Susan Mainwaring

The National Eisteddfod Thursday August 24th 1882

The attendance was very good, although the state of the weather was very unfavourable, the pavilion being nearly filled. The receipts on Tuesday were £800, on Wednesday, £200, and on Thursday, £500. The proceedings were opened by the “Gorsedd,” and followed by a meeting of the Cymrodorion Society, under the presidency of Mr John Thomas. Mr D. Jenkins, Mus. Bac., read a paper on the Working classes and music He said that the influence of music was more than any other art, and was only exceeded by that of religion. He wished and desired that music should be more appreciated, and also pleaded higher culture for an art that had done so much. A discussion followed, in which Dr. Parry. Mr Marchant Williams, B.A., Mr W. Davies, London, and Mr John Thomas (Pencerdd Gwalia), took part.

At the meeting of the eisteddfod proper, there was, as we have before observed, a very large attendance. The president was the popular Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, M. P. for the county, who was accompanied by Miss Wynn whilst the duties of conductor were ably discharged by the Rev. W. Glanffrwd Thomas. There were also present the Right Hon. G. Osborne Morgan, M.P., and Mrs Osborne Morgan Sir Robert Cunliffe, M.P.; Mr John Roberts, M.P. (who on being recognised was greeted with loud cheering) Major and Mrs Cornwallis West, Ruthin Castle Dr. Richardson, of London Colonel Evans Lloyd, Chester Mr Lewis Morris, Mr John Henry, J.P., and Mr LI. Henry, Holywell Mr Roger Hughes, Dawning; Mr Gee, Denbigh Mr J. Rice Thomas, Mr Pedr Mostyn Williams, Clwydfardd, Gwalchmai, &c.

The programme opened with a chorus by the Eisteddfod Choir, after which

Mr J. Parry Jones, jun. (town-clerk of Denbigh) read the address to the president.

Sir Watkin opened the meeting, and upon rising received an ovation. He thanked them for their kindness, and referred to the establishment of a College in Wales. He also referred to the absence of the Prince of Wales, &c.

The programme was then proceeded with.

The prize of £5 offered for the best poem not exceeding 250 lines upon “Home” was awarded to Mr Rhys D. Morgan, of Llanelly, and Mr Edward Foulkes, of Llanberis, who were adjudged by Mr Lewis Morris as of equal merit. Sir Watkin, Mr Osborne Morgan, and Mr Lewis Morris each added £1 to the prize, so that each of the competitors received £4.

The prize of £10 offered for the best English or Welsh essay upon “The Natural Advantages of Wales as a Field for Manufacturing and Commercial Enterprise” was divided equally between Mr David Evans, Cardiff, and Mrs Owen, Rose Cottage, Beaumaris.

Two young lads competed for the prize of £3 given for the best performance of the “The Greek pirates’ chorus” upon the pedal harp. The prize was awarded to Master E. Williams, Pontypridd, but the performance of the other competitor, Ap Pierce, Treherbert, being so good a sum of £4 was given him by Mr John Hopkinson and Sir Watkin as a special prize.

For the prize of £10 offered for the best Welsh essay upon “The history of the translation and translators of the Welsh Bible,” eleven competed, Mr Joseph Auboy (Cynwal). of Youngstown, Ohio, America, and the Rev. William Roberts, Calvinistic Methodist minister, Llanrwst, were of equal merit, and the prize was divided between them.

Miss Mary Owen, Ty-draw, Mold, was awarded the prize of £3 for the best rendering of the soprano solo “Oh, had I Jubal’s lyre.” Extra prizes were also given to Miss Anne Lawson, Mold, and Miss Minnie Jones, St. Asaph, pupils of Mrs Douglas, Mold.

Pianoforte competition, “Harmonious blacksmith” (Handel). Thirty competitors. Best, Miss Hannah J. Parry, Bethesda and Miss Edith Furnivall, Birkenhead.

The Right Hon. G. Osborne Morgan, M.P., who was received with loud cheers, then addressed the gathering.

The prize of £10 for the best original oil painting, “Study of a head from life,” was awarded to Mr T. Leonard Hughes, Greenfield Mills, Holywell, a promising young artist.

At this stage an overture in F, by Sir Frederick Gore Ouseley, was performed, conducted by Mr Felix C. Watkins.

Next on the programme was the great item in the day’s programme, viz., the awarding of the chair prize; but Hwfa Mon made the very unusual announcement that of seven compositions sent in not one deserved the prize.

Miss Mary Davies followed with a song, “Y deryn pur.”

The prize for penillion singing (£2) was awarded to Eos Mon (Mr John Williams), Llanerchymedd.

