What was in PenCambria: Issue 24 Winter 2013?

Pillow Talk Lawrence Johnson
The Shrewsbury Drapers and the Mid Wales Cloth Trade Dr. David Stephenson
Out & About with the Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historic Monuments in Wales
Capel Gerisim Brian Poole
An Evening with R.S. Thomas Glyn Tegai Hughes
Sir William Jones Reginald Massey
1st World War Centenary Commemoration Request
In Living Memory – H.B. ‘Gurra’ Mills Diana Ashworth
Bleddfa Centre for the Creative Spirit
Cefn Gaer & Owain Glyn Dŵr Gay Roberts
Cefn Gaer : visit by the Arwystli Society Gay Roberts
Christmas at Dolwen Gaynor Jones
My Roots : Part 4: Polecats & Pigeons Richard Meredith
Put Out To Grass : part 11 Pumpkins, Myths and Toadstools Diana Ashworth
Farming Between the Wars 1920-40 part 1 Women’s Work R.M. Williams
A Good Read : two books reviewed by Norma Allen
Newtown Local History Group Honoured by the Queen Joy Hamer
Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historic Monuments of Wales

The Dragon’s Crypt:

Portrait or a Policemen Bruce Mawdesley, illustration by John Selly

The Parish Hall R.M. Williams
Back of the Bus Siôn Rowley
The River Severn in December Gaynor Jones
Final Choice Norma Allen

Editorial PenCambria Issue 24 by Gay Roberts
With all kinds of interesting things in this issue, we begin with Lawrence Johnson, who has been walking the wilds of mid Wales again, going rabbiting, so to speak, investigating the pillow mounds above the Elan Valley.
Once Wales finally came under total English rule and disputes over sovereign territory were at an end, mid Wales wool producers began a war, of words rather than arms, over the monopoly of their wool sales enjoyed by the Shrewsbury Drapers, and Dr. David Stephenson, who I am very pleased to welcome back to the pages of PenCambria after a couple of years’ break, puts the case for the grievances of both sides.
The chapel traditions that mushroomed in Wales after the 1689 Acts of Toleration allowed Non-Conformists to practise their faith without fear of penalty, are remembered with the example of Capel Gerisim, high in the peat-cutting district, between Bwlchyffridd and Adfa, by Brian Poole, whose wife grew up in that parish. R.S. Thomas was greatly influenced by these isolated communities, and his thoughts were often part of the conversations that he had with Glyn Tegai Hughes, who shares some of them with us now, at the end of this year, which is the centenary of the great poet’s birth.
Yet another forgotten Welsh genius has come to Reginald Massey’s attention. This is the noted linguist, lawyer and orientalist Sir William Jones, whose family hailed from Anglesey.
A genius of quite another sort has been tracked down by Diana Ashworth. Gurra Mills was, among other things, a footballer of international quality who despite offers from several professional teams including Arsenal, Swansea and Shrewsbury, could not bear to leave this area, which he loved so much.
Owain Glyn Dŵr has been conspicuously absent from the pages of PenCambria as no suitable article has been forthcoming. This month, however, we have an account of a visit by the Arwystli Society to the house he owned in Pennal, near Machynlleth and where in 1406 he wrote the famous Pennal letter asking the king of France for aid in his campaign to secure his position as Prince of Wales. He also asks the pope at Avignon for help in establishing an independent Welsh church and two universities. The house is built on a Roman fort and is full of history. To accompany the account of the visit, I have included a very brief history of Owain Glyn Dŵr’s life, how he got to that moment and what might have been going through his mind as he wrote the letter.
The delights of a growing boy’s life in the 1950s are fondly remembered by Richard Meredith; Gaynor Jones relishes memories of Christmas during this time at Dolwen; while the joys of grandchildren and Hallowe’en in the 21st century are fondly related by our retired lady and gentleman from Llawryglyn.
Women’s work in St Harmon Parish between the two world wars is detailed by R.H. Williams. With no electricity or modern conveniences such as the washing machine and the vacuum cleaner, it was an entirely different life from that of today – and a hard but uncomplaining one too.
The RCAHMW has had a very active and interesting six months finding a Roman fort from cropmarks in a field near Brecon, restoring a bridge over the Kymer canal near Kidwelly, engaging with the Somalis of the Butetown, young and old, in tracing changes in their community using the Britain From Above material; and finding a long-lost carved medieval stone at Silian. They have also launched a new dimension to their access system, Coflein, which now allows users to search the National Monuments Record directly and explore the collection in far greater depth.
Norma Allen has found two excellent books to read and has reviewed them for your delectation.
Meanwhile in the Dragon’s Crypt there is lots of good reading, starting Bruce Mawdesley who remembers, in his own inimitably lyrical fashion, the village policeman, and once again it is illustrated by the delightful drawing of John Selly.
As well as a chronicler of the changes in St Harmon Parish R.H. Williams is also a dab hand at a bit of verse and here is the ballad he wrote for the centenary and the demise of the Parish Hall at Pantydwr.
Siôn Rowley, a new writer who I am very pleased to welcome to the pages of PenCambria, tells a story about a schoolboy who finds the courage to overcome the bully on the bus.
Gaynor Jones has also turned her hand to poetry this month, inspired by the river Severn in December.
Finally, a ghostly revenge from the pen of Norma Allen.

