Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Story Of Knighton - New Book

Knighton. For the very occasional visitor such as myself it's as exotic as any distant holiday destination, with it's eccentric architecture, unexpected shops and the only multi-story car park in Mid Wales.  I actually drove across the county and back about twenty years to pick up a copy of the book in the town itself.  It was pleasing to see the precipitous main street decorated with the flags of St David and Owain Glyndwr.  Clearly the great patriot has been forgiven for laying the place to waste some six hundred years ago.

My major quibble with the new purchase was answered in the first sentence of the foreword, the book "is mainly concerned with the period from the 1770s to the 1970s."  The first 40 or so of its 200 pages do concern earlier times but medieval Kighton is done and dusted in the first 15 pages.  In any case I doubt if the author is as comfortable with the traditional Welsh society of the middle ages as with later periods.  Calling Glyndwr's lieutenant Rhys ap Gethin is revealing - a bit like saying Ethelred the son of Unready.  The book could certainly have done with better proof-reading, a few errors have made it through to the final version, especially in regard to dates, for example the Knighton jockey Garnet Evans is said to have been born in 1887 and killed at Epsom in 1805.   I was also surprised that Mr Parker could not find a few lines to mention a man who should surely be, if not the town's favourite son, at least better remembered, Clem Edwards.

Yet carping aside it's a fascinating book that should be on every Radnorian bookshelf.  A fact-filled volume which left me wanting to know more, to give just one example, about the company of 60 or more Knightonians who enlisted with the Duke of York's Inverness-shire Highlanders in 1795.  A body of men, who I learn elsewhere, were "more partial to the plaid" than some of their Highland comrades.  At a mere £10 with over 50 photographs this is another welcome addition to Logaston's growing list of books of Radnorshire interest.

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