"Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon"-"A nation without a language is a nation without a heart" Welsh Proverb

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Pennsylvania and the Welsh Tract

In 1681, King Charles II handed over 45,000 square miles of his American land holdings to a wealthy Quaker called William Penn.
The land was originally called New Wales, but later renamed Pennsylvania by the king. Many maintain that the name means Penn’s Woods, but Penn himself modestly explained that ‘pen’ means ‘head’ in Welsh, and suggested a more accurate meaning of the name would be ‘head of the woods’.
Vast numbers of Quakers began to emigrate to Pennsylvania, many of whom were Welsh speakers seeking a home in the New World. They settled just west of Philadelphia, and the area became known as the Welsh Tract.
Many of the original Welsh settlers spoke no English, and a failed attempt was made to establish an independent state whose language of governance would be Welsh.
In 1701, William Penn granted the Welsh a second Welsh Tract of 30,000 acres, which included what is now Pencader Hundred, Delaware and a part of Maryland. By this time, approximately one third of Pennsylvania’s population was Welsh.
Welsh-speaking farmers constituted the majority of early settlers, with a later influx of Welsh miners who were attracted by the coalfields of Pennsylvania.
A strong Welsh presence exists in America to this day – the numerous Welsh place names in Pennsylvania and other regions reveal the formidable influence of the Welsh pioneers, e.g. Bryn Mawr (large hill), Uwchlan (upper bank) and Gwynedd, a county in Wales.
Many streets in Pennsylvania also bear Welsh names – Llandrillo Road, Clwyd Road, Penarth Road and Derwen Road can all be found in the Bala Cynwyd district of the city. Bala and Cynwyd are two separate towns in north Wales.
Today, approximately 200,000 Welsh Americans live in Pennsylvania – more than in any other part of the United States.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Saint Cadog (Cadoc) Born 497.

The History of Wales's photo.

25th September
Today is the feast day of Saint Cadog (Cadoc) Born 497.
St. Cadoc is one of the most important early Welsh saints. He was a contemporary of Dewi... Sant (St. David), St. Patrick of Ireland, St. Columba of lona, and tutor of St Illtyd. It is said that he rivaled St David as Wales' patron saint.
Cadoc was the son of Gwynllyw, ruler of the Kingdom of Gwynllwg and Gwladys, daughter of King Brychan of Brycheiniog. After the birth of his son, Gwynllyw went on a wild celebratory raid with a new band of fearless warriors. Among other livestock, he stole the cow of an Irish monk, St. Tathyw of Caerwent. St Tathyw was not afraid of Gwynllyw and boldly went to confront him, demanding the return of the cow. Gwynllyw would not let Tathyw leave with his cow until he baptized his newborn son into the Christian faith. On a sudden impulse, or perhaps guided by divine inspiration, Gwynllyw decided Cadoc would go to live under the monk's care and he was sent away to be educated at Tathyw's monastery in Caerwent.
In adulthood Cadoc refused to take charge of his father's army, "preferring to fight for Christ", he undertook a pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem and was reportedly distressed that the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi was held during one of these absences.
Legend says that once whilst hiding in a wood from enemies, he surprised a wild boar, that charged him, but dissapeared before striking him. Cadoc took this as a sign, and the location became the site of the great church and monastry at Llancarfan, near Cowbridge. Legend also says he once saved his brother monks in a famine by tying a white thread to the foot of a mouse; he then followed the thread to an abandoned, well-stocked, underground granary.
It is probable that in his later years he returned to the area around Abergavenny, where he was killed by Saxons in 570 when celebrating Mass

Monday, September 22, 2014

John Paul Jones (Scottish born, of Welsh descent)

23rd September
A battle between "Bon Homme Richard" of the Continental Navy of the American Revolution and the British "HMS Serepis", was fought on September 23rd 1779. It was a a bitter engagement of The American Revolutionary War, which cost the lives of nearly half the American and British crews.
The captain of the "Bon Homme Richard" that day, was John Paul Jones (Scottish born, of Welsh descent) and when the Bonhomme Richard began taking on water and fires broke out... on board, British victory seemed inevitable. The British commander asked Jones if he wanted to surrender , to which Jones gave his famous reply, "I have not yet begun to fight!" In the end, it was the British commander who surrendered and Jones is remembered for his indomitable will, his unwillingness to consider surrender when the slightest hope of victory still survived
John Paul Jones was born in a humble gardener's cottage in Kirkbean, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland and went to sea as a youth . Having taken up residence in Virginia, he volunteered early in the War of Independence to serve in his adopted country's infant navy and raised with his own hands the Continental ensign on board the flagship of the Navy's first fleet and is therefore seen by many as "The father of the US Navy.
He later took the war to Briain, where he was considered a pirate, with daring raids along the British coast. He was active in the waters around Tenby, where one of his officers by the name of Leekie Porridge came from. There is a beach named Jones on Caldey Island and his ghost is said to haunt the island.
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