Welsh Battlefield Bulletin. Haf 2005.
I will endeavour to publish and issue the Bulletin quarterly but please contributions would be very welcome. If this exercise attracts sufficient support then down the line, it could be basis of a Welsh Battlefield Web Site, So if interested in helping out with this initiative please do get in touch not least with those contributions. I can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
Welsh Battlefield Registration Campaign.
I'r Gad - The Campaign Continues.
We Can Only Wish:
First off, in this issue i want to firmly draw your attention to America and the excellent work being done there regards Battlefield preservation and protection by a number of organisations, official & otherwise. Of course ''European America" is a "young nation" so it desperately needs to record and acknowledge it's "Young History" and it certainly does this with some vigour. As example of voluntary bodies see via the web, such as CENTRAL VIRGINIA BATTLEFIELDS TRUST also visit the GETTYSBURG web site, the number of monuments & markers at this battle site is amazing with over 1000. However, what I want to firmly grab your attention to, is the work of their NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE and their AMERICAN BATTLEFIELD PROTECTION PROGRAMME, see in particular on this site CWSAC - CIVIL WAR SITES ADVISORY COMMISSION report 1993 (updated 1997). Please do read this and following contents on this site:
* PROGRAMME IN BRIEF.
*APPB PROJECT GRANTS.
*LAND & WATER CONSERVATION GRANTS. (Very interesting)
and not least pay attention to:
* WHAT YOU CAN DO. (See my appeal to you, to set up Battlefield Sites Friends Survey, this section will be good guide for you)
* CIVIL WAR SITES PRESERVATION ACT.
* CONSERVATION GUIDANCE.
Over the coming months I shall myself give this excellent web site much more attention with particular ref to various aforementioned ACTS, yes I have what the ASSEMBLY CAN DO - IN MIND. Anyone out there got any suggestions in this area? of course if I were to approach the Assembly with such proposals I really would need help on how best to draft such proposals in a suitable way, Yes HELP!.
Before, I leave America (on the web) please note that I have not forgotten native America (see previous material I have issued), I invite you once again to go and view via the web the new Native American Memorial at the site of the BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIG HORN. While still in North America I draw your attention to the Canadian WELCOME TO THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM BATTLEFIELD PARK Web site and see work of the CANADIAN NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE,
Having viewed the concerns and work of the American & Canadian National Parks Service, then I am encouraged to look in direction of our 'WELSH NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE' and see what they may do here in Cymru regards our WELSH BATTLEFIELDS PRESERVATION & PROTECTION.
A FORGOTTEN GRAND SLAM
FIVE WELSH VICTORIES - Not Many Know About?
* Brwydr Rhyd y Groes 1039.
* Brwydr Crug Mawr 1136.
* Brwydr Coed Lathen 1257.
* Brwydr Moel y Don 1282.
* Brwydr Bryn Glas 1402.
A simple timeline of Welsh Battles not only helps give us a grasp of important aspects of Welsh Military History but also would with a complete ''pen ultimate'' Cymric Regnal List also provide us with a useful time line of early Cymric Political History. (The latter regnal list I hope to have available by 2007). Thus, briefly below, the basics stepping stones of such time line:
* Brwydr Rhyd y Groes 1039. was a battle fought between Gruffydd ap Llywelyn of Gwynedd and a Mercian Army, this Cymric victory made way clear for Gruffydd to forge ahead to unify Cymru and become the one & only last King of a united Cymru. (also read up on the later important battle of Rhosgoch).
* Brwydr Crug Mawr 1136. was the ''mother of all battles'' that saved the Cymry from being totally over run by the Anglo - Normans, as result of this battle 'Pura Wallie' would remain a reality for another 150 years, time enough to consolidate Welsh Laws, culture and political customs upon which Owain Glyndwr would build his dream of a united Cymric Nation. (Also read up on the Battle of Llwchwr and the tragic battle of Maes Gwenllian, fought at Cydweli in same year). I have visited number of locations connected with this battle, will re write my notes sometime.
