kimkat0158e 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  With Remarks On Modern Welsh Literature And A Linguistic Map Of The Country.
John E. Southall. 149 Dock Street, Newport, Mon. 1892.



Y Llyfr Ymwelwyr / El Llibre de Visitants / The Guestbook:


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We will now give some attention to the geographical limits of Welsh as a living language, i.e., if I may borrow a term, the extreme boundaries of indigenous Welsh, as distinguished from the Welsh spoken by settlers in England. In order to do this it will be most convenient to take each county which exhibits such a boundary separately.

FLINTSHIRE. — The extreme north-eastern boundary of Welsh commences, about two miles west of Connah's Quay, and about nine from Chester, thence to Northop; Northop to Bistre, which is about four miles from Hawarden; Bistre to Padeswood, some two miles east of Llong, where I was informed at the station that "pob ddyn onest" spoke Welsh; from Padeswood the linguistic line nearly follows the Wrexham, Mold, and Connah's Quay railway to Caergwrle.

Caergwrle, by the way = Caer y gawr lleon. Chester in Welsh is Caerlleon gawr, both meaning the Camp of the Great Legion.

DENBIGHSHIRE.— From Caergwrle to Wrexham, thence to Ruabon and Chirk, pretty well alongside the Great Western Railway. I have no information of its existence east of that line. From Chirk the line run[s] to Gobowen and crosses into Shropshire.

SHROPSHIRE. — From Gobowen to Oswestry, Trefonen, Llanyblodwel, Llanymynech.


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The linguistic condition of Oswestry presents some rather remarkable features to the enquirer. Here is a country town in an English county, east of Offa's Dyke, without large industries or collieries to attract workmen from a distance, and yet I was informed by an English youth in the street that he thought half the people in the town spoke Welsh. I regarded this as an exaggeration, but on learning shortly after that there were no less than five Welsh meeting houses, all well attended, inclined to believe that this rough estimate is not far from the mark.

In Shropshire the boundary cannot have varied much for centuries, and although so many people speak Welsh in Oswestry I cannot learn that it is spoken at all east of that town.

MONTGOMERYSHIRE. — From Llanymynech to Four Crosses, Arddleen, and Welshpool thence through Berriew to Newtown.

Montgomery, it will be observed, is left out in the wholly English portion of the county, so are Llanllwchaiarn and Kerry.

Why Kerry an obscure, out of the way town, some miles from the English border, should be wholly English, and Oswestry something like half Welsh, is a problem which appears not easily solved.

The exact boundary south of Newtown is somewhere between Kerry and Llangurig.

RADNORSHIRE. — I place the boundary thus: “St." Harmon, thence straight to Rhayader, thence to Disserth,* thence to the Wye or west of Aberedw, thence two or three miles east of the Wye to Boughwood and Erwood. Rhayader, numbering

*I was informed by an old woman, a native of Llandinam, but long resident in Radnorshire, that some natives of the district at Disserth (near Newbridge) could still speak Welsh.


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only 800 inhabitants, is one of the principal towns of Radnorshire, in a wild district, 17 miles from the English border, and about as far from Offa's Dyke, yet very little Welsh is spoken there. A correspondent, well-known in Radnorshire, says:-

Welsh seems to have steadily died out in Radnorshire; and the reason, unless it were the ill-success of the Calyinistic Methodists here — the Baptists seem to have been generally English, — is difficult to ascertain. Kerry, I suppose, fell away from its proximity to Radnorshire.

In this parish, Nantmel, there are two Welsh-speaking people just above me; but both originally came from Llangurig in Montgomeryshire. There may be a very few on the other side of (S.) Harmon parish by Sychnant-fawr (marked in your map) and Waun-cilgwyn, and there are perhaps a dozen old people in Rhayader who prefer Welsh, and many others in trade who can speak to the Breconshire, Cardigansh, Montgomerysh, and Cwmdauddwr (top part) parish, Radnorshire (right bank of the Wye), Market people. * * * There may be a very little occasional Welsh preaching in Sychnant Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, but people come there from Llandinam and Llangurig parishes in Montgomeryshire somewhat. * * * Even on the right bank of the Wye all the way down Welsh is only understood, not preferred or generally spoken on the side of the hills nearest the river. Until 10 years ago perhaps Welsh was generally spoken all over the upper or western parts of the parishes of Cwmdauddwr, Radnorshire, and Llanwrthwl, Breconshire, but now even there English is prevalent. About five years ago the last purely Welsh (Baptist) minister of the last place of worship in Radnorshire where only Welsh was preached, resigned, and his place was filled by one half Welsh and half English, and hard by there is an old Episcopalian chapel — Capel Nantgwyllt * * where the service has long been half and half. The Methodists have occasional purely Welsh worship and preaching at a farmhouse higher up.





It is somewhat singular that at a Baptist Association meeting at Rhayader, five summers ago, preaching was carried on in Welsh to some five thousand people, many of whom were no doubt from Welsh parts, but many more cannot have understood a word. Among the latter was a poor man whom I heard talking to his mate the next day and expressing his admiration of the language.

