Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book Review

This is a selection taken from the papers of "the doyen of peasant historians" Evan Jones (1850-1928) of Ty'n y Pant, Llanwrtyd. As the editor points out in his foreword, some aspects of the author's interests have had to be largely omitted from this edition - archaeology and music for example. What remains are 300 pages covering the folk culture of the Builth Hundred, its farming, local history, social life, sports, religion, customs, poetry, superstitions and traditional proverbs.

It is a book that will be well received by anyone with an interest in Mid Wales, agricultural history or folklore in general. By its nature it is the type of book that can be dipped into at leisure, divided as it is into numerous short paragraphs on a myriad of topics which had caught the attention of Evan Jones during a lifetime of collecting.

Checking out the occasional item of Radnorshire interest, I was quite excited to see examples of the work of, what the author described as a Radnorshire born country rhymer in the Welsh language, Shams Clee. Unlike Evan Jones, we now have access to the 19C Census Returns which show that Clee was infact born in Llanfihangel Bryn Pabuan.

How I came to acquire this book provides a sad comment on the history of Builth Hundred. I had meant to buy a copy before Christmas, but had never got around to placing an order. Visiting some relatives I was told that one of them had just purchased the book after reading a review in the local paper and, since Evan Jones' sons Emrys and Afan had been regular visitors to her parents during her youth, she had hurried out to place an order. Unfortunately the book was of little use as she had failed to notice that it was written in Welsh. I purchased the book (at a small discount!) and reflected on the sad truth that many of the families whose ancestors and farms are mentioned within its pages would be in a similar position - unable to read about their own history.

The book is published in an attractive hardback edition by Gwasg Gomer at £16.99.


Anonymous said...

oh dear ,went to the gwasg site and had to bung the 'Further information' into google. Tyn-indentation anyone ?

Anonymous said...

Say something in welsh is a great website to learn, my welsh has improve remarkably :)