Merthyr Historian vol. 28

The Merthyr Tydfil Historical Society are pleased to announce the publication of volume 28 of the Merthyr Historian.

The book will be officially launched on 11 December 2017 at The Redhouse (the Old Town Hall) in Y Faenor Room (The Gallery) at 2.30pm.
Details of the latest volume are below.
Volume 28
Christine Trevett & Huw Williams, Editors
Published 2017 – ISBN 978-0-9929810-2-0
An Editorial Statement
1. Ars Gratia Artis: Popular Culture and the Making of Modern Merthyr Tydfil by Huw Williams
2. Rediscovering J.O. Francis (1882-1956) The Distinguished Merthyr-born Playwright by Mary Owen
3. Pilgrimage of a Vagabond: The Harry H. W. Southey Story by Christopher Parry
4. More Than Just a Bed-cover, More Than Just a Dress by Christine Trevett
5. Disestablishment of the Church in Wales: An Anniversary by David Lee
6. Isaac Craigfryn Hughes of Quakers Yard: Colliery, Culture and the Common Man by Christine Trevett
7. William Warde Fowler: From Gwaelod y Garth House to Ancient Rome by Christine Trevett
8. The Royal Crescent Allotments 1917-2017 by Hywel Mathews
9. George Jones (Talfyrydd): A Forgotten Local Historian by Brynley Roberts
10. The Taff in Poetry and Paint: An Appreciation of “A Fold in the River by Philip Gross and Valerie Coffin Price” by the Editors
11. Biography of Contributors

Freedom of the Borough

Ceremony of the Conferment of the Freedom of the County Borough of Merthyr Tydfil

by Carl Llewellyn

On Thursday 18 April 2002, the County Borough of Merthyr Tydfil bestowed two of its sons – Dowlais born Sir Glanmor Williams C.B.E and Cefn Coed born Major Tudor Price M.B.E, the freedom of the town.

The ceremonial proceedings began at St. Tydfil’s Church, where invited guests were able to view the Conferment of the nominated Honorary Freemen. I was fortunate to be an invited guest through my association with the Merthyr Tydfil Historical Society. At the commencement of the ceremony a fanfare of trumpets hailed the entrance of the Mayor, preceded by the mace and accompanied by the Chief Executive; Council Leader; Leader of the opposition; local Councillors; Mayor’s chaplain; present Freemen and Honorary Freemen elect.

The procession led by the Mayor proceeded to the designated platform assembled in front of the Church altar where the Master of Ceremonies, Mr Gordon Gray called for silence for prayers to be said by Canon Gareth Foster. The Chief Executive then read the notice convening the meeting with confirmation by the Council who unanimously agreed the proposal and indicated their confirmation by voting again.

The Mayor asked both Sir Glanmor Williams and Major Tudor Price if they would accept the Honorary Freedom of the County Borough of Merthyr Tydfil, and after both men agreed they were asked to read the oath. The Mayor then presented both honourees with their illuminated Commemorative scrolls, with floral tributes presented to Lady Fay Williams and Mrs Elsie Price by the Mayoress. The Master of Ceremonies then introduced a young lady called Zoe Perman who entertained the gathering with her angelic voice.

She sang “Ar Lan y Mor” and “Bring Him Home”, and the acoustics of St Tydfil’s Parish Church assisted Zoe’s vocal ability producing a harmonious resonance. The ceremony finished with the singing of the Welsh National Anthem, and the Mayor led the procession, preceded by the Mace, and followed by the Civic Party Honorary; Freemen and Members of the County Borough of Merthyr Tydfil, to Rhydycar Leisure Centre, where a celebratory dinner awaited the invited guests. The Mayor’s Chaplin Canon Gareth Foster said grace, with the toasts proposed by the Mayor.

In keeping with tradition the dinner menu was Cawl Cennin (Leek soup ) followed by Roast leg of lamb with laver bread stuffing topped with crisp pastry, served with mint sauce and redcurrant jelly, also hasselback and baby new potatoes and braised leeks, sugar snap peas, and baton carrots. The third course was a Raspberry Mist, followed with Cheeses, celery and grapes. To finish there was coffee and after dinner mints. The after dinner speeches began with Councillor  Royston Thomas, leader of the local labour party, giving an account of why the nominees Sir Glanmor Williams and Major Tudor Price where chosen as freemen.

Sir Glanmor Williams C.B.E.

Sir Glanmor Williams is undoubtedly one of Wales’ most illustrious living sons. His achievements all testify to the strength and affectionate links he feels for the town of his birth Merthyr Tydfil. On the commencement of the 21st Century, when perhaps distinguished academic accomplishments require strength and popular models, Sir Glanmor serves as a shining example through his hard work, loyal endeavour and dedication to the generation in South Wales. Sir Glanmor justifiably meets all the requirements for conferring the, Freedom of the County Borough. He is one of the great contemporary Welshman admired and respected throughout the cultural life of Wales and indeed throughout the world. When Sir Glanmor was called upon to make a speech, he described himself as “Bachgen o Dowlais”. He then went on to comment about dizzy professors, which led him to a story about an old Minister in Dowlais, who was very forgetful. One day when he arrived at one of the railway stations in Dowlais he’d forgotten his railway ticket. The ticket collector, realising the Minister’s dilemma, said, “Don’t worry about your ticket Reverend, I know who you are.” The Reverend answered, “Thank you, kind Sir, it’s very kind of you, but the ticket is not my biggest problem, I’ve forgotten where I’m supposed to be going”.

Major Tudor Price M. B. E.

Major Tudor Price has achieved many things in his lifetime, not only in the Armed forces, but also in the community at large, Indeed when the Queen bestowed the honour in 1982 , it was for his developments in relationships between military and civilian population. Major Tudor joined the South Wales Borderers in 1946, rising through the ranks and eventually commissioned into the Welsh Regiment before retiring as a Major in 1989. He saw active service in Korea, Cyprus, and Northern Ireland, and was stationed in Hong Kong and Germany in a career spanning 43 years, serving King, Queen and Country. There is no doubt that Major Tudor Price is a man of presence who is not only a great ambassador for the Royal British Legion but also for Merthyr Tydfil.

In the past 100 years the town of Merthyr Tydfil has only conferred the honour of freeman on at least 27 occasions, which clearly underlines the importance of such an honour.

Sir Glanmor Williams
Major Tudor Price