The authority above referred to, S. C. Evans-Williams, of Bryntirion, Rhayader, gave an interesting address at Knighton, bearing on the question of the Welsh language in Radnorshire, in the spring of 1891, from which the following is extracted —

A thought which occurred to him in connection with the Welsh character of the eisteddfod —that was the decay of the Welsh language in the county of Radnor. Few, perhaps, realised the fact how short a time ago, there in this town of Knighton and neighbourhood, it was since Welsh was the vernacular language. He had lately been getting up a little of the subject, and he found that in the year 1730, in the neighbouring parish of Beguildy — which they knew was close on the Shropshire border — the Welsh language was used for Divine service once a month in the parish church. That showed that, down the very border, the Welsh language was at any rate used nearly half and half with the English. The next period they had any information with regard to the subject, which he had been able to find, was in an account of a lawyer who went from Bridgnorth to Llandrindod Wells just at the middle of the last century. He said, in his written account, that after leaving Knighton the whole way to Llandrindod he crossed commons or waste lands, and was not understood by the natives — neither did they understand him — so it was impossible for him to ask his way. A Mr. Lewis Morris in 1794 [?] paid a visit to Radnorshire and described that visit. He spoke of the Welsh tongue being used at that time in every parish church [!!] in the county, and he further said that in Penybont at that time the Welsh language and the English were spoken equally by the





people. The people talked better Welsh and far better English than their neighbours in Montgomeryshire. At the same time in Glascwm both languages were spoken, and in New Radnor Welsh was the prevailing language. That was 1747. So  that the Welsh language appeared to have died out very gradually, travelling towards the west. In the parish of "St." Harmons only 50 years ago Welsh was divided with the English as the language which was used in Divine worship. He had pretty well worked out a theory that the Welsh had gone out to the west as the English advanced; but lately he had received a pamphlet by Mr. Ivor James, of the Cardiff College, in which he seemed to say that he believed the English prevailed in the Principality 200 years ago more than the Welsh language. It thus appeared that the Welsh language had rather driven out the English, after the Civil Wars, from the country which previously it had generally possessed. Mr. James gave Radnorshire as one of the principal instances, and said that the cause of the prevalence of English in Radnorshire — which was so marked among the counties of Wales — was that the English language had never really been driven out by the Welsh in the 17th century, during the beginning and to the middle of which the English language prevailed in Wales more generally than was supposed.

Ivor James' explanation of the prevalence of English in Radnorshire may be correct, but it does not quite commend itself to my mind. It is scarcely likely that English and Welsh existed side by side for so long amid a very scant population without literary culture, when probably most were unable to read. My friend, S.C.E.W., says himself that the reason is very difficult to ascertain.

The result of personal enquiries at Penybont has been quite fruitless as to any person with even a traditional knowledge of Welsh-speaking villagers there. In the south-west of the county, I learn from a native that Welsh still lingers in the neighbourhood of Boughwod and Erwood, but is extinct on the east of the Wye at Aberedw.





Several years ago I was acquainted with an old Radnorshire woman from Abbey Cwmhir, whose recollections extended back to, say, 1810. In her youth the parish was evidently a bilingual one, and farm-house preaching was partly English and partly Welsh. One of the verses used in the neighbourhood began thus —

Son am farw, son am farw, Clywir yma, dacw draw.


[= talk about dying, talk about dying, it is heard here (and) over there]

Another was an English doggerel,

How many miles, how many,
Is it from Leominster to Llanllieni?

Llanllieni, it may be recollected, is the Welsh name for Leominster, which was for many years the Metropolis in which Radnorshire folk disposed of their salt butter at the annual fair.

BRECONSHIRE. — I include the whole of the north-west of the county within the linguistic border, which I take to enter the county about Llyswen, near Three Cocks, thence to Talgarth, and thence it skirts the northern slopes of the Black Mountain to Olchon in Herefordshire. In fact, nearly the whole of Breconshire is thus included, though not much is spoken between Brecon and Talgarth, and none, so far as my information goes, between Talgarth and Hay, though in 1878 one or two old people at Glasbury, I believe, spoke Welsh.

HEREFORDSHIRE. — On making enquiries from a person resident near Longtown, I was positively informed in writing that Welsh was understood only, by a proportion of the population in Olchon, Longtown, and Pandy — apparently my correspondent had written one-third. Wishing to satisfy myself, a personal visit was resolved upon — not to wild Wales this time, but just to the east of the towering, dignified Black mountain that I had so often gazed at in childhood and youth,


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covered in the distance with a hazy mantle, which only brought to view its dim, gaunt outline against the South-western sky, Pandy station, on the borders of Herefordshire, being my terminus, I commenced operations in the County of Monmouth. The first old man on the road conversed with me a little in Welsh, but Radnorshire was his native place, and he had learnt Welsh at Rhymney about 1850. I was, however, assured by John Davies, F.S.A., that native Welsh was not quite extinct in that parish.

At Longtown, in Herefordshire, an Episcopalian preacher informed me that at Newton, near Pontrilas, the children at the Board School were taught Welsh songs.* In the village, of Longtown, however, I failed to meet a single native who could converse in that language, but was told that "some sort of Welsh" was spoken there about 30 years ago.

Still further to the North lies Olchon House, where a farm servant was found, about 40 years of age, who said he could understand and speak a little, and that a few people higher up could do the same. Strange to say, in that out-of-the-way place, a Cardiganshire youth was working and assisting the man with the sheep; he had come there to learn English.

"Sixty years ago you might go into a house by chance and hear nothing but Welsh," was the testimony of an old farmer north of Longtown. "They did not teach the children Welsh; I should like very much to have learnt Welsh."

Now, how is it that the last flickering flames of a knowledge of Welsh still lingers in South-west Herefordshire, while at Presteign, perhaps, we may say, no one has ever known any one (a native) who ever knew any one — to put it genealogically — who could speak the language. One answer to that question is that it was for long years a place that nourished dissent.

* This is, of course, were taught to sing in a Foreign language.





Go back to the fourteenth century, and take note of Walter Brute, a reformer before the Reformation from this very district; remember the Lollard's "chapel" in Deerfold forest some twenty miles to the north, and Sion Cent, the Lollard monk-bard, going in and out of the halls of the Scudamores, a few miles to the south; remember, again, that in the I7th century one of the very earliest Welsh Baptist congregations was formed at Olchon, that in 1794 the Cymanfa Ddeheuol was held there,* and issued their circular letter, and even as late as 1875 or thereabouts one Morgan Lewis occasionally preached there in Welsh.

