Friday 30 June 2017

The Mabinogi

The stories were compiled in Middle Welsh in the 12th–13th centuries from earlier oral traditions. 

The two main source manuscripts were created c. 1350–1410, as well as a few earlier fragments. 

These stories offer drama, philosophy, romance, tragedy, fantasy and humour, and were created by various narrators over time.

Thursday 29 June 2017

Culhwch ac Olwen - In Welsh, Russian and English Sub Titles

Culhwch and Olwen (Welsh: Culhwch ac Olwen) is a Welsh tale that survives in only two manuscripts about a hero connected with Arthur and his warriors: a complete version in the Red Book of Hergest, ca. 1400, and a fragmented version in the White Book of Rhydderch, ca. 1325. 

It is the longest of the surviving Welsh prose tales. 

Certain linguistic evidence indicates it took its present form by the 11th century, making it perhaps the earliest Arthurian tale and one of Wales' earliest extant prose texts. 

The title is a later invention and does not occur in early manuscripts.

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Independence in Your Pocket from Yes Cymru

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr welcomes discussion of the question of Welsh Independence and therefore welcomes this publication by Yes Cymru of Independence in your Pocket even if we do not agree with its views on European Union and question of  the British Monarchy.

We have a very different strategy for Welsh Independence from Yes Cymru as outlined in our First Welsh Socialist Republican Congress Resolutions in October 2016

Resolution adopted at First Congress of Welsh Socialist Republican Congress

The  Welsh Socialist Republican Congress stands for Welsh Independence and Socialism

Welsh Independence

The Welsh Socialist Republican Congress stands for Welsh Independence, we do not agree that Wales is a mere principality of England but a sovereign Nation.

We stand for Welsh Independence as it is the only way to restructure the relationship between two unequal nations the Welsh and English Nations from one of domination by England to one of equality and mutual respect.

The road of the Home Rulers of Constitutional changes and a Welsh Assembly is nothing more than a new management arrangement for the continued domination of Wales by the British State.

We look to the separation of Norway from Sweden as a model of how new relationship between a once dominant nation and subordinate nation was turned into one of mutual equality and respect following Norwegian Independence.

Independence is a prerequisite of a new long term amicable relationship as the Norwegian case has proved.

Continued domination of Wales by the British State no only damages Wales but ultimately the harmony between English and Welsh working people.

Welsh Socialism

Socialism is an idea that was born in Wales and Ireland at the beginning of the 19th Century.

The first socialist was an Irishman called William Thompson from County Cork - he was also called a communionist in the vernacular of the time because he did not believe in a competitive market road to socialism.

Robert Owen also called a socialist took the view that the stock market would aid the road to socialism and ultimately his views came to dominate the Labour Party and are associated with Labour Party reformist politics.

While Owenism led to the Labour Party the ideas of William Thompson  influenced Marxism and the Irish Socialist Republican Party of James Connolly.

Thompson's and Connolly's ideas further inspired John Maclean in Scotland

The Welsh Socialst Republican Congress is very much in the revolutionary tradition of William Thompson and James Connolly and John Maclean who see independence and socialism as part of the same process of social liberation.

Bringing the stream of  thought of Independence with that  of Socialism is the task of the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress in the 21st century

Today 700,000 people in Wales out of a population of three million live in or below poverty line , this is after a 100 years of the Owenite Reformist Labour Party.

In 21st Century Wales we need a new revolutionary political strategy and direction based on the ideas of William Thompson, James Connolly and John Maclean - that is revolutionary socialism combined with national liberation from the British State.

The Welsh Socialist Republican Congress in the business of ideas, not events or personalities because it is ideas that will shape the future of Wales and bring about about an economic and cultural renaissance.

Join the new revolutionary stream in Welsh Politics that will turn into a mighty river of National and Social Liberation  into the Welsh Socialist Republic in the 21st Century.

Join The Welsh Socialist Republican Movement Now !

Resolution adopted at the First Welsh Socialist Republican Congress

The Policies of the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress

The  policies  of the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress  are an integral part of our strategic aim of an Independent Welsh Socialist Republic  which we see as social process over many years rather than just one single event.

