Denbigh Eisteddfod 27.09.1828

The Cambrian

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday se’nnight, were memorable days in the history of the county of Denbigh, and that of the Principality. Upon the soil where the English poet Gray makes the Welsh Bard anathematise one of the Sovereigns of England:

“Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!”
“Confusion on thy banners wait!”

Upon that soil the Brother of our present Sovereign was hailed with acclamations -the voice of Braham sang:

“Here’s a health to the King, God bless him.”

And there the descendants of Ancient Britons, with the modern Bards and Minstrels, assembled to do homage as subjects, and to swell the loyal anthem with their instruments and their tongues.

The Duke of Sussex having been on a tour; visited the mansion of Col. Hughes, at Kinmel, where his Royal Highness was solicited to attend the Congress of Bards and Minstrels at Denbigh. The Roya! Duke gave his willing assent.

Early on Wednesday morning the Eisteddfod Committee, each with a white rosette on his breast; the Bards with their insignias, and the Aldermen and Corporate Bodies in their robes, assembled in the Hall, and the whole proceeded accompanied by the Royal Denbigh Band of music, in due order to meet his Royal Highness. At the turnpike, about a mile from the town, the procession halted. At half-past twelve the Royal Duke arrived in the carriage of Col. Hughes, drawn by six beautiful greys, and attended by four servants mounted on greys in the same carriage sat Lady Harriet Wynn, Lady Mostyn, and Mrs. Hughes, of Kinmel; the private carriage of his Royal Highness, and that of Sir Edward Mostyn, Bart (the President), with four greys, were followed by those of Sir W, W. Wynn. Bart., and a long line of others. When the carriages halted, the Recorder of the Borough, J. W. Griffith, Esq of Garn, spoke as follows:

“May it please your Royal Highness?”

As Recorder of this Borough I am deputed by the Aldermen, Bailiffs, and Burgesses, to present to your Royal Highness their dutiful and loyal Address upon your Royal Highness’s visit to the principality, and to express to your Royal Highness how highly they appreciate your Royal Highness’s condescension in honouring them with your presence at their National Festival this day, which, with your Royal Highness’s permission, I will read to you.” Here the Recorder read the following Address:

“To his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex”

“We, the Aldermen, Bailiffs, and Capital Burgesses of the Borough of Denbigh, assembled by special convocation, beg to congratulate your Royal Highness upon your arrival in the Principality. Anxious upon all occasions to testify our loyalty and attachment to the House of Brunswick, under whose mild and constitutional sway we have enjoyed so many blessings, we eagerly embrace the opportunity which your Royal Highness’s visit to us has fortunately afforded, to present to your Royal Highness, in the most respectful terms, the Freedom of our ancient Corporation, as the most appropriate token of personal regard for so distinguished a member of the Royal Family we have it in our power to confer.”

“It would have been particularly gratifying to us upon any occasion to have marked your Royal Highness’s visit to our ancient Borough with every possible respect; but under the peculiar circumstances which now occur, we feel ourselves imperatively bound to acquit ourselves of that obligation by an ardent feeling of gratitude for the truly courteous and liberal spirit in which your Royal Highness has condescended to honour our National Festival, or Eisteddfod, with your presence, and by that means so powerfully contributed to increase in splendour and effect those popular attractions which must ensure its eventual success; and thus promote the combined objects for which this and other meetings of a similar kind have been recently revived.”

The Recorder then continued: “I am also instructed by the Members of the Convocation to convey to your Royal Highness their warmest acknowledgments for this high mark of your Royal Highness’s respect, and to present to your Royal Highness, in this box, the Freedom of this ancient Burgh, which is the highest compliment they have in their power to confer.”

“I feel particularly proud that I have been selected to address your Royal Highness upon the present occasion, as it gives me an opportunity of shewing my respect for your Royal Highness by personally expressing the high sentiments I entertain of your Royal Highness’s public and private virtues.”

The Duke of Sussex, in reply, after expressing his thanks, said: “I am fully sensible of the compliment paid to my person by conferring on me the Freedom of your ancient Corporation, accompanied with the assurances of your loyalty to our most gracious Sovereign, whom may God long preserve, and of your attachment to the House of Brunswick.”