The valley of the Olchon, and that of the Honddu both belonged to the Wales of the Welsh Bible, and perhaps of Canwyll y Cymry, but they have never belonged to modern Wales — to the Wales of Y Traethodydd, Y Drysorfa, and Y Dysgedydd, of Gwilym Hiraethog, and of Brutus, nor even, to that of William Williams, Pantycelyn.

As I left the spot the sun still lighted the top of the grand natural barrier which towered up in majestic dignity on my right, while to my left lay the fertile vales of Herefordshire — a rare junction of the wild and the stern with the fruitful and the mild, of the mountain with the lowland.

At Clydach, on the way back, an intelligent old peasant, John Gwilym, told me that his grandmother could speak Welsh. She was born, say, in 1767, so that about 1790 children at Clydach and Longtown were beginning to be monoglot English. Now Clydach lies close to the border, but there is a much more remarkable case than that of Welsh speaking in Herefordshire. Some years ago I knew a Welshman in Newport, who assured me that about 1835 he had conversed in Welsh with the mistress of a farmhouse at Yazor,

* Llyfryddiaeth y Cymry, 1794. No. 23.





on the north bank of the Wye, 8 miles from Hereford, who assured him that in her childhood the children generally spoke Welsh there.

On first thoughts from a comparison of these facts, especially when we learn that in the city of Hereford* in 1642 many people spoke Welsh as a native language, it would seem that the history of the language was that of gradual, though constant retrocession to the West. There is some truth in this, but, on the other hand, there is reason to believe that the Saxons early settled at Withington and Ashperton, within some 12 miles of Hereford, and that Thinghill represented the meeting-place of their local council. This cannot have been much later than the ninth Century — if so, the exterior boundary of the English must have continued nearly constant for several centuries. We can understand a Welsh district in a county keeping up its characteristics for a certain time (as probably in the case of the Peak country, Derbyshire), but how it should have done so to such an extent as at Yazor, where the children must have grown up Welsh-speaking for nearly 1000 years after the Saxons had approached within some twenty miles is a marvel, especially when we recollect that the palace of the great King Offa at Sutton, lay near Hereford.

South of the Wye, in the districts of Ewyas (Euas) and Archenfield (Erging) around Ross, the population in the middle of the fifteenth century must have been nearly solidly Welsh speaking. It was during that period that Lewis Glyn Cothi addressed an adulatory ode to a squire named Winston, at Whitney-on-Wye, near Hay, in which he speaks of him as a patron of the Welsh language.

As late as circ. 1707 we find E. Lhuyd speaking of Eirinwg (Herefordshire) as an habitat of the Gwenhwysaeg dialect of Welsh.

* Diocesan History of Hereford, S.P.C.K. series.





I shall have a little to say about present day Welsh in a detached portion of Herefordshire, under the following heading:—

MONMOUTHSHIRE. — The linguistic boundary enters the county between Pandy and Llanfihangel stations, on the Hereford and Newport railway, thence to Llangattock Lingoed, Llanfihangel Ystern Llewern, a few miles North-west of Monmouth, thence to Clytha and Trostrey into Newchurch parish, and as far South as Llanmartin, thence nearly due West to Ponthir, thence to Newport, but not including Caerleon, thence to the mouth of the Usk, the west bank of which may still be considered to be Welsh speaking.

The valley of the Torvaen, from Pontypool to Ponthir, is inhabited largely by newcomers or their descendants to the third generation. Native Welsh is, however, not quite extinct in it, although there is no Welsh preaching between Pontypool and Newport. In Goytre and Llanover, between Pontypool and Abergavenny, Welsh is generally understood by a considerable proportion of the inhabitants. In fact, at the latter place, it appears that the children can mostly speak it, to judge by the testimony of Coedmoelfa, a North Walian residing there, —

"Mewn attebiad i'th ofyniad ynghylch iaith y plant yn Llanover, Cymry yw y rhan fwyaf a Chymraeg a siaradant."


[= in response to your request about the language of the children in Llanofer, most of them are Welsh and it is Welsh that they speak]

How is it that here remains an island of green not yet swallowed up by the advancing tide of red? The answer is not far to seek, and is found largely, if not wholly, in the influence of Llanover Court; supposing an English squire had settled there 60 years ago and introduced English stewards and English servants into the district, what would have been its linguistic fate? Of course, it is well-known, that under the rule of Gwenynyn Gwent (the Lady Llanover), the very contrary has been the case, and that the village school of


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Llanover was for many years the only one in all Wales where Welsh was being systematically taught.

At the beginning of this century, I believe that Welsh was generally understood over the whole of Monmouthshire, except in Monmouth, Chepstow, and a part of the Caldicot level. It was not, however, quite extinct in Monmouth, as I have spoken to a botanist, born, possibly in 1800, whose mother was the last person in that town who could speak it.

The Saxons had possession of part of the Caldicot level before the Norman Conquest. Perhaps the names of Roggiett, Redwick, and Ifton, all in the lowland between the Wye and the Usk, are relics of that time, but if it be true that their language has prevailed there ever since, it must have been only over a very limited area and near Chepstow.

The following is from the pen of Colonel J. A. Bradney, of Talycoed Court, 7 miles from Monmouth, than whom there are few, if any, better qualified to speak on the linguistic condition of the east of the County. Besides being a Welsh speaker he is a Welsh reader: —

I, myself, learnt Welsh from a native of Llangattock-juxta-Usk, who is still alive, and lives close by here, working on this place every day. He has a thorough knowledge of the language, although he is absolutely uneducated. Around Llangattock-juxta-Usk, I believe that all the old native people have a knowledge of Welsh. In Llangattock Vibon Avel there are no Welsh-speaking people left, though several of the old ones have a slight knowledge, being able to understand ordinary simple sentences; but a clergyman tells me that 25 years ago, when he was curate of Llangattock Vibon Avel, he found that the aged people in the village of Llanfaenor (in the parish of Llangattock Vibon Avel) had an imperfect knowledge of English, and that he went to the trouble of getting some Welsh devotional books for them, which they much appreciated.




