Geoffrey’s authority and undermine his chronology. Rees’ estimation that Saint David died in 566 is a little unreliable, as it is now generally accepted that he died in 589. Nevertheless, his comparison of sources is typical of the method many historians – medieval and modern – used to try and disprove the events recorded in Geoffrey’s Historia.

My interest in the Rees family began in September 2012, when I was an undergraduate research assistant on a Cardiff Undergraduates Research Opportunities Program project, which involved cataloguing provenance and marginalia in the Cardiff Rare Books collection (1660-1700). During this project, I found a number of books which were owned by different members of the Rees family. The Rees family library once had over 7,000 books, many of which were donated to the Cardiff Public Library, before they were acquired by Special Collections in 2010. My current research has given me a better understanding about how important the Rees family were to medieval scholarship and antiquarian activities in Wales during the nineteenth century. 

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Guest, Lady, Lady Charlotte Guest: Extracts from her Journal, 1833-1852, ed. V. B. Ponsby, Earl of Beesborough (London: Murray, 1950)

Rees, Rice, An Essay on the Welsh Saints, or the Primitive Christians, usually considered to have been the founders of the churches in Wales (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman, printed by William Rees, Llandovery, 1836)

‘Gwent and Royal Eisteddfod and Musical Festival’, The Glamorgan, Monmouth, and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, Saturday 23rd and 30th August 1834

Secondary Sources

Ellis, Mary, ‘W. J. Rees, 1772-1855: A Portrait, Part I’ Radnorshire Society Transactions 39 (1969): 24-35

___________, ‘W. J. Rees, 1772-1855: A Portrait, Part II’ Radnorshire Society Transactions 40 (1970): 21-8

___________, ‘W. J. Rees, 1772-1855: A Portrait, Part III’ Radnorshire Society Transactions 41 (1971): 76-85

___________, ‘W. J. Rees, 1772-1855: A Portrait, Part IV’ Radnorshire Society Transactions 42 (1972): 55-61

Thomas, J. Lloyd, ‘Eisteddfod Talaith a Chadair Powys (The Powis Provincial Chair Eisteddfod)’, The Montgomeryshire Collections, relating to Montgomeryshire and its borders, 59 1-2 (195-6): 60-81

Online Sources

Lloyd, J. E. ‘Rees, Rice (1804–1839)’, rev. Nilanjana Banerji, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/23287, accessed 2 Sept 2016]

___________, ‘Rees, William Jenkins (1772–1855)’, rev. Beti Jones, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2007 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/23291, accessed 2 Sept 2016]

[1] ‘Gwent and Royal Eisteddfod and Musical Festival’, The Glamorgan, Monmouth, and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, Saturday 23rd and 30th August 1834, p. 3.

[2] Rice Rees, ‘Preface’, An Essay on the Welsh Saints, or the Primitive Christians, usually considered to have been the founders of the churches in Wales (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman, printed by William Rees, Llandovery, 1836), p. vi.

[3] Rees, An Essay on the Welsh Saints, pp. 200-1

Devolution resource guide launched

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus / Happy St David’s Day!

Vote Yes on March 1st. Cardiff : Wales for the Assembly Campaign, [1979].

Vote Yes on March 1st. Cardiff : Wales for the Assembly Campaign, [1979].

Special Collections and Archives have launched a new library resource guide on devolution to celebrate St David’s Day.

By listing works chronologically by publication date, it gives a historical perspective on the developing debate over the last 100 years. It also allows for a comparative study of devolution resources for Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and the European Union.

Guest post: CUROP Research Project – Early Welsh language children’s literature

ChildLitThis guest post comes from Bethan Morgan, undergraduate in the School of Welsh, on her CUROP (Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme) project. Bethan has been working with Dr Siwan Rosser to create a bibliographic database of Welsh-language children’s books published before 1900.

Building on last year’s successful CUROP project to create a database of 19th-century periodicals for children, this project seeks to create a new resource for enhanced research on the history of children’s publishing in Wales. At present, no bibliography exists for pre-1900 publications, and library catalogue descriptions are often incomplete and inconsistent, impeding investigations into this important aspect of cultural history.

The project involved searching the University Library’s extensive Special Collections, as well as information from the on-line catalogue of the National Library of Wales, and amassing (through EndNote) relevant bibliographic material. The books were sorted into different categories within EndNote according to their genres, e.g. poetry, music, stories, textbooks, prayer books, and sermons. The resulting database, incorporating the previous CUROP periodical database, will be published online after the project, to be used in research and teaching here and to advance the study of this topic in general.

