kimkat0132e Wales And Her Language Considered From A Historical, Educational And Social Standpoint
John E. Southall. 149 Dock Street, Newport, Mon. 1892.

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Wales And Her Language Considered From A Historical, Educational And Social Standpoint...
John E. Southall. 149 Dock Street, Newport, Mon. 1892.



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The history of Wales proper from the point of view we are now considering it, might be said to begin with the formation of Offa's Dyke, in that is to say, whereas previously we could scarcely give any limits to the extent of the language, we can now afford pretty much to confine our attention to the limits of this Dyke, although I have no doubt that communities of Welsh speaking people were to be found in England, outside Devon and Cornwall for centuries afterwards.

I incline to think that beyond perhaps a few years, the effects of the Dyke in restraining attacks of Welshmen was comparatively small and that the penalty attached to a Welshman being found on the other side could not be strictly enforced, otherwise how is it we find native Welsh spoken East of the Dyke to the present day in Shropshire and also that this was the case some sixty years ago in Herefordshire?

How is it too, that only a century after Offa's time a learned Welshman, Asser, was attendant at King Alfred's court for six months in the year, though his property lay in West Wales?

Offa's Dyke was completed about the year 780 and the Welsh language was spoken right up to the edge of it, from Chepstow to Chester with little or no absolute break for no less than 900 years, except that the contemporaneous use of English was current along the greater distance of it during the





latter portion of that period; but throughout the middle ages, the area of spoken Welsh in Wales and the Borders must have been remarkably constant.

Circumstances, however, were imminent which affected Wales, and ultimately modified her future history, as they did that of her Saxon neighbours. The Northmen who ravaged the East of England, carrying terror and desolation along with them, did not spare the West coast, and left permanent relics of their presence in various names on or near it, as the Nash (waes = nose of land) in Monmouthshire, and also in Glamorgan; the Holms islands, Lundy, the Skerries, and the important port of Swansea — the ea representing the Norse ei for island, while further up we get VoY^dinorwic, near the Bangor slate quarries (the Norwegians' port); the Orme's Head, and Bardset/ Island, also Caldy Island in Pembrokeshire. Swansea is still called by the Welsh Abertawy, in preference to the appellation given it by foreigners. Compare also Anglesea — W., Ynys Mon.

A more remarkable instance of the persistence of Welsh names occurs in Herefordshire where a monastery was founded in 660 by Merewald, King of Mercia, a Saxon — Ealfrid being the first Abbot. In the 10th century, however, the monks were supplanted by nuns, but about the time of William the Conqueror, the nunnery ceased and the monastery was restored; though the name Leofrici Monasterium evidently connects with the days when Leofric, a Saxon general under King Canute, repaired the building, with a great “bravery of gold and silver."

This monastery was a cell of the Abbot of Reading, and for many centuries, English influences must have been prevalent in the district, as the names of the surroimding villages are mostly Saxon, and were so, even at the advent of the Conqueror.





Notwithstanding these cogent facts, the Welsh name Llanllieni (llieni = nuns), referring to the nunnery, still survives. The writer has heard an old Radnorshire woman, hailing from Abbey Cwmhir, near Rhayader, repeat the doggerel which she had heard many years before: —


“How many miles, how many

Is it from Leominster to Llanllieni?”


and he is assured that Leominster is still known by some Welsh people as Llanllieni. Those were days in which a well-to-do woman who could have afforded to have ridden, walked, 40 miles from near Llanidloes into Leominster butter fair, and sold her butter the same day; “and now," said my old friend almost indignantly, "you take a train to go to Hereford," — thirteen miles.

Why the Welsh refused to recognize the 11th century monastery, and only spoke of the nunnery when they referred to the town is not clear, unless it is, that by the time the monastery was well established they entered the town as strangers, speaking a foreign language, and did not wish to trouble themselves about any new-fangled name coined by the Saxons.

After the Northmen had come and gone, or else settled down and had become incorporated with the people, a great Englishman — no less a man than Kmg Harold — pitched his tent, in the shape of a hunting lodge, in a corner of Wales, at Portskewett (Porth Ysgewin), near the "Moors" (the Morfa) of Monmouthshire, which Roman skill had in time past reclaimed by a sea wall, remains of which exist to the present day, more or less entire. Traces of his settlement of the low land, may not, improbably, be found in the Saxon names of Whitson, Redwick, Goldcliff, and Itton.

King Harold's day was short; and with his fall came the subjugation of the Saxons; for 300 years it was the





Frainc or Norddmein* rather than the Saeson, whom the Cymry feared: then was ushered in the era of huge castles, with gloomy vaults, where the ray of hope scarcely entered, while the common people toiled on in unrequited serfdom.

Wales was, at this period, in far too weak and divided a state to offer much permanent resistance to these Norman spoilers, who erected stronghold after stronghold all along the eastern borders and the southern coast of Wales.

Directly, however, the Norman rule did not much affect the language of the people, but it was the means of extirpating the Welsh language from two districts, viz.. South Pembrokeshire, and Gower near Swansea, by the introduction of Flemish Colonies. Whether or no the populations there had been very much reduced through the Norse invasions, I am not able to decide.

How far the Welsh flannel trade is originally due to Flemish industry I will not attempt to decide; but in the case of family names ending in kin the Flemings have left lasting traces, as the frequently recurring Watkins, Jenkins, Hopkins, will testify. Not that the holders of these names necessarily have a drop of Flemish blood in their veins, but such became current in Wales, people adopted them for their children, and then, in the third generation, a Robert ap Siencyn ap Einion Ddu would, if he lived in the time when patronymics were becoming fixed, be simply known as Robert Jenkins.

Ivor James, the Registrar of the South Wales University

*Llywarch Brj'dydd y moch, writing on Llewelyn ap lorwerth, says, — “Ai gwell Franc na ffrawdus Gymro." (Is a Norman better than a conquering Cymro.) Einion Gwgan, about 1244: —

" Golud mawr ystrud ysgryd Norddmein.'' (Great was our happiness to put the Normans to lear and consternation.) Quoted in “Specimens of Ancient Welsh Poetry," by leuan P. Hir, Pryse's Edition.





