Sunday, April 30, 2006

Radnorshire News

Three lady members of the Llandrindod Golf Club were killed when the omnibus bringing them back from a match in Aberystwyth was in collision with a lorry between Rhayader and Llangurig. - June 25th 1936

The German contingent at the International Six Days Trial prize-giving ceremony at Llandrindod walked out when the German National Anthem was not played after the German Maico team collected their awards. The Czech and Dutch anthems had been played for their winners. - 25th September 1954

Judge Eifion Evans was banned for a year after being found guilty of driving while under the influence on the road between Llandrindod and Builth. - 14th November 1961

Schools in the neighbourhood were closed after a tiger, which escaped from a travelling menagerie about ten days previously, was spotted prowling the countryside between Builth and Llandrindod. The beast attacked a flock of sheep in the locality and also killed a number of sheepdogs. - 17th November 1900

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 13

No 142 To Seek the Support of St David for Elfael

The archbishop over every tribe,
Your three tongues are swift;
Holy Dewi, of unignoble birth,
You are a wizard…….
Son of Sant, no wrathful child,
And grandson of Ceredig.
You were descended from Cunedda Wledig,
Wise, wealthy and good.
Your miracles for your people began
Even before you were born:
When Gildas came, he was able
To preach in every language,
Although he did not speak or write a word,
With holy Non there in his presence.
From the corn you drove the birds
To a house of the night greatly tamed,
And the warm spring of the black brook
You crossed through the true Jesus.
You ate, you did not take offence,
Dry white bread and poison;
Despite the wickedness of the poison,
Holy Dewi, you were not ill.
For their treachery you struck dead
Boea and his wife for their pains.
After this you movedUp to Llandewi Brefi;
Under your feet the One God caused
A fair hill to grow for eternity;
So that they could hear your ready sermon
In a true place, in Enlli
You came, my generous royal prop,
To Colfa and to Elfael.
You built with lead, two palaces,
Angel of a bishop, in Glasgwm,
A bishop’s palace for Wales and for her men,
For God and for those who pray.
To our lives you brought
Wine and nine kinds of expense.

Your tenants worship you,
Dewi and Christ, come you are needed.
It is proper that there should be no revenge
Like that in Elfael of the mead.
To your parishes, far Dewi,
To six more domains,
A great evil and pestilence has come,
God and his candle, between kinsfolk!
Dewi, eagle of the east,
Put them at Peace.
From the love of the ten lands that follow you,
Make Glasgwm hold a school,
Empower Elfael with good for two ages,
Mark Cregrina with your cross,
Enchant all of the fair, broad country,
And rule the land of Rhiwlen.
Cold to have, from most, only complaint,
A kindred full of poison.
Don’t allow it, Dewi, from your goodness,
This poison between those of one blood,
Nor any blood feud, nor enslaving temper,
Nor rekindled enmity.

The land of Elfael is generous,
It is your land, Dewi.Oh Dewi, guide the land
Until there be no more sickness or anger.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Grand Prix Wives, 3

A few more Grand Prix wives from Motor Racing's dangerous years. A German girl Ricarda Hirtes was Mrs Peter Arundell, Jack Brabham's wife was Betty Beresford, Audrey Parkin was married to Trevor Taylor, while Mabel Dowson was Mrs Cliff Allison. One to finish, Margaret Harriss, the wife of Stuart Lewis Evans. More to come I'm sure.

Monday, April 17, 2006


Innes's son Jamie made his race debut at Lydden in 1990 - see the press cutting above. Now I don't have any magazines covering the 1990s and I don't particularly want to buy any (having spent far too much on other periods), so can anyone tell me if he raced again? If someone could supply further details of his racing career that would be very useful.

Jacqueline Evans de Lopez

It has been suggested that the Carrera Panamericana driver Jacqueline Evans de Lopez was Welsh. If this were true, then she would have to rank as one of the most colourful Welsh motorsport characters - even more colourful than her 1954 Porsche 356 (pictured model). Jacqueline Evans was an actress, often playing gringas in Spanish language Mexican films and soaps, a career spiced with the occasional Hollywood outing; she had a small role in the Costa-Gavras movie "Missing" for example. Jacqueline Evans is also remembered for her help in establishing and funding the archive of Mexican and foreign magazines and newspapers, "La Torre del Papel" in Mexico City. Jacqueline died in Acapulco in 1989.

