Friday, 15 July 2011


We are a great grandfather. What is even more astonishing my child bride is a great grandmother (the children deny the step bit). My lovely grand-daughter Laura, with some help from her husband Tomos (a fact which has largely gone unnoticed by my women folk), recruited you, Morgan Glanmor Livingstone into the family at 9.47 on Tuesday morning, weighing 8lb 8oz.
A large name for such a small scrap but you will no doubt grow into it. Our family have a choice of some pretty exotic names. Let’s face it we have the choice of some pretty exotic people. Since Sir John Skydmore married Alice, the daughter of Owain Glyndwr, the Welsh rebel in the 15th century, the ancestry has been swelled by four kings (including the Welsh Arthur) a saint and a sister of the Virgin Mary. According to ‘A history of Wales’ by J.E. Lloyd, the overnight declaration is as follows:
Owain Glyndwr, Grufud Fuchan, Philip ab Ifor, Llywelyn, last Prince, Gruffud, King John, and then nine generations to Rhodri Mawr, King of all Wales. By Grufud Fuchan’s marriage to Elena the family also descends from Grufud Maelor II, Madog (thought by some to have discovered America), Grufud Maelor I, Owain Gwynedd, then by seven generations to Rhodri Mawr, . So that is Four of a kind, Kings Up and not a bad starter as a poker hand. The Historia o Uched Dewi in Jesus College goes further. Dauyd vab Sant vab Keredig, vab Kuneda, vab Edern, vab Padarnn Peisrud, vab Deil, vab Gordeil, vab Dwuyn, vab Onut, vab Aullach, vab Eugen, vab Eudoleu, vab chwaer Veir Wyryr, van Iessu Grist. Cannot say fairer than that and under the circumstances he got off lightly with Morgan Glanmor.
Mog, you have been born, alas, into a dustbin that was once a civilised country. We have discovered in recent years that our MPs are venal, our police force is corrupt, our legal system pure slapstick, the banks dishonest, the media juvenile, the arts a pantomime, and commerce is demonstrably evil. Only our soldiers emerge with honour and they are being wasted in silly wars. We are witnessing the Decline and Fall. We lack only a Gibbon, and Morgan Glanmor Livingstone is the perfect name for a historian. Your timing is perfect and my birth present to you is a perfect subject for your research. King Arthur is among ypur ancestors, AND ARTHUR WAS WELSH whatever the TV dramatists claim.
Recent scholarship identifies the historical “Arthur” (the bear) which was the Goidel Welsh battle name of Owain Dantgwyn, the son of Uther Pendragon, who ruled Powys until 500 AD from Viroconium, near Wrotexter in Shropshire. Our family crest is a bear’s paw and there he is, swinging from our family tree
The Grail origins are in the Celtic myth of Tuatha de Danaan, literally The People of the Goddess Diana who populated Ireland before the coming of the Milesian Gaels. Their history is called Echtrae, Visits to Other Lands. Part is chronicled in Cleabhar Gabhala Erenn, The Book of Invasions, and more orally in folk tales which were copied by the early Christian monks. The Top God was Dagda and his daughter was Brigit (parenthetically the river that ran through the grounds of our house on Anglesey was the Braint, which is the Welsh Brigit; on Wales becoming Christian Brigit's wells became the wells of St Mary).

To resume. The Tuatha came from four cities and each city had a treasure. The Spear of Lug and the cauldron of Dagda were two of them. The cauldron was a deep, wide dish or platter which automatically refilled itself with whatever was the favourite food of its owner. In Welsh history quoted by Giraldus Cambrensis, it became the ‘Dysgl’ (platter) of Rhydderch, a 6th century King of Strathclyde. The list which contained the Dysgl also contained a
drinking vessel, the Horn of Bran, which gave whatever drink its owner desired.

There was a migration from Celtic Britain to Amorica (Brittany) to escape the Anglo-Saxon invasion - even today a Welsh speaker can understand the Breton language. Naturally the folk tales went with them, including the Arthurian saga - Arthur, Parsifal (Perceval), Lancelot and Gawain, who were originally Welsh knights.
These legends were pillaged by the Troubadour poets, namely Chr├ętien de Troyes in 1180 in a poem called Perceval, Wolfram Jan Esenbach in his poem Parsifal, and the Diderot Perlesurus, a prose romance from Northern France.
The Welsh version was enshrined as Peredur in the Mabinogion. Lancelot's story was part of a vast compilation known as the Vulgate Cycle which also contained ‘The Quest del St Graol’, and the last two books of Malory's Morte d'Arthur.
All these source books were written within 50 years of 1180 and they all made the same mistake. In Old French the word for ‘horn’ and ‘body’ was the same, ‘cors’ (they are similar now, cor and corps) so the Horn of Bran which bore the single word ‘Beneiz’ changed from the Blessed Horn to the Blessed Body, the Corpus Christi, the vessel that carried the all sustaining wafer.
Lug's Spear became the Lance that Pierced Christ's side and the platter became the goblet in which his blood from the wound was caught.
The Celts are at the root of many things. A book ‘Where
Troy Once Stood’ insists that Celts were the tribes of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
I should caution you that practically every family whose ancestors lived in Tudor Wales can make similar genealogical claims to ours.The Welsh historian Gwyn Alf Williams said he would not trust any Welsh history pre-Henry VIII (who, by the way, was Welsh and was responsible for the Act of Union which still upsets Welsh nationalists. )
WELCOME, MY GREAT GRANDSON TO THE MAD WORLD YOU HAVE INHERITED..... and it is getting worse. The recent referendum on the Assembly’s law-making powers cost almost £6m, according to a new report. The report, by the Electoral Commission, showed the entire spending on the campaign and count, including its own expenses on promoting the referendum and the costs of counting officers in local authorities, came to £5.89m. .
Decent pot but hardly a full house. Only 24% of people in Wales were aware of the referendum in January 2011.