Thursday, December 17, 2015

Matters Arising

I read this in the introduction to the Penybont book mentioned in the last post:

"King Harold Godwin's territorial interests near our area ensured that the Norman power which replaced him was soon active nearby.  There followed a period of nearly 500 years during which the largely unrestrained authority of the Marcher Lords, and our area especially the Mortimer family, was matched by successive waves of resurgence led by Welsh leaders from other parts of Wales.."

Now this suggests that the 1500 or so households that made up the cantref of Maelienydd had no agency of their own in resisting the Norman incursions.  Of course this isn't true as a browse through Brut y Tywysogion would soon make clear.  Some examples: in 1136 Madog ab Idnerth and his sons were among the leaders in the battle of Crug Mawr in Ceredigion; in 1165 the sons of Madog ab Idnerth and their host were present at the victory over King Henry at the battle of Crogen; in 1262 the men of Maelienydd seized the castle of Cefnllys - they did so again in 1295 - and, of course, the men of Maelienydd were central to the victory at Bryn Glas in 1402.

The sad truth is that Rhwng Gwy a Hafren is largely ignored or misrepresented by Welsh historians, indeed I'd say that you have to turn to an Englishman -  and a UKIP parliamentary candidate to boot - for anything more than a very superficial view of the history of this strategically important part of Wales.


I've only seen a few minutes of this programme but I was interested to read the claim that 18% of Welsh men were descended from just ten men, probably chieftains, born more than a thousand years ago.  Of course that has quite fairly been met with a degree of scepticism although I wouldn't be surprised if it were true.  Some of the scepticism took the form of denying the accuracy of the older Welsh genealogies.  The 15C genealogies were in reality Welsh legal records and it smacks of a colonial mentality to dismiss them while accepting English records without question.  Later on the genealogies did indeed become more corrupted, one of my favourite Welsh couplets is this from Sion Tudur (d1602):

Ar frys arfau a roesom,
Arfau ei dad fu raw dom

How speedily we bestow coats of arms, his father's coat of arms was a shovel of shit.

No Mug For Me 

The Penybont book also covers Llandegley and to a lesser extent Crossgates.  According to the powers that be the Welsh language versions of these two names are Llandeglau and Y Groes.  Since Llandegle was good enough for Lewis Glyn Cothi shouldn't we resist the imposition of that North Wales AU ending.  As for Y Groes, that's a very recent invention and perhaps we'd be better going back to calling the village Llanbadarn Fawr.  It seems that Crossgates was itself an invention of the 19C Post Office, fed-up with confusion with the Aberystwyth suburb of the same name.

The first four or five terms of my education were actually spent in Llanbadarn Fawr school, not the modern building in the village, but the old school nearer Penybont.  How did I get there from the Gravel Road?  I've no memory of walking along the A44 and we certainly didn't have a car.  Perhaps approaching senility will unlock such lost childhood memories.  I'm not sure if I've actually recovered from the trauma of not receiving a Coronation mug from the good folk of Crossgates in 1953.  Gravel Road is in Nantmel parish the organisers of the celebration explained, meanwhile the Nantmel committee insisted it was located in Llanbadarn Fawr.  Years later, poring over an old map, I discovered that my old home was actually in an outlier of distant Llanddewi Ystradenni.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Radnorshire in Print

Spotted a couple of Radnorshire related books on sale this Christmastide

and this colourful and well-illustrated publication.

Star Spangled Mayhem

I thought this must be a parody but after googling a few of the crimes listed discovered it was real:

It's a mistake to think this is just about the guns though, it's about a society with more problems than just firearm availibility.