National Community Bank for Wales

We consider any talk of Welsh Independence that does not address the question of a community public banking system for Wales as irresponsible - a Welsh Public Banking system is at the core of our demands to build an Independent Socialist Wales.

Every 24 hours money from Wales flows into the big Five British Banks to be be on deposit in City of London overnight - we want that money to stay in Welsh Banking System to aid Welsh national local and community development.

We will support legal changes to  create  a National Community Bank of Wales through a Welsh Banking Act.

Land Act for Wales

We want all Royal Lands owned in Wales by British Monarchy to be returned to the Welsh People - this demand is not limited just to the Crown Estates but to all the Royal family ownership vehicles that operate in Wales.

We call for a Welsh Land Commission to establish the detailed  ownership of Welsh Land and to return absentee or unused Land to local community land trusts for communities to develop.

We call for halt to the sale of Welsh Land by local governments in Wales who are forced to sell public land because of British Government austerity policies.

Welsh Water to be owned by the people.

We call for the end of 999 year agreements to supply water to England for token sums  signed by Welsh Water with English Utility companies - we want Welsh Water brought back into public ownership.

Water is a precious natural resource and one that should be regulated and controlled to benefit the Welsh Economy and not abused by the British Economy as at present.

We demand a Welsh Water Act that puts ownership of Welsh Water into the hands of the people of Wales.

Our Demands are as simple as they are basic

1. Welsh Public Banking System

2. Welsh Land Act
3  Welsh Water Act



Monday 26 June 2017

Social Classes of the Celts and Druidism - Class and Druidic Ideology

"The polarisation of current opinion on Celticity is exemplfied by the views of John Collis and Simon James on the one hand who vigourously challenge the validity of the term "Celtic" as a means of labelling the later pre historic European past and of Vincent and Ruth Megaw and Barry Cunliffe on the other hand who argue in favour of "Celts" and "Celtic" as useful descriptors of a loosely knit but in some ways coherent group of ancient communities."

Celtic Wales by Miranda Aldhouse Green and Ray Howell

Our Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr reading of the current position is that that there is an emphasis on the  particularities and a very critical view on the universals of Celtic culture and social structure.
Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr does not see the particularities invalidating the universals of a Celtic Culture just adding to its richness.

Social Classes of the Celts

The Celts were well defined when it came to the set up of society. Tribal structure was the most important. There were distinct social classes in the divisions of the tribes. And tribal law was set up for the common good of all.

All tribal land was owned by the tribe in general. Any land in the territory occupied by the tribe was to be divided for the use of the tribe, and could not be owned by individuals. Natural boundaries set up borders for the land division.
In fact, the word tribe came from an old Celtic word meaning boundary or trench.

Sections of the land were appropriated by the ruler and his civil service group for the work that they performed for the general group. There were large sections of land that were set aside for the public good, and was used by the entire tribe. Usually these were pastoral or grazing areas, and very fertile growing sections. Other sections were set aside for the elderly, disabled, and the poor of the tribe.

Land held by individuals was subjected to taxes to help support the less able members of the tribe. However, if a man died, and had outstanding taxes, surviving relatives didn't have to assume his debts. Celtic laws stated that "every dead man kills his own liabilities."
This was also partly the Celtic view of the afterlife: when a person died, he or she would proceed in the next life as they did in this. Many times debts were not paid, with the expectation that they would be collected on the other side.

Since the tribe held title to the land, and it could not be sold, there was no absolute ownership of land in Celtic society. The land held by the chieftains and the nobles was still to be held in the public good.
Every tribesman was able to keep and work his land, but could not sell it, conceal it, or use it to pay for any crime or debt. Livestock was also included in the issue. Any disposition of cattle held by one person had to be approved by the tribe, so as not to harm the collective welfare of the tribe.

The overtly communistic nature of the Celtic society also played into the way the tribe worked the land. Plowing was done on a communal basis. The Celtic plow was one of the great developments of the Bronze Age. It allowed the farmers to work the land deeper and more thoroughly than contemporary devices. Since cattle were often held in common fields, the manure that was left was used by the tribe on a common basis as fertilizer. The Celts also harvested together.
One of the devices that they used was a harvesting machine. The Roman, Pliny the Elder, commented on this, and how it made life easier. He said, "A big box, the edges armed with teeth, and supported on two wheels, moved through the cornfield pushed by an ox; the ears of corn were uprooted by the teeth and fell into the box."

