Tag: Wales

John Thelwall at Llyswen

April 29, 2022 0 Comments
John Thelwall at Llyswen

Next week we’ll be completing the Wye Valley Walk, and one of our stops will be the Griffin Inn in the village of Llyswen, on the banks of the Wye half way between Brecon and Builth.  Years ago, my colleague Jean Dane and I would often pause there for a coffee on our way from […]

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Dear Rowan, dear Laura

April 8, 2022 0 Comments
Dear Rowan, dear Laura

What sort of country do we want Wales to be in future?  Rowan Williams and Laura McAllister have recently invited us to answer that question.  They are the joint chairs of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales, a group set up in 2021 by the Welsh Government to come up with options […]

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Melesina Bowen’s ‘Ystradffin’

December 24, 2021 2 Comments
Melesina Bowen’s ‘Ystradffin’

In recent years many Welsh women poets of the past have been rescued from the condescension of posterity, not least in the anthology edited by Katie Gramich and Catherine Brennan.  But one of them has so far escaped much attention.  In 1839 Melesina Bowen published an unusual topographical poem in English called Ystradffin.  It deserves […]

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Moonrise

October 29, 2021 1 Comment
Moonrise

Among the eleven ‘Welsh sonnets’ of Gerard Manley Hopkins are counted some of the outstanding poems written in English in the nineteenth century.  They include ‘God’s grandeur’, ‘Pied beauty’ and ‘The windhover’. Hopkins came to live in St Beuno’s College near Tremeichion in the Vale of Clwyd in August 1874 to continue his extremely long […]

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Who would live in Wales?

October 22, 2021 4 Comments
Who would live in Wales?

This week the Guardian columnist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett (RhLC from now on) wrote an article sparked by the campaign by Vaughan Gething, the minister for the Welsh economy, to persuade young people born or raised in Wales not to emigrate. An important part of her, she says, is Welsh – she grew up in north […]

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Carnegie libraries in Wales

September 18, 2021 2 Comments
Carnegie libraries in Wales

Alfred Zimmern, the classicist and first professor of international politics in Aberystwyth (and the world) is now largely forgotten, except for one striking phrase he coined, ‘American Wales’.  He was referring to the explosive industrialisation of south Wales in the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, which produced an […]

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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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A Gresford decapitation

September 3, 2021 0 Comments
A Gresford decapitation

Today is 29 August, the traditional date, faithtourism reminds me on Twitter, for remembering the Decollation of St John the Baptist.  Decollation is a euphemism for having your head violently removed from your body.  It’s often used of this particular episode, when Herod Antipas, puppet ruler of Galilee and Perea, ordered John to undergo this […]

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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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Tennyson in Llanberis

January 23, 2021 0 Comments
Tennyson in Llanberis

Alfred Tennyson was born in Lincolnshire, and lived there throughout the first part of his life.  The portrait of him that always comes to mind is the photo Julia Margaret Cameron took of him in 1865, which shows him as prematurely aged, with thinning, straggly hair, untidy beard and lined face (Tennyson said it made […]

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