Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 26

This praise poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi is addressed to Rhys ap Gruffudd of Glascwm. The leading bardic patrons in Elfael Uwch Mynydd all seem to be descended from the Deheubarth descent group Rhys ap Tewdwr, a number of whose patriarchs are mentioned here. This poem is interesting in that it shows that the Ulster hero Cu Chulainn was known in fifteenth century Radnorshire.

No 153. Praise of Rhys ap Gruffudd

On Easter day I'd go into Glasgwm,
To Rhys of the heavy ash spear,
The dear son, there in the two lands of Elfael,
Of Gruffudd, his body was generosity.
The grandson of Cadwgan with his ash tree
Will win the whole wide world.
The Huail of Hywel ap Meilyr,
In his place he'll come to win land.
Yet through the summer, he did not speak
At all, except with care.
Quiet talk is to my taste,
Good and wise when it comes.
Quiet and wise and sweet
Is all that Rhys speaks.
A wise man has spoken fairly
Three words that pierced a rock.
The occasional word in every Assembly
Is all that Rhys speaks.
One of his words in passion,
Count for two fair words or three.
Words that became his good poem
To all who were there.

He never quarrelled with anyone,
For his part, he never seeks contention;
But should they seek contention,
Rhys would do more than his share.
Rhys Michell was the same
In the overthrow of the great earls of Deheubarth.
Rhys Gryg, the finest Rhys of Christendom
Was feared in the land of Dyfed;
In a time that is know
This Rhys will follow them.
Rhys ap Tewdwr, fom his household,
Gave gold minted from his mould;
Generous Rhys from the border of broad Elfael
Gives silver this very hour.
I would suggest that there is none like him
For generosity, no-one compares;
The equal of all, despite the cost,
And better will be the gold from his hand.
Better than an earl, by the power of Non!
Better than a duke, the line of Cadwgan.

Had I tongue of steel
To take a newly created language,
I could not sing swiftly
Half a word to him in song,
Had I, without delay,
A head of stone, even if it were marble,
It could not deliver what Rhys would pay,
Nor its half, to our domain.
The generous prefer that honest verse
Should be delivered before a man.
Truly Rhys loves the wine of Alsace,
And he shares it with those men who do,
Six different ales, upon the floor,
A great expense there'll be in Elfael;
Six times as generous as Cu Chulainn,
Even in ebb, is Rhys.
The man is good for three spirits,
Good with his ale to weak and poor.
Well he shares with the three isles,
God will share well with Rhys.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 25

Another praise poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi. Ieuan ap Philip rebuilt Cefnllys Castle in the Fifteenth Century. The bard compares Ieuan to various lawyers of the day and indeed his Welsh Law book is still preserved at the National Library in Aberystwyth. The whitewashed walls of Cefnllys must have been quite outstanding, sited on a hill and bounded on three sides by the River Ithon (see the old postcard) far below. The mention of uncovering a hearth is significant, it was a Welsh legal term by which the true proprietor regained an inheritance. The bard is saying that although Ieuan might hold this castle for the Duke of York, infact he is the proper ruler of this part of Wales.

No 170, Praise of Ieuan ap Philip and Angharad vz Ieuan of Cefnllys Castle

What better wall about a castle,
This fair wall like distant Gloucester?
A white castle within a circle of deep water,
An eight-sided castle above the curve of the Ithon,
A Greek citadel, set within twelve girdles,
The name of the place is Cefnllys.
This castle's name is found
In the great history of the Mortimers;
The largest castle where there are kindred,
It has its name and privileges in Brut.
It was indeed extinguished ,
A Tre-wen except for two small parts.

The masters of the laws of Swydd Ithon,
He has uncovered the hearth.
Ieuan, with all the strength of Christendom,
Son of Philip, dressed in velvet.
From the descent of Ifor, his grandfather,
Flow two lines from the Tordduaid.
I have called him, in the highest place,
A second justice from Elystan.
He talks, like John Milewater,
In Maesyfaidd about civil law.
The wisdom of old Dafydd Hanmer
In his speech or peroration,
He is our Burley, an Aberhale,
A lawyer like Merbury.
A Fitzwarine of Maelienydd,
A wise Fitzhenry of the trial day.