The principles of common ownership of Celtic lands lasted a long time. The last practiced use was to occur until the Highland clan chiefs were to be appointed nobles in the united Scotland and England. Until then, the lands were held in common trust, and no chieftain would ever consider that clan's land his own property.
 The actuality of the Celtic land practices would last even longer. Until the middle of the 19th century, Scottish farmers on the Hebrides still farmed and harvested in the old fashion. In some ways, the cotters and spalpins of the west of Ireland still practiced a version of the Celtic land use, when the tenant farms were subdivided to postage sized plots. The Famine helped to eradicate its use.

Social Set Up in Celtic Society

Celtic society was set up with six basic classes. However, a person could rise from the lowest class to the largest class, or move in the other direction. The good that was done in service to the entire tribe was the basis for the advancement in Celtic society. Since everyone was expected to serve in the military, there was not a lot of status advancement in serving bravely. 
 The lowest class was what was called the ""non-freemen." These were lawbreakers, and as such lost their civil rights, tribal distributions, and were prohibited from working in the various professions. Since the Celts held that lawbreakers should be made to repay their debt to society, or debts in general, physical determent was not considered an option. 

Rather, the non-freemen were expected to work off their debt, and make contributions to the welfare of the entire tribe. Non-freemen also consisted of deserters from battle, hostages, and prisoners of war. Contrary to Roman custom, 
The second grade of Celtic society was the itinerant tribesman. These people hired themselves out as herders, or field workers. They also filled the rosters of the military. However, since they didn't work their own land, they had little political influence. 

The next part was the tribesman that worked his own land. These were the basis of the Celtic tribe. This subsection of Celtic society was the group that paid the taxes, elected officials to their assemblies, and provided the largest part of the military when needed. The craftsmen, the people that tanned leather, made swords, gold and silver smithed, as well as the blacksmiths, were also a part of this section. 

The group above the tribesmen was that of the elected officials . These were the group that carried out the administrative duties of the tribes. They maintained the social fabric of the tribe. This group collected taxes, maintained roads and bridges, the public mills and fishing equipment; the tribal hospital, orphanage, and other aspects of the public good; to organize the army, and keep it supplied.

They also made certain that the farmers were well supplied. Keeping with the communal setting, if one farmer had a surplus, he could cover for another that had a shortage. For this, the elected officials were provided land during their lifetime or service time as payment. Roman writers mistook this elected class for nobility. 

The professional classes were the next stratum of the society. This included the druids, the bards, and the lawyers and doctors. The druids were trained in druidic colleges, with the training often lasting for as long as twenty years. Anyone from any section of Celtic society was eligible to enter the priesthood.

The druids not only functioned as the religious of the Celtic society, they also were the philosophers, doctors, magistrates, and judges of the group. The druidic class was also experts on the rights of inter-tribal and international law. They could stop inter-tribal warfare, because their authority was greater than the chieftains.

Equal to the druids in status were the bards. The bards were the minstrels, storytellers, and oral tradition teachers of the Celts. Their training was almost as extensive and long as the druids.

This was mostly because Celtic traditions were oral, and required the learning of the many tales and stories. They had to be word perfect, meaning they couldn't leave out words or phrases, because the group would let them know immediately. The bards were given a high status in Celtic life even through to the time of Christianity. The ransom price for a bard was almost equal to that of a chieftain.


The last layer of Celtic society were the Chieftains. The chiefs were elected by the tribe in general. There was no such concept as that of primogeniture, the rights of the first born, to maintain the hereditary title of the position. There were families that had a number of members elected to such office, by they still had to be elected. The Celtic chiefs were not lawmakers, as much as administrators, having to answer to the will of the people. Chiefs could be male or female, although the election of a woman as chieftain was rare.


Druidism beliefs and practices

Beliefs and practices of the ancient Celts are being pieced together by modern Druids. Because so much information has been lost, this is not an easy task. Some findings are:

Specialties: Within ancient Druidism, there were three specialties.