College at Cardiff, contests the fact that these districts were mainly settled by Flemings: the evidence adduced by him in support of his view is partly based on the absence of Flemish family names there. He has overlooked the force of the above mentioned fact, and even if not, the objection should not carry great weight as many family names are of comparatively recent origin, even in England; and in Welsh Wales very few of the family names can be older than the 16th century, when the first name of a father came to be borne by his son as a surname, and then by his descendants in perpetuity; and when it also happened that custom ran in the direction of such first names being from a few of English, Norman or Hebrew, rather than of national origin, the choice accordingly admitted of but little variation, hence great confusion has resulted to the present day.

Thus, we may suppose, that a Griffith ap Conan had a son in the 16th century whom he named — in deference to prevailing ideas— John; this John ap Griffith's son was named Risiart; this Risiart ap John would be called Richard Jones; and thus, Jones be established as a family name; so with the Bdwardses, the Davies, the Robertses, the Jameses; ap Harry and ap Huw becoming Parry and Pugh.

Sometimes, however, family names were adopted which entirely broke the ancestral connection, for instance. Dean Gabriel Goodman, of Westminster, was a Welshman, who, if I am not mistaken, assumed the name Goodman. An ancestor of the Mostyn family assumed that name at the suggestion of Roland Lee, Bishop of Lichfield, of whom we shall hear later on. Some names of Welsh origin but scarcely to be met with in Wales, are found in England, e.g., WaJmyn, in Ross, Herefordshire, Oough, CraMock, Camm, Says, &c. The ancestors of these people must have hved away from Wales when this casting-olf of vernacular names went on.





Whether Wales will be satisfied as population increases, to allow such a poverty of family names to continue, I do not know: one well-known Welshman — living at Manchester — R. J. Derfel has made a move against it by adopting the name Derfel for his family instead of Jones. Though no movement of any magnitude in this direction has set in, a somewhat curious custom prevails of individuals bearing three names, the second a distinctively Welsh one, and being generally known by the second and third name, sometimes the initial only of the first name being mentioned. Thus we have Cynddylan, Einion, Ossian, lUtyd, Tudor, Ceiriog, Gwynfe, Teganwy, prefixed to more or less common surnames. For instance, John Ceiriog Hughes — always known in bardic circles as Ceiriog — would, if he had been a lawyer, or doctor, and not an author, have probably signed himself J. Ceiriog Hughes. Among writers the difficulty is almost entirely removed by the adoption of noms de plume (enwau harddonol).

In England, it is the exception rather than the rule to speak of a standard author by an assumed name, or for the latter to exist; in Wales, authors are frequently better known in the latter way, even when there is no attempt to hide the personality. Few people in Wales talk of William Rees, or William Tliomas, but many of “Gwilym Hiraethog” and “Islwyn": there are, however, exceptions-^Goronwy Owain's name is sufficiently poetic and distinctive by itself, and was the name given him at birth.

In early times there was a considerable variety of personal names in Wales; in the appendix I give a list of some which have been preserved to us in the names of places; many of their possessors were Christians of the fifth or sixth centuries; had I also included personal names, handed down in historical documents, the number might have been indefinitely enlarged.

One difficulty which Welsh parents would doubtless find in





re-introducing them is, that their English neighbours would be likely to mangle the sounds of the double letters; and ignore the u sound of the y. There are, however, some in the list which might, with advantage, be used, even though the sounds be not English.

Several of the old Saxon names of men and women are now extinct, as Ethelwolf, Athelstan, Edwy, Kenelm, Leofwin, Ella, Edgiva; a larger proportion, however, than in the case of Welsh ones have survived, such as Alfred, Edward, Egbert, Harold, Margaret, Winifred; besides this there appears to be a tendency to revive some previously extinct; why should not the Cymry do the same?

I have mentioned above that the Norman Conquest did not greatly affect the language of the people in Wales. It was, however, the means of introducing into it many warlike terms and words used in legal administration. As regards English itself, or to speak more correctly a late form of Saxon, and its social and literary status, the effect was much more marked, for we must recollect that during most of the time under review, it was a despised, down-trodden language. Eight hundred years ago it had ceased to be the Court language or the language of legal affairs, and probably many of the nobles were unable to hold a conversation in it. We know that Henry II. could not, nor possibly Edward II.

Two hundred years later when the old enmity between English and Normans had pretty much passed, the chance for English to become the permanent tongue of the land appeared even smaller; Norman French was considered the language of education and culture and not simply a badge of political superiority.

In the schools English was ignored much as the education department affected until recently to ignore the existence of Welsh: children had to construe in French,





and perhaps less than ever was the English language written.

In the reign of Edward I. Acts of Parliament and public letters were written in French, it was not till 1385 that children at school began to construe in English, and not before the reign of Henry VI. or nearly four hundred years after the Conquest, was French disused for legal proceedings. Students of law books may still find in the Norman French terms used there, relics of the degradation of English.

There are still parts of the British Isles where a stranger finds that English is no longer the Imperial language; where the supremacy of the same language which the haughty Normans spoke is maintained.

Why is French allowed to be legal language of the Channel Islands while Welsh is still out of court in Wales?

Is it because Englishmen now have any more love to French than to Welsh? No.

The reason is that, when utility demanded the abolition of French in England, the French speaking population of those islands were allowed to retain their native French in legal proceedings, because they had precedent and the lingering respect for Norman customs in their favour: but in the case of Wales, whatever precedent, there may have been in Plantagenet times, under semi-independent governors, it was evidently feared later on, that there would be an element introduced antagonistic to the stability of the government by permitting its use in the law courts.