“Born and educated in those principles which placed my family upon the throne of these realms, it has ever been my most anxious wish to mix with my fellow-subjects, and to participate with them in all those festivities that tend to commemorate and keep up a spirit of liberty and national independence, which we have sworn to maintain with our lives.”

“Among the many institutions of this kind the Eisteddfod is the most ancient; and therefore I am delighted in being permitted to witness a scene which must be highly interesting to all well-wishers of their country, and most particularly gratifying to the inhabitants of the Principality, amongst whom I have the peculiar happiness to find myself on present occasion.”

The procession then moved into town, and ascended the rocky acclivity, on the top of which stand the splendid ruins of Denbigh Castle, where the Eisteddfod had been opened and held on the preceding day. In a large area within the Castle walls, now used as a bowling green (funned into walks, and embowered with shrubs and evergreens) a platform was erected, and an awning overhead; in the centre of the platform sat the Duke. the President of the Eisteddfod, Sir E. Mostyn, on the one hand, and Sir Watkin on the other, surrounded by nearly 300 ladies in splendid dresses, and gentlemen of that and the surrounding counties in front sat nearly 700 ladies and gentle- men. To such of our readers as are not personally acquainted with the beauty and grandeur of the prospect from this station no idea can be conveyed by words:

“Description drops her pencil in despair.”

In front of the Duke was Moel Famma, the mountain on whose top stands the Jubilee Tower, erected in commemoration of his Royal Highness s Father having reigned 50 years; an amphitheatre of mountains stood around, some cultivated to their summits, others craggy and barren, others covered with masses of wood land, while far extending below lay the richly cultivated and far famed “Vale of Clwyd.” His Royal Highness was received with rounds of cheering Mr. Parry, the Conductor of the Eisteddfod, exhibited to the Duke the Prizes, then to be contested by Harpers, &c. and sang the following additional stanza to his song, “Mewnawenfwynlawen,” &c.

“Long life to the Prince from whose generous heart,
The stream of sweet charity silently flows;
Who fosters the progress of Science and Art,
Whose presence a lustre on Cambria bestows.
In strains of past ages, Oh! let us all sing,
Till Clwyd’s misty mountains responsively ring,
To welcome the Brother of Britain’s good King.”

Pennillgan Fardd Nantglyn.

“BALCH yw Cymru weledLlin
Yn talutegymweliad da
Eisteddfod bena’rgwledydd;
Trachof, trachailtc, traPhrydydd.”

Translation of the foregoing:

“Wales is proud to behold a Relative of her King honouring her Grand Eisteddfod with his presence; his name will be cherished while memory lasts, song records, or Bard exists.”

The Contests for the Prizes now commenced of which an account will be found in the second day’s proceedings at the Eisteddfod.

After the prizes had been awarded, several ladies and gentle- men were introduced to the Royal Duke, who then took leave of the company. When shaking hands with the Bishop of St. Asaph, his Royal Highness said: “This has been a very interesting Meeting the music was delightful.” The Corporation and a large retinue of gentry escorted the Duke to the residence of the late Capt. Lloyd, where refreshment was provided, after partaking of which, his Royal Highness set off amid deafening acclamations on his return to Kinmel Park, followed by about fifteen carriages of distinguished personages. The Duke appeared in good health, although a little lame from a recent sprain, and subject to attacks of asthma. From Kinmel the Duke visited the Menai Bridge, Rhyl, and other places in the Principality, and is expected at Eaton, the seat of Earl Grosvenor, and at Chester.

Proceedings at the Eisteddfod

The President of this Meeting was Sir Edward Mostyn, Bart. The Patrons were the Marquess of Anglesey, Earl Grosvenor, Earl Powis, Earl, Plymouth, Lord Bagot, Lord Dungannon, Lord Newborough, Lord Dynevor, Lord Clive, Lord Ashley, the Bishops of St. Asaph and Bangor, Sirs W. W. Wynn, E. P. Lloyd, and C. Morgan, Bart’s. The Vice-Presidents were 52 personages inhabiting Wales, including eight Baronets and nine Members of Parliament; the Acting Committee were upwards of 50 gentlemen in the vicinity of Denbigh the Conductor was Mr. John Parry, of London.


