Promoting an interest in the history of Owain Glyndwr, the Welsh Son of Prophecy, his life, times and society and his great Welsh War of Independence;also promoting causes today in Glyndwr's spirit and promoting the flying of the Glyndwr flag on Sept 16 Glyndwr Day.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Without doubt, the Gŵyl Owain Glyndŵr held annually on the land ajoining the Ancient Briton pub at Pen y Cae just down the road from Abercraf in the Upper Swansea valley is the best in Wales and can now claim its place as the longest running! It is organised by The Sleeping Giant Foundation who graft hard throughout the year to raise funds to organise this event and many others for the community. Top marks to the Sleeping Giant Foundation and do come along this year; you're guaranteed a great time - come rain or shine, and for anyone out there who's been considering organising an Owain Glyndŵr Festival but who hasn't, as of yet, got round to it, visiting this one is a must.
For further details go to http://www.sgfnet.co.uk/

On my last trip up to my homelands, I had cause to detour through Trawsfynydd village and was delighted to see a little Spar type community shop there called...yes...YSTORFA GLYNDŴR (See pic opposite).'Pobl Glyndŵr' in the Trawsfynydd area should certainly support this Welsh speaking business whenever possible.

On the same trip, I went to the Brondanw Arms in Llanfrothen (also known locally as "Y Ring") and found these Glyndŵr 4 Lion Shields painted on the wall of a stairway leading up to the bar. I know that this pub is already supported by Pobl Glyndŵr from all over Gwynedd but if there are Glyndŵr supporters, from anywhere on the globe, planning a visit to this beautiful location, don't forget to call in the 'Ring' for a meal and liquid refreshment. The paintings of the shields on the stairway are well worth seeing and you might get lucky and arrive whilst there's a Welsh 'gig' on. They are regularly organised in this pub.

Flying the Flag!
It was great to see the Glyndŵr 4 Lions Rampant flying atop the Pavilion at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol again this year. This magnificant embroidered gigantic flag is of course identical to the one presented by Llysgenhadaeth Glyndŵr to the Welsh Assembly Government in 2001 and both flags were sponsored by Welsh Castle Crafts, Caerdydd, who also, of course sponsored the 'Owain Glyndŵr Sword of the Nation, that's now in the safe keeping of Machynlleth Town Council and 'Dagr Corwen' that's now in the safe keeping of Corwen Council. The Eisteddfod Genedlaethol flag was presented to the Eisteddfod by Llysgenhadaeth Glyndŵr in 2002 and has caught both the eye and imagination of Eisteddfod goers - with many having declared to me that they feel a strong sense of Glyndŵr's presence on the field when they look up at it and it definately looks well settled and at home up there.

On the other hand, and in contrast with previous years, very few stallholders bothered to fly the flag on a pole outside their stalls this year - which was very dissapointing. They seem to think that the Owain Glyndŵr commemorative years are over now so, let's put the flag away for another hundred years but no, no, no! It is all about stating a 'national identity' and a 'sense of belonging to a nation 'Cenedl Glyndŵr and not Cenedl bloody Harry Tudor which is what the green and white on the other Welsh national flag stands for.

There shouldn't be a need to appeal to 'Pobl Glyndŵr' to fly the flag by whatever means possible on Dydd Glyndŵr - Sept 16th any more as more and more councils, businesses, shops, pubs and hotels and individuals are proudly doing so - and by doing so, are galvanising a 'sense of nation' but, all of you can assist in this task by encouraging councils and other establishments and individuals in your area to honour our Independence Day in the same way. he National Assembly does fly the flag on Dydd Glyndŵr and I, for one, can't wait for the Day when they take the John Bull rag down for good and replace it with the only flag that has ever represented Welsh Independence.

Their Historic Environment department Cadw, does now fly the flag annually on Dydd Glyndŵr at Caernarfon, Caerphilly, Conwy and Harlech castles and, from this year, will be adding Raglan to that list as well as Denbigh from next year. I have asked them about their intention for the following sites:

Biwmaris, Rhuddlan, Fflint, 'Holt', Y Waun, Ruthun, Dolbadarn, Dinefwr, Ewloe, Dryslwyn, Casgwent, Cydweli, Dolforwyn, Dolwyddelan.

The following (in blue) is Cadw's reply - in their officer's own words:

"I'll do my best to respond as not all the monuments are in the care of Cadw and some are still in the possession of Freeholders.

We have carried out a risk assessment at Beaumaris, as flag flying has to comply with the Health & Safety at Work Act, and also working at height regulations. Thers is no access to the flag pole at the moment, a combination of unsafe walkway and attacks from seagulls but we are working up a scheme that will allow safer access. This will mean adding to the safety railing, making up the walkway and then risk assessing it again. All pretty ardous but essential. I appreciate your supporters disappointment and we are using best endeavours to get a flag going.

Rhuddlan - unlikely, as we're bound to fly the Langford flag.