Next came the competition for a prize of £15, with a medal for the conductor, offered to the best choir of male voices not under twenty-five in number, which rendered best “Cydgan y medelwyr” (the Reaper’s chorus), by Mr D. Jenkins, Mus. Bac. Four choirs entered, namely, Liverpool Vocalists’ Union (conductor Mr T. C. Jones); the Liverpool Gwalia Choir (Mr R. G. Jones); the Arvonic Male Voices (Mr R. Phillips); and the Rhiwbryfdir Choir. The prize was awarded to the Llanberis (Arvonic Male Voices) Choir, and the conductor was invested amid loud cheering.

A silver medal, offered for the most artistically ornamented folding screen, was awarded to Miss Mainwaring, of Galltfaenan, near Denbigh.

Miss Mainwaring (Medal Museum of Welsh Life Cardiff Ref 34/297)

Miss Mainwaring (Medal Museum of Welsh Life Cardiff Ref 34/297)

The prize of fifty guineas for the best English or Welsh essay upon the history of Welsh literature from the time of Rhys Goch to the time of Goronwy Owen, was withheld, there being none out of three received of sufficient merit.

During the day the art exhibition, under the superintendence of Mr T. J. Williams, attracted a very large number of visitors. There were several objects of interest, including a splendid portrait of Mr Thomas Gee, of Denbigh, and a life-like portrait of the well- known Dr Rees, of Chester, and formerly of Liverpool, drawn by a young artist (MrT. L. Hughes, of Holywell).

The prize of £15 for carved oak mantelpiece was awarded, on Wednesday, to Mr John Roberts, cabinet-maker, Llangollen, and not to Mr Edward Jones, Bangor, as previously stated.


This being the last day of this year’s proceedings, a large number was present, although the weather was almost as unfavourable as on Thursday. “After the Gorsedd” was held, an announcement was made that the National Eisteddfod for 18S3 would be held at Cardiff.

The Cymmrodorion section held a meeting in the morning under the presidency of Mr. Lewis Morris. Mr. Davies (Mynorydd) read a paper on a “Model School for Girls,” written by his daughter, Miss Dilys Davies, after which a short discussion took place, and a vote of thanks was accorded to Miss Davies.

Mr. Thomas Gee, of Denbigh, moved “That it is most important that at the present juncture a council should be formed to watch over and represent the educational and other interests of the Principality of Wales, and that the centre of its operations should be in the metropolis.” (Cheers.)

Mr. John Thomas (Pencerdd Gwalia) briefly seconded the proposal, which was adopted.

It was agreed that the council should be formed of the following gentlemen connected with the Principality: the Members of Parliament, the councils of the Cymmrodorion and the Eisteddfod, chairmen of school boards, masters of endowed schools and colleges, all of whom would be ex-officio members, with any other ladies or gentlemen who may be able to assist the objects in view; and that the annual report be read and presented to each meeting of the National Eisteddfod. Mr. T. M. Williams, London, was appointed convener of the council.

Mr. Williams, having expressed his willingness to accept the appointment and do his utmost to further the movement, said, with regard to the Ashford Girls’ that the committee of management were utterly incompetent to perform the duties entrusted to them. (Hear, hear.) They advertised vacancies in the ‘Monmouthshire Beacon, the Monmouthshire Merlin, the Weekly Mail, and the Times:’ as if the twelve counties of Wales were in Monmouthshire, or the working classes of the Principality were in the habit of reading the ‘Times.’ (” Hear, hear.” and laughter.)

The proceedings concluded with a vote of thanks to the Chairman.

The president for the day, as originally arranged, was Mr Gladstone but it was known some tune ago that the right honourable gentleman could not be c present. The announcement, however, that Mrs Gladstone would take the place of the Prime Minister gave general satisfaction, as was evinced by the brilliant reception which awaited her on Friday. Mrs Gladstone arrived by train about eleven o’clock, and she was accompanied by Mrs Wickham, her daughter, All immense crowd assembled at the station, and Mrs Gladstone was received by the Right Hon. George Osborne Morgan, M.P., Sir Robert Cunliffe, M.P., Major Cornwallis West, Mr T. Harrison Jones (mayor of Denbigh), and Mr Thomas Gee (ex-mayor.) She was loudly cheered upon making her appearance, and proceeded to the castle in Major West’s carriage, which was preceded by the Denbigh Brass Band. Upon entering the pavilion, Mrs Gladstone was again and again cheered, the large audience rising to salute her, and the brass band playing “God save the Queen.” In addition to Mrs Gladstone, who occupied the presidential chair, there were present Mrs Wickham, the Right Hon. G. Osborne Morgan, M.P., and Mrs Morgan, Sir Robert Cunliffe, M.P., and Lady Cunliffe, Major and Mrs Cornwallis West, Mrs Mainwaring, Mr E. G. Salisbury, Mr T. Marchant Williams, B.A., Mr Lewis Morris, Dr Pierce, Denbigh; Mr T. Gold 0 Edwards, Clwydfardd, Gwalchmai. Hwfa Mon, Pedr Mostyn, &c. Mr F. Marchant Williams acted as conductor.