Robert of Gloucester (strangely anticipating John Edwards of 1651) says about this period: "There is no nation that holdeth not to its kindly* speech save England only." It is thought probable that the French wars of Richard III. turned the

*Kindly here means native.





scale and encouraged the use of English, which to this day contains an almost unparalleled proportion of words of extraneous origin, and as the historian Freeman remarks, has lost the power [which Welsh still possesses] of forming new compound words from the original stock, which power he regards as the "test of a really living language."

This shews us that the linguistic condition of Wales has been to some extent anticipated in the past history of England and the fact that Welsh is scarcely allowed to enter a course of secular education, further than it can be used as an instrument to learn English, is no argument against its inherent worth or that it should not receive a larger meed of recognition.

At the close of the fifteenth century, I take the boundary of spoken Welsh to have embraced the whole country west of Offa's Dyke, with the exception of South Pembroke and Gower, and perhaps a district near Chepstow, and to have included the whole, or nearly all Herefordshire South of the Wye, some portions of the Forest of Dean, Clun Forest in Shropshire and the country west of Shrewsbury. We may have to except some small portion of North Herefordshire, west of the Dyke.

The great baronial families had to some extent become absorbed in the Welsh speaking populations; and the Scudamores of South Herefordshire were pretty certainly Welsh speaking; so were the Herberts of Raglan, who amassed a large Welsh library; probably also the Turbervilles of Glamorganshire, the Aubres of Breconshire and possibly the Pulestons of North Wales; other leading families were themselves of directly Welsh descent, such as the Morgans of Tredegar, and the Wynns of Gvi^dir.

It was a frequent occurrence for the sons of Norman barons to marry into Welsh families, even the Mortimers did this,





hence it would easily happen that these descendants would be Welsh speaking. For instance* — Nest, daughter of Trahaern ap Caradog, married Bernard de Newmarch; Nest, daughter of lestyn ap Gwrgant, married Robert Fitz Hamon. Margaret, daughter of Llewelyn ap lorwerth, married John de Breos. On the other side, Dafydd ap Owain Gwynedd married a daughter of Henry II. Llewelyn ap lorwerth — Joan, a sister of King John; and Llewelyn ap Grufiydd — EHnor de Montfort, while Rhys Gryg married the daughter of Earl Clare. Later on, than the preceding. Sir W. Scudamore married a daughter of Owain Glyndwr. It was at Kentchurch ill Herefordshire, the seat of the Scudamores, that Sion Kent, the Monk bard of the 15th century, found protection in those troublous times; he was a learned man, and, even up to this nineteenth century, a marvellous, traditional character has been given him among the peasantry of Gwent. Two other reasons might be adduced for this Cymricizing tendency — One was the state of semi-independence in which some of the leading men liked to remain, hence their attachment was naturally lessened to the Court language, which was, as we have seen French for some centuries.

Another, was the influence of the Arthurian romances and the story of the Trojans being the ancestors of the British, which latter, though without a shadow of a foundation, was sufficiently generally believed, to be adduced as evidence of the high birth of Henry VII. and it is not surprising to find L. Glyn Cothi writing of him:

Bvo yw'r atteg hir o Vrutus

Er wedi Selyf o waed Silius

O ddynion Troia Iwyddianes vonedd

Ac ais G-wynedd ar ysganus.t

*See "Hanes Llenyddiaeth Gymreig," page 279.


#See translation next page.





This process of absorption into Welsh nationality was undoubtedly somewhat similar to that which took place in Ireland during the same period, and it proceeded there to such an extent, that the English Government was aroused to the danger of the Anglo Norman families becoming more Irish than the Irish themselves; so by the statutes of Kilkenny (Edward III. circ 1362), marriage with an Irish woman was declared high treason.

Linguistically, this fact is worth some consideration: Celtic languages have shewn in the past a much greater power of vitality than Scandinavian ones. Within a few generations after the settlement of the Northmen in Normandy, their language was unknown there and they had become French speaking; perhaps the same thing could be said of Sicily.

In the Isle of Man where Norse or Scandinavian existed side by side with the Manx, it became extinct centuries ago; in the Orkneys it also died out, long before the age of steam had time to interfere.

After the final conquest of Wales in 1283, there was no effort made to destroy the distinctive nationality of the people; in fact, various different laws and customs were retained and nothing like the statutes of Kilkenny was put in force; but the provision for even-handed justice must have been weak.

The oppression of one of the border lords at Ruthin— probably one who had not been "Cymricized," drew forth reprisals from Owain Glyndwr, which eventually, involved nearly the whole of the marches from the Dee to the Wye; and

[TRANSLATION]. # He is the great (long, literally) support descended from Brutus,

Though after Selyf from the blood of Silius,

From the men of Troy of successful origin,

And from the ribs of Gwynedd on his wanderings.





the House of Commons in 1431, when requesting that the forfeiture of his lands might be enforced, declared that had he been successful, the English tongue would have wholly and for evermore perished.

In consequence of this outbreak, and as early in its course as 1401, Parliament passed ordinances, calculated to promote in an eminent degree the evil they were directed against, or, at least, to inspire hatred of England, and discord among neighbours.

Among these provisions, after allowing an Englishman sued by a Welshman to be sued only in England, it disenfranchised all Englishmen married to Welsh women; no victuals or ammunition might be imported into Wales except by permission of the King and his Council; the Welsh were forbidden to keep their children at learning, or apprentice them to any occupation in any town or borough in the realm.

How far these merciless ordinances were actually carried out, I have been unable to ascertain, and as Wales was lost to English law for some years subsequently, they cannot have had much immediate effect beyond that of calling the Welsh from the English Universities or towns, whither they had gone for study or for purposes of trade, to enlist in the cause of Glyndwr, who is reputed to have died at Monnington, Herefordshire, shortly before the battle of Agincourt.