The Procession to open the Eisteddfod with the accustomed ceremony consisted of the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Cymrodorion Society the Bards and Minstrels the Friends of the Meeting the Royal Denbighshire Military Band. &c. &c.  Having arrived at the Castle, the usual ceremony took place, when the assembly adjourned to the Bowling-green. Sir Edward Mostyn rose and said, that as the chief and sole wish of his heart was to make himself useful to his neighbours, he hadwith pleasure accepted the honourable office of President, He said that however deficient in ability, no man was before him in desiring to benefit his native country. The objects of meetings like the present area, to preserve the purity of the Welsh, Language and to cultivate its poetry and music, formerly these meetings had been held by Royal Proclamation and (continued Sir Edward) your ancestors and mine have been commissioned by Kings to hold them. In former times the Bards were encouraged by Princes and I have now the honour to announce, that his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, who is distinguished by his ardour in prompting whatever is patriotic good, and great, will give his attendance here. I hope we shall shew every mark of respect for his character, as well as because he is so near a relation to our beloved King. I am sure nothing but unanimity and concord will prevail. I hope our English friends who attend this festival will say that the olden character of Welshmen for their hospitality and kindness is not tarnished by us on this occasion.

Mr. John Blackwell, B. A. read a letter from Mr. Thos. Moore (author of Irish Melodies, &c.), acknowledging the honour conferred on him by having been appointed an Honorary Member of the Cymmrodorion Society in Gwynedd another from Mr. Southey, making a similar acknowledgment, and adding that it was “peculiarly gratifying to him; because one of the works by which he hoped to be remembered, related to Wales;” another from Sir Walter Scott, making a like acknowledgment, adding. If by any unforeseen chance I shall be in England, I will be present at the Eisteddfod. But it is scarcely probable, considering that the distance is so great between Gwynedd and Strathaven.”

Distribution of Prizes, First Day

A Premium of Ten Guineas, and a Medal of the value of Five Guineas for the best AWDL; in Welsh, on:“Gwledd Belshazzar” (Belshazzar’s Feast), awarded to the Rev. Evan Evans, Chester. This was the Chair Medal.” The decision of the umpires, and an animated analysis of the Poem; were read from a letter by the Rev. Walter Davies, Rector of Manafon. The author of the Awdl not being present, Mr. Blackwell was chaired as proxy.

Denbigh Eisteddfod 27.09.1828Rev Evan Evans (Medal Museum of Welsh Life Cardiff Ref 34.67)

For the best CYWYDD, in Welsh, on “Buddug” (Boadicea), a Premium of Seven Guineas, and a Medal of the value of Three Guineas to the Rev. Mr. Hughes, of Bodfari.

For the best ENGLYN on “Yr Awyren” (the Air Balloon), a premium of Three Guineas, and a Medal of the value of Two Guineas: to Robert Davies, Bardd Nantglyn. There were five competitors. He was invested by Lady H. Wynn.

For the best WELSH ESSAY on “AngenrheidrwyddCyfiaith i gynnalmoesan da” (the necessity of Law for the moral restraint of the People), a premium of Seven Guineas, and a Medal of the value of Three Guineas: to the author of the Essay with the signature Solon.” The writer’s name not announced.

For the best ENGLISH ESSAY, containing “An historical Account of the Flintshire Castles,” a premium of Seven Guineas and a Medal of the value of Three Guineas to Miss Angharad Lloyd, of Caerwys, a name not unknown to Welsh Literature.

[A ludicrous occurrence took place when Sir Ed. Mostyn was about to invest the fair authoress with the premium; for the ribbon on which the Medal was suspended was not sufficiently ample to pass over the margin of the fashionable bonnet. What is to be done? said Sir Edward. The knot was cut, and the fair champion invested. There were two other competitors- namely, Mr. Parry, of Chester, and Mr. Maxwell, of Denbigh.]