Now some of the information on the internet movie databases is wrong. She was born in 1915 not 1914 and her real name was Grace Alice Evans not Grace Alice Evans Antibus - her mother's surname was infact Antrobus. Was Ms Evans de Lopez Welsh? Well Jacqueline was born in Islington, London and her mother Maud was a Tottenham grocer's daughter. However, her father's name was Stephen W. Evans and the only person of this name in London at the time of the 1901 Census was a Welsh born dairyman. So more research needs to be done before a Welsh connection can be ruled out. Can anyone help? Has anyone seen a copy of her Canadian published biography "Coming Out Trumps" by Luz Evans - her daughter perhaps?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 12

This poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi is addressed to Dafydd ap Rhys of Harpton and is notable for a mention of the Book of Taliesin which had made it's way to this part of Radnorshire. Interestingly just a couple of miles away from Harpton was Hergest where that other important medieval manuscript, the Red Book was to be found. In a reversal of roles it is the patron Dafydd who explains the meaning of the verses of Gwion (Taliesin) to his bard. Perchentyaeth - propriety - is the obligation placed upon the ruler to those he rules.

No. 157 Praise to Dafydd ap Rhys of Harpton

A St Michael of Harpton
Mary keep him, a fair Welshman;
Dafydd ap Rhys ap Meurig,
A saint for sowing silver.
Who do I love but Dafydd?
Who loves us? The good body of Old Radnor.

I am a poet who’ll always
Bring him nightly prayers.
Tomorrow night I’ll make a song
For the strong bough of Ifor and Bran.
He has made the perchentyaeth of our land
A living form, it is not broken.
His white house, be it Friday
Or Thursday, is the best under the stars;
On a Saturday it is better
Than a Sunday in countless wine houses.
In this man’s house I’ve had,
Although it was deep into winter:
Fish, birds cooked in bread,
Pasties, fine vintage wines,
Eight tables full of sustenance,
A supper of shop vegetables,
A serving of every herb,
Frequent courses, and white sugar,
Mead to intoxicate my breast with song,
Such rare delicacies and nourishment.

My office, throughout the year,
With the lion, should he leave the wine:
To read together through every book,
Discussing sense, arguing meaning;
If there might be a verse that one fails to understand
Then the other will surely explain it.
Dafydd took the verses of Gwion,
And helped me to understand them correctly.

He is chieftain to the Traethen,
For me let him be a leader..
From here to Anglesey he is a lamb,
A furious dragon with the crown.
Edward trusts this man
Who has a fist upon his dart.
Oh protect the land, there was no peace,
And the barriers and the river estuaries.
King Edward’s ash spearmen
Break the doorway towards the threat,
And a Derfel from Harpton
Goes before them like Owain Wyn.
When the Irishmen come
And the aliens, unruly ones,
Dafydd’s office, two days work,
Is to defeat them and drive them away.

Every hour I’m Dafydd’s bard,
If I am, then my world is blessed for the day;
A gift from the floor of Harpton
Is in my purse for this;
Of the gifts that I may expect in two lives,
Dafydd gives them and has given them;
And as he gave, like one from Greece,
Let Mary give unto Meurig’s grandson.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Motor Sport Wills

While we are on the subject of wills ( see the post on Tony David below ) here are some details of amounts left by various Motor Sport personalities: David Purley left £670427; Graham Hill £41726; Alfred Moss - Stirling's father - left £218963 in 1972; while Ron Flockhart left a modest £7669 ten years earlier. Those two Mon Ami Mates.......well Hawthorn left £57457 and Peter Collins just £4972.

Some Welsh wills: pre-war racer Roy Eccles left £68275; while Parry Thomas left £6251. Perhaps the most interesting motor sport related will was that left by the mother of Humphrey Cook of ERA fame, it consisted of four bound leather books, a total of 2216 pages, the longest will on record at the time. Cook was of course the stepfather of David Blakely, the race driver gunned down by Ruth Ellis.

Tony David

Not much seems to be known about Tony David, other than the fact that he was a Welsh driver killed when his Lotus 22 crashed into a telegraph pole during the Leinster Trophy race held at the Dunboyne circuit on 17th July 1965.

Here are a couple more facts, his full name was Anthony Nicholas David, born in Cardiganshire in 1937. At the time of his death he was living in Mumbles and was sufficiently well-off to leave what was a tidy sum in the mid-sixties, £21394.

Does anyone have any more information about this Welsh driver?

Some more information to hand about Tony David, including this photograph of him competing at Dunboyne, just before his fatal crash on lap 17 of the Formula Libre race. The car is the 1.6 litre ex-Jack Pearse Lotus 22, the winning car in the previous year's Leinster Trophy race. It seems that Tony David was taken to hospital after the incident where he later died.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sir Clive Edwards

A tenuous link exists between that “cathedral of Welsh nonconformity”, Tabernacle in Morriston, and the world of motor racing. Built in 1872 at a cost of £15000 by local tinplate manufacturer Daniel Edwards, it was this same fortune that enabled his great-grandson Sir John Clive Leighton Edwards to pursue a motor racing career which, although undistinguished, earned him WB’s plaudit as being “the best type of amateur competitor“.

