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The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia Wales Extracts The Miners' Next Step.

A pit-boy at 13, lodge chairman at 19 and leader of Tredegar urban district council when 26, Bevan was 32 when he became MP for Ebbw Vale, a constituency he represented until his death.

A left-wing rebel in the 1930s, he supported the Popular Front and was duly expelled from the Labour Party in 1939.

During the period of wartime consensus, he was concerned to maintain free speech and became a persistent critic of Churchill, not least in the pages of Tribune, which he edited (1942-5).

He was minister of Health and Housing in Attlee's cabinet 1945-50 when, following detailed and heated negotiations with doctors, he introduced the National Health Service, generally regarded as Labour's greatest legislative achievement.

He resigned from the cabinet in April 1950 as a protest against a budget in which Gaitskell imposed prescription charges whilst increasing expenditure on rearmament.

In the years of opposition after 1951, Bevan and his supporters, who included his wife Jennie Lee, were referred to as the 'Bevanites' and were involved, often bitterly, in disputes with Gaitskell.

Reconciliation came when Bevan became deputy leader in 1957 and accepted the need for a British nuclear deterrent.

At the time of his comparatively early death from cancer he was recognised as one of Labour's most significant leaders, and as the foremost exponent of the democratic socialism taken by many to be the party's defining characteristic.

Trained as a Marxist, the experience of the General Strike in 1926 and his years in local government converted him to the notion of parliamentary democracy and to the need for Labour to use power to build a new society.

Bevan's ability to attract support owed much to the warmth of his personality, his love of European literature, his familiarity with European socialists, his wit and his oratory in which he effectively deployed his accent and his stammer.

John Campbell has argued that for all his charm there were flaws in his politics, whilst Michael Foot, Dai Smith and K O Morgan have all sustained the notion that Bevan's career was the high-water mark of Welsh popular politics.

His attitude to Wales was ambiguous; on occasion, he argued that Welsh identity should have a political dimension, but he also expressed fears that any concession to 'regionalism' could divide the British working class.

Born at Ponterwyd (Blaenrheidol), Howells became a wealthy sheep farmer while developing a political career in which the economy and culture of rural Wales, the Welsh language and devolution were consistent priorities.

He was Liberal (Liberal Democrat from 1988) MP for Ceredigion (Ceredigion and Pembroke North from 1983) from 1974 until 1992, when he lost the seat to Cynog Dafis standing for Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.

Leader of the Welsh Liberals from 1979 to 1988, in 1992 he was created a life peer as Baron Geraint of Ponterwyd.

Once Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, Howells often seemed to be the reincarnation of a late 19th Century Welsh rural radical, and represented, as Bruce Anderson commented, 'an archetypal Welsh mixture of charm and cunning.'

When Liberal spokesman for agriculture, he was asked by a prosperous Suffolk farmer, 'What is the Liberal policy on the burning of stubble?' - to which he replied, 'I don't know; in rural Wales, we only burn second homes.'

On 20 December 1955, the water committee of the Liverpool Corporation decided that the Tryweryn valley (Llandderfel/Llanycil) was the ideal site for its proposed reservoir.

The city's scheme involved uprooting the 48 inhabitants of the village of Capel Celyn and its surrounding farms.

In carrying out its plans, Liverpool adopted the procedures it had followed in the 1880s when it created a reservoir in the Vyrnwy valley (Llanwddyn) in Montgomeryshire.

Without consulting any authorities in Wales, it brought forward a Parliamentary Bill, which received royal assent on 1 August 1957.

No Welsh MP voted in favour of the bill in the House of Commons, although 12 of the country's 36 MPs were absent at the second reading and 16 at the third.

Strenuous efforts were made to oppose the scheme, particularly by Plaid Cymru.

The perceived high-handed actions of Liverpool were especially resented.

To many, the crux of the matter was the dispersal of a wholly Welsh-speaking community at a time when such communities were declining rapidly in number.