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In Llantilio Crossenny the older generation of natives, though not able to converse much, can understand a certain amount, and they will complain that their parents used to talk Welsh to one another, and English to their children. These remarks apply to all these parishes around here — Penrose, Tregaer, Llanvihangel Ystern Llewern, Dingestow, etc. Llanarth was Welsh-speaking till quite lately. An old woman there, who talks Welsh, a native of the Pitt, near Clytha, tells me that all the inhabitants at the Pitt used to talk Welsh habitually in the days of her childhood. At Llanvapley an occasional Welsh service is held in the chapel, and at Llanddewi Rhydderch chapel a Welsh service is often held. In the chapel at Talycoed an occasional Welsh service is held.

But during the last twenty years the population of all this country has changed to an extraordinary extent — immigrants have come from all parts and the natives have been migrating elsewhere. To such an extent has this happened in this parish of Llanvihangel Ystern Llewern, that there is only one middle-aged native in it. All the other inhabitants (except, of course, the children) were born elsewhere. The same thing has taken place in the surrounding parishes to a greater or less degree. So that when one looks about for an aged or middle-aged native, who can tell one something of what used to go on in days gone by, one has a difficulty to find such a person. Of course, among the many immigrants who have come are many Welsh-speaking people, most of whom keep their language up, and help to keep it up in the mouths of those who are already here, and I, myself, am one of those who, whether rightly or wrongly, do everything to encourage the language, and persuade the people to converse to their children in that language instead of in English.

Of the Welsh-speaking people in my employment, I have three natives of Monmouthshire — one from Llangattock-juxta, Usk, [sic; = Llangattock-juxta-Usk] one born in Llanddewi Fach, but reared in Llangibby, another born in Llanover.

This evidence as to the change of population is interesting; it may be partly accounted for by the natives flocking to the


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iron works thirty or forty years ago, and leaving Glo'ster and Somerset people to come in to work the land, but many other factors besides this tendency must be considered. The only possible way its effects on the language can be counteracted is by stringent measures enforcing its use in elementary schools, where the local vitality is sufficient to warrant such a step. The same change of population is happening in South Glamorgan, and is alluded to in Cymru Vol. I. p. 216.

In the Wye Valley, till at least 1830, Welsh was spoken at Llandogo, close on the border of Gloucestershire, — such, I am informed, is the testimony of W. P. Price, formerly M.P. for Gloucester, and a native of the place.

In the extreme North-east of the County is a very long, narrow, secluded valley, shut off from Herefordshire on the east, and bordered by a detached portion of Herefordshire, called the Ffwddog, and by Breconshire on the west. Wishing to have further evidence as to whether Herefordshire really was a Welsh-speaking county, I recently visited the district. At Cwmyoy Welsh is nearly extinct. The old innkeeper remarked, "Yr oedd bacat yn siarad Cymraeg deugain mlynedd yn ol a rhai o'r plant."


[= a great many spoke Welsh forty years ago and some of the children]

At Llanthony, some three miles higher up, I was told that most natives above 50 could speak Welsh. I conversed with an old woman, who at first answered in English, but said that there was "bacat yn y Ffwddog" * [= a great many in the Ffwddog] who could speak Welsh. Crossing over into the Ffwddog I took farewell of Llanthony Abbey, eloquent relics of a byegone age but not of a byegone spirit. Those grey walls and high vaulted roofs, the fruit of so much labour and pains, were built for men who imagined as some do now, that the Most High dwelt in temples made

* Ffawyddog is the correct Welsh spelling: one of the old Welsh names of Hereford is Caerffawydd, has this anything to do with its belonging to Herefordshire, while entirely detached from it?


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by men's hands and that His Spirit could be coerced or cajoled by architectural magnificence to give them the smile of His favour, or that they were thus in some way likely to be nearer heaven than the poor Welsh goatherds or shepherds, who climbed the mountain side and braved the blasts of winter in pursuance of their duty. Llanthony disappears, and a few minutes hard walking brings me to the top of the ridge, surrounded by the heather and the mountain breeze, far away from the screech of an engine or the smoke of furnaces, while the face of external nature is nearly the same, minus the goats and deer, as it was six centuries ago, when the monks told out their beads in the valley below.

Slightly to the right rises the Skirrid (yr Ysgyryd) while to the west and south-west near and distant mountains meet the eye. In connection with one of these — Pen-y-Fâl, a landmark for many miles into England, and called by the Saxons the "Sugar Loaf,”* Gwallter Mechain wrote a fine awdll [sic; = awdl] (ode) for the anniversary of the Abergavenny Cymreigyddion, in 1837. Poetry and history are here blended together, as he alludes to the different features of the magnificent prospect before him, —

A dangos mor glos yw Gwlad

* * * *

Edrychaf o'm deutu, ar Loegr a Chymru,

A ddichon neb gredu mor wiwgu mae'r wedd?

Rhaid gweled i goelio, mi geisa'u darlunio,

Cyn yr elwyf fi heno i'm hannedd.


[= to show how beautiful (tlws, feminine adj tlos; clws, feminine adj clos) the country of the Mynwy people is:

I look around me, at England and Wales,

How can anybody not believe the appearance is so splendid?

It is necessary to see to believe, I’ll attempt to portray it (geisia’u = portray them should probably be geisia’i = portray it)

Before I go this evening to my dwelling]



Far in the distance is Gloucester, nearer to hand Llantarnam, the ancient residence of Ioan ap Rosser, then he notices Goodrich Castle, the home of a Welshman, Samuel Meyrick, Llanover

* Think of introducing the ideas of a grocer's shop in connection with such an object, grand in itself and grand in its surroundings.





then Hereford, and the Malvern Hills. Over the Severn he sees Somersetshire and Devonshire, and would see Cornwall if fair weather and the rays of the western sun combined. Nearer Varteg, Blaenavon, the three Monmouthshire rivers and Raglan Castle, where instead of "moethus Gloddesta" (dainty feasting).