 "A general categorisation of the three different grades accords the arts to the bards, the skills of prophecy and divination to the Ovates and philosophical, teaching, counseling and judicial tasks to the Druid."

The Bards were "the keepers of tradition, of the memory of the tribe - they were the custodians of the sacredness of the Word."

In Ireland, they trained for 12 years learning grammar, hundreds of stories, poems, philosophy, etc.

The Ovates worked with the processes of death and regeneration. They were the native healers of the Celts. They specialized in divination, conversing with the ancestors, and prophesizing the future.

The Druids and Druidesses formed the professional class in Celtic society. They performed the functions of modern day priests, teachers, ambassadors, astronomers, genealogists, philosophers, musicians, theologians, scientists, poets and judges.

They underwent lengthy training: some sources say 20 years. Druids led all public rituals, which were normally held within fenced groves of sacred trees.

In their role as priests, "they acted not as mediators between God and man, but as directors of ritual, as shamans guiding and containing the rites." Most leaders mentioned in the surviving records were male.

It is not known whether female Druids were considered equal to their male counterparts, or whether they were restricted to special responsibilities.

References to women exercising religious power might have been deleted from the record by Christian monks during the Celtic Christian era.

Goddesses and Gods: The Celts did not form a single religious or political unity. They were organized into tribes spread across what is now several countries.

As a result, of the 374 Celtic deities which have been found, over 300 occur only once in the archaeological record; they are believed to be local deities.

There is some evidence that their main pantheon of Gods and Goddesses might have totaled about 3 dozen - perhaps precisely 33 (a frequently occurring magical number in Celtic literature).

Some of the more famous are: Arawn, Brigid, Cernunnos, Cerridwen, Danu, Herne, Lugh, Morgan, Rhiannon and Taranis. 

Many Celtic deities were worshipped in triune (triple aspect) form. Triple Goddesses were often sisters.

Afterlife: They believed that the dead were transported to the Otherworld by the God Bile (AKA Bel, Belenus). Life continued in this location much as it had before death. The ancient Druids believed that the soul was immortal.

After the person died in the Otherworld, their soul reincarnates and lives again in another living entity -- either in a plant or the body of a human or other animal.

 After a person has learned enough at this level, they move on after death to a higher realm, which has its own Otherworld.

This continues until the individual reaches the highest realm, the "Source." 

 "All things are created from the Source, including the Gods. We are just sparks from its flame."  At every birth, the Celts mourned the death of a person in the Otherworld which made the new birth possible.

Creation Myth: No Druidic creation story appears to have survived, although there are numerous accounts of the supernatural creation of islands, mountains, etc.

Baptism: There is some evidence that the Celts had a baptism initiation ceremony similar to those found in Buddhist, Christian, Essene, Hindu, Islamic, and Jainist sacred texts.

Other researchers dismiss baptism as a forgery by Christian scribes as they transferred Celtic material to written form.

Moral code: Druids do not follow the Wiccan Rede which states (in modern English) one is free to do anything, as long as it harms nobody.

The closest analogy are the Celtic Virtues of honor, loyalty, hospitality, honesty, justice and courage. "Daven" briefly describes the Virtues as follows:

"Briefly stated the virtue of Honor requires one to adhere to their oaths and do the right thing, even if it will ultimately hurt others or oneself in the process.

A Druid is obligated to remain true to friends, family and leaders thus exhibiting the virtue of Loyalty.

Hospitality demands that a Druid be a good host when guests are under one's roof. Honesty insists that one tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth to yourself, your gods and your people.

Justice desires the Druid understands everyone has an inherent worth and that an assault to that worth demands recompense in one form or another. 

Courage for the Druid does not always wear a public face; it is standing-strong-in-the-face-of-adversity, alone or with companions.

Sometimes Courage is getting up and going about a daily routine when pain has worn one down without complaint or demur."

Divination: Druids used many techniques to foretell the future: meditation, study of the flight of birds, interpreting dreams, and interpreting the pattern of sticks thrown to the ground.