Bethan notes: “It was fascinating reading the pre-1900 collection of children’s books, because they are so different in comparison with contemporary children’s books. It was hard to believe at times that I was reading children’s literature, because of the serious / dark themes found in many of them, such as sin, death and disasters. The project is very worthwhile, and of value in developing knowledge of Cardiff University’s collection of children’s literature.”

It will also be an invaluable resource for Siwan Rosser during her 2015-16 Research Leave to produce a monograph on Welsh children’s literature. Furthermore, this database will lead to a joint project with Special Collections and Archives to create an online collection of early children’s books, as part of our programme to digitise library and archives to support research and teaching.

View Bethan’s post in full on Siwan Rosser’s Llenyddiaeth Plant blog.

Exhibition: Patagonia: Y Wladfa @ 150 (1865-2015)

Yn 2015 bydd Patagonia a Chymru yn dathlu 150 o flynyddoedd ers sefydlu’r Wladfa.  Sefydlwyd y Wladfa yn 1865, pan hwyliodd dros 150  bobl o wahanol rannau o Gymru ar y llong  ‘Mimosa’, ac ymsefydlu yn Nyffryn Camwy, Patagonia, yn Ne’r Ariannin. Mae’r gymuned Gymraeg yn parhau yno heddiw, yn ogystal â’r cysylltiadau sy’n bodoli o hyd rhwng Cymru a Phatagonia.

In 2015 Wales and Patagonia will be celebrating 150 years since the foundation of the Wladfa (colony). The Wladfa was established in 1865, when over 150 people from different parts of Wales sailed on the ship ‘Mimosa’, and settled in the Camwy Valley, Patagonia, in southern Argentina. The Welsh speaking community continues there today, as well as the contacts which exist still between Wales and Patagonia.

 

1/ Cefndir i’r Mudo / Migration Background 

Ceisiodd y Cymry sefydlu cymunedau tramor sawl gwaith, am sawl rheswm – economaidd, crefyddol, ieithyddol –  ond roedd pob un yn fethiant dros amser.

The Welsh attempted to establish communities overseas on several occasions, for several reasons – economic, religious, or linguistic – but each failed over time.

William Vaughan Sir. The golden fleece ... transported from Cambrioll Colchos, out of the southermost part of the iland, commonly called the Newfoundland. London : Printed for Francis Williams, 1626.

William Vaughan Sir. The golden fleece … transported from Cambrioll Colchos, out of the southermost part of the iland, commonly called the Newfoundland. London : Printed for Francis Williams, 1626.

Methodd cymuned William Vaughan, ‘Cambriol’, yn Newfoundland, rhywbryd ar ôl 1630.

William Vaughan and his colony ‘Cambriol’, in Newfoundland, failed sometime after 1630.

 

2/ Teithio ac Ymsefydlu, 19 ganrif / Travel and Settlement, 19th century

Mae hanes y fordaith ar y llong Mimosa wedi arwain at nifer o gyhoeddiadau ar y pwnc, a’r caledi a wynebodd y Cymry, a ffyniant y gymuned wedyn, eto wedi ysgogi nifer i ysgrifennu am y digwyddiadau yno. Cychwynodd popetMDJonesh gan erthygl Michael D. Jones yn 1848.

The history of the sea journey on the ship Mimosa led to many publications on the topic, and the hardships faced by the Welsh, and the success of the community afterwards, again inspired many to write about events there.  Everything started with an article by Michael D. Jones in 1848.

Gwladychfa

 

 

Gwladychfa2

 

3/  Y Wladfa, 20 ganrif (cynnar) / 20th century (early)

O ddiwedd y 19 ganrif roedd llywodraeth yr Ariannin yn elyniaethus tuag at y gymuned Gymraeg, a dirywiodd gweithgareddau’n araf, ac nid oedd mudwyr newydd o Gymru ar ôl 1913.

From the end of the 19th century the Argentine government had an unfriendly attitude towards the Welsh community, and activities declined slowly, while the last migration from Wales came in 1913.

Trelew

 

4/ Y Wladfa, 20 ganrif (adfywiad) / 20th century (revival)

Sbardunodd canmlwyddiant sefydlu’r Wladfa, yn 1965, nifer o unigolion i ail-afael yn y cysylltiad rhwng Cymru a Phatagonia, a thyfodd amrywiaeth o gysylltiadau newydd, yn cynnwys cefnogaeth i’r gymuned Gymraeg oddi wrth Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yn 1999.

The centenary of the founding of the Wladfa, in 1965, spurred a number of individuals to re-start connections between Wales and Patagonia, and a variety of new connections developed, including support for the Welsh community there from the National Assembly for Wales in 1999.

