Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nothing in the Papers

I bought this book - it's a general history of Britain up to the present day - a few years ago and I'd happily pass it on to Oxfam except for the fact I wouldn't want the unsuspecting to read nonsense like this:

"If she could speak, would her words be in Old English - a Germanic language - rather than the Gaelic and Latin used by the townspeople of Roman Dorchester."

It isn't an isolated example of the author - he was Chief Archaeologist with English Heritage - using Gaelic when he means Brythonic, the ancestral language of Welsh not Irish.

According to the Sunday Times this "massively informative" volume will help cure "our current identity crisis." If the English do have an identity crisis it might help if widely held prejudices be put aside and the Welsh/British contribution to their history be given a little more consideration.

All in all a book that suggests that archaeologists should stick to bonekicking.

Moving on .......... There are those who believe that the 15C bard Llawdden comes from Loughor while others maintain he was from Machynlleth. I think I'm correct in saying that the earliest manuscript reference to his origins says he was Maelienydd, which later went to contribute much of modern day Radnorshire. Certainly there is agreement that his poems show that he lived here, possibly in Cefnllys. It seems that Llawdden was a very rare Welsh forename, and here's an example from 16C Radnorshire. It's from the 1546 Lay Subsidy for that part of Llanddewi Ystradenni parish in Knighton hundred: Llowthen ap David. It's Lloyden in the 1543 version and in the Radnorshire Society's index to the Lay Subsidy, so I guess it could get overlooked. Who knows, maybe a grandson of the bard.


Anonymous said...

Truth will overcome, whatever that may be! We have the patience of saints to be fair, on this side of the border

Alan o'r Bont said...

Have you also noticed that the term 'Celts' has increasingly been dislaced over recent years by the very ambiguous 'Ancient Britons'. Recently, I was appalled after an archaeologist on Time Team (one of the main culprits)describe the universally known Celtic torc as an Iron Age Torc! Also, what annoys me is hearing anglophiles like David Dimbleby banging on about Anglo Saxon as the old language of England. Yet, you will never hear them talk about the origins of place names such as Dover, Crewe The Malvern's o'r Kings Lyn. I wonder why? The argument regarding which part of Wales Llawdden hails from reminds me of the disagreement over the final resting place of the great European poet, Dafydd ap Gwilym. Generally is is believed that he is buried under the yew tree at Ystrad Fflur while other are of the opinion that he is buried at Talyllychau.

old radnor said...

Sorry I missed your comment Alan. Yes Dimbleby is typical - in his Seven Ages of Britain programme he even had Britain as a pagan land until some Irish monks turned up in Scotland. Heaven knows who he thought converted the Irish.

When it comes to the likes of Time Team and Dimbleby I'm afraid I agree with Ieuan Glan Geirionydd:

The false historians of a polished age
Show that the Saxon has not lost his rage,
Though tamed by arts his rancour still remains:
Beware of Saxons still, ye Cambrian swains.