Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society

A web log for the Resolven History Society which publishes articles and stories related to Resolven and the immediate surroundings.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

February MEETING

mr Huw Williams

“Sweet Ber Dar”

Meeting begins at 7:00pm in the Church hall on MondAY  12th February 2018.

Membership: £10 ( including refreshments)

Visitors: £3.

Croeso cynnes i Bawb

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Unexpected family connections

The opening meeting of 2018 proved something of a disappointment in that the Society's President's annual talk was cancelled owing to ill health. Phylip is on the mend and is now home from hospital, hopefully normal service will be resumed in 2019.

The attendance itself was rather disappointing with the ravages of inclement weather, long term illness and the normal coughs and sneezes reducing the number of members present. It was therefore left to the Secretary to deputise for the advertised speaker with a talk on the Anthracite Strike of 1925 based on a dispute in the Aman valley. It would be improper for the author of this piece to give a precis of the contents of this very interesting if little known dispute, since he also doubles as the Secretary of the Society and keeper of this blog. However, since the Vale of Neath and the Dulais valley played a notable part in this dispute it was very interesting that several of those present remembered fragments of the strike from the recollections of their parents. Indeed, Professor Hywel Francis, the main academic researcher into this dispute had obviously delved deeply into the first hand evidence given by the inhabitants of the Dulais valley, notably his father the famous NUM leader Dai Francis. The work of the Amman Valley History Society had also been crucial in keeping the memory of the anthracite strike alive.

If anyone would like a transcript of the content a similar talk then it is available on the Resolven and District News site  November archive, in an excellent article by Diane Sims.

Next month's speaker is Mr Huw Williams, who will give a talk on the history of the Cynon valley - "Sweet Ber Dare".

Friday, December 29, 2017

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda - January Meeting


January MEETing

Mr Phylip Jones – a local Theme

Meeting begins at 7:00pm in the Church hall on MondAY  8th January 2018

Membership: £10 ( including refreshments)

Visitors: £3.

Croeso cynnes i Bawb

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What does deltiology mean Santa?

DELTIOLOGY: A study of Postcards 
The History Society held their annual members night on December 12th despite the inclement weather with temperatures plunging below zero. This undoubtedly affected attendance  ,  along with illness to some of our key members.

The evening began with an address by William Willis on his new book “Resolven – Then and Now ”. He explained that his main motivation for compiling this pictorial history on Resolven mainly since the second world war had been his realisation that many of the photographic record of daily life in the village was being lost as residents passed on and house clearances were simply throwing valuable historic material in the municipal skip. He also explained that features which we now view as normal quickly dissipate when shops change hands and people are unable to give a name to a character in a photograph. He also explained, that the digitalised nature of modern printing meant that everything had to be prepared in digital format and that the printer literally only produced what you had written without the need to proof read. This in his view put extra pressure on the author especially one with little experience of the format. The book has already been a roaring success with over 400 copies already being sold in the run up to Christmas.

The second contribution came from Trefor Jones. He took “The Power of 7”, as his theme. He related that 2017 was a year very rich in anniversaries, perhaps unusually so. His talk ranged from the protestant reformation, to the Russian revolutions, the NHS and the dawn of devolution in Wales.

A cameo performance by David Woosnam amounted to a Q&A session regarding who had been his famous celebrity schoolmate. Following some heavy clues, it appears that David Hamilton had the honour of being in school with another (now) Resolven based David.

Deltiology is a term which is largely unrecognised. However, Barry Flynn explained that he was a deltiologist or in common parlance a collector of post cards. He showed several albums of a collection which he had amassed over a period of some fifty years. He explained that the advent of the internet had made collection more problematic since it was quite easy to download common postcards from the web. He also stated that it was regrettable ( as was stated earlier by William Willis) that so many collections were simply being dumped.

Following some festive fare and mulled wine, the members settled down to the annual quiz. Following a request, there were some changes this year, and chocolates were not to be catapulted around the room!! Instead a team quiz based on the rules of Brain of Britain was to be used. Three correct answers from the same team resulted in the winning of a bonus Christmas cracker, which was to be taken into account in the final score. In the end TEAM A beat TEAM B by 25 points and three crackers, to 16 points and two crackers.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Members Night

december MEETing

members night

Meeting begins at 7:00pm in the Church hall on MondAY  11th december

Membership: £10 ( including refreshments)

Visitors: £3.

