7 February Cymmrodorion Medal

The Cymmrodorion are delighted to announce that the Cymmrodorion Medal is to be awarded to Dame Siân Phillips for her notable and lifelong contribution to the arts and to Wales.

The medal will be awarded at the London Welsh Centre on Wednesday 7th February 2024.  You are warmly invited to a short reception at 7pm and to the medal ceremony at 7.30pm.

Dame Elan Closs Stephens, Vice President of the Cymmrodorion, will give a tribute to Dame Siân Phillips’ life and work, and the Medal will be presented by Sir Deian Hopkin, President of the Cymmrodorion.

To order a ticket please click here. Tickets are limited.


Can Wales Compete?

Places are being filled fast for the first in a series of talks organised by the Cymmrodorion and other Welsh organisations in London on the competitive challenges Wales faces in the years ahead.

This free but ticketed event will take place at the London Welsh Centre on the evening of Wednesday December 6th and will feature a keynote address by Professor Robert Huggins of Cardiff University, the leading UK expert on the relative competitiveness of UK towns, cities, and regions. Another top Welsh economist, Gerald Holtham, will be chairing, and leading the discussions afterwards.

Can Wales Compete? is planned to give members of the wider London Welsh community the chance to contribute their views, so that the wealth of ideas and expertise that exists here in the capital can be brought together and made available to policy makers and other influencers in Wales.

How to survive and prosper in a globalising world? Modern industries, new technologies, new ways of working – how are Wales, and its towns and cities faring? Are they levelling up or slipping back? What are the impediments on the path to greater prosperity, and how can they be overcome? These are all topics which will most likely feature in the discussions.

If you would like to make sure of your place in this important event to be held at the London Welsh Centre, Gray’s Inn Road, London WCX 8UE, click on the link:
6.30pm for 7pm. Bar open before the event and later.

FREE TICKETS HERE

Your views are important. Do come along and take part!


BRYNLEY ROBERTS

The Society is sad to have learned of the recent death of Brynley Roberts, a longstanding member of the Cymmrodorion and former member of the Council, whose contribution to Welsh culture was immense. He was one of the foremost Welsh scholars of his generation, and his many publications and editions remain staples of the discipline of Celtic Studies.

We knew Brynley particularly through his work for the Cymmrodorion over many years. He was a most valued member of our Council and his work as co- editor of the Bywgraffiadur Cymreig and the Dictionary of Welsh Biography 1941- 1970 was so important in getting the DWB established as the key document celebrating people of importance in Wales. We know too that he went on working on entries even after he retired as editor and his contribution was massive. He was also the Librarian of the National Library of Wales from 1985 to 1994.

The presentation of the Society’s medal to Brynley in 2007 was recognition of his many achievements.


Cymmrodorion elect leading Welsh women as Vice-Presidents  

The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (“the Society” or “the Cymmrodorion”) is pleased to announce that at the Annual General Meeting on 25th May 2023 that it has elected three new Vice-Presidents, as well as the re-election of the current incumbents.

The three new Vice-Presidents of the Society are Dame Elan Closs Stephens, Acting Chair of the BBC; Professor Laura McAllister, Professor of Public Policy and Governance at Cardiff University; and Elinor Bennett OBE, Lady Wigley, who is one of Wales’ most distinguished musicians.

Commenting on the election, Professor Sir Deian Hopkin, the President of the Cymmrodorion, said: “I am delighted to welcome our three new Vice-Presidents, each of whom has made a distinguished contribution to the development of Wales and wider society.

“We look forward to working with them, and the continuing Vice-Presidents, to enable the Cymmrodorion to continue to reach out to new audiences and engage with the issues which matter to the Wales of today.

“This is an enduring mission that has guided the Cymmrodorion since its foundation in 1753 and will continue to be our core focus in the years ahead.”

The full list of Vice-Presidents can be found on the Society’s website.

Notes to editors

Dame Elan Closs Stephens DBE FSLW the Pro-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University and Professor Emerita of Communications and Creative Industry. Dame Elan has held many prominent public roles and is currently the Electoral Commissioner for Wales and Chair of UNESCO’s jury for the International Prize for the Creative Economy and on 2 June 2023 it was announced that she has been appointed Acting Chair of the BBC Board, of which she has been the member for Wales since 2017.

Professor Laura McAllister CBE FSLW is Professor of Public Policy and Governance at Cardiff University and co-chair of the Independent Constitutional Commission on Wales. Laura is also a renowned sportswoman having been Captain of the Wales women’s national football team, Chair of Sports Wales, and Football Team and in April 2023 was elected Vice-President of UEFA, the first person from Wales to serve on its Executive.