Seasonal Days of Celebration:

Druids, past and present, celebrate a series of fire-festivals, on the first of each of four months. Each would start at sunset and last for three days. Great bonfires would be built on the hilltops. 

Cattle would be driven between two bonfires to assure their fertility; couples would jump over a bonfire or run between two bonfires as well. The festivals are:

Samhain (or Samhuinn) Literally the "end of warm season". November 1 marked the combined Feast of the Dead and New Year's Day for the Celtic calendar. It is a time when the veil between our reality and that of the Otherworld is most easily penetrated. This fire festival was later adopted by the Christians as All Soul's Eve, and later became the secular holiday Halloween.

Imbolc (or Brighid) Literally "in the belly". February 1 marked The Return of Light. This is the date when the first stirrings of life were noticeable and when the land might first be plowable. This has been secularized as Groundhog Day.

Beltaine (or Bealteinne). May 1 was the celebration of The Fires of Bel. This was the peak of blossom season, when domesticated animals bear their young. This is still celebrated today as May Day. Youths dance around the May pole in what is obviously a reconstruction of an earlier fertility ritual.

Lughnasad (or Lughnasadh, Lammas). August 1 was The Feast of Lugh, named after the God of Light. A time for celebration and the harvest.

There were occasional references in ancient literature to:

the winter solstice, typically December 21, when the nighttime is longest
the summer solstice, typically June 21, when the nighttime is shortest




Thursday 22 June 2017

The Struggle for Our Past : Welsh Battle Sites Remembered by Gethin Gruffydd

Introduction. It will perhaps be surprising to most people if they were told that the majority of Welsh Battle sites are not only without a memorial but very few are even marked on maps. 

It is perhaps therefore surprising to find that the site of the ‘Battle of Bryn Glas’ 22 June 1402 is one of the very few Welsh Battle fields to find marked on maps but is, however, without a memorial.* 

Unfortunately, the majority of Glyndwr battle sites also remain unmarked on maps and are without memorials set up to record where they took place.

* Battlefields Memorials are set up for Battle of Llwchwr 1136, Moel y Don 1282 and Hyddgen. I understand a wooden plaque was placed by Cofiwn at Bryn Glas sometime during the 1970’s, this soon disappeared. However, I have heard on the grapevine that plans are in pipeline for another plaque to be placed at battle site of Bryn Glas soon.

The ‘Battle of Bryn Glas’ is the better known of Glyndwr's victories. Hyddgen 1401 is recorded as his first real battle victory and has been marked by a Memorial set up by Mudiad Cofiwn but sadly, this memorial has since been vandalised and the inscripted slate plaque has been replaced by a smaller plaque set up by a former member of Mudiad Cofiwn.

It had been hoped that the 600th anniversary would have seen moves to restore the Hyddgen memorial to its proper glory and, perhaps, even bigger; but this was not to be so, it is we believe now, as with all our memorial project proposals, a matter for local concern and pride to get something done.

Prince Owain and his gallant soldiers fought many battles such as the aforementioned; amongst the greatest were the Battle of Bryn Owain/Stalling Down 1403 Craig y Dorth 1404 and the Battle of Pwll Melyn fought in Gwent during the ‘bloody spring’ of 1405 - all of which have 600th anniversaries on the horizon and we hope moves will be made in their localities to have memorials set up to record fittingly, be they victories or defeats.

Not least, campaigns should begin to see that these battle fields are not only recorded on maps but that local Authorities, in particular, give them due attention in literature they produce. Battle of Llwchwr 1136 memorial is ignored by Swansea local Authority and tourism in their brochures etc.

Further, do keep in mind that other that Battles, there were ‘guerrilla campaigns’ and ‘major offensives’ that deserve to be similarly recorded and, not least, the campaigns against the English held castles all over the land. 

In this connection it should be especially noted that it was in 1403 that Prince Owain began a military offensive ‘Haf Glyndwr’ specifically against these English garrison positions and brought to an end, for a short while, English castle rule of Wales.

Do note we also need to initiate a major campaign aimed at prompting CADW to also carry out long overdue commemorative and memorialising work. 

We consider, at the very least, that Cadw should set up Interpretation Display boards * at all castles Glyndwr put to siege - especially in 1403-1404 periods of campaigns.