Among the Welshmen engaged there under Henry V., was Owen Tudor, son of Meredith ap Tudor, and a descendant of Prince Llewelyn, who was subsequently attached to the English Court,

Here he gained the affections of Catherine de Valois, Henry Vs. widow shortly after death of the latter, and in 1428 was married to her, thus becoming the son-in-law of Charles VI. of France, Owain Glyndwr's former ally.

We can scarcely imagine an EngHsh ,Queen-dowager





marrying a representative of the Welsh royal line, and a scion of the Welsh nobihty, which had been a few years before bitterly opposed to the Enghsh crown and almost everything English. Nor was it so, a peaceful domestic union of a Welshman with a Frenchwoman did more to bring jibout the final reception of Wales on equal terms into the councils of England, and to remove the sores of centuries, than the ebullitions of national hatred and the devastations of fire and sword had done in generations past.

Two sons were bom of the marriage, Edward who was made Earl of Richmond, and Jasper who played an important part in the Wars of the Roses. Edward married Margaret Beaufort, heiress of the Lancastrian line of Plantagenets and died about 1456, leaving one son Henry, Earl of Eichmond, who after the battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461, and the subsequent execution of his grandfather Owen Tudor by the Yorkists, was imprisoned by order of Edward IV. On the accession of Henry VI. to temporary power in 1470 he was released and escaped to France, after recei\ang we may reasonably beheve, a Cymric education at his place of confinement with the Herberts of Raglan, or at Usk, where, also, Edward IV. and Richard III. passed part of their time. For fourteen yeara, Henry, with his uncle Jasper, appears to have found it necessary to be absent fi"om England, till seizing his opportunity in the summer of 1485, during the unpopular reign of Richard III., and with the assistance of Rhys ap Thomas, Governor of South Wales, Evan Morgan, ancestor of the present Tredegar family and other Cambrian leaders, they effected a landing at Milford Haven, vsdth some three thousand French or Breton troops.

After strengthening various positions on the border, and receiving reinforcements from Wales and a few Shropshire men, Henry marched to Bosworth field in Leicestershire, with





the result known to all readers of history. Richard III., it is said, perished by the hand of Rhys ap Thomas, an ancestor of the present Lord Dynevor, and Henry was crowned on the battle field by Lord Stanley, who, with his "Welsh followers from Chirk, Yale and Bromfield had seceded to his cause, “pitying” (so says the historian Powell) “the miseries of the Welsh."

With the accession to the throne of Henry Tudor as Henry Vn. a new era begins for Wales, old things were passing away and a new order, of which we see the effects to-day, was beginning to appear. The ceaseless tumults, pillagings, forrays, heart burnings and wanton disregard of life and property which had prevented both high and low from receiving the benefits of civilization and honest employment, and also had stood in the way of Christian principles spreading among the people, though not perhaps wholly terminated, became more and more things of the past, and the husbandman felt he could at last, till his ground without fear of his crops being burnt or trampled on.

Whatever were the bad qualities of the Seventh Henry, Welshmen cannot say that he was ungrateful. Not long after his accession he repealed the odious ordinances of Henry IV. and actually granted the Abbot of Neath a charter for a University of Wales. How the project fell through, is not known, but if we had had another Cymric speaking, Welsh-bred King, it is probable that four hundred years would not have passed and the want still be unsupplied. (I have no positive evidence as to this qualification of the Bang, but consider it most likely, as he passed part of his youth in Wales). Lewys Morganwg in 1490 thus vn-ites —

"A University at Neath! A subject of celebration!”

During the early years of Henry's reign, he was a frequent visitor at the border town of Ludlow, where Arthur, the young





Prince of Wales, was being brought up under the care of Sir Rhys ap Thomas, and we can hardly doubt but that Cymric influences largely directed the actions of the vice-regal Court of the Marches. Providence saw meet to cut short the career of this promising youth in 1502, and the government of Wales was then conducted by a council under a chief officer, styled the Lord President of the Marches, the first of whom, strange to say, was the English Bishop of Lincoln.

The semi-independent rule of the Lords Marchers does not, however, appear to have entirely ceased with these events, and the common people were deprived in greater or less degree of the ordinary protection granted to English subjects. One historian, Woodward, says — “Writs issued in the King's name were of no authority in the Marcher Lordships, but only such as bore the signature and seal of the Baron of the district." Even in Edward Ill's, time they were reminded “not to yield obedience to any one who might chance to be OAvner of Wales."

The Statutes of Rhuddlan given forth when Wales lay prostrate at the feet of Edward L, although destroying what remained at the pohtical entity of the Welsh nation, scarcely took the Welsh language into consideration at all, it placed Wales in the hands of officers of the crown, and without any regular representation in the government. As may be gathered from what precedes the various offices were filled to some extent, perhaps nearly entirely, by persons of Welsh speech and sympathies. We get some trace in this in L. G. Cothi's poems, Dosparth L, 24, where he eulogizes Rhys ap Sion* of Glyn Neath, who would neither appoint an Enghshman to fill any pubhc office under government, nor even allow them to be empannelled in a jury (circ 1470.)

*Senedd vawr Ujs Nedd yw vo “Lutenanl” a'r wlad tano.i





Na welir Sais diddirwy

Na Saeson mewn Sessiwn mwy

Na dyn o Sais yn dwyn swydd

Na deu-Sais na bon' diswydd. * * *

Ni ad Ehys ail entrio Sais.^

At this time, so far as the pendefigion (nobles) were

concerned, there was in fact no great inducement for them to become Anglicized; the English tongue was only lately recognized as a medium for publication of the laws, and it had as yet, but a
comparatively scanty literature; they had no call to the English Parliament, and on the whole they could do without English in "Wales and attain as much culture as their neighbours the English landowners of Worcester and Gloucester. A great
change, however, was near at hand, which shortly profoundly affected the relative position of the two languages.

This change was brought about by the following principal causes —

I. The provisions of the Act incorporating Wales with England.

II. The increasing importance of English in England itself, as the official and literary language of the Country, after its long abasement.