O heno! gwelir gwahaniad — ceir cân

Dylluan yn gwawdio y lleuad! Neu greg Frân anniddan ei nad — liw dydd,

Ar ei gilydd yn rhuo galwad!

[= Oh tonight! a division is seen – there is the song of the owl deprecating the moon! Or the hoarse crow with its dejected cry – by light of day, noisily calling each other (at + each other + roaring + a call)]

The Brecon and Carmarthenshire beacons are not missed —

Acw y Bannau
Hwyntau'r Mynnau, dasau dwysir
Cestyll rhuddion
Haeniau cysson
Saerniaeth ION, argoel ion [should be argoelion] gwir.


[= over there the Bannau (Brecon Beacons), three-forkings; they [are] the ‘Mynnau’ (?mannau = places), the stacks of two counties; red castles, neat strata, the craftsmanship of the Lord, true signs / omens]

This ode does not follow the rules of Dafydd ap Edmwnt, but rather those of Glamorganshire. Perhaps it is not nearly the best piece Gwallter Mechain wrote, but to those who know the district it is not only of interest, but there is nothing in English to approach it as a lyric of the hills; yet how many young men in the neighbourhood of Abergavenny or Newport to whom Pen y Fâl is a familiar natural object, can read it?

GLAMORGAN. — The extreme boundary of Welsh only occurs in Glamorganshire, in the Gower Peninsula, between Pen-clawdd and a little north of the Mumbles.

CARMARTHEN AND PEMBROKE. — Carmarthenshire is wholly within the Welsh speaking area, excepting a very small portion in the extreme South-Western  corner, between Laugharne and Amroth. It will be observed that the exclusively English part of Pembrokeshire, runs slightly to the north of Lampeter Velfrey, Lanhawden and Spital— the extreme boundary,


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both in Pembrokeshire and Gower, cannot have altered very much for a considerable period.

For the purpose of illustrating these linguistic boundaries, as also to shew the Welsh names of places alongside the English, where any particular difference is observable; and as an historical monument for the future, I have compiled the Map, which faces the Title page of this book. The boundary just discussed is that between the red and the blue on the Map in the case of Wales; and between the red and white in the case of England. The term Wales includes Monmouthshire. The second boundary between the red and the green defines the limits where 60 per cent of the adult population are estimated to speak Welsh.

To acquire the necessary information for this purpose, it has been necessary to enter on some correspondence with persons possessing special opportunities of information, and as well as to visit certain districts myself.

The fact of a person residing on a spot is by no means a guarantee that he knows the linguistic condition of the population, e.g. Colonel Byrde of Pentre Goytre, near Abergavenny, giving evidence in an enquiry held by the Bishop of Llandaff, in 1887, as to the necessity of appointing a Welsh-speaking person to the living, said he had lived in the parish for 28 years, and did not suppose there were a dozen persons who did understand English properly, and they were Nonconformists." Mary Evans, the next witness, gave her evidence in Welsh, and Colonel Byrde interposed, saying he had never heard the woman speak Welsh before, though he had had business relations with her for 25 years. Abraham Williams at the same enquiry, said he had lived 60 years at Goytre, and that three-fourths of the people understood Welsh.

This is a fair illustration of the way in which people can be


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neighbours in Wales, and yet for one class to know but little of the circumstances of the other as to their language. I believe that very few County councillors of Monmouthshire, have much accurate knowledge of the distribution of the language in the County.

The 60 per cent, boundary is naturally one which must be rendered theoretically, there being no precise data on which to work, I take it to be generally within ten miles of the extreme boundary, until it enters the valley of the Usk, near Brecon; it expands to a width of fifteen or twenty miles in Monmouthshire.

It will be observed that a considerable portion of the South of Glamorganshire comes within this limit, but it is comparatively contracted near Swansea and in Pembrokeshire, had I constructed an 80 per cent, limit it would in reality have differed very little from the 60 per cent., but it would have cut off most of the rest of Monmouthshire, (except the Nantybwlch corner,) the Merthyr, Aberdare and Rhondda Valleys, and South Glamorgan, with two or three towns, such as Carmarthen, Neath, and perhaps Aberystwith.

Llandovery is well within the 80 per cent, limit, and probably will continue within the 60 per cent, for some generations, or at least 60 per cent, of its population will be included in classes I.- VI. (see a few pages further on) but I find that the amount of Welsh literature sold there, has much fallen off during the last ten or twelve years. In fact, English is stealthily and surely eating its way into the heart of Wales in that direction, and conversational Welsh will soon be a small factor in the social life of the district. Whether this is due to the influence of country Squires, who delight to rouse the country, to see dumb animals ridden round and round a given course of ground, or not, I will not attempt to determine.

Space does not permit me to minutely discuss these boundaries,





the boundaries of the past, nor the present condition of some places which offer features of interest. If however I was asked the question — where would be the outlines of a map drawn up in a similar plan for 1485, at the accession of Henry VII, I might reply that the green portion would have come as far east as Oswestry, but am doubtful if it would have covered Hawarden (Penarlag*) in Flintshire. It would have included Clun Forest in the south-west of Shropshire, and nearly the whole of Herefordshire west of the Wye, and north and east of the Wye from Yazor to Leintwardine, and some part of the Forest of Dean (Cantref Coch). As for the red it was probably very narrow in Cheshire and Shropshire, but more extended in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, reaching nearly, if not quite to Gloucester Bridge.