Eluned

 

5/ Patagonia, Llen Teithio / Travel Writing

Ers y 1960au mae ffrwd gyson o lyfrau teithio am Batagonia wedi llifo o’r gweisg, pob un yn nodi’r gymuned Cymraeg yno, efallai’r mwyaf enwog (ond nid y mwyaf cywir) oedd y llyfr gan Bruce Chatwin.

Since the 1960s a stream of travel books about Patagonia has flowed from publishers, each one covering the Welsh community there, possibly the most well known (but not the most accurate) was the book by Bruce Chatwin.

Ysgol 

Ystadegaeth

 

6/ Y Wladfa, 21 ganrif / 21st century

Prifysgol Caerdydd a’r Wladfa / Cardiff University and the Wladfa

Iaith, diwylliant, hanes, cyhoeddiadau, cysylltiadau â Chymru, etc.

Language, culture, history, publications, contacts with Wales, etc.

CUlinks

 

Full list of sources featured in the exhibition:

1/ Cefndir i’r Mudo / Migration Background 

Hanes mor-daith y Brig Albion, Aberteifi, (Llywelyn Davies, Llywydd) gydâ Mûdolion (Emigrants,) &c. o Gaernarfon i Ogledd America : ynghyd â rhai ymddiddanion ar y daith, ac ychydig gasgliad o hanes am y wlad. Caernarfon : argraphwyd gan Peter Evans, 1820.

R Gorst;  David Lloyd.   Desgrifiad o diriogaeth Wisconsin …  yn mharthau gorllewinol Unol Daleithiau America. British Temperance Emigration Society; Cymdeithas Ymfudol Gymedrol Frytanaidd.; Welsh Emigratory Society of Britain.  Bangor … Bethesda, 1845.

Samuel Roberts.  Pregethau a darlithiau. Utica, E.N. : argraffwyd gan T.J. Griffiths, 1865.

2/ Teithio ac Ymsefydlu, 19 ganrif / Travel and Settlement, 19th century

Abraham Matthews. Hanes y Wladfa Gymreig yn Patagonia. Aberdar : Mills ac Evans, pr.|1894

D. Davies. Attodiad i’r Cymro : sef Llawlyfr y Wladfa Gymreig, Patagonia. Caergybi. O.P. Griffith,1882.

Hugh Hughes (Cadvan Gwynedd). Llawlyfr y wladychfa Gymreig yn cynwys sylwadau ar yr angenrheidrwydd a’r posiblrwydd o’i sefydlu, hanes Patagonia, yn egluro ei haddasrwydd i’r sefydliad…yn ngayda darlunlen o Patagonia.  Llynlleifiad: L. Jones & Co., 1862.

Patagonia, yn egluro ei haddasrwydd i’r sefydliad…yn ngayda darlunlen o Patagonia. Llynlleifiad : L. Jones & Co., 1862.

Susan Wilkinson. Mimosa’s voyages : official logs, crew lists and masters. Talybont, Ceredigion : Y Lolfa,2007.

Lewis Jones.  Cymru newydd : hanes y Wladva Gymreig ; tiriogaeth Chubut, yn y weriniaeth Arianin, De Amerig. Caernarvon : Cwmni’r Wasg Genedlaethol Gymreig, 1898.

Joseph Seth Jones; Elvey MacDonald.  Dyddiadur Mimosa : El diario del Mimosa. Aberystwyth : Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru; Llanrwst: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2002.

D.S. Davies.  Adroddiad am sefyllfa y Wladfa Gymreig, allan o “Baner America”. Bala : H. Evans, pr.|1875?

Lewis Jones. Ymfudiaeth y Cymry.  Bangor : Hughes, pr.,1885.

Jonathan Ceredig Davies. Adventures in the land of giants. Lampeter, Welsh Press Company, 1892.

Y Cenhadwr Americanaidd : Remsen, N.Y. : argraffwyd gan J.R. Everett, 1840-1901. [1844 erthygl gan M.D. Jones, ‘Gwladychfa Gymreig’].

 

3/ Y Wladfa, 20 ganrif (cynnar) / 20th century (early)

R. Williams. Cymry Patagonia. Aberystwyth : Gwasg Aberystwyth,1942.

Jonathan Ceredig Davies. Adventures in the land of giants.Lampeter : Welsh Press Company, 1892.

Eluned Morgan. Dringo’r Andes. Y Fenni : Owen, 1904.

Eluned Morgan.  Ar dir a môr. Y Fenni : Gwasg Minerv, 1913.

Eluned Morgan.  Gwymon y Mor. Y Fenni, Owen, 1909.

R. Williams . Rhyddiaith y Wladfa. Dinbych : Gwasg Gee, 1949.

R.B. Williams.  Eluned Morgan. J.D.Lewis, 1948.