III. The introduction of Printing into England — a mechanical [translation]. ^ He is a lieutenant of the great Council of the Court of Neath, And the country subject to him.
^Let not an unflned Englishman be seen, Nor Englishmen in the assizes any more, Nor an Englishman in ofiSce; Nor two Englishmen, nor gentry, without office.

» * »

Rhys will not suffer an Englishman to be twice entered [on the jury list.]





art which could only be practised under great difficulties in a sparsely populated country like Wales.

IV. The Reformation which tended to popularize literature and freedom, and which made itself, at first, the most felt in England, and in those parts of England which lay nearest the continent, so that it came to Wales and Cornwall as an English movement.

V. All the above facts tended to make an English education a thing more to be desiderated; and they came to the view of Wales, without meeting there any national organization, which could produce social, and educational results of an independent character.

The Reformation ami the Discovery of Printing, two great boons to the human race, happened near each other in point of time, and powerfully contributed to the breakdown of the Feudal system, and to render the whole country amenable to one central, civil authority. The spirit of enquiry and of progress were abroad, and now that the old enmity was in good measure subdued, a general desire seems to have been spread abroad, among the more intelligent classes to learn Enghsh, which was fostered by the ruling powers, while any systematic instruction in the native language was ignored to the great loss of the nation.

The country had evidently suffered severely from this want of a centralized power and was too much in the condition of a conglomeration of semi-independent baronies and lordships, under which it was impossible to obtain due redress for grievances, nor could it make the progi-ess it would have done under a responsible and impartial Government.

This state of things was somewhat in accord with the traditions of the middle ages, both in Great Britain and on the Continent, a^, well as Ireland; but as further light and





education spread among the people, law and order followed in their train.

To illustrate farther what I mean, — the principles of the Reformation, and the invention of printing, came to the English from the Dutch and Germans; while the Revival of learning, which diverted men's minds from the narrow sphere, of the schoolmen's speculations, was partly of Latin (i.e., Romance) growth. All these mighty levers, which transformed the character of the age, were appropriated in England, as part of the national life, and naturally made their power felt through the medium of the English Tongue, which, at the same time, received considerable additions from Latin sources; although it was still the few, and not the many who had the privilege of being able to read: but they were not appropriated in Wales, in so far as it was a part of England, and under the influence of English Universities and English laws; and because, in Wales, there was no Welsh University providing for an educated class of men capable of writing Welsh, and no Welsh laws involving its being spoken.

Just so, we may suppose, that if these events had happened three centuries before, when Norman-French was uppermost, they would have given a great impetus to the use and study of French, perhaps estabUshing it as a permanent tongue; but there would have been still this great difference — that, however much French might have been taught in the schools, and exclusively adopted in the courts, it was nowhere the language of the mass of the people; hence the comparison is not a perfect one between the relation of English to Welsh now, and the relation between English and French in the thirteenth century; neither does it follow, that, because the EngUsh people failed to be permanently bilingual, as remarked by Professor Jones in 1887, before the Royal Education Commission in London —






that Wales may not be so, under the different circumstances in which she is now, or may be placed.

The "Welsh people, or a few of them, and from what part of the country I know not, addressed a memorial to the King in which they expressed a desire for Union with England and the introduction of its laws, and in which they promised to study English, were it but to learn how they might “better serve and obey his highness."

This was an appeal to a sovereign, who like his father, had felt obligations to Wales, and partly, if not wholly as a result of it, was enacted the statute of 1535 by which Wales was finally united to and incorporated with England; if we except the measure passed in 1689, whereby the remaining shadow of the Court of the Marches was abolished.

The text of the commencement runs thus —

Albeit the dominion, principality and country of Wales justly and righteously is, and ever hath been incorporated, annexed, united and subject to and under the imperial crown of this realm, as a very member and joint of the same, whereof the Ejng's most royal Majesty of mere droite and very right, is very head, King, lord and Euler, yet notwithstanding, by cause that in the same country, principality and dominion, diverse rights, usages, laws and customs be far discrepant from the laws and customs of this realm; and also because that the people of the same dominion have, and do daily use a speech nothing like ne consonant to the natural mother tongue used within this realm, some rude and ignorant people have made distinction and diversity between the .King's subjects of this realm, and his subjects of the said dominion and principality of Wales, whereby great discord, variance, debate, division, murmur and sedition have'grown between his said subjects. His highness, therefore, of a singular zeal love and favour that he beareth toward his subjects of his said dominion of Wales, minding and intending to reduce them to the perfect order, notice and knowledge of the laws of this his realm





and utterly to extirpe all and singular the sinister usages and customs differing from the same and to bring about an amicable concord and amity between English and Welsh, declares Wales incorporated with England, with like liberties to subjects born there as in England; and the extension of the laws of inheritance and other English laws to Wales.

The statute annexes Lord MarchersMps to coimties already established, creates the fresh Counties of Monmouth, Brecknock, Radnor, Montgomery and Denbigh. Divides Wales into the north and south Wales assize circuits and gives Monmouthshire to the Oxford circuit. Provides for Parliamentary representation. Appoints the sole use of the English language- in all courts. Interdicts the enjoyment of any kind of office throughout the King's dominions to persons USING THE Welsh tongue on pain or forfeiture, unless they adopted the English speech.

It is evident, from the above, that the Act was conceived in a kindly spirit toward the Welsh, and in part that it represented their own aspirations.

The last two provisions were, however, eminently unsatisfactory. I cannot regard them as expressing the will of the people; it is almost incredible to believe, that they could be immediately carried out. Who was responsible for them? Was it the king himself, or was it Roland Lee, who undertook the office of Lord President of the Marches in 1535, and was remarkably active in his post? Whoever it was, the author must have been an Englishman.