I omitted to state under head Monmouthshire, that the results of my visit to the Ffwddog (Heref) established the fact that native Welsh exists there, although I heard of no children who can speak it.

OFFA'S DYKE. — What schoolboy has not heard of Offa and his Dyke? What grown-up person of culture has not met allusions to it in books? But who has seen it? The tourist on the Cambrian or the Central Wales, or on either of the West Midland branches of the Great Western? In the great majority of instances, the same negative answer would have to be given as if passengers on the North Western or Midland or North Eastern expresses to Scotland were asked if they noticed Hadrian's wall or that of Antonine lying across their line of route.

To tell the truth, Offa's Dyke — where it is not entirely obliterated — is generally not particularly noticeable. Perhaps the very best and most complete portion extant is situated

* In the map Penarth halawg (= the salty headland) but Penarlag is the usual name.  





about 1½  miles south of Knighton, some little distance away from the main road. With a monoglot English-Welshman as my guide, the identical man who had some time before lamented his ignorance of the vernacular, I climbed the slope of an eminence leading to the spot, and before long reached what my companion considered to be traces of the dyke, which simply formed a broad basis to the hedge, about three feet wide, and barely raised above the level of the ground. "I must see something more convincing than this," thought I. There was not long much room for doubt: a little further on was a deep towering bank, some twenty feet above the bottom of what still bore the character of a trench or hollow on the western side.

Here my companion left me, I sat down, and thought of the time, as hazy to the mental view, as the western hills facing me, when instead of a carpet of green grass mingled with the dry stalks of last season's herbage, nought but bare freshly-turned soil would have met the view.

Then, again, who were the labourers — were they defenders of their own lately gotten soil, or were they forging against their own liberties the chains of a foreign yoke?

They have perished; history is silent, but numbers them in the band of the great unknown, the work of their hands yet remains, that of their hearts we know not.

They have perished; and so have the armoured knights who crossed and recrossed this very dyke, sometimes in league with the Norman-English, sometimes with the Cymric Princes of the soil. And, then, what of the mothers' sons who lay weltering in their blood, whose sighs and groans were wafted by the wind to their comrades in combat. What of those who crossed never to return?

Such considerations as these were present on my mind while nature round whispered peace. Freedom and industry





are now allowed a dwelling-place in the land, but the dark passions of humanity have not changed, covetousness and cruelty have found other refuges than the donjon and the keep. Never before, too, had I realized the magnitude of the undertaking: even with the appliances of the nineteenth century, it would be no child's play to construct such an earthwork from the Dee to the Wye, if the bank near Knighton is a fair sample.

About one mile further on, the dyke assumes comparatively insignificant proportions, as it crosses the main road between Presteign and Knighton.

Now, who was this Offa, who caused the dyke to be made? — He was a King of the Mercian Saxons or Angles, who had married a daughter of Charlemagne; but he was also a murderer, and a violator of the rights of hospitality. Under the persuasion of his queen Quendrida he murdered Ethelbert King of the East Angles, who had come as a guest to demand his daughter Adelfrida in marriage, and afterwards conquered his country. The Pope promised security from punishment on condition of his being liberal to Churches and Monasteries.

What did he do to atone for such a black crime? — He became one of the chief pillars on which rests the legal claim of the most numerous religious sect of this country, to Tithes. To atone for this murder, he gave away a tenth part of the produce of the labours of unborn men, i.e., to compensate for one wrong, he thought to buy the favour of heaven by committing another wrong, in its ultimate effects and tendency far worse than the first. Don't misunderstand me, the murder he confessed and knew was a horrid crime; the giving away of tithes was an act done in the name of religion which tended to spread a false idea of what religion is.

Who has any right to devote any portion of the result of the labours of unborn generations to any such purpose? What





body can truly and honestly call this their property, and give the name of spoilers and robbers to men who seek to divert such income into the National treasury?

Offa's Dyke is shewn on the map as far south as Almeley, thence, I should estimate its course approximately through Vowchurch and Kenderchurch, crossing the Wye a second time at Lydbrook, near the boundary of Herefordshire, thence through the Forest of Dean to Beachley near Chepstow.

The Census. — A material help towards elucidating the geographical distribution of Welsh in Wales, and the proportion of inhabitants speaking it, would have been afforded by the Census of 1891, had the resolution of the British House of Commons, which virtually required a return of all persons in the principality who spoke the language, been carried into effect. Instead of honestly endeavouring to ascertain this by sending Census papers with the column to be filled up with the required information, to every household in the principality, the authorities took upon themselves, to some extent, to decide where to send papers with this column: such a course did much if not entirely vitiate in some bilingual districts the trustworthiness of the returns which at the moment of writing, are not yet published. In Newport, Mon., for instance, a batch of papers were actually sent to the First day ("Sunday") school of a Welsh Congregation, for this column to be filled in there; whereas it is manifest that many Welsh speaking persons would not be in attendance, and one woman was threatened with a fine of £5 if she did not take an English paper, in other parts of South Wales, similar inefficiency was observable. Whether the bungling that attended the Welsh Census was the result of ignorance, or whether the authorities were unwilling that the total number of persons who might fairly be credited with ability to speak Welsh should be known, I will not attempt to decide.





Patagonia.— Welsh has been spoken in the New World, probably ever since William Penn left the shores of our country on his first visit to the infant colony, which justly gave in his eyes and those of his friends a bright promise for the future. Many of the first settlers of Pennsylvania, were Welshmen, seeking a peaceful asylum from the harassing outrages of informers, evilly disposed justices and clerics in their native country; some of them were of the poor and obscure of this world, others came of families of local note and position, who notwithstanding their Quaker convictions preserved genealogies for a succeeding age.* Traces of the nationality of these settlers are to be found in Pennsylvania, in such names as Merion, Brynmawr, Uwchlan, and Radnor, some, or all of which, are situated in what used to be known as the "Welsh track." The Welsh of the United States, is however, now spoken by much more recent comers, or their descendants, and is principally to be found in the iron districts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, and among agricultural populations in certain parts of the Western States.