Brwydrau Glyndwr 1405 - 2005: The Battles of Grosmont 11 March 1404 and Battle of Pwll Melyn 5 May 1405 (yes! Election day?) “The Bloody Spring Offensive”, most historians determine this as the beginning of the end of Owain Glyndwr’s good fortunes.

I detect possible ill discipline of the Welsh Army whose ranks had been greatly swollen by the “peasantry” aka “Barefoot Welsh Doggis” who have pillage on their mind rather than any military strategy.

Interestingly it is largely the same sort of military ill discipline which messes up Confederate strategy meant to deliver a knock out blow against the Union but instead ended up with the South’s Gettysburg disaster. 

Confederate strategy required avoiding the town of Gettysburg but a great number of shoeless Confederate soldiers (“Bare foot Doggis”) knew that Gettysburg was a German settlement of shoemakers and could not resist a foray into the town. 

However, a Union battery at Gettysburg dug in and resisted and thus the rest is history (see Film ‘Gettysburg’ also of interest the alternate history novel ‘Bring out the Jubilee’). It is these “minor moments” of military history that often determine the course of history, as example the failed arrival of bread supplies determined the Moors abandon the siege of Malta.

I am now meandering off course, not an unusual thing for me to do. Glyndwr battles being pretty much to fore this year leads me to put forward an area of study you may wish to follow up on during the summer:

'Owain Glyndwr - from victory to defeat' *

1 Battle of Vyrnwy 1400: Background connection, the opening Northeast campaign September 1400. 

2 Battle of Hyddgen 1401: Prince Owain's first victory, opening up the Southwest. ''Rallied the Welsh''. See Writer Ian Fleming (no not of Bond fame)

3 Battle of Bryn Glas 1402: Great Welsh battle victory, as important as 'Bannockburn' is to the Scots. See Logeston Publishers

4. Battle of Bryn Owain/Stalling Down 1403: Following on the ''Haf Glynd?r'' Ystrad Tywi Campaign. See Writer Herbert Williams.

5 Battle of Craig y Dorth 1404: In connection with the major ''12 miles deep'' Welsh Border offensive. See Chris Barber.

6 Battles of Grosmont and Pwyll Melyn 1405: the ''Bloody Spring'' in Gwent. ''Final defeat in sight''? See writer Cris Barber.

For overall view of the war see Glyndwr’s War by G.J. Brough. Glyndwr publications.

Welsh Military History Writing and Publishing.

At least there are improvements in area of Welsh Military History Writing, see work of Paul Rempfrey (search web) also recently published book on Welsh Military Institutions, only problem the price; at £30 obviously it will not become mass popular reading.

My concern about Welsh battlefields has been to the fore in my mind for quite some time, prompted by my finding out the disinterest that exists amongst the powers that be who should be concerned - and then also, by the attitude of military historians and publishers.

On the subject of Welsh Battlefields, we were already aware of the fact that battlefields in Wales were particularly under threat, in the main, because the Welsh Monuments Board and CADW the bodies responsible for our ‘Heritage in the Landscape’ do not have Welsh Battle Sites down on their list of priorities. 

Add to this the fact that there is an institutionalised thinking amongst ‘British historians’ and ‘military interest publishing’ that proclaims that there were no Welsh Battle fields only “Killing Grounds”! and no doubt then they usually go on to paint a picture of the Welsh as only being capable of fighting a guerrilla form of warfare.

So very few books on military history ever mention Welsh battles. Go and have a look… you will be shocked that even a major work such as the O.S book of British battles mentions no Welsh battle Fields at all. However, there does exist some books on Welsh Battles.

· Battles in Wales by Herbert Williams.

· The Battles of Wales by Dilys Gator.

· Famous Welsh Battles by Philip Warner.

· Glyndwr's War by Gideon Brough.

· In Search of Owain Glyndwr by Chris Barber.

· Glyndwr’s First Victory by Ian Flemming.

Also must mention:

· For best account of the ‘Battle of Bryn Glas’ see book Owain Glyndwr & the last war of welsh independence in the Welsh Borders, written by Geoffry Hodges & published by Logeston Press. I have suggested to the publishers they publish the chapter on battle of Bryn Glas as a pamphlet. It’s under consideration.