He has made on the lip of the Ithon,
A building like Sandal, an Anglesey.
Beli, lord of the blue sea,
Ordered the building of a city,
And Lludd repaired it, henceforth
Caer Ludd and the quarrel for it.
Ieuan, in the same manner,
Has made a wall of worked stone,
A palace made from lead work;
From the flesh of the ash he has made a city,
And his sons and grandchildren
From the eighteen streets of a city.

The cosy royal palace is unhealthy,
Good health is in the heights.
In the month of May, the mountain lark
Turns towards the heavens,
At the start of the summer the eagle
Is eager for the highest place.
Ieuan, who is under the seal,
Is a healthy hart on a high bank.

The words Non and Eigr are joined
In my mind with Angahard and her mead.
The golden moon of Ieuan
Son of Hywel, a pure lamp,
She descends from Elystan.
Could any of her sex be more generous?
It flows the bloodline of Madog Fychan,
along the pathway of descent to Beli and Bran.
Angharad, moon of the feast,
The very pinnacle of grace and nobility.

Ieuan shares the same foundation
As Tewdwr from his eight buildings.
Ieuan, he gave wealth and burnished gold,
Ieuan dispenses wine from gold,
And the Duke of York, in need of a man,
Has made him a receiver.
There never was a more able constable,
There never will be, as long as there is Christian faith.
There's never been, with his minted gold,
A better governor of a castle.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Merry Christmas, Look You

At least one regular reader of the blog is going to enjoy this clip.

Just click on "View this story" to see the video after you've opened the link, isn't it.

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 24

This is another praise poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi composed for Rhys ap Sion and Elis Hol of Gladestry, perhaps on the occasion of the christening of their son. Llwythyfngwg was the name of the district in what became East Radnorshire in which the parish of Gladestry (in Welsh Llanfair Llwythyfnwg) is situated. I wonder if she was the Alice Holl of Old Radnor who contracted a secret marriage with Yevor ap Holl at Bryngwyn church in 1475?

Poem 162, Praise of Rhys ap Sion and Elis Hol

A good place for feasting, with no mean frown
On a winter's night in Llwythyfnwg.
I go, in the name of God and Mary,
To beg a fair judgement upon Gladestry.
In Gladestry, by Llawenfel,
There's money for me and pleasant honey,
The Ludlow ale has made me well,
The Weobley ale has made me completely fit.
Wine I've had with no surly refusal,
From eight havens in Llwythyfnwg,
And folk of true nobility
Treat me in the mead houses.
Rhys, son of Sion, where I would take myself,
Elis Hol at his side.

Sion, son of Einion, son of Hywel,
In terms of pounds he was the richest;
After Sion and his gifts, Rhys
Fills the Isle of Honey.
Elis Hol, before the voice of the generous,
I called her Elis Hael.
I know increase, like the honey of the swarm,
A word to a Mary of the Iforites.
Often many gifts were given to me,
Elis and Rhys gave them,
Many dinners at nines,
And many suppers at sevens,
Many a cape, the best of a hundred,
Many shirts, the colour of crucian,
Many gifts in the shape of gold,
Many wines, is the gold less?
I wrote, in Anglesey, a roll of
The names of the generous:
Within the roll is the name of Rhys,
Followed by the name of Elis.

A noble lamb to the men
Is Rhys, but against tyrants.
It is not easy to obtain
Any sullen payment from Rhys ap John.
In Maesyfaidd he is rooted,
And these roots, Rhys, give gifts,
Each root in its turn.
Rhys is the ash and the cherry tree,
An oak tree from the elders,
And its branches cover the countryside,
Every branch like the body of Pasgen
Wearing steel upon a white shoulder.

He came to the moon of Adam,
He came for the faerie wine.
The gracious blessing came to Rhys
As it stands for Elis Hol.
From whatever country, be they French or Irish,
From whatever land they come,
Elis says, "Rhys, give him this".
Rhys says, "Elis, don't stint".
The wisdom that Elis creates
Will come to her son many a month.
The word of Rhys is wise and witty,
The blessings of Rhys upon Morys his son.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Automobile Historique

A useful twelve page article on Innes in the July/August 2004 edition of the now sadly defunct French magazine Automobile Historique with pictures by an old friend of the Scotsman, Bernard Cahier. No doubt you can pick up a copy on Ebay.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Nelly Ridge-Jones

The Fourth of July 1908 saw women grace the new Brooklands track for the first time as Miss Muriel Thompson won the Ladies Bracelet Handicap from Mrs Locke King. Trailing at the back of the field on her brother Arthur's 17.5 horse power Sunbeam came Miss Nelly Ridge-Jones, daughter of London Welsh surgeon Thomas Ridge-Jones. Now Nelly may not be the most talented Welsh woman to take part in a motor-race but she must surely have been the first!

