“And Now ‘Bryn Calfaria and Thank You’ ,Llanidloes SS Male Voice Choir Richard Meredith
Llanwnog Church from a talk by Dr David Stephenson transcribed by Diana Brown
The Millsiaid of Llanidloes Cynthia Mills
The Old Hall Air Crash Diana Brown
The Hafren Circuit: Stage 3 Wye Valley and Plynlimon David Jandrell
Put Out to Grass: A Mid Wales Retirement Part 1 Iolos Revenge Diana Ashworth
Eden in Wild Wales Gay Roberts
Memories of Hafod and Peacocks in Paradise Reginald Massey
Robert Owen and Trade Unionism John Butt
More Winter Memories from Llandrindod Wells Joel Williams
The Medieval Chatelaines of Powis Castle: Part I The Lady of Cyfeiliog Dr David Stephenson
The Welsh People in Patagonia: Part 3 David Burkhill-Howarth
The Welsh in Iowa: Book Review Gay Roberts
Brennin Llwyd David and Mark Burkhill-Howarth
The Gentleman Hood: part 11 Conspiring with the enemies Tyler Keevil
Dog Tags Brian L. Roberts
Vespers Bruce Mawdesley
Radnor Vale Janet Williams
Last Reminisce Gail Standen
Winter Doves Janet Williams
Editorial PenCambria Issue 12 by Gay Roberts
We start this issue on rather a sad note, I am afraid. David Burkhill-Howarth whose has been such a staunch and enthusiastic contributor since he first came across PenCambria in 2006 has died after a long battle against cancer. Indeed, it was only because of his and Michael and Diana Brown’s enthusiasm and willingness to take over much of the editorial work that I was able to start PenCambria again in 2008.
In the spring of 2008 I chanced across David in the Great Oak Café in Llanidloes. He was recovering from chemotherapy and looking for a new project to keep his mind active and when I suggested, never really expecting he would say yes, that he could take over the editorial responsibility and get PenCambria back on its feet again, he jumped at the chance. Six months previously I had asked Michael if he would like to become the Richard Ingrams of Mid Wales by doing the very same thing and within a week of his agreeing he had been struck down by an illness which prevented him from taking on such a task. However, he was partially on the road to recovery when I asked David and the two of them, with Diana, came to a very satisfactory arrangement. Michael and Diana would concentrate on local subjects and David would cover the wider topics, which he has done in such an interesting way with the history of the Welsh in Patagonia.
His articles were full of information and he always wrote in a direct, easy to read manner, tinged with humour where appropriate. He originally presented me with his ‘credentials’ in the form of a three-part exploration of the 1921 Abermule train crash, which resulted in a world-wide system of rules governing single track railways. This was his first contribution and it was published in PenCambrias 6, 7 and 8. His first piece after the relaunch was an account of a walk he had undertaken in the Ratgoed Valley. He then began a major opus on
the history of Welsh people in Patagonia, such an interesting series about a Welsh migration that most us probably have heard about but know little or nothing of the details. I have certainly learned a lot about this, knowing absolutely nothing before except that Patagonia was just above Tierra del Fuego at the foot of South America on the Atlantic side. His own interest in it was kindled many years ago when he was there in person. Although he never said as such, I think that PenCambria gave him the opportunity to write about his knowledge and experiences of this remote finger of the continent and to bring it to people’s attention in a way that he had not been able to before.
This edition contains the third part in the series along with something in a lighter, yet darker vein. Cader Idris is famous, or rather notorious for the legends and strange experiences that many have when they climb that craggy mountain. Perhaps the most well-known is that anyone spending the night on its summit will come down either mad or a poet. A few years ago David’s two sons, Mark and Gareth, did indeed spend the night on Cader Idris and his last article is an account of that night taken from the notes that Mark kept of their excursion. This issue of PenCambria, which is dedicated to David’s memory, is published on 31st October 2009, Hallowe’en, and a very appropriate day for such tale.
I shall miss David’s writing very much as I think he was just beginning to get into his stride with PenCambria. Fortunately I am very pleased to tell you that Mark and Gareth are very keen not only to finish the work he had in hand but also to write for us on their own account. Mark’s interest in Welsh folklore I know will be a great asset and I really look forward to hearing more from them.
There is a musical note to some of this edition with Cynthia Mills account of the Millsiad, the well-known family of ‘musical Mills’ in Llanidloes, coupled with Richard Meredith’s history of the Llanidloes Social Service Male Voice Choir. Close by, Diana Brown tells us about the 1947 aeroplane crash at Old Hall. We have an account of the Arwystli Society’s visit to Llanwnog Church in 2008 with Dr David Stephenson who also begins a series on the medieval Chatelaines of Powis Castle beginning with the feisty Hawise, wife of Gruffudd ab Gwenwynwyn. We have the first in highly entertaining series by Diana Buck of her experiences of coming to Wales two years ago and settling in as a novice farmer in Llawr-y-glyn. The Robert Owen Museum in Newtown has kindly allowed me to print the second of the essays in their booklet: Professor John Butt’s essay on Robert Owen and Trade Unionism. Joel Williams sends us some more winter memories of Llandrindod Wells. With David Jandrell we travel Stage 3 of the Hafren Circuit: from Abbey Cwm Hir to Llanidloes with a trip around the Hafren forest to Plynlimon and the source of the river Severn. Hafod, near Cwmystwyth, is one of mid Wales’ verdant miracles. Based on Peacocks in Paradise by Elizabeth Inglis Jones Reginald Massey tells us about Thomas Johnes, who occupied it and built it up to the sylvan spectacle it became in the 18th century while I have provided a background history of life in the valley and the Cardiganshire uplands. Two more books to read are Bob Pitcher’s novel In At the Deep End and, continuing with our American connections, Cheryl A Walley has written a book about the Welsh migrations to Iowa entitled The Welsh in Iowa which I have reviewed; and Tyler Keevil reveals just how Murray the Hump helped to get John F. Kennedy elected. In The Dragon’s Crypt we are in reflective mood as Brian L. Roberts tells us a story for Armistice Day about a First World War find, complementing a piece by Bruce Mawdlsey reflecting on a pilot he knew during World War Two. Janet Williams finds enchantment in the Radnor Vale and Gail Standen offers a last reminisce.