To others, the main issue was the usurpation of Welsh resources by an authority beyond the boundaries of Wales, a point of view that stressed what was, to some, the novel concept of the territorial integrity of Wales.

The fact that the drowning had not been endorsed by any of Wales's parliamentary representatives indicated that, as a national entity, Wales was powerless.

After the passage of the bill, efforts were made to modify it, culminating in the conference convened by the lord mayor of Cardiff in October 1957.

Within Plaid Cymru, there were calls for direct action but, largely because of opposition from leading party members in Merioneth, no action officially endorsed by the party occurred.

However, in 1962 and again in 1963, party supporters committed acts of sabotage in the valley.

The Capel Celyn issue had a significant impact upon Welsh politics.

It enhanced the role of Plaid Cymru as defender of Welsh rights, although that enhancement was not immediately translated into votes.

The readiness of Henry Brooke, the minister of Welsh Affairs (and also the British minister of Local Government) to support Liverpool, fuelled the demand for a secretary of state for Wales.

A controversial organization, seen by critics as a secret society. Welsh freemasonry is organized into four provinces: South Wales Eastern (covering Cardiff, Swansea and much of the South Wales coalfield), South Wales Western, Monmouthshire and North Wales. The oldest extant lodge is the Cardiff-based Glamorgan, which dates from 1753.

Freemasonry thrived in the 19th Century; a St David's lodge was founded in Milford Haven (1821) and in Bangor (1826), with Loyal Monmouth following in 1838. A revolutionary force in continental politics, freemasonry was profoundly conservative in Britain; yet, its ability to absorb democratic reforms allowed its membership to grow rapidly.

South Wales Eastern, with 3,200 members on the eve of World War I, had 13,000 by the mid-1950s.

By the 1970s, however, numbers began to fall, possibly because of the more open nature of society after World War II, attacks on the allegedly pagan nature of masonic ritual and the potential corruption of secret membership. Virtually nothing was written about Welsh freemasonry until the 1980s when the radical magazine Rebecca began a series of exposAs, after which mainstream newspapers began to take an interest.

To some extent, freemasonry responded by adopting a more open policy.

There are no official Welsh membership figures but an analysis of yearbooks in the late 1990s suggests there are about 20,000 masons in the four provinces.

While his role as a great war-leader is assured, Churchill had a chequered relationship with Wales.

His admittedly cautious policy as Home Secretary (1910-11) during the Tonypandy Riots led to a military occupation of the Rhondda and neighbouring areas.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer, his return to the gold standard in 1925 was a grave blow to the coal industry.

Almost deified by the British public in general during and after World War II, cinemagoers in Wales continued to hiss him when he appeared on newsreels.

However, on returning to power in 1951, he appointed the first minister for Welsh Affairs, a significant step on the road that eventually led to the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales.

Lord of Glyndyfrdwy, Cynllaith Owain and half of the commote of Is Coed Uwch Hirwern, near Cardigan, Owain was one of the few remaining native Welsh aristocrats, being heir to the dynasties of both Powys Fadog and Deheubarth. He may have studied at the Inns of Court in London. An accomplished soldier, he served under the Welsh captain Sir Gregory Sais (1384), fought in Richard II's Scottish campaign (1385) and in 1387 took part in a naval expedition against the French led by the Earl of Arundel (see Fitz Alan family). He married Margaret, daughter of the judge Sir David Hanmer, and lived at Sycharth (Llansilin). On 16 September 1400, he was proclaimed Prince of Wales at Glyndyfrdwy (Corwen), an action which marked the beginning of the Glyndwr Revolt.

His last years may have been spent with one of his daughters in Herefordshire; according to one source, he died in September 1415. There is a dignified statue of him in Cardiff's City Hall and an infamously less dignified one in Corwen.

The sole Welsh family to provide England with a royal dynasty, the Tudors, were descended from Ednyfed Fychan, seneschal to Llywelyn ap Iorwerth.