Where, however, the language appears likely to find a more permanent home is in the valley of the Camwy,# in Patagonia. A hundred and fifty Welsh settlers were landed there in the middle of winter 1865. Without sustenance from the Argentine Government, the enterprise would probably have many years ago been added to the list of unsuccessful colonizations, as for a considerable period the colonists had to endure at times, hardships, privations and losses, until they not merely discovered that irrigation would be the secret of success, but found means to carry it into operation. In 1886, a canal forty miles long was made, and in 1889, a railroad the same distance;

* Dr. J. J. Levick, of Philadelphia, among others, has interested himself in these matters, and has published some of the records of early settlers.

# Chupat river.





in the same year wheat from the Colony gained a gold medal in the Paris Exhibition, the amount raised yearly, being no less than ten thousand tons.

When we consider that the total population is only three thousand souls, and their wealth was estimated in 1890, at one million sterling, it may be anticipated that they have a future before them. The proceedings of the local council are carried forward in Welsh, which is taught in seven out of eight schools, the other being a Spanish school, and now that a printing press is established in the Colony, it is to be hoped that the deficiency in Welsh educational works suitable to elementary education, will be in some way supplied.

Continued ill success, naturally was the means some- years ago, of spreading black reports about the country: the following written by a Welsh traveller, gives another side to the picture, —

"I have seen as many lands as it is almost possible for one of my age to have done, yet truly none yet please me as well in every respect as an 'Andine Wladfa.' New Zealand and Southern Chili come nearest in beauty of scenery and natural excellence generally, but in neither of these can we hope to hear the old language amidst surroundings so natural to it. Streams, rivers, cascades cataracts, falls, and lakes meet the eye in all directions, the whole combining to form a most romantic picture."*

Havhig in an earlier portion of this work noticed the position of the different social classes in Wales, with regard to the language and having now dealt with its geographical distribution; we will proceed to consider a classification of the general population into those sub-divisions which the   presence of two languages induces under the natural laws of association and thought, as well as under conventional influences; such as classification will in the particular case of

* From the South Wales Weekly News.





Wales, enable us the more easily to appreciate the forces at work.

The linguistic classes, form in fact, the nett resultant of a variety of forces, foremost among which are two antagonistic ones, viz.: — that occasioned by the support given to a foreign language, by governments past and present, and the vis vitae of the vernacular in the hearts and minds of the people. In thus dividing the total population, i.e. that is those who have passed through school life, into linguistic classes, I do not assert that such hard and fast distinctions actually exist; individual cases may for instance exemplify more than one division, and between each division there are as many gradations as shades of colour in the material world.

We find then in Wales the following: —

I. Monoglot Welsh — able to read the language: from this class have come some writers whose names are treasured in the archives of modern Welsh literature. They are very fast disappearing, just as the class of Monoglot Welsh unable to read the language, is now nearly extinct, therefore hardly worth mentioning.

II. Semi-Monoglot — able to read Welsh well, also able to transact ordinary affairs in English, which they can read a little, they are to be found in every county in Wales, and form part of the amateur Literary Staff, which creates and supports current Welsh literature.

III. Bilingual Welsh — who not merely can read the language well, and have a greater literary mastery of it than any other class in Wales, but also are familiar with literary English, and who with almost equal readiness read or speak both languages. With the spread of education and the establishment of National Colleges, this class has considerably increased of late years, and its members have a vantage ground ceteris paribus in acquiring the lead in professional and political life, not merely





and thoroughly Welsh districts, but also in others partially anglicized. Owing however to the unthinking, ignorant way in which middle-class education has been conducted, they have to be recruited principally from West Wales, and from the midst of res angustae domi; I don't like to say poor homes for that might appear to cast a slight on poverty, especially when we bear in mind that their proficiency in literary Welsh, and sometimes in other subjects is largely the result of self-culture. Of course, were a national system of education in force, young men from such districts as the Merthyr and Rhondda Valleys, would stand a better chance of receiving those bilingual appointments which occasionally fall vacant. I recollect a Government official in a responsible position in South Wales, remarking to me, "I owe this to my father: when I came back from school he spoke to me in Welsh, while I answered in English," implying that thereby he had picked up sufficient Welsh to qualify him for his post. It will easily be seen that under the present system at school and college every nerve may be strained in thinking, speaking, and, writing English, while any knowledge of Welsh that might have been acquired in early life lies dormant.

IV. Bilingual Welsh — who read and speak both languages, but whose reading knowledge of Welsh is rusty, though not so much so in denominational literature, this is a large class in South Wales.

V. Bilingual Welsh — who only speak a little and cannot command a free flow of expression in that language, these are sometimes to be found among the upper classes (so-called) as well as among the poor. I would include among them those who speak the language but cannot read it, the latter are mostly Episcopalians.

VI. Monoglot English Welsh — who can read the language more or less perfectly, but cannot speak it, though they may







understand a little of it when spoken, these are principally to be found among Dissenters in large towns, such as Swansea, Cardiff, Liverpool and London.

VII. Monoglot English and English-Welsh — who can neither speak nor read. Some neither know it, nor care to know, others would give many pounds for a facility which might have been acquired in the golden age of childhood.

In spite of all that may be said as to the rapid Anglicization of Wales, its having a dying language and the like, few things since my connection with the country have struck me more than the extraordinary vitality of the language, in the face of such adverse circumstances. This vitality is indeed wonderful but it cannot stand before the mental pressure of an exclusively English education and association, in the industrial districts. It may exist, perhaps for many generations even there, but in a dwarfed, cramped, unassertive way not as an important factor in the life of the people. In the counties bordering the Irish Sea, however, the case may be different, it is possible that the native education will sufficiently counter-balance the English education to preserve a really bilingual people, able to avail themselves of the information found in English books as well as in their own. If however the educational system is "reversed" the results both in east and west Wales, will soon give a very severe check to the process of entire anglicization, and an additional impetus to the numbers of the above class III.

