Crosslet Crosslet Carnelian 1834-1910

Photograph of Crosslet Crosslet

Mr Cosslett (Carnelian), a notable old Pontypridd character, and a well-known bard and Eisteddfodwr, passed away on Monday after a brief illness. Deceased was a native of Monmouth, and had lived for some time at Caerphilly, but during the last 40 years he had resided at Pontypridd, where he worked as a miner.

Carnelian came from a family in which the muse was the predominant characteristic, his late father, Walter Cosslett, being known in the old days as the “Shakespeare of Eglwysilan.”

Though a septuagenarian, Carnelian was as keen and witty as ever, and hardly a festive occasion of any note was complete without one of his scintillating contributions, as he could compose an englyn or a sonnet of considerable merit to suit varying circumstances with comparative ease.

Carnelian was about 35 years of age when he first competed at a local eisteddfod, and the success which he then met with spurred him on’ to further efforts, so that afterwards no man figured more often as a competitor than he. At local eisteddfodau he carried all before him, but his lack of early training probably accounted for his failure to capture the more coveted honours at the National Eisteddfod.

He won scores of prizes at Eisteddfodau, and probably holds the record for the number of prizes won at the same Eisteddfod. In Tonypandy in the seventies he captured no less than 24 awards for various, items. His strength, however, was in the englyn, and he ranked high in that class of Welsh verse. His englynion were always full of striking thoughts, and he had a happy way of giving expression to his ideas.

On one occasion a National Eisteddfod prize fell to him for an englyn, but though he several times competed for the national chair poem he was never successful. He, however, came second at the last Carnarvon Eisteddfod. Carnelian possessed nearly a score of chairs won at local Eisteddfodau. He won at Treorky (two), Skewen, Utica (America), Taibach, Bedlinog, Pontypridd, Bridgend, and other places. As an adjudicator, his services were frequently requisitioned some years ago, but deafness overtook him, and he had to console by entering the list of competitors. Deceased is survived by a widow and four grown-up children.

Numerous as memorial committees are in Wales just now there is none more deserving than that which intends honouring the memory of “Carnelian” the collier-eprigrammist of Pontypridd. He was a man of the but in witty conversation he would have graced a Royal drawing-room. His englynion are among the pithiest in the Welsh language. The promoters of his memorial, headed by his old friend “Brynfab,” require but a very modest sum indeed to mark his last resting place at Groeswen (the burial place of so many other Welsh worthies). If his contemporaries will, not respond to the present appeal, Carnelian’s friends will have cause to be disappointed.

“Carnelian” – Proposed Testimonial
To The Editor

Sir, It will interest your readers to know that, at Pontypridd a movement is being initiated whereby the services rendered to Welsh literature by the bard Carnelian will be recognised, Carnelian is one of Wales’s most talented sons, but it is extraordinary how he has accomplished so much when we remember his daily toil in the coal mine. He has won no fewer, than seven eisteddfodic chair prizes. The old bard is now in advancing years, and it behoves all lovers of the Eisteddfod to rally round the movement.

I am, Sze., Tywi, May 23rd, 1899

Testimonial to “Carnelian”
Generous Donation by Judge Gwilym Williams

On Wednesday afternoon on the rising of the Court a deputation consisting of Mr. Morgan Morgan, Mr. Iago Daniels, Dr. Griffiths, Mr. Joseph David, Mr. R. Gwyngyll Hughes, Mr. T. H. Maddox, Mr. Edward Williams, D.C. Ap Lewis, and Mrs. Leyshon, Graig Villa, waited upon Judge Gwilym Williams with the view of having his Honour’s patronage by his acceptance of the presidency of the movement for presenting Carnelian with a testimonial.

His Honour eventually accepted the position and moreover promised a donation of £5 which sum with others already promised from various sources brings the amount to about £20.

The secretary, Mr. Morgan Morgan, was instructed to have circulars printed and forwarded for distribution throughout the whole of Wales.

Presentation to Carnelian
Judge Gwilym Williams
On Welsh Literature

On Wednesday evening, at the County Court, Pontypridd, Judge Williams, Miskin Manor, presided over a representative gathering of bards and ovates, for the purpose of presenting the veteran poet Carnelian with some recognition for his services to Welsh literature. Amongst those present were Rev. Dr. W. Griffiths, vice-president of the committee; Mr. Morgan Morgan, secretary: Rev. W. Parry, Mr. R. G. Hughes, Mr. Iago Daniels, M.E., Mr. Evan Evans, Havod; Thalamus, and many others.
The distinguished chairman called Upon the secretary to read letters from several bards expressing their inability to be present, and from the renowned Morien, who is laid up with influenza.