Book of the Month

Back in the late fifties eighteen year old Kevin Brownlow and sixteen year old Andrew Mollo started work on an ambitious film to portray a Britain that had been defeated by Hitler and was now ruled by the Blackshirts. Eight years and £7000 later they finished their film. This book tells the story of how It Happened Here was made and the controversy that surrounded its launch.

Part of the film was made in New Radnor and dozens of local people acted as extras, the leading role of Pauline Murray was also taken by a local woman, Mrs Jobson - the village doctor's wife.

This is a refreshing book and a fine companion to the DVD of the film. The film itself is one of the great war films, the fact that it was made by two young men for a pittance - the trailer for the American release cost more than the film itself! - a miracle.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 23

This wedding ode by Lewis Glyn Cothi was addresed to Hywel ab Ystyfn of New Radnor and Sioned Havard.

No 159 Wedding Ode to Hywel ab Ystyfn and Sioned Havard

Who are the roots of Maesyfaidd, who are generous?
The race of Elystan Glodrydd!
Hywel son of (He will be placed in the roll}
Ystyfn, from the ribcage of Dafydd.

A Dafydd, like the son of Llyr, chief of chieftains,
A second Llywelyn Crug Eryr,
A Philip Dorddu, cultured and dark,
His ancestors were these ancients.

Men who gave deliverence
And protection.
Hywel is the fifth
Of his race, just as generous,
His ardour as splendid,
His steel as brave,
His contenance as fair;
Better than any sheet,
Place around him
The cloak of Urien Rheged,
A blessed coat of mail,
Beli's steel helmet.
He is able in his doublet,
Assured in his jacket,
If his sallet is a sun,
His Corset is rock crystal.
Let his warhorse drive,
Let it slam into the battlefield,
Keeper of township and it's faith,
He makes peace.
I am Hywel's hound,
Bleating loudly,
I call, I sniff out
His trail of generosity.

Let him marry,
Two oaths and a shared honour,
Praise for their wedding
Is given to them,
Sioned's wisdom
Is the fruit of St Bride,
The picture of Luned,
Slim-browed in velvet,
Golden child of the Havards,
A planet in the heavens,
From birth she gave
Orange and claret.
Confident Hywel,
Who gives so generously;
On feast days they're seen,
I go in spite of drink,
The feasts of Mary and Margaret
Two choice Sundays.

A stag runs to the cliff,
A roebuck seeking sanctuary;
To the snug court's floor,
I, myself, come,
like the sea to an embankment,
Or water to Dyfed,
I come so peacefully
To a liberal fortress.
A lifetime wish them
With glory,
Let them multiply,
A ripe bulb.
Good for us like Dwned,
Drawing on doucet wine,
God for their goodness,
Make them the oldest in Christendom.

Hywel, let Faith embroider this marriage
To Sioned the daughter of Tomas;
Two roots within the same refuge,
And in the root, the gift of a shoot.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dorothea Duff

I’ve posted before that Dorothea Duff is listed on the Mosleyite’s website as being a “racing driver” interned during the war along with other British Union fascists. A little research has brought a few more facts to light, although no details of her motoring career.

Dorothea Reynolds-Peyton was born in London in 1898 to a wealthy family of independent means. In 1920 she married Major Douglas Duff, a partnership that does not seem to have lasted very long. Mrs Duff then seems to have embarked on a life of adventure. She travelled in Tibet without obtaining the necessary permissions, learnt to fly and, perhaps most daringly of all, found employment as an able seaman. This made her something of a minor celebrity especially when she embarked on voyages to and from Australia on the four masted Finnish barque, Ponape.

Like Fay Taylour, Mrs Duff did not join the BUF until after the war had started. She then attracted the attention of the authorities with her efforts to bring together leading pro-German jew haters such as Mosley, Maule Ramsay and Domville in the anti-war movement. So nothing on Mrs Duff’s racing activities or her life after the war, she certainly seems the type of upper-class adventuress who would be attracted to the thrills and spills of the track.