What was in PenCambria: Issue 17 Summer 2011?

Cup Fever or “Come on, the Daffs!” Lyn Meredith & Byron Hughes
An Ecclesiastical Tale Bev Barratt
Pedro Gonzalez: Put Out to Grass part 6 Diana Ashworth
Liminality – sculpture by Benjamin Storch
“That Poet-Haunted Place” Lawrence Johnson
E. Nicholls & Sons, The Stores, Ystradenni Brian Lawrence
The Gwalchmai Family of Mid Wales : part 2 Gwalchmai Sais
Diatoms, Seed & Pollen – sculptures by Kevin Blockley
The Hopkins of Llanfihangel Y Creuddyn – Joy Hamer’s family research
One Man and His Dog Bruce Mawdesley (illustrations by Jane Keay)
The Hafren Circuit: Stage 8 Breidden Hills and Long Mountain David Jandrell

The Pryces of Newtown Hall: “an interesting family” Diana Brown
The Horseman’s Word Roger Garfitt
A Journey Through Mid Wales R.M. Williams
A Short Life and a Merry One Gay Roberts
Bones and Stones at Old Chapel Farm Gay Roberts

Radnorshire Felicity Vale
Flight Plan for the Island Lesley Ann Dupré
Journey South Janet Williams
Verbascum thapsiforme Bruce Mawdesley, (illustration by Jane Keay)
Editorial PenCambria Issue 17 by Gay Roberts
We have a sporting start this month with a rollicking account of football fever in Llanidloes. Last year Lynn Meredith and Byron Hughes, two very well-known footballers in their glory days, published a book recounting stories of the members of Llanidloes Football team, known as the Daffodils, because of their yellow and green strip, who played cricket, hence the title of book The Daffs Who Played in White. When I first read their original manuscript, parts of it actually made me laugh out loud and I knew I had to persuade them to write an article for PenCambria and I am very pleased to tell you that I was successful. For this article, they return to their first love, football, and the highs and lows, not many of them here, of the Daffs and here we have a fond account of the team’s history from the 1920s to the 1970s, with some extraordinary statistics for a town the size of Llanidloes, but I will not spoil it for you just now.
For our other treats this month, the retired lady of Llawryglyn has a doggy tale to tell, divine revelation adds atmosphere to a climb up Snowdonia by the intrepid Bev Barratt; Manafon forges a surprising link between a giant of Welsh poetry, R.S Thomas and an reclusive modern songwriter for Lawrence Johnson.
We have three fascinating pieces of family history. After the death of Humphrey Gwalchmay and the sobering incident with his wife Susannah at Llanwyddelan, in this episode the family dip a toe into religious non-conformity as Gwalchmai Sais takes the next step on the path followed by this remarkable family. Following her work on the Hughes and Hamer families, Joy Hamer has done a quite remarkable piece of research on another branch of her family – the Hopkins of Llanfihangel y creuddyn and I have summarised part of it as a taster for you. Taking us up Breidden Hill and along the Long Mynd David Jandrell reaches the final stage of the Hafren Circuit. The Pryces of Newtown Hall are a very interesting family as Diana Brown has discovered, especially the one who had been so fond of his first two wives that he had their bodies embalmed and slept between them.
Where there’s a demand there’s always a supplier as Brian Lawrence illustrates in his article about the enterprising E. Nicholls of Ystradenni. In another peerless piece of poetic prose,
Bruce Mawdesley remembers a shepherd and his dog and once again, we are privileged to have Jane Keay’s illustrations. One of our occasional contributors, who also has such a wonderful way with words is Roger Garfitt, who has just written his autobiography and the publishers Jonathan Cape have very generously allowed me to reprint some extracts from it.
With its small settlements set in its wild and lonely hills and valleys Radnorshire is a great inspiration to many a writer. R.M. Williams has written a book about Mid Wales and with a view to serialising it in PenCambria he has written this introduction, A Journey Through Mid Wales, giving a brief, lyrical picture of some of what has been lost in this part of the world.
For my contribution this month I have taken to the high seas with a synopsis of the book Welsh Pirates by Dafydd Meirion.
Mid Wales provides an unending source of inspiration to those of a creative mind. Kevin Blockley, who many of you may know as an archaeologist, is a highly talented sculptor and you can read about him and exhibition of his work along with that of his son Merlin and two other crafts people, that was held in June. You can also see pictures of his work on some of the pages elsewhere. Mid Wales Arts Centre at Caersws goes from strength to strength and you can find out about everything that is going on there in the later pages of this magazine. There are also a number of other very interesting and unusual events that you can read about and possibly be encouraged to attend, especially at the Willow Globe in Llanwrthwl. Dr David Stephenson’s lectures will be embarking on some very interesting water this year for those of you who like to attend them.
The Dragon’s Crypt is full of mystery this month. While Norma Allen reminds us all of the joys of a School trip, Lesley Ann Dupré takes a trip of a much darker kind while Hatton Davidson “travels the whorls of Space and Time” to who knows where?.