The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion

Recognising the contribution of Wales in contemporary society

The Transactions

home > Transactions > Volume 23 - 2017 > ARGLWYDDES LLANOFER: Y BERSONOLIAETH Y TU ÔL I’R PROSIECT

ARGLWYDDES LLANOFER: Y BERSONOLIAETH Y TU ÔL I’R PROSIECT

Lady Llanofer: The Personality behind the Project Augusta Hall, Lady Llanover (1802–1896), was a famous personality in Monmouthshire where she supported the Welsh language and culture as part of a project to create a ‘Welsh utopia’. She inherited the family estates of Llanover, near Abergavenny, and her descendants continue to manage the land today. In 1823 she married Benjamin Hall, who became a Member of Parliament and later Commissioner for Works after whom the bell in the Houses of Parliament clock tower, ‘Big Ben’, is said to have been named. He was created the 1st Baron Llanover in 1859. The family fortune was built on the iron and coal industries of south Wales and, like her friend and contemporary, Lady Charlotte Guest, Lady Llanover worked tirelessly to support Welsh culture at a time of increasing anglicization. A patron of Welsh bards and intellectuals at Llanofer Hall, she learned Welsh and adopted the bardic name ‘Gwenynen Gwent’, ‘the Bee of Gwent’. She is also credited with re-designing the traditional Welsh national costume. Though she is often regarded as an eccentric and some have criticized her for indulging in ‘Celtic romanticism’, this paper defends her activities as being motivated by a true concern for her family, tenants, and Wales itself. Quoting from Lady Llanover’s correspondence with friends and family, the paper presents a striking portrait of an unusual, controversial, and influential woman.

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