Following the Edwardian conquest (1282), Ednyfed's descendants accepted the new order. In the 14th Century, the descendants of his sons, Goronwy, Tudur and Gruffudd, were prominent in the affairs of the principality.

Goronwy's descendants - the senior line - established the family known as the Tudors of Penmynydd (Anglesey). Among them were the brothers Gwilym and Rhys ap Tudur ap Goronwy, who served Richard II. Cousins of Owain Glyndwr, they joined the Glyndwr Rising and captured Conwy castle in 1401.

Rhys was executed in 1412, and most of the lands of the Penmynydd family were forfeited, causing the senior line, which died out in the 17th Century, to be little more than minor squires.

A cadet line, descendants of Tudur ab Ednyfed Fychan, won greater prominence as the Griffith family of Penrhyn. Another cadet line, descended from Gruffudd ab Ednyfed, included among its members Sir Gruffudd Llwyd and Sir Rhys ap Gruffudd (d 1356).

It was, however, the largely unknown Maredudd, yet another son of Tudur ap Goronwy, who was the ancestor of the royal Tudor line. Maredudd's son, Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur (c 1400-61), adopted a fixed surname: Tudor. Had he chosen his father's name rather than his grandfather's, England, for a century and more, would have been ruled by the Maredudd dynasty.

Owain married Katherine, daughter of Charles VI of France and widow of Henry V of England. A Lancastrian, he was executed following the Yorkist victory at Mortimer's Cross (1461) .

Edmund (c 1430-56), Owain's eldest son and Henry VI's half brother, was created Earl of Richmond in 1452/3. He married the Lancastrian heiress, Margaret Beaufort. In 1457, two months after her husband's death, she gave birth at Pembroke castle to a son, later Henry VII. Young Henry was placed under the care of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, at Raglan castle and then under that of his uncle Jasper Tudor (c1431-95).

Jasper, created Earl of Pembroke in c 1455, became the champion of the power of his half-brother, Henry VI, in Wales. After the Lancastrian defeat at Tewkesbury in 1471 and the deaths of Henry VI and his son, Jasper took his nephew into exile in Brittany. Richard III's seizure of the crown in 1483 changed Henry's fortunes dramatically and Jasper used his Welsh connections to build up support in Wales.

An attempted invasion in 1483 was unsuccessful but, in August 1485, Henry landed at Dale, on the Milford Haven waterway. He advanced through Wales, gathering support on the way. Richard was killed at Bosworth and Henry became king of England.

The Welsh saw Bosworth as a Welsh victory. Jasper, elevated to the dukedom of Bedford, was granted the marcher-lordship of Glamorgan and given the chief offices in the principality and the March.

Published in Tonypandy (Rhondda) in 1912, is the most famous of all Welsh pamphlets.

It was written mainly by Noah Ablett, assisted by a small group who had been involved in the Plebs' League and the Cambrian Combine strike of 1910-11 and who were active in the Unofficial Reform Committee.

A sustained critique of the cautious leadership of William Abraham (Mabon), it made immediate demands with regard to wages and hours, but more spectacularly went on to offer a new concept of 'scientific' trade unionism and a vision of a union-controlled industry in which the employers would be 'eliminated'.

Although the so-called Syndicalists were never to control their own union, the anger and confidence they generated ensured that the miners of South Wales dominated British industrial relations in the turbulent era down to 1926.

Annie Powell, a teacher by profession, was active in relieving the plight of the unemployed during the depression of the interwar years.

She was elected to represent the Penygraig ward on the Rhondda Borough Council in 1955 and, in 1979, became the first and, to date, only Communist to serve as mayor of a British borough.

She stood as the Communist candidate for Rhondda East in the general elections of 1955, 1959 and 1964, gaining the highest vote of any Communist candidate in Britain in those elections.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 15, 2005
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