Elinor Bennett OBE, Lady Wigley, is one of Wales’ most distinguished musicians with an international reputation as a harpist, both as soloist and as an instructor, as well as being the founder of the Harp College of Wales and musical director of the international Harp Festival. While her performances and recordings have largely been in classical music, she has also performed with some of Wales’ most prominent figures in rock music.

Contact

Deian Hopkin / Theo Davies-Lewis
+44 7513 132258


LORD MORRIS

Professor Sir Deian Hopkin, President of the Cymmrodorion, said:

“It is with great sadness that the Cymmrodorion has learned of the death of one of its long-serving Vice-Presidents, Lord Morris of Aberavon. On behalf of the Society, I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to his family and friends.”

“John Morris was a distinguished public servant, unique in serving in the governments of three Labour Prime Ministers, including serving as Secretary of State for Wales, and was a dedicated MP for his constituency for over forty years. Beyond politics, he made substantive contributions to Welsh public life and academia as Chancellor of Glamorgan University and its successor, the University of South Wales, and President of the London Welsh Trust.”

“Over recent decades, the Cymmrodorion was fortunate to have such an advocate for its work. John will rightly be remembered as one of the key architects of Welsh devolution, a cause he championed in the Labour Party and more widely across the country for more than half a century.”

“John Morris’s intellect, leadership and unwavering commitment to Wales will be sorely missed.”


From the Transactions

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the refounding of the Society and the re-establishment of a regular journal we are reproducing some of the most interesting articles that have appeared over the past century and a half. We start this series with an article addressing a problem that was even more acute 100 years ago but which can still be recognised in Wales today – too many Welsh men and women have the same surname. The author of The Re-naming of Welsh Men in the 1901-02 issue of the Transactions  had some interesting ideas for dealing with the problem but will today’s readers – including the many Joneses, Williamses, Davieses, and Evanses among us  -agree? To read the the original article click here. More from this series will appear under the transactions tab on the website in due course. 


Message from the President

The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion wishes to express its great sadness and regret at the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and to offer our sincere condolences to King Charles III, who as Prince of Wales has been our valued patron for many years, and also to the Royal Family. Exactly a century ago, in 1922, the association of the Society with the Royal Family began when the then Prince of Wales became our President. Our long association with King Charles, as Prince of Wales, has been greatly valued by our members, and we all wish him every success as he embarks on his reign.


Cymmrodorion elect Professor Sir Deian Hopkin as new President

The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (“the Society” or “Cymmrodorion”), which promotes the language, literature, arts and science of Wales, today announces it has elected Professor Sir Deian Hopkin as its new President. Sir Deian’s election was confirmed by the Society’s council at its annual general meeting on 24 May 2022. He succeeds Professor Prys Morgan as President of the Society, who after seventeen years has decided to step down from the role. Professor Morgan is the one of the longest serving Presidents and will fulfil existing commitments to the Society this year – including hosting the Cymmrodorion Medal Ceremony in June and chairing the annual lecture during the Eisteddfod in August.

Sir Deian Hopkin is a Llanelli-born historian who spent 45 years in higher education in six universities, including twenty five years at Aberystwyth. A former Vice Chancellor of London South Bank University he has served as President of the National Library of Wales and was Chair of Wales Remembers/Cymru’n Cofio 1914-18 and Expert Adviser to the First Minister. Currently he is a charity trustee in the City of London, an international education consultant and a regular commentator for BBC Wales/ Cymru on politics and current affairs.

Sir Deian said: “It is a great privilege to be elected as President of the Cymmrodorion, an institution which has contributed so much to the development of Wales for close to three centuries. Prys’ inspirational leadership has ensured the Society’s continuing success and I am honoured to follow in his footsteps. I look forward to working with the chair, our vice-presidents and members as the Cymmrodorion seeks to continue its development and extend its impact.”

Professor Prys Morgan, the outgoing President of the Cymmrodorion (2005-2022), commented: “I have been honoured to serve as President of the Cymmrodorion since 2005. Throughout this time, I have had unwavering support from across our community, including numerous speakers and contributors to the Transactions. I am confident that the Society will now benefit from the experience and energy of Sir Deian, whom I know is as enthusiastic as I was to use the Presidency to promote the work of the Cymmrodorion in the years to come.”