For the best CYWYDD, on “Diolchgar ae anfarwolGoffadwriaeth am y Gwasanaeth a wnaeth Owen My fyri’w wlad drwygoleddueiHiaith, a chasgluyngbydlawer o lien Ysgrifenadau Cymreig oedd arw&sgar ac yn debygo’ucolli” (to the immortal memory of Mr. Owen Jones, for the services he rendered to the Literature of his Country), a premium of the value of Three Guineas; to Samuel Evans, of Caerwys. The opinion of the Judies was read in an extract of a letter from the Rev. R. Williams, of Myfod.

For “The best Catalogue of Welsh MSS. in North Wales, in addition to those already extant,” a Medal of the value of Five Guineas. Not awarded.

For “The best Collection of unpublished Welsh Penillion,” a premium of Five Guineas: to Mr. Absalom Roberts, of Llanrwst. The number in the collection amounted to 815.

The Royal Medal of the Metropolitan Cymrodorion, for the best POEM in Welsh on “Cantref y Gwaelod,” (The Lowland Hundred): to Mr. W. Rees, of Llansannan; who was invested by Lady Harriet Wynn.

The Gwyneddigion Medal for the best Welsh POEM on “Amaethyddiaeth,” (Agriculture): to the Rev. Edw. Hughes Bodfari, who was invested by Mrs Maddox.

The Denbigh Welsh Literary Society’s Medal, of the value of Five Pounds, for the best Welsh AWDL, on “Coffadwriaeth am y diweddarBarchedig Goronwy Owain, y Bardd Cymreig enwocafvnei oes,” (To the memory of the late Rev. Goronwy Owen, the most eminent Welsh Poet of his time.) Not sufficient competition; or sufficient merit.

The Prize for the best Poem on the lamented Death of Bishop Heber; was awarded to Mr. John Blackwell, B. A.

A Prize was given by the Literary Society of Denbigh, to the Rev. M. Newcome, Warden of Ruthin Castle, for his excellent History of Denbigh Castle.

During this morning the music of the Harp, and Penillion singing were heard.

The Rev. Mr. PRICE, of Crickhowell, was called upon to address the assembly, which he did with his usual eloquence. He said that although neither Bard nor Druid, yet he would readily comply with the wishes of the Committee. Could any person hear the harp of Cambria, or view the towers of Denbigh without kindling at the harmony of the one, and recalling past scenes by a view of the latter! The objects around are softened down to repose by the distance of time. The glare of Moel Famma no longer casts its rays over the valley below. These gothic windows and those arches in ruins remind us of the Romans and Normans, and we may find among the stones of the mountain the gravestones of the Druids. There exists a tone of feeling in Bardism which cannot be embodied it is as distinct from other feelings as the tone of Ossian is from that of Homer- as distinct as the Hymns of Odin are from the Fairy tales of modern Romance. There is scarcely a people who do not know Ossian: by encouraging institutions like the present, perhaps some Literary Columbus may discover an Ossian among British Bards.-MI. Price concluded by complimenting Dr. Owen Pughe, on his work Mabinogion” (Tales of Infancy.)

Mr. BLACKWELL, on being honoured with the Bardic Chair, in the absence of the author of Belshazzar’s Feast, said, “I rejoice at being the representative of a friend who, like myself, has, by kind and generous patronage, risen from obscurity. Our abilities and exertions are not our own, but belong to our beloved country henceforth every thought of our hearts shall be hers. It is delightful to see the extending rays of intelligence in Wales there are not less than 13 periodical publications in existence; and it will be our duty from time to time to ‘report progress, and ask leave to sit again.’ Every cottage has its magazine and it’s Bible; and if I were asked to point out the most beautiful prospect in our country, I would not turn to its natural scenery or the works of art: I would point to its Peasantry, the most moral upon the face of the globe. [Mr B was invested by Lady Mostyn.]