Referring to the said Roland, the antiquarian, Thomas Wright, ia his history of Ludlow Castle, calls his a “mission of reforming and civilizing," but I suspect he started in it, devoid of one important qualification, viz.: A literary and colloquial knowledge of the Welsh language; which would have given him a proper understanding of the peculiar





condition of the people, whose good he should have sei-ved. For all we know, this active Lord President of the “reforming and civilizing” turn of mind was an official of the class represented by the school inspectors (or masters) more frequent in former days than now, whom a Glamorganshire teacher speaks of as "rank Englishmen whose hobby is to stamp out the Welsh language altogether." {See Teachers' replies Cfmp. IV.)

If it had been enacted that all judges to try cases in Wales, should have a competent knowledge of both languages, and that other government officials should be subject to the same rule, the material power of Wales in succeeding generations might have been substantially increased, and its educational status have been on a much more satisfactory basis than it is at present.

As it was, these provisions contributed to give rise to a state of things, wherein, almost all the educational advantages which follow in the train of an advanced civilization, were made to flow through a foreign medium, and as an even more serious disadvantage, those whom the people naturally looked up to as leaders, became gradually so thoroughly Anglicized, that they partially lost that position, wherein mutual benefit would have accrued to both rich and poor, from hearty sympathy and mutual understandmg vidth what was good and worthy to be admired on either side.

On the other hand, however, we may remark that NationaUty, in those days, was dangerous stuff, although language does not always affect it in the way sometimes imagined; the son of the king, under whom Poyning's Act was passed to Anglicize the Celto-Normans of Ireland, and discourage the use of the Irish language, was probably not sorry of an opportunity to consolidate his own kingdom by having, even in its most remote districts, officials attached to





one language, and that the language of London — the central seat of power — and we must acknowledge Wales has, in many other respects, enjoyed untold advantages from the Act of Union. Poyning's Act, by the way, was of a similar character to the Statutes of Kilkenny.

Edward I., in 1284, had promulgated the Statutes of Rhuddlan, by which he intended Wales in future to be governed, and for this purpose the laws of Howel Dda were read before him and his counsellors; some of them he retained, in particular the provision for the division of land among all the sons of a deceased man, except that illegitimate sons were excluded. In 1542, however, the English Parliament passed another measure sweeping away the remainder of Howel Dda's laws, which had been retained for so long a period, and introducing primogeniture according to the English custom, though as will be seen in the appendix, under head of Gavel kind, certain parts of the country were allowed to retain the old custom.

I have hinted at a gradual extension of Welsh influence among the ruling class up to the fifteenth century; but after the Act of Union, increased facilities for an education which was much moulded by English ideas, and the conditions in which they were placed, gradually tended to create an artificial separation in aims and feelings between them and the mass of the people which is painfully to be felt at the present day; to this state of things the practice of intermarriage with the English nobility has powerfully contributed. We have already seen that in pre-Tudor times the descendants of such marriages, if brought up in Wales, frequently became Cymry; but after the Act of Union it was hardly to be expected. Henry VH., for instance, found a wife for his cousin, Charles Beaufort, in the person of the heiress of Raglan, and grand-daughter of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke.






For some years, however, such as Lord Herbert of Chirbury (author of the "Trioedd Arglwydd Herbert"), Sir E. Stradling of Glamorganshire, patron of John David Rhys, the Mostyns, and the Pulesdons vrere more or less Welsh in speech and feeling.

Henry VH. was probably a Welsh-speaking sovereign; Henry VHI. not; and had the former undertaken this business, we cannot believe that he would have initiated such a one-sided policy.

About 1542, Henry VHL, in the presidentship of the same Roland Lee, gave license, to transfer the canons of Abergwili College, which had been founded by Bishop Beck in 1323, to Brecon, and founded there what is known as Christ College, on the site of the Friars Priory, which had lately been suppressed. One of the objects in establishing this college, evidently, was to spread the knowledge of the English language. The charter says, — -

And, whereas, also our subjects dwelling in the southern parts of Wales being oppressed with great poverty are not able to educate their sons in good letters, nor have they any grammar school; whereby both clergy and laity of every age and condition are rendered rude and ignorant, as well in their offices towards Grod as in their due obedience towards us; but they are so little skilled in the vulgar-tongue of England, that they are not able to observe our statutes in such cases enacted, and that, which they ought, and are bound to perform, they are unable to understand on account of ignorance of the English language.

In the days of manuscripts, Welsh literary undertakings had flourished in proportion to the population in a greater degree than in England; now it was a recognized fact that to be abreast of the age a man must learn English; and that through the English press, he must mainly look for literary enlightenment and instruction, besides which, there was the





difficulty of finding a sufficiently numerous clientele of readers to make Welsh printing remunerative in those early times, as well as that, of not having such a central point for publication, as London presented for English works; so that, for 150 or 200 years there was remarkably little printed in Welsh except a few religious treatises and books, some of which weie designed indu-ectly or directly to spread the knowledge of English; even the Bibles of 1588 and 1620 were chained with the English Bible, that the people might learn English.

W. Salesbury, in the introduction of his English and Welsh Dictionary, thus writes to Henry VIII: —

Your excellent wisdom has caused it to be established, that there shall be no difference in laws and language, considering how much hatred and strife arises from difference in language, and community of language is a bond of love and friendship; and it is also, in the judgment of all wise men, particularly suitable and convenient, that those who are under the government of one head, and a most generous King, should use one language.

He goes on to say, that as many in Wales could read Welsh perfectly; by means of his dictionary they might teach themselves and others also [to read English], so that, in the quickest way, the knowledge of the Enghsh language might spread through the whole country.

The result of these views was, that, except in the case of a select few, Welsh, as a medium for intellectual education, or for acquiring general knowledge, was almost wholly neglected, of which neglect Bishop Davles complains in 1567, and Morris Kiffiin in 1595.