Ceridwen Roberts, Chair of the Cymmrodorion Council, added: “I am delighted that the Society has elected Sir Deian Hopkin as President. As one of our leading historians, with a breadth of experience across politics, business and education, Sir Deian will help shape the future of the Society .For his years of service, I also want to pay tribute to the dedication and contribution of Professor Morgan as President. We look forward to welcoming him back as often as possible to our lectures, as one of the Cymmrodorion’s greatest friends.”


New Treasurer

The Society is delighted to announce that Tomos Packer has been appointed as its Treasurer.

Tomos currently serves as Head of Group Risk Economics for HSBC bank in London. Previously he has worked as a Director in the Credit Portfolio Risk team at Barclays Investment Bank and as an emerging markets analyst for a large asset manager. He graduated with a Master’s degree in Political Economy from University College London in 2001. Tom was born in Cardiff and is a fluent Welsh speaker.

Huw Wynne-Griffith has stepped down as Treasurer after 11 years, leaving the Cymmrodorion in a sound financial position and with a growing membership.

Ceridwen Roberts, Chair of the Cymmrodorion Council, said “We are delighted to welcome Tomos to the role of Treasurer. The Council is deeply grateful to Huw for his contribution to the Cymmrodorion both in terms of his success in managing our finances and investments so well but also in guiding the general development of the Society since 2010.


Our 2021/2022 Lecture Programme

The Cymmrodorion are delighted to announce its lecture programme for the coming year, an eclectic mix of contributions on topics spanning the arts, sciences, literature, language, and politics of Wales.

There are a range of experts and contemporary leaders speaking to the society over the next year. These include Sophie Howe, Wales’ Future Generations Commissioner; Professor Richard Wyn Jones, Director of the Wales Governance Centre; and Elinor Bennett OBE, the internationally acclaimed concert harpist.

Lectures will be held in central London at the Medical Society of London, or on the Eisteddfod field.

Our lectures will also be online, and recorded. Please see our website to join us live or to catch up.

https://www.cymmrodorion.org/talks/


Cymmrodorion launch search for Treasurer

The Honorable Society of Cymmrodorion, which promotes the language, literature, arts, and science of Wales, is searching for a new Honorary Treasurer to join the Society during 2021.

Founded in 1751 by Welsh people living and working in London the Cymmrodorion has promoted the development of some of Wales’ most important institutions. Its lecture series in Welsh and English aims to reflect all that is best in contemporary Welsh society and offers an opportunity to discuss a changing Wales. Throughout COVID-19, the Society’s lectures have been broadcast online, and have been very well attended as audiences old and new take a keen interest in its work.

The role of Honorary Treasurer is one of the Cymmrodorion’s most significant. As a Trustee and Member of the Council, the Treasurer helps maintain the Society’s financial records and its membership database. As a member of the Executive Committee, the Treasurer also plays a critical part in the Cymmrodorion’s development and makes recommendations to the Council as to future strategy.

It is not essential that the Honorary Treasurer be based in London or have formal accounting qualifications. It is desirable for the successful applicant to be a Welsh speaker. If you would like to find out more about the role and express an interest in applying, please email the Honorary Secretary at secretary@cymmrodorion.org 

Further information about the Cymmrodorion can be found online: www.cymmrodorion.org


Cymmrodorion pay tribute to its Vice-President, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion mourns the death of its Vice-President, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Professor Prys Morgan, President of the Cymmrodorion, said:  

“On behalf of the Society, I would like to express my deep sadness over the passing of our Vice-President, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and offer my sincerest condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family. 

“Like many other Welsh organisations he generously supported, Prince Philip was a distinguished champion of the Cymmrodorion’s work in promoting the contribution of Wales in contemporary life, and the Society was particularly proud to have received its Royal Charter in 1951.”

“Prince Philip will be remembered in Wales and around the world for his devotion to public service and as a committed supporter of good causes. His spirit and immense contribution to public life will be sorely missed.”


Dr Osian Ellis

The society is sad to announce the death of Dr Osian Ellis, CBE,  the world-famous harpist. Dr Ellis was a long-standing member of the Society and a much-respected Vice-President. He was Professor of the Harp at the Royal Academy of Music and, for many years, the Principal Harpist with the London Symphony Orchestra. Elinor Bennett, the director of the Wales International Harp Festival said “As the most prominent and outstanding harpist of his time, as harp teacher, composer, arranger, penillion singer and scholar, he contributed widely to the nation’s traditional music as well as to developments in the European classical music of his day and inspired many.”  A longstanding friend of Benjamin Britten he collaborated with him on many occasions and Britten wrote his Harp suite specially for him.

We send all our sympathy to his family and friends.