After his R. H. the Duke of Sussex was seated, the Prize proposed on the preceding evening for the best Englyn on the visit Royal Duke was adjudged to Catwg: namely Griffith Williams, alias ‘Bardig Griff.’Peris, who read the composition, which was this LITERALLY translated by Mr Blackwell:

“The exalted but condescending Prince, the Literary Augustus Frederick, free he comes, where rancour is banished, to patronize the language of Gwynedd. Let us sound our loftiest welcome to the gracious Lord. Let future ages tell his love of Constitutional liberty.”

“See now our own chiefs, George and his Brother, in whom kindness smiles. They have an inclination to this their ancient country, and to cherish the choice things of Gwynedd.”

“Best Heirs of a Crown! Our own relations! Our faithful Friends, spotless from Tudor’s noble blood, and sons of Mona’s Tudor!”

The successful candidate for the prize on Sir Stephen Glyn coming of age was John Owen, of Denbigh.

Penillion singers were now introduced R. H.Jones, Esq. of Ruthin, recited Mrs. Hemans’s beautiful address to the Ruthin Literary Society, beginning:

“Harp of the Mountain Land, &c.”

Harpers were introduced. Richard Jones, of Dolgelly, played the Welsh air ”The King’s Delight;” Edward Jones, of Llangollen, played “Penrhaw,” with variations; Hugh Pugh, of Dolgelly (a youth) that of “NosGalan;” John Roberts, of LlanrhaidrDyffryn Clwyd, that of “The King’s Delight:” Wm. Humphreys, of Pool, that of Merch Megan and Edw. Jones of Llangollen, that of “Sweet Richard.” The Prize of the Silver Harp was awarded to the last Candidate, and presented by Lady Mostyn.

The Rev. Mr. Price was called upon to announce that the Prize of the Gold Harp was about to be contested. He described the characteristics of the Welsh Harp, those of the Pibroch of Scotland, those of the Harp of Erin, and the merry strains of England but he maintained that no other peasantry in the world possessed so fine an instrument as the Harp of Wales. While the peasantry of other nations were committing crimes and brooding rebellion, those of Wales were to be found in their collages composing Englynion, or singing Pennillion to their harps. The Rev. Speaker concluded by quoting the following beautiful stanza, written by the Rev. Walter Davies:

“Plethiadautannautynion, y Delyn,
I’r dilesgfeddylion,
Odlau saint yw adlais hon

There were only two candidates for the chief prize, viz. Rhys Jones, of Llanrwst, formerly of Liverpool, who performed “The Rising of the Lark;” and Richard Roberts, of Carnarvon who played “Sweet Richard.” The prize was awarded to the latter, and the Duke of Sussex invested him with his reward.

God save the King was played, and the whole assembly sang the words, the Royal Duke joining heartily. Mr. Braham then volunteered to sing an additional stanza of God save the King:’ after which the Duke bade the company farewell.

Concerts and Oratorio

Tuesday and Wednesday

Very excellent and judicious selections of songs, airs, and duets, were performed in the Town- hall with all their powers and abilities, by Miss Stephens, Miss Johnson (the latter was, however, taken unwell,) Mr. Braham Mr Collyer, Mr. Parry, Mr. Parry, jun. Mr. Atkins, &c.- Early in the performance on Tuesday, much merriment was excited by a worthy Cambrian, who had been more accustomed to his national music and songs, than the vocal and instrumental melody of English Concerts, and who took his departure, shaking his head and saying-” I like singing and drinking bv turns; but I see here it’s all sing and no drink, and that will never do No, no that will never do.”


A performance of Sacred Music took place in St. Hilary’s Chapel, in which was introduced with great effect, Handel’s Hailstone Chorus, on the organ, by Mr. J T. Jones and Mr. Parry, jun. Each of the performances was thronged with distinguished auditors. We ought not to close this imperfect notice of the proceedings without paying a tribute of merited applause to the Committee, for their liberal and judicious arrangements; nor ought we to omit mentioning the universal satisfaction afforded by the Conductor, Mr. John Parry. We should have said that too much labour had been imposed upon him, in managing and in performing, had he not executed both so well. We believe he and his son received the thanks of every influential person who witnessed their anxiety and exertions, and well those thanks were merited.