Flint - no flagpole and vandalism would be a problem [We've recently invested £60,000 worth of railings and grilles to protect the castle from damage]

Chirk National Trust

Hawarden - private ownership

Holt - Wrexham borough council

Ruthin - private ownership

Dolbadarn - no flag pole and unlikely, given the rural situation [all need planning permission and scheduled monument consent]

Dinefwr - as Dolbadarn

Ewloe - no flagpole and vandalism would be a problem

Dyslwyn - as Dolbadarn and Dinefwr.

Chepstow - no flags are there as there are no suitable points to anchor the poles

Kidwelly - no flagpole, anti social behaviour and vandalism is a problem

Dolforwyn - no flagpole and archaelogically sesnsitive

Dolwyddelan - as Dinefwr, Dolbadarn and Dryslwyn.

I agree that it would be good to see the standard flown wherever possible, but we are constrained by the archaelogical impact that it could have. The wind force on some of the less robust monuments could be very damaging indeed, and its a judgement in those case of presentation versus protection of the historic fabric.

Generally speaking, where we have a flagpole - where it is safely accessible both physically and weatherwise - we will endeavour to fly the standard.

Worth mentioning that we also have to follow the flag flying protocols of the Wag and the DCMS".

So, there you are, straight from the horse's mouth so to speak. We are not unreasonable at Llysgenhadaeth Glyndŵr and will accept, to a point, that safety measures must be undertaken to ensure a safe evironment for both the public and Cadw employees before the Glyndŵr four Lions Rampant can be raised annually on Dydd Glyndŵr but, surely, this safety procedure must also affect all other flags on castles in Cadw care.

In the case of many of these sites not having flagpoles, well, we have been requesting that Cadw flies the Glyndŵr Standard for the last nine yrs, how long does it take to erect a flag pole? And again, are there other flags flown at these sites? Surely, the Glyndŵr Standard should have priority above any other flag on Dydd Glyndŵr?

Risk of vandalism? This risk is applicable to all sites and hasn't stopped Cadw flying flags to date.

Archaeologically sensitive and a need to protect the historic fabric? Again, applies to all sites - but hasn't stopped Cadw from flying other flags.

I can only react to the above by stating that most "excuses" given are extremely weak and are unacceptable - and especially so now when WAG and its other departments Visit Wales and the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) are stressing the need to establish a 'Sense of Place' and 'Sense of Nation' in almost every document that's produced by them. Only last Thursday (6th August) Alun Ffred Jones, the Assembly Government's Heritage Minister and Plaid Cymru AM for Arfon had a feaure in the Western Mail headed "A Rich History that is much more than old buildings" He states in this feature:

" The historic environment creates our 'sense of place' and therefore our sense of shared belonging and of roots. Nurturing a living sense of what it is to be a citizen of Wales is a key priority for the Assembly Government and citizenship cannot be a theoretical concept, it is about emotional ties and imagined community, as much with previous generations as with ones to come.

Our objective is therefore to help all people in Wales to gain at least some sense of the historic environment.

These tales of political struggles, huge wealth and grinding povety need to be told"

Without having to repeat the history of which there are numerous books on by now, I can state that without any doubt Owain Glyndŵr is the biggest historic icon that Cymru has. His War of Independence touched evry part of Wales so, if Alun Ffred Jones and the WAG are serious about promoting and educating and creating a 'sense of place', sense of nation' and a 'sense of a national identity' then they should, in the first instance ensure that Dydd Owain Glyndŵr is established as a National Holiday. They should further ensure that the Glyndŵr Four Lions Rampant is flown on all sites in the keeping of Cadw on Dydd Glyndŵr. They should furthet work with Machynlleth Town Council to ensure that Owain Glyndŵr's Coronation and the establishment of the Parliament is seriously celebrated as a major festival and Civic Ceremony in the town at Mid-summer annually. Carrying out these most basic of Glyndŵr associated tasks would do more than anything else to forge a 'sense of nationhood' in the Cymric people and would illustrate to the world that we are an 'unique nation' with an 'unique history' which we are proud of .

The flying of the Glyndŵr flag has done a great deal in the last nine years to promote our history and, if only for the sake of colour in the historic landscape, the WAG, Visit Wales and Cadw should encourage it.

Alun Ffred Jones will release his strategic plan of action for the historic environment on September 1st and Llysgenhadaeth Glyndŵr will scrutinise it and will be monitoring the situation very carefully we would rather that WAG and Cadw work with us towards progress but, if Owain Glyndŵr or his standard are not shown the respect and dignity they deserve then we will know that WAG are not serious about forging this 'sense of place' 'sense of nationhood' and the re-enstating of a 'national identity' in the Cymric people and non-violent direct action will need to be considered to bring the issue to the attention of the world. But, everyone who reads this post can immediately take action to ensure that Tywysog Owain Glyndŵr is shown due respect and honoured by WAG and Cadw by drawing attention to the aforementioned issues with letters to the press and to WAG AND Cadw. You may also contact Llysgenhadaeth Glyndŵr at s.ifan@ntlworld.com to state your interest in participating in non-violent direct action should WAG and Cadw choose to ignore our requests.

Siân Ifan