The chairman, in a stirring Welsh speech, explained the object of the meeting, and said he had known Carnelian for a large number of years, but after reading his awdl on “Bardd Morganwg,” thought very highly of him as a bard. Although unfortunate through circumstances in not having secured a good educational training, he believed his natural abilities and poetical genius have secured for him a high position among the leading poets of the day. He would very much like to see a fund established to publish the works of our poets, and any movement in that direction would receive his heartiest support. He felt, like the poet Ceiriog, difficult to praise Carnelian as much as he would like in his presence.

“O flaen dy wyneb, gyfaill gwiw,
Canmoliaeth nid yw weddus,
Ond yn dy gefn, dyna’r man
Mae clod yn anrhydeddus.”

The Committee had expected a much larger testimonial, and indeed had, hoped to have sufficient to purchase a substantial annuity, but he trusted that Carnelian would not gauge the feeling of his countrymen towards him by this comparatively small recognition of his valued service to Welsh literature. The hearts, and not the gold, were the crowning part of the movement. He thought that he would express the true feeling in the words of Nicander:


“Clod ein henwlad i wladwr—gwir haeddol
A geir heddyw yn brifwr.
Parchus gyhoeddus haeddwr.
Hon’ – ha yw gwir gorongwr.

Nid tlysau melyn aur mad – nid arian
Yn dwr yw’n hanrhegiad.
Parch calon dda, fron ddifrad,
Yw cu rin y coroniad.

Beth yw cyfoeth a moethau? – cam eilun
Hudolus wynebau.
Cael anwyl barch calonau
I ddyn sy’ fil gwell na’r ddau.”

He then called upon the bards for addresses on the occasion. Trefinfab and Y Dryw had sent in the following, and in their unavoidable absence the verses were, read by the secretary:

Wele’r Carn o flaen Barnwr – a’i cafodd
Fel cyfiawn dderbyniwr,
Caf ronyn pob cyfranwr – fel un llu
Yn angel wenu ar hen englynwr.

Gwelwyd Carn gan hael Farnwr—dyna barch
Yn dwyn beirdd i’r dwndwr.
Doniau goreu’r dyngarwr – ymdaniant
A hwn folianant fel pe’n filiwnwr.

Teilyngdod dderbyn goden – o ddwylaw
Addolwyr Ceridwen.
Hidlo’r aur ar odlwr hen
Aur loewa’i hwyrol awen.

Tysteb i Carn yw’r testyn – a thalent
Etholodd y cychwyn.
Heb ei gyfoeth doeth yw’r dyn
Yn gonglau can ac englyn.

Ceir yn olwg Carnelian – ddyn a bardd
Yn ddawn byw fel trydan.
Cawn er lles ei gynes gan,
A chura fasnach arian.

Diniwed yn ei awydd – y gwelir
Y gwiwlwys awenydd;
Ei ddawn barddol swynol y sydd
Yn ddiboenau iddo beunydd.

Yn ein hiaith ei waith fydd wir
Gofadail pan gyfodir.
Bydd fyw Carn fel haiarn heb
Dosti’r gyda’th dysteb.

Y Dryw

Mr. Morgan Morgan then followed with his own effusion:

Mae Carn, y prif englynwr,
Yn y Cwrt,
A saif o flaen y Barnwr,
Yn y Cwrt,
Mewn difri mae’n ddigrifol
Gweld Carn, hen wr cyfrifol,
Yn eistedd yn hamddenol,
Yn y Cwrt,
A gwenu mae yn siriol
Yn y Cwrt,

Mae pethau wedi newid
Yn y Cwrt,
Yn lie rhoi cosp a dedfryd
Yn y Cwrt.
Cydnabod gwr llenyddol,
Cadeirfardd eisteddfodol,
Gwr llawn athrylith farddol,
Yn y Cwrt,
Ond yw yn waith dyddorol
Yn y Cwrt.

On being, presented with a testimonial, April 17th, 1901

Not like the ploughman on the mountain side,
Who pressed with willing feet the yielding sod.
Through summer hours among the daisies trod,
Till evening amid golden splendours died.

The bonnie Dee and Doon Bums sang besides,
The lark on sunlit wings hung in the sky,
With swelling throats, the thrush and linnet nigh,
Would in his loved companionship abide.

But thou, Carnelian, in the deep dark mine,
‘Midst dangers oft, and death didst tune they lyre.
Their inspiration filled thy heart, with wine,
And genius wreathed thy poet’s harp with tire.

