Huw Llywelyn Rees


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12th December

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By: Huw Llywelyn Rees
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The aftermath of Llywelyn ap Grufudd's death and his legacy.

Llywelyn was the only Welshman ever to be recognised as Prince of Wales by a King of England and managed to inspire the Welsh to unite in the common goal of defending its borders against the English.  With the result that for almost twenty years between 1258 and 1277, Wales seemed poised to become an independent nation, unified by laws, customs and language.  He is remembered as Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf ("Llywelyn, Our Last Leader") and his spirit still inspires Welsh people who aspire for an independent Wales.

The loss of Llywelyn at The Battle of Orewin Bridge on 11th December 1282. was catastrophic and Welsh morale and the will to resist diminished. His brother Dafydd was named as successor and carried the struggle on, but in June 1283, he too was captured, taken to Shrewsbury and executed.  Edward I, immediately embarked on defending his acquisitions, by building a formidable iron ring of castles, a days march from apart at Flint, Rhuddlan, Builth Wells, Aberystwyth, Harlech, Conwy, Caernarfon and Beaumaris.  Each of the castles was integrated with a bastide town, an idea borrowed from Gascony in southwest France, where Edward I was duke - the town and castle mutually reliant on each other for protection and trade. The bastides were always populated with English settlers, the Welsh permitted to enter the town during the day but not to trade and carry arms. 

Gwynedd was stripped of all royal insignia, relics, and regalia and Edward took particular delight in appropriating the royal home of the Gwynedd dynasty at Abergwyngregyn in an announcement to the world of the near extinction of the Gwynedd dynasty and the annexation of the principality of Wales to his Crown.

Llywelyn's elder brother Owain Goch disappears from the record in 1282 and the presumption is that he was murdered. Llywelyn's younger brother Rhodri, who had been exiled from Wales since 1272 survived and held manors in Gloucestershire, Cheshire, Surrey, and Powys.  Llywelyn and Eleanor's baby daughter Gwenllian was captured by Edward's troops in 1283. She was interned at Sempringham Priory in England, spending the rest of her life as a nun, dying without issue in 1337.  Dafydd's two sons, Llywelyn and Owain were also captured and incarcerated at Bristol Gaol, where they died. 

800px-The_Beatles_in_America     Download     Queen-St-Capitol-Theatre-Cardiff-1980s

On 12th December 1965, The Beatles' last live U.K. tour concluded with two performances at the Capitol Theatre, Cardiff

The Capitol Theatre opened in 1921, with a capacity of 3,158.  It was purchased by the Rank Organisation in 1964 and featured many headline acts including The Beatles, Tom Jones, Queen and Bob Dylan.  The theatre was closed 1978 and demolished the following year.    


Sir Roger Williams (1539 - 12 December 1595) was a Protestant Welsh soldier of fortune. Charles Wisner Barrell, a proponent of the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship, has identified Sir Roger Williams as the basis for Fluellen in William Shakespeare's Henry V. 

A staunch protestant who fought for Cologne, the Dutch, the English and the French Huguenots as a soldier of fortune against Catholic Spain. He was knighted after the Battle of Zutphen in 1586 and was at Tilbury in 1588 in command of forces to resist the possible landing of the Spanish Armada. He later accompanied Sir Francis Drake to Portugal. Over his career, Williams acquired a wide reputation for exceptional courage and daring and was recognised as an expert on military matters by his contemporaries. In 1590 , he wrote "A brief discourse of war".  


A short history of the role of Secretary of State for Wales;

In the first half of the 20th century, a number of politicians had supported the call for a Secretary of State for Wales as a step towards Home Rule.  Although the equivalent post was created in 1885 in Scotland, it wasn't until 1964 that it was established in Wales.

*  Petitions to create a Secretary of Wales were turned down by the Labour Government of 1945-50, which instead, created a Council for Wales and Monmouthshire in 1948, which was chaired by the trade unionist, Huw T. Edwards.

*  In 1951 the Conservative Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, added Welsh Affairs to the portfolio of the Home Secretary, who at that time was Scotsman, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe. He was succeeded by Gwilym Lloyd George, in 1954.

*  This responsibility was switched to the Department of Housing and Local Government on 12th December 1957, under Henry Brooke, and his Minister of State, Lord Brecon, a former Brecon county councillor, Vivian Lewis.

*  Meanwhile the Council for Wales itself re-stated the case for a Welsh Secretary in 1957 and when this was turned down by the Conservatives, Huw T. Edwards resigned 

*  The Labour Party created a Welsh Secretary after its victory in 1964 under Harold Wilson. The post was given Cabinet rank and its first holder was James Griffiths, MP for Llanelli.

*  During the 1980s and 1990s, as the Conservative had very few MPs for Welsh constituencies, they used the post as a way of getting English politicians with potential into the Cabinet.  

 On 1 July 1999, the majority of the functions of the Welsh Office were transferred to the new Welsh Assembly Government, with the position of Secretary of State for Wales retained as the head of the newly created Wales Office.  


The Princess and the Goblin, released on 12th December 1992, was the first animated feature from Wales. It was primarily produced by S4C in the Siriol studios in Cardiff.

A peasant boy and a beautiful princess team up to rid their kingdom of evil goblins, which they attempt to do through the powers of song and love and a magical thread.  

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Set in the fictitious village of Llanellwy in Wales and released on 12th December 1941, The Wolf Man was one of the first films in the ware wolf horror genre.  It starred the legendary Lon Chaney as the protagonist.

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