Clive Edwards was born at Hendrefoilan, Sketty on 11th October 1916 and by his sixth birthday had already inherited both a title and great wealth. Before the war he competed in an R-type MG and afterwards in two HRGs, the best remembered of which was a 1767cc Lea-Francis engined 1100-type single seater with twin rear-wheels. He also competed in the London-Brighton run in his 1900 New Orleans.

Edwards moved to the Isle of Man where he lived with his great friend Bob Thomas, his Milntown estate being situated next to the TT circuit on the outskirts of Ramsey. Sir Clive died on 19th February 1999, the house and grounds being left in trust for the benefit of the Manx public.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 11

This poem, a request for a mantle addressed to Elis Hol of Gladestry, is full of interest. The mantle is for Lewis Glyn Cothi's wife Gwenllian, a pair for the Arras cloth he had already received from Angharad vz Ieuan of Cefnllys Castle. The poem mixes classical mythology ( the Golden Fleece) with Celtic tradition (Tegau Eurfron). By the way Elis's name Hol (derived from Hywel) developed into the fixed surname Hole or Holl. Some lines are missing from the surviving manuscript and are marked ......... here.

No. 163 Request for a Mantle to Elis Hol

The best woman of twenty
With a proud dress on a slim waist.
Elis Hol, the saints call
That old age should come to her brow;
Daughter of John, of high nobility,
The best girl for beer and mead,
The maid is a grandchild of Hywel,
From his power she wears gold and precious stones;
The bright dawn of fair Maelienydd,
The colour of a nun’s gown,
Of the race of wealthy Madog,
A sun of generous Adam.
From these generous folk…………
Elis Hol…………..
And the praise of every confident tongue
Should go unto Elis.

Elis gives drink from her hand,
And then gifts with both hands.
In Maelor, Elis has a great name,
Yes, for her giving of mead.
May Derfel keep Elis
To pay out gold fleur d’lis.
Elis Hol has a summer jewel
That was woven in the winter;
A round mantle like a sail,
Furry from a fond cheek.
Bringing it to her with a dress,
To the beloved, why did I not request it?
The chasuble comes from a city,
The fairest between heaven and Knill.
About Gwenllian it will be the colour
Of God’s gown, or a deer’s coat;
A pair for the Arras cloth,
A hurdle of sunshine’s harsh fire.
A spear of gold like a cloak,
A shaggy web of fire;
Coloured with coral and water,
A forest of candles in a hidden veil,
An all encompassing shield,
A gules curtain in a bright glade.
Compare, with praise and approbation,
Her frieze, to the winding sheet of a saint,
To the bonfires of St John’s Eve,
To golden flames and pretty feathers.
Blessed was the fair weaver
Who gathered wool in Dublin,
Weaving tightly and trimly,
Setting it out like a priest’s vestment.

In Colcos they found
A lamb with a fleece of gold;
This is just as wondrous,
Its wool, its colour, its design.
A mantle of Tegau in the hall,
In all of Egypt there is none so fine;
They’re second, by Mary, to Elis,
With a coarser weave for the same price.
The mantle of Dewi in Caerleon
Was loved by the men of the Round Table;
I construct praise to the mantle
Of Elis Hol, which is better.
And to fetch it send a servant,
Order him to the city,
In haste to wear the woven frieze,
And pay its debt to Elis.

Shane Summers

Enter a World Championship Grand Prix and you enter the realm of the "encyclopedias" and record books, you also get to feature on the large number of websites which copy their data from such sources. If your career was cut short before you actually made a Championship race then you're very much a non-person as far as the average motor sport historian is concerned, even if you did make it to Formula One in the Non-Championship races of the Golden Era.

One such non-person is Shane Lister Summers, born at Darland Hall, Rossett, Denbighshire on June 23rd 1936. Summers was a member of a family whose wealth was derived from the John Summers Steelworks at Shotton, his father was the Conservative MP Sir Spencer Summers.

Shane's career had hardly started when he was entering the 1961 Non-Championship races in a Cooper T53. An 8th place at Snetterton in the season opener, Continental outings at the Brussels Grand Prix and the Preis von Wien (where he started second on a small grid behind Moss), and a best finish in the early season British races of 4th at the Crystal Palace.

On June 1st 1961 Summers went out to practice in the rain for the Silver City Trophy race at Brands Hatch. He left the track at Paddock Bend, crashing through fencing and demolishing a wall before the Cooper was finally destroyed against a concrete buttress. A Welsh born driver who, like the talented Gary Hocking, did not live long enough to bother the compilers of books that claim to tell the story of Formula One,