Huw Llywelyn Rees


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6th January

By Huw Llywelyn Rees, 2013-01-12


Born on this day 1945 in Cefneithin, near Ammanford 

Barry John - former Wales and Lions rugby international, who became known as "The King" and is considered by many  to be the greatest fly-half in the sport's history.

In 1967, John joined Cardiff RFC from Llanelli and formed a half back partnership with Gareth Edwards that was to became the most famous in world rugby. From 1967, John and Edwards played together for Cardiff, Wales, the Barbarians and ultimately the Lions on their winning tour to New Zealand in 1971.  On that tour, John played in all four Tests and played some of his finest rugby, finishing as the Lions' top Test scorer.

His excellent balance and precise kicking made him a pivotal part of the Welsh team that won the 1971 Grand Slam, the first time Wales had achieved a Grand Slam since 1952.  However, he retired from rugby in 1972, at the age of 27, citing the pressure of fame and expectation behind his decision.  


Abbey Cwmhir located in the secluded valley of the Clywedog brook, just north of Llandrindod Wells, was a Cistercian abbey established by a charter of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) on 6th January 1199.

With its fourteen-bay nave, it was the largest Abbey in Wales and would have housed up to 60 monks.  Its nave is longer than those at Canterbury and Salisbury Cathedrals and twice the size of that at St. Davids.

The Norman invasion of Wales was followed by the establishment of Benedictine monasteries in the shadow of the Norman castles, however because they were identified with the conquest, they failed to make any real impression on the local population.  The Cistercians, in contrast, sought out solitude in the rural areas, with thirteen of their monasteries being founded in Wales between 1131 and 1226.

A timeline history of Abbey Cwmhir

Abbey Cwmhir was a daughter house of Whitland Abbey and established with the patronage of three sons of Madog, the then Prince of Maelienydd (southern Powys).

1143 - An attempt to found an abbey was made about a mile to the east of the current site but was unsuccessful due to.the intervention of Hugh de Mortimer, Earl of Hereford. 

1176 -  The abbey was re-established by Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth. 

1199 - The abbey was given a charter by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) on 6th January 1199

1200 - The community was involved for many years in the conflict between Llywelyn (the abbey's patron) and Roger Mortimer (then lord of Maelienydd) and was twice burnt by English soldiers.

1231 - The abbot was fined for aiding the Welsh cause in helping Llywelyn ab Iorwerth defeat the English near Hay on Wye.

1282 - The abbey is said to be the last resting place of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, following his defeat and death at nearby Cilmeri on 11th December. 

1401 - The abbey was burned by the forces of Owain Glyndwr.

1537 - Only three monks are recorded as living in the abbey at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in March 1537.

1644 - The Abbey was slighted during the English Civil War.


Twelfth Night Customs in Wales. 

In Wales, the custom of ‘Hunting the Wren’ usually took place between the 6th and 12th of January.

it involved a party of young men catching a wren and putting it in a cage.  They would then carry it through the community, singing songs acclaiming it as the King of the Birds. They would be invited into houses and given food and money.  In Pembrokeshire, it was called ‘Twelfth-tide’ and the wren's cage was in the form of a wooden cottage adorned with ribbons.   


Born on this day 1905 in Rhymney 

Idris Davies - miner, schoolmaster and poet, described as the voice of a generation.  He is perhaps best remembered for ‘The Bells of Rhymney’ from his debut collection, which became well known after being set to music in 1957.

Davies began writing poetry after being made unemployed as a miner following the General Strike of 1926 His poetry being inspired by mining disasters and the depressed South Wales coal mining communities valleys. 

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