Friday, May 27, 2011

Comment is Free ..ish

It's always interesting when readers comment on posts that have disappeared off the front page months or even years before. Since they are moderated, unlike more immediate posts, I get to read them, but who else? I think this recent anonymous comment is the longest one the blog has ever received and it makes some good points. So rather than let it languish in the depths I'm reposting it here:

"I think what the Elystan Glodrydd event at Llanbister last year showed was that there is not enough knowledge of the area's history, and many people outside Wales had not realised how intimately connected they were to Radnorshire, not that this area had been a rich centre of welsh culture or that there had been any local welsh rulers and princes, but assumed it was just pure marcher territory.

This is one of the many reasons why Dai Hawkins' translation of Ffrancis Payne's work is of such importance - he has unlocked a treasure-trove of knowledge and rich welsh culture that was only otherwise available to those who could read Payne's work in Welsh.

The princes and kingdoms of Gwynedd, Powys and Deheubarth are all often quoted by historians, culture experts and tourism promoters, but Rhwng Gwy a Hafren, Mealienydd and Elfael are names almost completely unknown to the vast majority of people in Britain. Go into any major bookshop in Britain and look at the history section allotted to Wales - less than a dozen books are squeezed in, almost as an after-sight. Ireland and Scotland have overflowing shelves. This in part must speak to a lack of connectivity to Welsh roots. If you are a McTavish (etc), you know not only what clan you belong to but exactly where in the world your people came from - not just 'Scotland' but the precise locale. So, consciousness of Scottishness and kinship is easy to gain, and there is interest all over the world. Some may say "oh but its all such bunkum" etc. Some of it may be, but the numbers of people who came from across the planet to share in the celebration of the year of homecoming in Scotland is testament to the power of a sense of a belonging and identity, and the historical threads that bring people together. Each year in Scotland, clan gatherings occur, bringing people from the world to the place, powerfully harnessing history and family together in celebration, to enjoy the ties of kinship.

The day at Llanbister last October had a special quality about it, which only those who were there could fully appreciate. It was not designed to be mournful like the event at Cilmeri, nor nationalistic, but rather a simple celebration of a forgotten history and the bringing together of long-separated branches of a family to mark a thousand year anniversary. It was a chance for people to come from all over Britain, and places as far away as California to visit and learn about a place from where they sprung and have a great time doing so.

Most importantly it was a fun and thoroughly enjoyable warm-hearted, family gathering that connected people to a very old song that hadn't been sung for hundreds of years. When was the last time that the elegy to Cadwallon ap Madog, prince of Maelienydd, written by Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr had been read out in Welsh to such a gathering in Radnorshire? When else have any of the ‘5 Royal Tribes of Wales’ gathered happily together, without coming to blows! It was a quite historical gathering of related families, with a shared history.

We all had an enjoyable time and the day was full of smiles, pleasure, and joy at discovering how good it was to have a shared Welsh origin and a strong connection with a history that has been almost completely forgotten. It was positive, embracing and welcoming, leaving cheerful and pleasurable memories for people to hold forever. It enabled the misty history of the past to catch up with the present in a happy way.

In so doing, it played a part in bringing Radnorshire to the fore and the story of the place’s history to people from afar who had no idea how beautiful the place is, nor how fascinating its history and hospitable its local community.

I’m sure Rebecca didn’t mind that for just one day, the name of Elystan rang out joyfully in the hills around Llanbister, echoing along with the names of people like Cadwallon ap Madog, Einion Clud and Phylip Dorddu, and a wonderfully enjoyable and special day was shared by many."


Anonymous said...

Good points that deserve the re-post.

Llwyth Elystan said...

Many thanks for re-posting my comment, and for your very kind supportive comments - all very much appreciated.

Hopefully any readers will have spotted and forgiven two spelling errors in my original post:

"...not that this area had been a rich centre of welsh culture" should have read: "nor that this area"...etc, and of course Payne's first name was Ffransis (not Ffrancis).