history

Michael Faraday watches water fall

September 10, 2021 0 Comments
Michael Faraday watches water fall

In 1819 a brilliant young chemist came to Wales on a walking tour.  He had little money – his family was poor, and he was still technically an apprentice at the age of twenty-seven – so walking was more economical than coach or horseback.  He was eager to see the country, but he had a […]

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Y cartŵn Cymraeg cyntaf?

August 20, 2021 2 Comments
Y cartŵn Cymraeg cyntaf?

Yn ôl Marian Löffler, hwn yw’r cartŵn cyntaf i ymddangos mewn print yn yr iaith Gymraeg.  Mae’n wynebddalen mewn llyfryn gan Thomas Roberts a gyhoeddwyd yn Llundain yn 1798, Cwyn yn erbyn gorthrymder. Brodor o Llwyn’rhudol Uchaf ger Pwllheli oedd Thomas Roberts.  Cyfreithiwr oedd ei dad, William.   Ganwyd e yn 1765 neu 1766, a symudodd […]

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Father Toban, the greatest scholar in the world

July 30, 2021 0 Comments
Father Toban, the greatest scholar in the world

It’s late summer, 1854.  George Borrow, walking around Wales, has arrived at Holyhead.  He stays overnight at the ‘Railway Hotel’ – reluctantly, because he detests railroads and never takes a train if he can do the same journey on foot.  In the morning he explores the town and then finds himself on the breakwater at […]

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John Thomas: lluniau confensiynol, lluniau hynod

July 24, 2021 0 Comments
John Thomas: lluniau confensiynol, lluniau hynod

Mae’n anodd astudio bywyd cymdeithasol yng Nghymru yn ystod ail hanner y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg heb droi at y drysorfa fawr o luniau, dros 3,000 ohonynt, a dynnwyd gan John Thomas, Lerpwl rhwng y 1860au a’i farwolaeth yn 1905.  Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru yw eu cartref bellach, a gallwch chi weld y mwyafrif ar wefan […]

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‘A Gentleman had just arrived, with – a black servant!’

July 16, 2021 0 Comments
‘A Gentleman had just arrived, with – a black servant!’

The gentry of eighteenth-century Wales, like most rich people in any country at any time, longed to be fashionable.  One of the rarer badges of fashion for them was to be seen as enjoying the services of a black servant.  As Chris Evans, the historian of Wales and slavery, puts it, ‘their presence spoke of […]

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The soul of a blackbird

July 9, 2021 0 Comments
The soul of a blackbird

The other day, as I was coming home from an evening walk, a strange thing happened.  I was nearing a place where the road narrows and the pavement gives out and you need to take care before crossing to the safer side.  On a small patch of grass, outside the gate of the house called […]

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Four quarters

June 18, 2021 0 Comments
Four quarters

If you move to live on the coast it doesn’t take long to discover that your world, enriched as it might be by the presence of the sea, has been reduced.  You can no longer travel in all directions, but only, at most, in three.  I learned this lesson late.  I was brought up in […]

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Erasmus Lewis: spad, spy, friend of Gulliver

June 11, 2021 0 Comments
Erasmus Lewis: spad, spy, friend of Gulliver

This small corner of Carmarthenshire is new to me – the point where the Cothi flows into the Tywi, just west of Llanegwad.  A track leaves the village, passes a cottage, Penygoilan, and a farm, Llwchgwyn, and then turns into a narrow lane that leads down to the banks of the Tywi and a large […]

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Walters: gwallter’s top 10

May 14, 2021 3 Comments
Walters: gwallter’s top 10

Walter was already an old-fashioned forename in 1952, when my parents donated it to me.  To be fair, they were anxious about the commonness of my surname, and eager to load me with as many other names as they could, to avoid misidentification (later, my brother suffered the same fate).  By the time they reached […]

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Sir Humphrey Mackworth, ‘a genius richer than thy mines below’

March 20, 2021 1 Comment
Sir Humphrey Mackworth, ‘a genius richer than thy mines below’

The earth, thy great exchequer, ready lies is the title of a superb new collection of stories by the Welsh writer Jo Lloyd, who won the BBC National Short Story Award in 2019.  The nine pieces are very different one from another, in subject, setting and register.  But they all share at least two things. […]

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