Mr T. Gold Edwards proceeded toread the address to Mrs Gladstone, but before doing so he referred to the absence of Mr Gladstone, remarking that if there was one man in the kingdom who had deserved and earned a rest it was the Prime Minister. (Cheers.) He and the committee had felt that m asking Mr Gladstone to be present they were aspiring very highly for they felt that they were asking, if not the greatest, at least one of the greatest men in the universe. (Applause.) They did not forget that on an occasion not N-cry far distant Mr Gladstone did the Principality the honour of calling himself halt a Welshman. (hear, hear.) However, Mrs Gladstone, at great personal inconvenience and fatigue, had done them the honour of gracing the chair with her presence; but in referring to her he was not referring to a half Welshwoman, but he was referring to a Welsh woman. (Cheers.) He then read the address.

Sir Robert Cunliffe, M.P., in rising to speak on behalf of Mrs Gladstone, was warmly cheered. He said lie was there at the request of the committee to perform a somewhat, difficult but a most honourable and pleasing task. He was there on behalf of one whose name was greatly honoured in that assembly to thank them for the address which they had just presented to her, and for the sentiments expressed in that address. (Cheers.) They must, however, permit him to say a word in his own behalf, for lie would like to add his concurrence in the terms of the address and in what had fallen from Mr Gold Edwards. (Hear, hear.) He should like to thank Mrs Gladstone on the part of himself and on the part of all that audience for the great kindness she had shown by coming there at great inconvenience and fatigue, for she had only arrived at Hawarden at half-past nine the previous night. He knew they would all welcome her as, in the absence of Mr Gladstone, his only and best representative. (Cheers.) Mr Gold Edwards had said, and said admirably, that if there was one man in the kingdom who had earned a holiday, that man was the Prime Minister. (Cheers.) He was authorised by Mrs Gladstone to whisper a secret to them, and that was that she had felt it to be at many times, and more now than at any other time, her duty to interpose between Mr Gladstone and exertions which would seriously injure a health most precious to this country. (Applause.) They would therefore appreciate the motive which had induced her to urge him to take the rest he so much needed, although in doing so he was obliged to put aside an engagement which he would have been most pleased to fulfil. (Renewed applause.) This was not the first time it had happened that Mrs Gladstone had been present at an eisteddfod at Denbigh, for she had told him that she was present at one many years ago, when she was quite a little child, with her mother, Lady Glynn. (Hear, hear.) That was one of her earliest recollections of the eisteddfod, and he hoped it would not be by a great many the last. (Cheers.) He could not help expressing a hope that, although on that occasion Mr Gladstone was not able to be present, there might be other opportunities when they might be able to welcome him in such an assembly as that, and he would venture to say that the welcome could hardly be exceeded in any other part of the kingdom. (Hear, hear.) All in that audience were not necessarily of the same political party, but he would say this, that they would all welcome Mr Gladstone, not in any party sense, but as one who, having devoted his splendid services for many years to his country, deserved the profound respect and admiration of his countrymen. (Applause.) While they all regretted his absence, they knew his reasons perfectly well, and hoped he would honour a national eisteddfod by his presence at one of its meetings. (Loud cheers.)

The Right Hon. George Osborne Morgan, who also received an ovation, said he hoped, as their county member, and a humble member of Mr Gladstone’s Government, they would allow him to add his tribute of thanks to Mrs Gladstone for coming there to represent her illustrious husband. It was only those who, like himself, had stood beside Air Gladstone night after night, and seen him to battle with giant and pigmy, that knew that the session was the session of one man, and could appreciate how hard had been his labours and how well earned his rest. (Cheers). He saw in that meeting many political opponents, and he hoped also his personal friends, but he was quite sure of this, that even they would, like him, say of Air Gladstone that even they would, like him, say of Mr Gladstone as it was said of his predecessor, England was proud of him” (cheers), and England was never so proud of him as she was at the present day. (Renewed cheers). The ties which bound them to Mrs Gladstone’s illustrious husband were of closer and more domestic character, from the fact that he had taken a wife from among the daughters of Wales. (Cheers). And they further rejoiced to think that he had found repose amongst them, and that in his beautiful home at Hawarden, surrounded as it was by scenery which he loved, he was able to east off for a moment the overwhelming burden of a statesman’s cares. (Cheers). And when Mrs Gladstone went home that day, she might carry with her the assurance that, whatever the political opinions represented in that assembly, there were none there who did not admire and revere the universality of his genius, the grandeur of his character, and the spotless purity of his life. (Loud applause).

Mrs Gladstone, who on rising was loudly cheered, said “Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you with all my heart for the beautiful reception yon have given me. I know very well whom it is for it is really for my husband. At the same time, I take a little merit, perhaps, in being a Welshwoman.” (Cheers).