* Brwydr Coed Lathen 1257. Maredudd ap Rhys and Maredudd ab Owain allies of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd win an outstanding victory against the Anglo - Normans of the west during last days of May 1257. It was such victory which contributed greatly to the English King recognising Llywelyn III in 1267 as 'Tywysog Cymru'. (I have years ago walked the two potential battle sites, will have to dig out my notes and see if i can pioneer this as a war walk, see below)
* Brwydr Moel y Don 1282. The full account of the military campaigns of 1282 are largely over looked by our focusing attention on the death of Llywelynb III at Aberedw (Cilmeri wrong) and we should view the military situation 1282 - 83 as an whole. Not least we need to appreciate the well fought resistance by Cymric Forces in the North to thwart English advances on Gwynedd, this forced the English to attempt a flanking attack from Ynys Mon which ended in disaster at Moel y Don in Tachwedd of that year. Given the fact of this stubborn & couragous combat by the Cymry, if Llywelyn had not been assassinated could he have led the Cymru to eventual Military victory. Evidence suggests not but may be it could have been the case of ''For want of a nail'' (I will explain that again - see my work on Alternate History - available on request), that Llywelyn III may just have sneaked a victory? (also read up on the Battle of Maes Madog 1294 which comes about due to the consequences of 1282). I visited this site again last year but could not find the 1982 placed Cofiwn plaque?
* Brwydr Bryn Glas 1402. Surely by now, there is no real need for me to have to give even the briefest of accounts of this battle. I would expect after the BBC 2 programme on British Battle Fields, which included Bryn Glas that most patriots are aware of this Battle. Surely after all the work of Embassy Glyndwr your also more than a little aware of other ''Glyndwr battles'' as at Hyddgen 1401, Stalling Down 1403, Graig y dorth 1404 and the disasterous battle of Pwll Melyn 1405. I have visited this site on a number of occasions and in the mid 70's placed an 'home made wooden & hand painted plaque' there and had my 3 very young daughters unveil it. Have heard that very soon the site will at long last get a proper official plaque.
So there you are folks a Forgotten Grand Slam, I have deliberately left out locations and other details of these battles in hope your curiousity is suitably aroused to search out such information for your selves.
Other Cymric battles you may be interested in sussing out as follows:
Battles of Cerreg y Gwyddyl, Mynydd Carn, Gwaeterw, Bron yr Erw, Tal y Moelfre, Bron y garth (aka Crogen), again i have not dated or provided information so as to encourage you to go and do some research and study.
I have not forgotten that the Cymry fought amongst them selves as much as they fought "Everyone Else", this will be a subject for future feature in I'r Gad - WELSH BATTLEFIELDS BULLETIN.
If any of these aforementioned and other Battlefields are near you please take a little active interest in the preservation & protection by at minimum doing a basic survey on my behalf to help me build up a data base with photographs if possible or/and establish a local 'Battle Field Friends Survey Group' to make a start on working toward their eventual registration locally at first with your council and then hopefully one day nationally via Cadw or the Assembly.
What ever, a Welsh Battle all Welsh People should know about is the BATTLE/Massacre OF IRFON BRIDGE 11 DECEMBER 1282 (725th anniversary in 2007) that would compare with England's BATTLE OF HASTINGS 1066. Suggest you do your own ''Vox Pop'' around and about in your own community and see how many People (English or Welsh) know of either? I will be interested in the results, inc how much individuals know other than getting the year in which the battle was fought correct.
In above connection I would like to draw your attention to the following recently issued statement complaining
that English School children know little about English Heroes and know more about other nations history (It is really very illuminating what Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage has to say, too much for me to copy out here, see report in the Sunday Telegraph 8 May 2005 via the web). Now aint that interesting, so what of Welsh School children? other interesting facts that came up in the article: Alf Wilkinson, the head of the Historical Association agreed as did Andrew Roberts, a military historian who has just chaired a Conservative Party advisory panel on history teaching, which is to report soon.
If enough of you were to volunteer to aid & assist, I would consider organising a more detailed ''out & about'' in public place as a town centre survey on public knowledge of our history with regards to sex & age, English & Cymraeg speaking. Such survey would of course have to be carried out in a in verity of urban & rural locations. Regards questions & any thing else of relevance, all suggestions welcome. I have tried in the past to get the ''Media in Cymru'' to do something along these lines but none were interested, neither was Fforwm Hanes Cymru, which surprised me.
Alternate History - A chance to win battles we lost?