· Last but not least, suggest you buy ‘Reference Wales, compiled by John May, published by UWP, Cardiff. Excellent pen ultimate list of Welsh Battlefields.

Other publications:

· The Normans in South Wales 1070 – 1171. Lynn Nelson. University of Texas.

· Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. J.B.Smith. UWP. Cardiff.

· The Taming of the Dragon. W.B.Bartlett. Sutton publishing.

The Age of Conquest. R.R. Davies. Oxford U.P.

Brwydr Llwchwr 1 Ionawr 1136

There is a fine memorial to this battle, raised by Cofiwn members, supporters and others. This memorial is placed on Garn Goch common near to road on way to Garn Goch Hospital via the A 484. Well worth a visit on a warm sunny summers day with a pic nic in mind.

Military history and battlefields may not be quite the ''Politically correct'' thing to be concerned with but we Welsh are at peril of severe ignorance, understanding and appreciation of the fact that for a 1000 years - roughly between King Arthur's victory at Mount Badon over the Saxons to Henry Tudors victory over Richard III at Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Military history and battles have shaped Welsh history - as the aforementioned clearly indicates - even if you only have a little knowledge of your nation's history' you will know that both these battles in particular were contributory to the Wales, as we know it today.

Most people and that includes the majority of Welsh people understand the significance of the Battle of Hastings, as Americans would The Battle of Gettysburg, whilst Native Americans full understand the significance of the Battle of the Little Big Horn and the consequences of the Battle of Wounded Knee. Our own first minister who recently went out of his way to visit Rourkes drift and Isandlwana battlefields probably knows more about these battles than he does about any Welsh Battlefield - indeed I wonder if he's visited any? It would be very interesting and illuminating to do a survey of this with our political representatives. “Name just one Welsh Battlefield?” would be enough.

So what of Welsh Battlefields? As Mynydd Carn 1081 and Irfon Bridge 1282 or Bryn Glas 1402 - how many Welsh people have even heard of them - let alone know of their significance and consequences? Lets take this Battle of Llwchwr 1136 fought on 1st January 1136 between the Welsh of Brycheiniog led by Hywel ap Maredudd and the Norman's of Gwyr. At this time remember Norman power was expanding into Sicily and Greece and into Ireland and Scotland - the Norman's were on an ''unstoppable roll''. The ''Welsh war of resistance'' to further Norman Conquest started here on a new year’s day and despite a bitter set back at Battle of Maes Gwenllian but finally won at Battle of Crug Mawr near Ceredigion in October 1136. Stopped the ''Norman's in their tracks'', and ''pura Wallie'' was saved for another 140 years - time enough for the ''age of the princes of Dehuebarth and Gwynedd'' to consolidate and strengthen Welsh Laws, culture and customs - from which the Native language was to flourish. So If these Battles had not been fought and not been won - we might not be here today.

It is sad that most Welsh people know and understand little of all this, whilst the English know of their, not least due to being taught so in schools and TV progs etc. Further,The Times ''thundered'' and with an ''English Battlefield Trust'' convinced ''English Heritage'' of need for an ''English Battlefields register'' to designate and thus help to protect and preserve their battlefields, same exists in Scotland, Ireland and else where. Cadw has promised to consider a Welsh Battlefield Register and indeed a provisional listing to inform local Authorities of Battle sites in their localities. However, do not leave it at that, we must continue the campaign. If nothing else you can show active support by writing articles and letters on the subject for your local paper as well as to local councillors. AM’s, MP’s and MEP’s. PLEASE DO WHAT YOU CAN TIME IS NOT ON OUR SIDE OK!

Finally with the aforementioned in mind would you not agree that there is a need for a Welsh Battlefield Register? To give so much attention to Anglo – Norman castles and not to the military struggle that brought them into existence is rather perverse.
Yn Ffyddlon.
Welsh Heritage Researcher


Tuesday 13 June 2017

The Internationale sang by our Breton Brothers and Sisters

War zao ! tud daonet an Douar !
Kent mervel gant an naon , war zao
Ar skiant a gomz ag a laar
Reï an diveza taol-chao !
Ar Bed-koz a bez d'an traon !
Meveillen paour , war sao ! atao !
Greômp vit mad dezi he c'haon
Bezomp maest lëc'h beza esklao !