At this stage, the conductor announced that Dr Pierce had offered a prize of two guineas for the best stanza to Mrs Gladstone. (Cheers).

The prize of £3 for the best original drawing of “The five orders of architecture” was awarded to Mr T. Leonard Hughes, Greenfield Mills, Holywell, who has won several important prizes at the eisteddfod.

For three stanzas to Sir Watkin William Wynn, a prize of three guineas was awarded to “Ap Cynan,” who proved to be Mr David Evan Davies (Dewi Glan Ffrydlas), Bethesda.

Mr Lucas Williams sang Hen wlad y menyggwynion” in good style.

There was no love song upon “Angharad Ferch Ednyfed Fychau” received that was worth of the prize. Ten competed for a, prize of £10 offered for the best poem on “Winter,” given by Robert Wright, Esq., but none deserved the prize.

A prize of £25 was offered for the best English or Welsh essay on “Agriculture as it is and as it should be, in its relation to the landowner, the tenant farmer, the labourer, and the general interest of the country.” The prize included £20 given by the Eisteddfod Committee, and £5 by the Vale of Clwyd Chamber of Agriculture. The prize was equally divided between Mr D. J. Rowlands, Old Bank, Merthyr and Mr D. H. James, Bedw Farm, Llanllwni, Carmarthenshire.

Madame Gwenfil Davies sang “Jenny Jones,” which was well received.

A silver medal was offered for the best “Herbarium of dried and labelled leaves, flowers, and plants, indigenous to the Principality.” A special prize was driven to the successful competitor, Mr John Williams Caerwys.

The Conductor here read a letter from Dr Richardson offering a prize of five guineas for the best essay on “Domestic thrift.” the essay to be written in the Welsh language, to be competed for by women only at the next eisteddfod. (Cheers.)

Miss Mary Davies then sang “The missing boat” with great effect.

The prize of £2 for the best patchwork quilt was awarded to Miss Jones, Holyhead; a special second prize to “L. J.” who did not appear; and a special third to Miss J. Roberts, Maesgwyn, Bryneglwys, Corwen.

For the best performance on the violin, Miss Smith, of Chester, gained the prize, valued at five guineas. Three competed.

Mr M. T. Morris delivered the adjudication upon pieces of Welsh flannel (twelve yards) sent in m com- petition for a silver medal. He paid a high compliment to the quality of the flannel, and awarded the prize to the Welsh Flannel Company (Holywell), which was represented by Mr T. H. Waterhouse, secretary.

The same gentleman awarded the silver medal for the best piece of Welsh tweed to a Mr Breece, who did not appear. There were eight competitors. Overture by Sir Frederick More, performed by the eisteddfod orchestral band.

There was no triple harp competition for a prize of £3 offered.

The prize of five guineas for the best arrangement of the Welsh air, “Clyw, clyw, foreuolglod,” with variations, for a soprano voice, was given to Mr Charles Lewis Renshaw, Woodhey, Birkenhead.

For the best English or Welsh historical essay on “Sir Hugh Middleton and William and Thomas, his brothers,” the prize of £5 was given to Mr Robert Price Jones, Board School, Pantycelyn, near Ruthin. The production of “Edward Ganoldre” was also highly commended.

Song “Alawon fy nhwlad,” by Mrs Martha Harries, who was loudly encored.

Sir Robert Cunliffe here announced that Mrs Gladstone regretted being obliged to leave, and added that it was her intention to offer a prize for competition at the next eisteddfod. (Cheers.)

Major West asked the assembly to pass a vote of thanks to Mrs Gladstone for having presided that day. (Cheers.) The vote of thanks was unanimously accorded, the cheering lasting several minutes.

Mr. Lewis Morris was then called to the chair.

Miss Jones, Swansea, gained the prize of £3 for the best rendering of the contralto solo “0 thou afflicted.”

Next followed the choral competition for the best rendering, by choirs not under fifty in number, of Mr. W. Jarret t Roberts’ “Amen Chorus.” Prize, £30, and a medal for the conductor. The following choirs competed: Bowydd (Festiniog), conductor, Thomas Lloyd; Mold, Thomas Foulkes Holywell Union Glee Party, Hugh Roger Williams; Caledfryn (Denbigh), T. R. Jones; Nantlle Vale. Ebenezer Jones. The last-named choir gained the prize.

The prize of 20 guineas and a gold medal for the best poem in memory of President Garfield was won by Mr. D. R. Williams, Queen Victoria Street, London.

The Rev. Thomas Nicholson, Denbigh, won the prize for the best stanza to Mr. Gladstone, and “Byrfyfyr” (whose proper name was not known) for the best stanza to Airs. Gladstone.

The proceedings of the eisteddfod closed with a grand concert.