Thy muse found in the seldom bright gems divine,
Which future generations will admire.

Tongwynlais. Wm. Parry

Parchus lywydd, ffraeth ei eiriau,
Sydd yn llenwin prif gadei, riau,
Ydyw’r enwog wr o Fis cyn,
Dawnus, serchog iawn a dillyn.
Gwr dysgedig, gwir foneddwr,
Doeth ac anrhydeddus farnwr,
O hiliogaeth tywysogion,
Gwlad Forganwg, bro y dewrion.
Medd ar galon fawr, ryddfrydig,
Cymro pur, a dyrchafedig.
Yn ein llysoedd, pwy mor llesol?
Unplyg ar ei sedd feirniadol?
Fel Ab Alaw Goch, ein gwron,
Heriaf ail o dan y Goron;
O! caed hyfryd nawnddydd bywyd,
Gwenau byd a nefoedd hefyd.

R. Gwyngyll Hughes. Pontypridd

After speeches by the Rev. Dr. Griffiths, the Rev. W. Parry, Tongwynlais, Thalamus, Mr. Iago Daniels, M.E., Mr. S. Griffiths, Cilfynydd, and others, the secretary gave a short account of the movement, which, he said, was mooted a few years ago, and after a few meetings, a deputation waited upon His Honour Judge Williams, who heartily approved of the proposal, and generously supported the movement by contributing the sum of £5. (Applause).

The testimonial had been patronised by Lords Tredegar and Windsor, a large number of local gentlemen, and a host of poets, including Dyfed, Watcyn Wyn, Job, of Carnarvon, etc. The following members of the committee had collected the sums set opposite their names below:

£ s. d.
Morgan Morgan, including the £5 from the Chairman 17 12 0
R. G. Hughes 11 07 6
Ap Lewis 7 12 6
E. Williams, Maltsters 4 2 6
S. Evans, J.P. 3 17 0
J. Ilife 2 7 6
Gwynwawr, Cwmaman 1 9 0
Dr. W. Griffiths 1 7 0
T. H. Maddox 1 1 0
Dewi Haulwen 12 6 0
H. James, Trefinfab 12 6 0
E. Jones (Cocosfardd) 10 6 0
Rev. J. R. Jones 10 6 0
Ap Gwalia 10 0 0
George Watkins, Barry 10 0 0
D. Jones, Insurance Superintendent 7 3 0
Gwilym Thomas, Ynyshir 2 6 0
J. Parry Thomas 2 6 0

After deducting the sum of £1 7s 6d, the cost of printing and postages, the nett amount to be handed to Carnelian would be £53 6s. 3d.

The Chairman thereupon called upon Carnelian, and after some further eulogistic remarks, said that he had great, pleasure, on behalf of the subscribers, to hand him the bag of gold, and wished him a long life of happiness, and he urged him to. devote as much as he could of his time to composing, and if he would collect his best poems and submit them to the present committee, he would see that they were published without any cost to himself, and whatever proceeds would be made would be handed, over to him.

Cornelian appropriately and very feelingly thanked the Judge and the subscribers for what he considered a very handsome recognition of his services, which- had been rendered under great difficulties, for he had received no educational advantages. He well remembered 50 years ago attending the first Eisteddfod, and it was there he received’ a poetical inspiration.

That Eisteddfod was held in a thatched roofed public-house, in the Parish of Eglwysilan, and presided over by the late Alaw Goch, and he little thought at that time that he would today receive from Alaw Goch’s distinguished son such an encouragement for his efforts in adding something to Welsh literature.

A hearty vote of thanks was, accorded to Judge Williams for presiding, and for his valuable support to the movement. In responding the Judge expressed himself proud’ of being able to speak Welsh, and to be able to appreciate Welsh poetry, for next to a Welsh sermon nothing appealed to him more than the works, of the Welsh bards. He asserted that it was absolutely necessary for young men, who sought prominent positions in the Principality to know the Welsh language. He was certain it would be useless for aspirants for County Court Judgeship and Stipendiary Magistrates in Wales to apply unless conversant with the Welsh language.

Miss Cosslett, daughter of Carnelian, then led the audience in singing “Hen Wlad fy Nhadau,” and amidst the sound of our National Anthem, a most enjoyable evening was brought to a close.

Funeral of Carnelian

The funeral of the late Mr. Coslett Coslett (Carnelian), Pontypridd, took place at Groeswen Cemetery. The officiating ministers were Dyfed (the Archdruid), and Dyfnallt. There were present a large, number of the bardic fraternity to pay the last tribute to the versatile old bard.

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