The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion

Recognising the contribution of Wales in contemporary society

The Transactions

home > Transactions > Volume 23 - 2017 > ‘WHERE CYMRY UNITED, DELIGHTED APPEAR’: THE SOCIETY OF ANCIENT BRITONS AND THE CELEBRATION OF ST DAVID’S DAY IN LONDON, 1715–1815

‘WHERE CYMRY UNITED, DELIGHTED APPEAR’: THE SOCIETY OF ANCIENT BRITONS AND THE CELEBRATION OF ST DAVID’S DAY IN LONDON, 1715–1815

The Honourable and Loyal Society of Ancient Britons (f. 1715) are credited with inaugurating a tradition of Welsh associational life in London. However, their lasting significance has tended to be downplayed when compared to that of later London-Welsh groups. Using a wide range of literary and historical evidence – particularly the under-used reports of the society’s activities in the metropolitan and Welsh press – this article reassesses their position in the history of Welsh patriotic identity. Drawing attention to their visibility on London’s streets, their creation of an imagined role for Wales in the British public sphere, and their eventual influence on the celebration of St David’s Day in Wales itself, the article argues that their metropolitan location and increasing anglicization did not prevent them from remaining a major part of the much-discussed ‘Eighteenth Century Renaissance’.

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