Croeso cynnes i Bawb

Monday, November 13, 2017

Jacobitism in South Wales

"Bonnie Prince Charlie"
Charles Edward Stuart

This month’s speaker was Mr Steve David of Bryncoch, who has spoken to the Society on several occasions. Mr David took Jacobitism as his theme and began by asking the central question as to where “Bonnie Prince Charlie”, was born? Several answers were offered including Scotland and France. The correct answer, Rome, was the prelude for a very illuminating talk on the issue of Jacobitism which spread far further and deeper than the romanticism of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stephenson.

Richard Gwynne, President of the Society of Sea Sergeants which met until 1762.
Mr David gave a detailed explanation as to how Jacobitism arose owing to the combination of an untidy succession of Stuart monarchs leading to the joint reign of William and Mary following the “Glorious and Bloodless Revolution”, of 1688. The Act of Succession of 1701 ensured that there had to be a Protestant monarch. The deposed James the Second’s son, James Edward Stuart, lived in Rome as “the Prince across the Water”. He was acknowledged as the legitimate successor and Prince of Wales, by the Jacobites and as the “Old Pretender”, by the supporters of the Hanoverian Succession of 1714. Queen Anne was the last of the Stuarts and the solidly protestant German speaking Hanoverian , George the First, (despite being 17th in line to the throne) was invited to take the British throne. Therefore in essence Jacobitism  far from being a restoration of Roman Catholicism was more a battle between the old established order personified by the Tories and the new one identified by the Whigs. The issue of the Old and New pretenders, in James Edward Stuart and his son Charles Edward Stuart, would not subside until George the Third came to the throne as an English speaking and more importantly English born King in 1760.

Glamorgan today would be associated with nonconformity however in the 16th and 17th centuries there were few dissenting chapels, only six in Neath. Each chapel had to be sited at least three miles from a church. Attendance at Anglican services was mandatory and the traditional ruling Tory elite families: the Mansells, Kemeys, Stradling and  Evans amongst others held sway. However in Neath the Shropshire born Mackworth family came to the Gnoll Estate in 1696 when Sir Humphrey Mackworth married the heiress Mary Evans. The Mackworths were viewed as interlopers but the Gnoll estate had coal, copper and limestone and the shrewd use of leases gave the estate an income to rival the Mansells of £4,000 per annum. Historical records indicate that the Mackworth’s despite their wealth were rather shunned socially by the established families. Eventually, Humphrey Mackworth had the audacity to challenge the Mansells for the parliamentary seat of West Gamorgan for the Whigs in 1712. The Mansells plied the tiny electorate with drink for three days prior to the election and held the seat. However, the threat was there and the Tories were on the side of the “King across the water”.

For the following 40 years and the successive Jacobite rebellions, a secret Jacobite society existed in south Wales, “The Society of Sea Sergeants”. In the north of Wales, Watcyn Williams Wyn led a similar society, "the Society of the White Rose".The Sergeants  met on board a yacht four times a year, had a banquet of twelve courses and made Jacobite toasts over a glass of water symbolic of the "King across the water" . Clandestinely they surveyed the ports of the area for the use of an invasion force. Indeed, the recently renovated Llanelly House in Llanelli has the emblem of the Society emblazoned in the forms of letters S on its walls. However, they made sure that their secret plotting was not discovered, indeed few made the journey to England in order to join either pretenders when given the chance. In defiance, the industrialist William Morris (who gave his name to Morriston) raised a company of men to fight for the Protestant succession and to defend the ports in the area. 

Mr Trefor Jones, in the unfortunate absence of both Chairman and President gave the vote of thanks and stated how the present Brexit machinations and its vested interests mirrored much of the chicanery of the Jacobite period. He also thanked Mr David for an inspired talk on a little known subject.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

November Meeting

 November MEETing :

Mr STEVE DAVID – “Jacobitism in south wales”

Meeting begins at 7:00pm in the Church hall on MondAY  13th  november.

Membership: £10 ( including refreshments)

Visitors: £3.

Croeso cynnes i Bawb