Diskan (bis)

Ar gann divëza zo,
Holl , war zao a warc'hoaz,
N'o er bed met eur vro
Da vihan a da vraz !

En trezomp neuz salver ebed
Na pab, na roue, na den all !
Demp hon unan a vezo red
Ober aman ar gwir ingal :
Benn harz laëron braz da noazout,
Derc'hel ar spered en he blom !
A dao d'an ouarn keït m'he tom !!

Ar Stâd so fall ! pep lezenn kamm
An dëog a oad ar paour-kaez den ;
Deveriou d'ar re vraz neuz tamm
Gwiriou ar paour zo eur gomz ven
Awalc'h dindan Vaest kastizia
Al Lëaldet ' c'houlenn trëo all
Dindan-hi 'veffomp memeuz tra
Gant deveriou , droëjou ingal !?

Udur ! en kreïz ho brassoni,
Mistri war an holl labour
Deuz gret biskoaz met ransoni
Laerez poan ar micherour ;
Rag en em prez an dud didalve
Kement ve kroûet ve teuzet ;
Goulennomp vo rentet hep dale
D'ar bobl kaez ar pez so gleêt ?

Micherourien a koërijen.
Memprou a labour ar bed-man,
Ar bed so d'al labourerien !
An dud didalve diwarn-han !
Deuz hom c'hoejen hint holl lard mad :
Na pa deufe eur sort brini
Eun deîz an douar da gwitâd
An heol ‚zalc'ho da lugerni !

Garz ebed ken kreïz-tre pep Bro !
An holl dud breudeur war ar bed !
Ar brezellou zôd er blôto !
Dao d'ar re vraz c'hoaz m'ar be red
Evit-hê n'effomp biken ken
A villerou de n'em drailla !
War zao ! ar skiant so ho ren
Demp vo red terri pe blega !?!

Barcelona takes on Madrid - Over Independence for Catalonia

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Talu Bils : The Anthem of the Welsh Underclass : Song composed and performed by Rods Evans of Blaenau Ffestiniog

The song Talu bils (paing bills) is of the Bob Marley genre of music and is a reflection of what life is like in Cymru under British rule where industry has been destroyed leaving 5 generations of people without any work or training in the few new industries. This has created a massive underclass of people in deprived areas throughout Cymru dependent on meagre  benefits that ensures that they remain a downtrodden underclass with no hope of a better life, kept in their place as they are totally dependent on their meagre benefit handout to survive.

Talu bils tells the story of a man from a deprived slate quarrying community in Snowdonia, Northern Cymru who ventures out in search of a job, he initially goes to Llechwedd quarry, which is now a tourist attraction rather than the industry it used to be which employed thousands of men and roofed the world with slate. The community is small and everyone knows everyone so the dialogue goes on these lines.

Rods…Hello, my name is Rods, have you got a job for me.

Employer…Have you got a C.V.?

Rods…C.V. here.

Employer…Rods, this C.V. is crap, you have no work experience of any use to us, no, sorry, you'll have to go somewhere else to look for a job.

Rods…Well, Ive tried haven't I, tried to get a job with you - but its o.k., I get job seekers allowance. It pays the bills. ta ta…ta ta.

Chorus…Talu bils…talu bils….and so on.

2nd verse.

Rods…I then went to Portmeirion…to look for a job. Hello, have you got a job for me?

Employer…Have you got a CV Rods?

Rods, C.V. here.

Employer.   Rods Evans, this C.V. is not good enough; you have no work experience, you've had no training, cant give you a job sorry.

Rods…It's ok, I tried…Iget job seekers allowance…it pays the bills…ta ta…ta ta.


3rd verse.

Rods…I went to Greenacres…to get a job…hello, I'm Rods, got a job for me?

Employer…I know you Rods, you've been in trouble all your life, you've been to prison, you have no qualifications…at all!

Rods…It's O.k. Iget Job seeker's allowance…