Eisteddfod still on song

South Western Times - - Point Of View -

IT was great to see the South Western Times con­grat­u­lat­ing the or­gan­is­ers and com­peti­tors of the re­cent eisteddfod. We have cer­tainly had a splendid three weeks and should be proud that we are up­hold­ing a tra­di­tion started far away and long ago in a cor­ner of West Wales. In 1176 Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd gave a Christ­mas Feast in his cas­tle at Cardi­gan. He had sent mes­sen­gers all over Wales, to the English court and even to Scot­land, invit­ing po­ets, singers and play­ers of in­stru­ments to take part in a com­pe­ti­tion. Lady Gwen­l­lian, her daugh­ters and court ladies were busy mak­ing sump­tu­ous gar­ments and wall hang­ings. It was also her task to cater for the large (and un­known) num­ber of guests. There was al­ways mut­ton and pork, but for this oc­ca­sion there was veni­son, swan, hare, carp, eels, pre­served fruits, cus­tards, pies, cakes, honey, mead, wine, cheese and ap­ples. No money changed hands, but some­times small gifts were given and a splen­didly carved chair was pre­sented to the over­all win­ning bard. A tiny sil­ver harp has come down to us from an eisteddfod at Caer­wys in 1568. The de­light in dis­play­ing one’s skills to an ap­pre­cia­tive au­di­ence was con­sid­ered prize enough. The event was such a suc­cess that eisteddfo­dau have been held all over Wales, the Welsh colony in Patag­o­nia, and else­where in the world. Sixty years ago it came to Bun­bury where we could en­joy the wealth of tal­ent our re­gion has to of­fer. How lucky we are. Tessa Fothergill, South Bun­bury

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