OK! enough of the heavy stuff, how's about some light reading and creativity, well? not always the case. Read Robert Sobels book: 'For want of a nail', if Burgoyne had won at the battle of Saratoga. American War of Independence would have had a totally different out come, this book is written as if a students heavy duty text book, inc footnotes and bibliography all fictional. If you did not know any American History at all, for a while you could be fooled until you reached a time period you had some familiarity with. Many Alternate History works are based on the outcome of a battle as 'Bring the Jubilee' (Gettysburg) and 'Pavane' (Spanish Armada). There is almost 'Zilch' in this connection concerning Cymru, so why not give it a go. Write a short piece on theme of a Welsh Battle as an alternate turning point in the history of Cymru, my suggested choice would be the Battle of Mynydd Carn 1081. This battle was in the 11th century of as much great significance as was Hastings toEngland, there are other battles you could of course choose as Battle of Crug Mawr 1136 or why not focus on Owain Glyndwr's Invasion of England (Woodbury Hill or Bust!) in late August of 1405. I have been attempting with out much success (again! I do not seem to be a very good "lobbyist") to interest "Welsh Literature Bodies" etc to sponsor a writing competition on this theme, for details contact & request info on my endeavours in this area. For stacks of info on Alternate History just do a web search.
WAR WALKS WALES.
See BBC MID WALES WEB SITE For Battle Of Hyddgen War Walk pioneered by John Morgan of Aberystwyth Ramblers, read before going Ian Flemings (not he of 007) book: The Battle of Hyddgen, Glyndwr's first victory, Gwasg Lolfa. If any one pioneers any more Welsh War Walks please let me know send details for this Bulletin. Diolch! Not quite a War Walk, Phil Yaxley of Corwen has pioneered an Owain Glyndwr trail from Sycharth to Glyndyfrdwy. In 1982, I was much younger and fitter and with one other and a young lad walked some 21 miles from Cilmeri to Abaty Cwm Hir, all accross rough country, that was really pioneering. Any one up for doing it again in 2007 to mark 600th anniversary of 1282? Another interesting walk with some connection to the Battle of Usk 1405 is the trail from Penrhys to Llantarnam, written up my Madeline Grey (see Web 'Penrhys Pilgrimage'). Who can tell me what the connection is with aforementioned battle. No prizes i am afraid.
Over due thank you.
To Major Martin Everett, Customer Service Manager of the Regimental Museum of the Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot) for replying to my letter and material sent with very welcome usefully detailed reply providing me with advice and information. Further thank you for enclosing photocopy of article: Appendix of book: Famous Welsh Battles by Phillip Warner, most useful references. I had written to the curators of Military Museums in Wales that they may wish to prompt into existence a body similar to that which exists in Ireland: The Military Heritage of Ireland Trust, this body concerns itself with Irish Military History at home & abroad from ancient to modern times. I would have thought that some thing similar for Welsh Military History would compliment work of a Welsh Battlefield Trust but as of yet no move forward in this direction either.
PS: Yes! by now you should know it is 'BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR', Nelson and all that. I do not begrudge all this getting the attention it deserves but i am more than a little annoyed upon seeing just how much Governmental & other backing & heavy duty financing all this is getting through out Britain. IT REALLY IS MASSIVE, complete with endless books, Commemorative Coins & Stamps etc, etc, etc. The Comparison with the absolutely total disinterest in Welsh History in Cymru by similar bodies; Assembly, CADW & WTB also including local authorities etc - SHOULD NOT BE LOST ON YOU OK! Just sit back now for the rest of the year and watch how much attention TRAFALGAR, NELSON & 1805 GET COMPARED TO OWAIN GLYNDWR, PARLIAMENT & CORONATION RE 1404 - 2004 Or how much attention WELSH BATTLES - DO NOT GET?. However, we only have ourselves to blame.
Letters! Letters! Letters! Letters! Letters! Letters!
If you do nothing else to support the Welsh Battlefield Campaign, do at the very least write a few letters in support to bodies such as Cadw & RCAHMW, MEP's, MP's & AM's also to the Media, not least your local media. EVERY BIT HELPS!
Still no reply from the WTB - see last bulletin.
MUST HAVE BOOK.
The Welsh Wars of Independence by David More, Tempus Books.
A new book on the Battle of Azincourt actually mentions that it was a 'Anglo - Welsh Army' that fought the French not as usually stated, an "English Army".
That's it folks, please remember your contributions very welcome, after reading this Bulletin do rush to your P.C and do a "Google Search" for 'BATTLEFIELDS' save in favourites and the 'World of Battlefields History' will be there for you to dip into from time to time. Hopefully then like i you will become amazed how much other countries/peoples are concerned about their Military History & Battlefields but how we - JUST IGNORE, well not every one. Some good news BATTLE OF USK PLAQUE being unveiled in early JULY & I will "register" the Battlefield the very same day. For further information. you know where to find me.
DO PASS ON THIS BULLETIN TO OTHERS WHOM MAY BE INTERESTED.