Evans, L.   Adlais y  Gamwy…detholiad … o’r Wladfa Gymreig.  Caernarfon, 1924.

Morgan, E.  Plant yr Haul.  Evans a Williams.  1915.

 

4/ Y Wladfa, 20 ganrif (adfywiad) / 20th century (revival)

R. Williams. Gwladfa Patagonia : the Welsh colony in Patagonia, 1865-1965. Caerdydd : Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru, 1965.

Gareth Alban Davies,  Kyffin Williams.  Tan tro nesaf : darlun o wladfa Gymreig Patagonia. 1918-2006. Llandysul : Gwasg Gome, 1976.

Geraint Dyfnallt Owen.  Crisis in Chubut : a chapter in the history of the Welsh colony in Patagonia.Swansea : C. Davies,1977.

Glyn Williams. The desert and the dream : a study of Welsh colonization in Chubut, 1865-1915. Cardiff : University of Wales Pres, 1975.

Ioan Roberts. Rhyfel ni : profiadau Cymreig o ddwy ochr Rhyfel y Falklands/Malvinas 1982.

Llanrwst : Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2003.

Catrin Williams.  Er Serchog Gof … Gwasg Gee,  1997.

 

5/ Patagonia: Llen Teithio / Travel Writing

Ioan Roberts.  Rhyfel ni : profiadau Cymreig o ddwy ochr Rhyfel y Falklands/Malvinas 1982.  Llanrwst:  Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2003.

Jon Gower.  Gwalia Patagonia.  Llandysul: Gomer, 2015.

Cathrin Williams.  Y Wladfa yn dy boced : [llyfr taith i’r Wladfa]. Caernarfon : Gwasg y Bwthyn, 2007, 3ydd arg.

Bruce Chatwin, Paul Theroux.  Patagonia revisited ( illustrated by Kyffin Williams).  London : Jonathan Cape,1992.

Bruce Chatwin.  In Patagonia.  London : Vintage, 1998 [2005 New edition]

R. Williams . Crwydro Patagonia. Llandybie : Llyfrau’r Dryw, 1960.

 

6/ Y Wladfa, 21 ganrif / 21st century

Prifysgol Caerdydd a’r Wladfa  /   Cardiff University and the Wladfa

Elvey MacDonald.  Cymdeithas Cymru-Ariannin : 1939-2014. Penrhyn-coch, Aberystwyth: Cymdeithas Cymru-Ariannin, 2014.

Edi Dorian Jones. Capillas galesas en Chubut. Chubut Argentina : Edición del Autor, 2000.

Galeses y Tehuelches : historia de un encuentro en Patagonia = The Welsh and Tehuelches : a meeting of peoples in Patagonia = Y Cymre a’r Tehuelches : cenhedloedd yn cwrdd ym Mhatagonia.  Chubut (Argentina). Secretaria de Cultura. Chubut : Provincia del Chubut;2007.

Una Frontera Lejana, la colonizacion galesa del Chubut…1865 – 1935. Fundacion Antorchas, 2003.

Other periodical sources

Y Ddraig goch : cylchgrawn misol at wasanaeth y Wladfa Gymreig. Bala : argraffedig gan H. Evans|1876-1877

Ein Breiniad. Patagonia : s.n.|1878-1883

Y Drafod : El mentor. Gaiman, Chubut : Diario El Cordillerano S.R.L.|1891-

Y Gwyliedydd : newyddiadur wythnosol annibynnol. Trelew : s.n.|1929-1938

Government reports on the Wladfa for 1867, 1871, 1872, 1876, 1897, 1900, 1902

The Poly-Olbion: an epic poem of England and Wales

IMG_0101 The Poly-Olbion is a vast poem by Michael Drayton (1563-1631) describing the topography, history and legends of England and Wales. The text is accompanied by a series of wonderfully unique maps engraved by William Hole on which towns, rivers and other topographical features are all depicted anthropomorphically.

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Cities appear as maidens crowned with cathedrals, caves come complete with hermits and forests are shown as huntresses armed with bows. A bearded shepherd holding a staff sits on every hill and each river has its very own nymph!

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Constructed as a tour of the kingdom, the poem consists of almost 15,000 lines IMG_0099of iambic hexameter verse divided into 30 songs, each describing one or more counties of England and Wales. The 1612 edition contains the first 18 songs with commentary by the renowned polymath, John Selden; our edition was reprinted in 1622 with the remaining songs added. Drayton originally intended to compose a third part covering Scotland, but this was sadly never completed.

IMG_0078

A prolific poet and playwright and a contemporary of Ben Johnson and William Shakespeare, Drayton is now best remembered for his sonnet Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part. The Poly-Olbion, this unique and ambitious work of national description, has largely been forgotten.

IMG_0080