The Gentleman Hood – first part of the history of Murray the Hump, notorious accountant for Al Capone. Tyler Keevil
Walking the Van. Brian Poole
The Beginning of Education in Llanidloes. E Ronald Morris
Trefeglwys Engineers Reverend Malcolm Tudor
The Origins of Llanidloes Dr. David Stephenson
Eiluned Lewis Reginald Massey
Llandrindod Wells – An Exceptionally Fashionable Town Peter Dean
Jonathan Sleigh – A Tribute Alan Sillitoe
The Parthenon of Wales Gay Roberts
The Powis Family Album Gay Roberts
Welsh Tradition Tune Club Gary Northeast
The Lamplighter Norma Allen
The Day It Happened August Mullen
The Case of the Lingo Larceny Matt Maus
Pen Cambria Issue 2 Editorial by Gay Roberts
Welcome to PenCambria No.2 and before I go any further, my very grateful thanks are long overdue to everyone who helped me get the first issue off the ground and who are still supporting on its second outing as well as all our new contributors and distributors.
I am very pleased with the response to PenCambria No.1. It has been available in shops in Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire since April. We also have eight new contributors to this issue, I am delighted to say, as well as four from last time. There would have been five but Nick Venti’s findings on General Valentine Jones will be published in the PenCambria No. 3.
This issue has quite a different flavour from the last one. As part of our oral history, we have a very entertaining piece about the hotels of Llandrindod Wells and some of the town’s colourful characters as told to me in conversation with Peter Dean, whose family has lived in the area for 400 years.
Teachers are perhaps Wales greatest export and education came very early to Mid Wales, albeit a religious one first of all. Ronald Morris, who as so many of you know is an absolute gold mine of information about Mid Wales and Llanidloes in particular, has written a most informative piece about the beginnings of education in the town in the 19th century.
Tyler Keevil has turned from fiction to fact for this issue and has been researching Murray the Hump. In the first of a four-part series he begins to dish the dirt on one of Mid Wales’ most notorious characters.
The Arwystli Society was treated to a very enjoyable talk by Brian Poole on the Van Railway and he has described a walk he took along the old railway track from the Van mines to Caersws in the process of updating a book on the subject in which he has collaborated.
From Trefegwlys to Sardinia, it is extraordinary how Mid Walians have brought the benefits of technology to the some of the most remote areas of the world. Malcolm Tudor gives us a glimpse of one such in the person of Benjamin Piercy,
A writer from Newtown who was compared with Jane Austen thirty years ago but who now all but forgotten in her home area, Eiluned Lewis was rediscovered by Reginald Massey who reminds us of just how important a writer she was and of the company she kept.
In our first edition, Jonathan Sleigh gave us a very moving and much appreciated account of his experience as a cancer patient. This was to be the first of two, maybe several episodes of the progress of his recovery. Unfortunately, he lost his battle with this scourge of our time and died at the end of April. His friend Alan Sillitoe (no, not THAT Alan Sillitoe) has very kindly sent me a copy of the tribute he paid at Jonathan’s funeral service and gives us an insight into the life of this man who had such a variety of jobs and interests and gave so much of himself to his friends and his family. The last time I saw Jonathan, he suggested that we might have a series of articles on people who had moved into Mid Wales and stayed here. I think this was a series he himself was planning to write. I would like to think that this portrait of him might be the first of such a series.
I have been out and about on guided tours of the paintings and statues of Powys Castle and, with the Arwystli Society, of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and you can read all about these as well.
The folk music tradition is alive and well in Mid Wales and Gary Northeast tells us about the tune club he formed in Llanfyllin last year and invites anyone who is interested to go along.
We have an update on Powys Archives from the manager Catherine Richards.
The Dragon’s Crypt is full of goodies this month with a charming but slightly edgy story that will have your heart in your mouth from Norma Allen, a tale of the heart in the classic Edgar Allen Poe tradition from August Mullen, and another philological tour de force from Matt Maus that will having you reaching for your dictionary of English grammar. Play it again, Matt.
Finally, the pictures filling in the spaces between the articles are all from the recent Work Together exhibition of painting, photography and sculpture at the Minerva Arts Centre in Llanidloes.