Cymmrodorion appoint two new Council members

The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, which promotes  the language, literature, arts and science of Wales, is delighted to announce that it has appointed Dr. Elizabeth Siberry and Theo Davies-Lewis as new Council members.

Dr. Siberry is currently on the Council of the University of Wales Trinity St. David and the Board of the National Library of Wales. She is also a Trustee of the Gregynog Trust and the Brecknock Arts Trust, and on the editorial board of the journal Brycheiniog. A retired civil servant, she is also a historian and writes on medieval history and on the history of Breconshire.

Theo Davies-Lewis grew up in Llanelli and works in London for the communications consultancy Finsbury. He is a  founder of Darogan Talent, a jobs network attracting graduates to work in Wales. He writes and broadcasts about Wales on BBC Cymru, Nation Cymru, the Western Mail, The Times, The Spectator and Times Radio.

Ceridwen Roberts, Chair of the Cymmrodorion Council, said: “We are delighted at this time of new opportunity for the Society to make two appointments to our Council. We have met the challenge of 2020 successfully by taking our talks online, and Liz Siberry and Theo Davies-Lewis will help us to develop both our programme and our reach. We very much look forward to going back to meeting our members and friends in person at lectures, but even when this is possible I hope that we will continue to offer our programme online so that all can access it.”

Commenting on her appointment, Dr. Siberry said: “I am delighted to be joining the Council of the Cymmrodorion Society and I look forward to working with colleagues to support and develop the Society’s important work.”

Speaking about his election to Council, Theo Davies-Lewis added: “I am excited to be joining the Cymmrodorion just as the Society has gone online, attracting larger audiences to its terrific range of lectures. I look forward to working with the Council and the Society’s members to help the Cymmrodorion in strengthening their online presence.”   

The Cymmrodorion held their first online lecture earlier this year, hosting the Eisteddfod 2020 Sir Thomas Parry-Williams Lecture by Professor Gerwyn Wiliams, on Cynan’s Mab Y Bwthyn, and two other online lectures in the autumn have been on The Jews of Wales by Dr. Cai Parry-Jones, and on Designing Wales; An Archive for Welsh Architecture by Dr. Peter Wakelin. 

The Society’s 2021 programme will soon be published online and will include talks on: Welsh conscientious objectors;  Iorwerth Peate, one of the founders of St Fagan’s National History  Museum;  Sir Ben Bowen Thomas and Unesco;  and Catrin o Ferain, sometimes called Mam Cymru.

The Cymmrodorion’s next online lecture is on 10th December 2020 at 18.30 by Dr. Rhian Davies on The Musical Vision for Wales of Walford Davies. All are welcome to join our lecture via our website www.cymmrodorion.org and there is no charge.

Notes to Editors:

Founded in 1751 by Welsh people living and working in London the Cymmrodorion has promoted the development of some of Wales’ most important institutions. The Society’s lecture series in Welsh and English aims to reflect all that is best in contemporary Welsh language, literature, arts and science and offers an opportunity to discuss a changing Wales. It publishes its lectures in its annual Transactions. It is supported by its membership, but lectures are free and open to all.

www.cymmrodorion.org

Twitter: @cymmrodorion


JAN MORRIS

The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion sends its sympathy to the family and friends of Jan Morris on the announcement of her death on 20th November. Jan Morris embraced her Welsh heritage and her contribution as a writer and an historian was considerable. This was recognised by the many organisations which honoured her including the Society. In 2016 she was awarded our Cymmrodorion Medal which is given for distinguished service and notable work in Wales and beyond at a family celebration with members of the Society in north Wales.  Her work will live on.


Sir John Meurig Thomas

The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion sends sympathy to all Sir John’s family, friends and colleagues on the occasion of his death on 13th November 2020.

Sir John was not only an eminent and world- renowned scientist and academic but also someone who “was a Welshman to his core” and true to his Welsh heritage. He was one of the founders of the Learned Society of Wales and a Vice President of the Cymmrodorion and he lectured to the Society on different occasions, most recently in 2017 when he gave a most fascinating lecture  on “ W.R. Grove , the Fuel Cell and the hydrogen economy”. Sir John made us realise how Grove should not be the forgotten man he had become.

Sir John was a recipient of very many public and professional honours and awards including the Society’s Cymmrodorion Medal which is given for distinguished service and notable work in Wales and beyond. He shared the medal ceremony in 2003 at Bangor University with Emyr Humphreys and the occasion was a particularly happy one, reflecting the warmth and esteem in which both men were held.

Wales has lost a great man and we remember him with great affection.