John Edwa/rds, translator of the "Marrow of Modern Divinity in 1651," says, "no nation cultivates such enmity to their language as the Welsh!" While Vicar Prichard leaves his testimony in 1630, that not one per cent, of the people could read Welsh; although, eighty-seven years before, W. Salesbury says.






that many could. Possibly these readers had come from schools taught by the monks; and a future historian may be able to tell us how such as Salesbury himself, learned to read Welsh.

Just 100 years after the John Edwards above-quoted, Thos. Richards wrote in the preface to his dictionary:—

" I know too well there are some who have such an aversion to their mother tongue that they profess a hearty desire of seeing it entirely aboUshed, that no remains of it may be left in this Island. So great an eyesore is the language of their forefathers become unto them * * * their prejudice and ignorance render them altogether unfit 'to pass a right judgment upon it “[The Dictionary]. And again s—

" Fe edrych pob iaith yn chwith ac yn anhyfryd i'r neb ni fo yn ei gwybod. Ac onid yw yn gywilydd-gwarthus iddynt hwy fed mor wybodus oddigartref , ac mor hyfedr a chyfarwydd mewn ieithoedd ereill, fod, ar yr un pryd yn anwybodus gartref, heb fedru siarad yn iawn, chwaethach darUen a 'sgrifenu Iaith eu Mamau."

In addition to these testimonies there is that of John Penry (quoted by Ivor James), when petitioning the Queen and ParMament in 1587, he says, there is no market-town in Wales, where English is not as common as Welsh. From Chepstow to Chester, all round the country, and the sea-shore, they all understood English.

These facts — with those I shall advance further on — indicate that up to the time of the publication of the Welsh Bible, and for years after, Wales was not far from nmning neck and neck with Cornwall in the process of Anghcization; there were, however, forces at work which limited its extent, and which up to the present day have tended to build up a nationality that may yet have a further development in the next century. On the one hand we see a process of disintegration, and what the writer of “Siluriana” has called “denationalization and





deodorization," and on the other we shall see that there has been a contrary tendency expressive of individuality and national feeling clothed in that language which can most adequately express it, and coincident with a knowledge of the cosmopolitan English.

If it was a Tudor who gave the language a deadly thrust, it was a Tudor, on the other hand, who assisted in its preservation; for a principal mainstay against this tendency, which had lately been initiated, was an order for the publication of the Welsh Bible by Queen Elizabeth and her Parliament in 1568, and which was carried into effect in 1588; although there were then persons not unrepresented in the present day, who feared that such a measure would revivify the language.

Dr. Morgan, Vicar of Llanrhaiadr-yn-Mochnant, to whose labours the Welsh are indebted for the translation they now are privileged with, in his Latin dedication of the Bible to the Queen,* says that the Act sets forth, at the same time, "our idleness and slothfulness, because we could neither be moved by so grave a necessity, nor be constrained by so favourable a law, but that such work (than which there could not be anything of greater importance) was allowed to remain almost untouched." CIoss in his history of the Church of England in Wales, says, that there was a desire on the part of the bishops to suppress the Welsh language, and they thought that if they refused to translate the Bible they would thus compel the Welsh to learn English.

It is some consolation to look back to that period and feel that twenty long years of waiting preceded an event fraught with so much importance to the future of Wales, and which is still bearing daily fruit, also to feel that apathy.

* A revised translation got out by Bishop Parry, which is now the standard version, was published in 1620.






indifference, and delay in the nineteenth century do not necessarily impose impassable barriers on the attainment of such a desirable object, as the general recognition of the language of the people in educational and legal matters. Had the Welsh Bible never existed, how different would the future of Wales and her language have been?

We may look to Ireland, what would not she have gained had a similar measure been secured for her? It was true that there was a spirit of greater opposition there to the English Government than in Wales, but perhaps not an invincible one. In a future chapter remarks will be made on the educational position of the Irish language, which differs from the Welsh in having no background of modem literature.

It should be remarked that while the Government allowed their order for a translation, reviewed by the five bishops (Hereford included), to "be printed and used in churches by the first of March, 1566," to become a dead letter, the object was in fact attained mainly by a country priest, one of the very few in the diocese at that time who actually preached at all. Here, then, is encouragement again to private individuals to wrest the palm from supine officialism.

A learned book called Institutiones Linguce Britannicee, by Dr. John David Rhys, appeared about the same time as Dr. Morgan's Bible. It was framed, some have thought, with the idea of giving Welsh parsons a scientific knowledge of the tongue that they might read and understand the Bible better: the former was presented to Queen EHzabeth* by the wife of John Scudamore, of Holme Lacy (an M.P. for Herefordshire in successive sessions), a favorite at court, and member of the family, who had kept Sion Kent, at Kentchurch, and had taken up arms for Owain Glyndwr.

*See Llyfryddiaeth y Cymry, p., 66.





Queen Elizabeth was mindful of her Tudor descent, and one of her maids of honour was Blanche Parry, of the Golden Vale, Herefordshire, which was then a Welsh speaking district. The poet Spenser introduces a Scudamore, prominently, in the "Faerie Queene," Book iv. Whether in Herefordshire, or elsewhere, Spenser seems to have picked up some Welsh: — “How oft that day did sad Brunchildis see The green shield died in dolorous vermeU [vermilion]? That not scuith guridh* it mote seeme to bee, But rather y scuith gogh signe of sad Crueltie. [Book ii.] Again:

And Twede the limit betwixt Logrisj land and Albany.

[Book iv., Canto xi. 36.]

What English poet these days would think of alluding to England, as Logris land?

In Elizabeth's reign it is probable that most of the County landowners were famiUar with Welsh, perhaps more so than with English, in spite of her father's enactment that offices must not be filled by any person using the Welsh tongue. What was the practical interpretation of that claim? I am unable to say; it may have simply prohibited Welsh as an official language; but the tendency, doubtless, was to foster the growth of a class of people in Wales whose national place would have been as leaders, but who are separated from their neighbours by a chasm, artificially caused by their exclusive use of a foreign idiom; which tendency, has of course, been much developed and strengthened by the banishment of Welsh from the higher schools and colleges.

