03 May 2007

I'r Gad - WBfC: Needs Your Help ok!

I first published this statement below in 2005 on the status quo regards my I'r Gad- WBfC for the preservation, protection and promotion of ‘Welsh Battle Fields’. I was opptimistic then that various ''bodies'' I had approached were going to actually ''do something''. However, two years down the road I have not heard anything else or witnessed any moves fast forward on the matter of my concern. This should be your grave concern too, so now I am going to appeal to you directly, to yourselves do something to push things really fast forward. Yes! another 'Writing Campaign' but this time be a bit more radical in the approach plus be pro-active by actually seeing your local councillor, AMs and MPs et al, whomsoever can ''shake and move'' things up. Please patriots, make this our ''Summer of Discontent'' by getting a bit militant about this matter, or nothing will get done - will it? I'r Gad! means just that ok! TO BATTLE! today not tomorrow?
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A full report will be poosted in parts over the coming months plus other related material that may be of interest. Having spent some time researching the ‘status quo’ situation regards Welsh Battlefields, I can now state that I am in a position to bring the passive side of the campaign to a conclusion and with your support get a bit more pro-active. First and foremost however, I must assert that our three main objectives remain and are as follows:
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1. An urgent need to establish a ‘Welsh Battle Field Trust’; but I am of the opinion now that this should be in the main the responsibility of one or a number of the following, possibly, as a joint effort:

· CADW.
· RCAHMW.
· The Four Welsh Archaeological Trusts.
· UCW Colleges Medieval History Departments.
· Council of Welsh Museums.
· Representatives of Military Museums in Wales.

Whatever ''body/ies'' assumes responsibility could then, in time, work with representatives of other bodies as, for example, the ‘Welsh Tourist Board’ and it’s ‘regional Tourism Partnerships’ and other ‘bodies’ that may have an interest in having a stake in such a development. Not least of these invited to participate would be societies and groups that have interest in Welsh Military History which would include ‘Medieval Re – Enactment Societies and groups that are, at present, engaged in commemorative and memorialising work and who, up to now, have ''carried the torch'' in respect to encouraging greater public interest in Welsh Battlefields and Military History.
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Hopefully, in time, a means would be found for allowing members of the general public to be 'associate members' of such a Welsh Battlefield Trust’.
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I propose that the first step towards the establishment of a 'WBfT' would be the holding of a ‘Welsh Battlefield Conference’ to discuss, thoroughly, matters regards the establishment of such a ‘Trust’. I also consider that it would be in the best interest of a successful endeavour if one - or all of the aforementioned took responsibility for such business. However, ''Time and tide waits for no man'' and as there is some urgency in regards to this business, I shall continue to pursue the above and the following by seeking, at minimum, the establishment of a ‘Welsh Battlefield Research Group’ that will have a remit to do site visits (as outlined in the main document) and keep this issue active until the above proposal is taken up and advanced.
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2. The Campaign for a ‘Welsh Battlefield Register’ will continue but will do so now in support of the work being carried out by the RCAHMW, satisfied by assurances by they and the O.S. that the matter of 'Welsh Battlefields' are not being ignored but that the inclusion of marking more 'Welsh Battlefields' will be carefully considered and carried out as and when appropriate and possible to do so. Further, I am most appreciative of the fact that CADW has confirmed that it, as a body, is most actively willing to consider, at some time in the future, being responsible for a ‘Welsh Battlefield Register’. They have also informed me that they have taken steps already to put in motion appraisal of such a project. Although, at the moment, the ''ball is in the court'' of the RCAHMW’. However, CADW has suggested that in lieu of a ‘WBR’ it may be possible to, at least, publish a ‘List of Welsh Battlefields’ to provide ‘Local Planning Authorities’ with such which could also be made available to the general public; such would at least allow then for a more efficient ''Battlesite Watch'' to be carried out.
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This is wonderful news - and I am looking forward to the day when CADW may, at last, publish a ‘Welsh Battlefield Register’ and should it be produced as well as their ‘Historic Landscapes’ Brochure and associated local brochures then, indeed, we will have something very worthwhile. Such would be of immense value to not only the preservation, protection and promotion of Welsh Battlefields but also as a means of greatly encouraging Welsh people to have more interest in a history that is on their own door step. Also, of course, such would greatly promote Wales and be of use to tourism and thus the WTB should be encouraged to support all efforts to fulfil such an objective.
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3. Campaign for the National Assembly of Wales to enact Legislation for the Preservation, Protection and Promotion of Welsh Battlefields. In this instance, ‘promotion’ in particular means ensuring that ‘Welsh Military History’ as well as knowledge of Welsh Battlefields are on the Educational Agenda of Wales. Regards this Campaign, it will, of course, be calling on N.A.W. AM’s to support and advance the said proposal to its successful conclusion. To such ends, this campaign will attempt, by various means, to mobilise various interest groups and the general public to support fully. Leaders of all Assembly Political Parties have been requested to support campaign for a ‘Welsh Battlefield Register’.
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Concerns:
Both the RCHAMW and CADW however, pose the problems of search and survey of ‘Welsh Battle Sites’ having to being properly carried out and correctly recorded based on precise historical and other evidence; this is, in part, to also satisfy the requirements of the O.S. I well understand and essentially accept the case made by these agencies in respect of such matters. but feel its important to point out that, in Scotland, ‘Historic Scotland’ a body already responsible for actively working towards a Scottish Battlefield Register’ along with other bodies, have come to the opinion that where exact sites cannot be located then a broad area of recognised battle location will be acceptable. I hope that the aforementioned ''Welsh Bodies'' will consider the same practicalities. It is interesting to note, that a ‘Scottish Battlefield Register’ intends to include ‘important skirmishes’, in a Welsh context I would draw attention to such event as that of Coed Grwyne April 1136. (See Battles of Llwchwr, Cydweli and Crug Mawr 1136).
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NB: This first decade of the second millennium witnesses a number of anniversaries connected with Owain Glynd┼Ár Battlefields, of which only the ‘Battle of Bryn Glas’ is marked on a map - and even though the ‘Battle of Hyddgen’ has long been memorialised by a ‘Cofiwn’ memorial’, it is not marked on a map. 2005 will mark the 600th Anniversaries of the ''Bloody Spring'' Military offensive with the battles of ‘Grosmont’ and ‘Pwll Melyn’. These are battle sites of major importance; it would be very welcome - and pleasing, if the aforementioned bodies could give these significant battle sites some priority attention so they, themselves, could be seen to be marking these anniversaries.
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Should you require further information on these matters please do contact myself at gethin.apgruffyd@ntl.world.com and if you are aware of others that may have an interest, please do inform of above and now, of this blog too.
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Yn Ffyddlon.
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G.Gruffydd.
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NB: See recently published ‘Heritage Counts’ Published by ‘English Heritage’.