The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion

Recognising the contribution of Wales in contemporary society


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Award of the Society’s Medal to Welsh author, Jan Morris: the ceremony in Llanystumdwy

Monday 7 November, 2016

During a well-attended ceremony held at the Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth, on Sunday, 9 October 2016, the Society’s Medal was presented to the Welsh historian, author and travel writer, Jan Morris CBE FRSL FLSW. The Medal was awarded “for her distinguished contribution to literature and to Wales”.

A joyful occasion, the ceremony was held in a stunning and most appropriate location (for the use of which the Society is most grateful to Literature Wales) on a glorious autumn afternoon. Following an introduction by the Society’s President, Professor Prys Morgan, members of the Society and other guests (who included Jan Morris’s partner, Elizabeth, and her son, the poet, Twm Morys) enjoyed a presentation address by Professor Jason Walford Davies of the School of Welsh at Bangor University. In a penetrating and stimulating analysis, Professor Davies spoke of Jan Morris’s immense contribution to Welsh writing in English and of the value and cultural significance of her work on a Welsh, British and international level.

Jan Morris, who lives in Llanystumdwy and who had celebrated her ninetieth birthday just a week before the ceremony, has been writing and publishing books since the 1950s. She is known particularly for the Pax Britannica trilogy (1968–78), a history of the British Empire; for various books on Wales, including Wales: epic views of a small country (first published as The Matter of Wales in 1984); and for portraits of cities, notably Oxford, Venice, Trieste, Hong King and New York.

Jan Morris has received many awards and accolades, including honorary doctorates from the University of Wales and the University of Glamorgan. She is an Honorary Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Learned Society of Wales and was appointed CBE in 1999. In 2005, she was awarded the Golden PEN Award for “a Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to Literature”. The award of the Society’s medal clearly ranks very high on her personal list of honours and, following the ceremony, she wrote that this was “one of the very happiest things that has happened to me in life”.

The medal was awarded for the first time in 1883. On the obverse is the coat of arms of the Society and its motto, Cared doeth yr encilion. On the reverse are the words, Wales, and all things great, wise and holy. A list of recipients of the medal can be found at:

For a BBC Cymru Fyw article on the Ceremony, see:


Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in Llanystumdwy

Jan Morris and Professor Prys Morgan

Professor Prys Morgan

Jan Morris and Professor Jason Walford Davies

Jan Morris

Jan Morris, Professor Jason Walford Davies and Professor Prys Morgan

Jan Morris and Professor Jason Walford Davies

Jan Morris with the Society’s Medal

Elizabeth Morris, Professor Prys Morgan and Jan Morris

Professor Prys Morgan and Jan Morris