The seventeenth century was a comparatively uneventful one for the Welsh language; but during that period perhaps even

* These stand for ysgzoydd loerdd (a green shield), and ysgwydd coch (a red shield.)

fZoffi-is land, of courses the Welsh Lloegr.





more than now, was English well established as the ofl&cial language; aTid during the Civil Wars, as remarked by Ivor James, * the appeals to the country on either side were almost exclusively issued in English. After the accession of Charles II., however, it was ordered that the book of Common Prayer should be provided for Welsh speaking districts in the Welsh Dioceses, and in that of Hereford.

The total number of Welsh Bibles printed from 1600 to l700, averaged only some 3,200, every decenniad, being very much below the wants of the population. One of the benefactors of the country towards the end of that period was T. Gouge, who instituted schools to teach the poorest children to learn English. Rees, the author of “Protestant Nonconformity in Wales," while highly admiring his piety and philanthropy, says this was a “great mistake," and rendered them comparatively useless to the children of the poor. It is somewhat singular to find in a report of the work carried on by T. Gouge, and his friends in 1674, it is mentioned, that 32 Welsh Bibles had been distributed, which were “all that could be had in Wales or London." The opposition to Welsh similar to that of the sixteenth century, cropping up again in the seventeenth, as is thus referred to by Rees: —

The promoters of Welsh literature at that time were greatly discouraged, and even opposed by many persons of influence and authority, who thought that no books should have been printed in the Welsh language, in order to induce the people to learn the English. That opinion has operated most disastrously against the intellectual and spiritual advancement of the Welsh nation, ever since the Eeformation. (2nd Ed., p. 195.)

Towards the beginning of the eighteenth century political reasons again were influential in discouraging Welsh nationality

*S^e Y TraetJiodydd—188Q.





when the attachment of the people to the house of Hanover was by no means strong.

Another change, however, was at hand, which has profoundly affected the History of Wales, we may almost call it a second great tidal wave of the Reformation, rolling in two centuries after the event. The first tidal wave had, as we have seen in conjunction with other causes, rather depreciated the status of Welsh, as a medium to reach the inteUigence, and improve the culture of the people; the second, which the last decades of the eighteenth century, saw rapidly rising to its height, has been largely the means of creating a modern national literature, in which every cottage, and every hamlet, in extensive districts of the country has, more or less, a direct interest; so that Welsh literary culture no longer was confined to the John David Rhyses, the Dr. Davieses, the Edward Llwyds, and a few clerigwyr, and representatives of the old well-known families, but was participated in, though in a necessarily imperfect fashion by the fanners, small tradesmen, nonconformist preachers, and even working men who took the places of the gentlemen bards of the fifteenth century.

ReHgion, undoubtedly, lay at the root of the dispositions which principally facihtated this change, and, as it should be regarded principally fi-om this standpoint, it will be out of place for me here to criticize its history, but this much is said, lest any should think that undue prominence is given to the indirect, secular effects which followed in the wake of the movement.

Of course I am alluding to the great Methodist arising, which, apart from any religious teaching it afforded, was the me^ns of acquainting the great mass of the Welsh people with the power and disciphne of organization, and of giving them the opportunity of learning to read their own language; at first the Bible; next, a denominational vernacular Uterature;





which speedily sprang up, not only among the Methodists but among the other leading dissenting bodies; which, while giving the facility to read indirectly, paved the way for writing Welsh to become a common self-taught art (though, as will be seen later on, by no means so universal as it might be), and thereby furnished a stepping-stone for the dissemination of a secular and vernacular literature, which in the branches of poetry is by no means inconsiderable.

This work had partially been anticipated early in the century by Griffith Jones, of Llanddowror, who, seeing the inefficiency of schools conducted in English, established circulating schools for a few months at a time, at a place. By means of his effort, a large number of persons, including adults, were taught to read, and thus the way was gradually made for the later Methodist and other dissenters, under whose auspices it became a rare thing to find any adult brought up with them, unable to read his or her language.

All the while we must recollect, or at least since 1790, Welsh was practically excluded from the day schools,; it was the establishment of schools on the first day of the week, which this revival made possible, that so vastly increased the number of readers in the vernacular; and it is probable the increase has gone on from that day to this. Such an impetus was strengthened early in the nineteenth century by the establishment of the Bible Society and the issue of cheap Welsh Bibles, so that in Welsh-Wales instead of there being only one per cent, who could read Welsh, as in Prichard's time, there was certainly a very much larger proportion in 1820, about the time when the Eisteddfodau began to be a factor in the national life.

It is a suggestive fact that Methodism broke out first, and most extensively in those districts, where the poems of Rees Prichard and the schools of Griffith Jones had exerted the





most powerful influence. Some of my readers not familiar with the history of Wales, may need to be told, that Rees Prichard was a Vicar of Llandovery, who died about 1644, and whose religious and didactic poems, entitled "Canwyll y Cymry," so commended for their colloquial style by the Rector of Merthyr in 1887, to the Royal Commission on Education, became almost a household book in Wales, and have been again and again reprinted, the last edition being quite a recent one by Wm. Jones, Printer, Newport, Mon.

Had it not been for this change, there is, humanly speaking so, some ground to believe that the Bishop of David's would have been correct when he said, not long ago, that Wales was “only a geographical expression." Perhaps, however, in his case, the wish was father to the thought.

The author of the Prize Essay on the "Character of the Welsh as a Nation," pubhshed in 1841, undoubtedly takes cognizance of the indirect efliect of this multiplication of readers on Welsh literature; he says —

During the last twenty five or thirty years, a great revival has taken place in Welsh literature; but it is remarkable that the interest felt in its cultivation, has by no means impeded but rather assisted the difEusion of the English language, (p. 23.)

The consideration of the educational and hnguistic state of Wales during the great industrial era which embraces the last fifty years, I propose to consider in the next chapter.




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