I can scarcely be expected to close this chapter without reference to the number of persons to whom Welsh is more or less familiar, Sir T. Phillips in 1847 reckoned it at 800,000! After the Census of 1871, Ravenstein calculated that the number of persons habitually speaking Welsh was 1,006,100 out of 1,426,514 in Wales* and Monmouthshire. I believe

* Report of Intermediate and Higher Education Committee, 1881, p. xlvii. zz





that since that period, there has been a decrease of the number of persons who habitually speak Welsh, but an increase of those who either can speak it, or habitually listen to it in connection with the different denominations. Some years ago Sir H. H. Vivian stated that 870,220 (including children under ten) used Welsh among the Nonconformists alone, and when we add to these the Episcopalians and the Welshmen attending "English Causes," who draw upon themselves the bitter irony* of some of their Countrymen, and those who go "nowhere," I think the number would be in excess of Ravenstein's estimate even now. In reality however, Welsh has reached a crisis, it is tottering in a state of uncertainty whether to go backward or forward. Without such reasonable extraneous help as is afforded every day to the competing language, there is scarcely a doubt that it will have to succumb in extensive and populous districts though not entirely there for some generations, and perhaps not in West Wales for centuries.

There is every reason to believe that there are portions of Wales where the Welsh language assumes an aggressive attitude at the present day; that is to say, where it is becoming the mother tongue of families of English origin, and bearing English names. I believe this is generally an easier process than it otherwise would be on account of a large proportion of the new comers belonging to the west of England, where Celtic blood is more abundant than in the east, for instance, Welsh has spread to some extent among the Cornish settlers at Llantrisant. Somerset and Devon supply a considerable proportion of the English element.

I do not consider it at all the part of patriotism for Welshmen to disparage or to obstruct the influx of new blood; provided

* Ond y mae clywed ambell i Gymro uniaith yn y wlad yn dweyd mai i'r "Inglis côs jabel" y bydd ef yn myned, yn ein gwneud i'w gashau â chas cyfiawn [? ]— but unreasonably intemperate — Essyllt in Y Cymro.

[= but to hear an occasional monoglot Welshman in the country say that he goes to the
"Inglis côs jabel" (= attempted pronunciation of “English cause chapel”) makes us hate him with a vengeance (‘with rightful hate’)]





only that they take reasonable and proper care that their language receives equal treatment to that of the strangers, the new blood will  then tend to the advancement of the nation.

Principal Reichel, of Bangor, alluded some time ago in an educational pamphlet to the difficulty of getting Welsh youths to think in English, as though that was one of the aims and objects of his mission in Wales.

Now it is probable that educationalists of the future will not quite conform to this model; what Wales really wants is educated men who know a little Welsh, but think in English; and also educated men who are familiar with English, but think in Welsh, and express themselves freely and idiomatically in that language. When this is realized, there will no longer be any need for the complaint as to illiteracy at the close of the following quotation. It is a translation from an article in Y Geninen Vol. ix. p. 226, on "the diflficulties of Welsh patriotism" —

Look at a boy in a day school, he is made an Englishman without knowing it. His tender mind is moulded on an English model, and an English bias is given to his self-consciousness. He is taught to respect England and not Wales. He is taught in the language of England. He does not hear a word of Welsh from the mouth of his teacher. * * The language of his father and mother is banished from the school. A Foreign language is introduced instead of that of the hearth. * * They are taught to know what is a noun, a verb, and an adjective, and to form English sentences. They do not know what is an enw, a berf, nor an ansoddair, they are not taught to pronounce nor to form Welsh sentences. An unavoidable consequence is serious ignorance of the language. Only a few Welsh people can write their language correctly. Nothing surprises anyone connected with the Welsh press, more than the incorrectness of the written productions of our ministers and public men.





Notwithstanding the above, it is singular how much Welsh people talk about their language, and yet how little is said about the only availabletredegar

 means to render it a common inheritance, viz. — its introduction into school life. Here is an example taken from the report (Adroddiad) of a Welsh congregation at Tredegar, (Mon.) for 1891, which shews an increase not a decrease of members —

"We strongly feel that disadvantages as to language form a great hindrance which militates against the prosperity of the Church. This is caused by neglecting to teach Welsh by the family hearth. We recommend the advice of Mynyddog. Whatever you are doing, do everything in Welsh.' "*

Tredegar is inserted in the GREEN portion of the map, though I am somewhat doubtful of the propriety of doing so. Out of twenty-six meeting houses in the district, (including the Episcopalians') Welsh is only preached in thirteen; but probably these thirteen contain the largest accommodation. There are three Primitive methodist places. A traveller when he passes any of these in Wales, may be pretty sure that an English population has been imported from the Midland Counties or elsewhere.

It may be mentioned that the western boundary of Monmouthshire, runs nearly straight from outside Rhymney to near Machen, just west of that town.

* Teimlwn yn gryf mai un rhwystr mawr ag sydd yn milwrio yn erbyn llwyddiant yr eglwys ydyw anfanteision iaith. Achosir hyn gan ddiffyg dysgu'r Gymraeg ar yr aelwyd gartref. Cymeradwywn gyngor Mynyddog:— "Beth bynag fo'ch chwi yn wneuthur, gwnewch bobpeth yn Gymraeg."


[= I feel strongly that one great barrier which militates against the success of the church is the disadvantages of language. This is caused by the lack of learning Welsh in the home (‘on the hearth at home’). We recommend the advice of Mynyddog – “Whatever you are doing, do everything in Welsh”).



(delwedd 5471)


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