Films of the Eisteddfod

Berian Williams, Hirwaun, was a keen follower of the Eisteddfod and brought his cine camera to the event on numerous occasions.

Here is the 1974 Carmarthen Eisteddfod film :- Linc 

It’s obvious form looking at the film that many people knew Berian and were willing to smile to the camera. How many famous people can you spot?

Berian was a Botany and Science teacher at Liverpool, Chester and Narberth.  He then became a lecturer at Aberystwyth University. He translated many books from English to  Welsh. He died in 2015.


Alcwyn Deiniol Evans 1942 – 2020

Alcwyn Deiniol Evans

At the age of 78, Alcwyn Deiniol Evans died at his home in Romilly Park Road, Barry.  A former Director of the famous department store Dan Evans, Alcwyn was a familiar face and a very well-known figure in the public life of Barry. 

He was the eldest son of Gwynfor Evans, the former President of Plaid Cymru and a native of the town.  During the Carmarthen by-election of July 1966, Alcwyn campaigned enthusiastically for the party.  He worked strenuously to ensure his father’s success when he won the seat to become Plaid Cymru’s first Member of Parliament.  Alcwyn was passionate in his support for the Welsh language and identity, supporting and promoting the same beliefs and values as his father.

He spent over 40 years in business, and the family shop, Dan Evans, was very close to his heart.  Alcwyn was a true gentleman who won the respect and affection of his staff and customers.  He was responsible for a number of departments within the store, and was recognised as a specialist in the toy industry.  He was a regular contributor to television and radio programmes until recently, sharing his knowledge and interest with style, polish and enthusiasm.

Dan Evans closed its doors for the last time in 2006, and as a grandson of its founder, Alcwyn recorded the shop’s history and published a book, Siop Dan Evans Y Barri (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2014), which is an important historical and social portrayal of the business and the town.  More recently Alcwyn worked at the St Fagans National Museum of History, where he enjoyed the further opportunity of sharing his interest, enthusiasm and love of Wales, its customs and its traditions.

He leaves an enormous gap, especially for his wife Rhoswen and son Trystan. Alcwyn will be remembered in Barry and beyond for his wide smile, his sincerity, his humour and his remarkable kindness.

Geraint Evans

Rhys Lewis 1937 – 2020

Rhys Lewis (1937-2020) was a mainstay of Plaid Cymru in Cardiff Central for very many years. Ever present in party meetings, his commitment, his wisdom and his many organisational skills were a constant source of inspiration to all members.

Born in Machynlleth, he was just 1 year old when his family settled in Cardiff, and he was undoubtedly a proud Cardiffian.  Although Welsh had been his parents’ language, that had been largely abandoned in the home when they settled in the city, and Rhys attributed his mastery of the Welsh language to his inspirational teacher in Cathays.

A successful career in journalism within BBC Wales and independent broadcasting companies enabled him to keep abreast of Welsh current affairs even if those roles limited the ways in which he could contribute to party political work,  but he more than made up for that when, following retirement, he grasped the opportunity to work full time alongside his lifelong friend and collaborator, Owen John Thomas throughout the first two National Assembly terms (1999 – 2007). As a keen gardener he was used to nurturing plants and at a time when the fledging legislature was far from accepted in many quarters, Rhys worked tirelessly to show the relevance of the Assembly to the people of Cardiff.  He was a caring individual and helped many a Plaid member and their families during difficult periods.

Rhys was a confirmed Francophile. He loved the times he spent in France and never missed an opportunity to use his French. He was a firm believer in Wales as a European nation, and the result of the European referendum was something that troubled him greatly.

Recent ill-health had left him with limited mobility, inhibiting his ability to canvass and leaflet, but he still found alternative ways to contribute to Plaid Cymru campaigns – organising, contacting supporters, and sharing his political insights and his humour.

It was while he was in hospital for an unrelated condition that he contracted Covid-19 and died on April 12th.  We extend our sympathy to his wife Sue, his children Geraint, Menna and Non and his grandchildren Gwen, Sophie, Alice, Nel and Cesia. Rhys enjoyed good wine and I’m sure many of us will raise a glass in memory of a true gentleman and Welsh patriot.

Marc Phillips

1970 Merthyr Election


S.O. Davies was Labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil from 1934 to 1970. He was first elected in a by-election following the death of the local ILP MP with 51% of the vote (against the Liberal, ILP candidate and Communist) and 68% in the 1935 general election against the ILP only. But for the rest of his career, he received support from percentages ranging between 74% and 81%. The Plaid candidates who opposed him in the 50s and 60s were Trevor Morgan (as an independent nationalist), Ioan Bowen Rees and Meic Stephens.

But before the 1970 election a reporter with the Merthyr Express had a look at a list of potential Labour candidates throughout England, Wales and Scotland. The name of S.O. Davies was there, with the * symbol next to him. The correspondent asked the printers what its significance was and got the answer that it meant ‘not re-adopted’ as the local party was in the process of selecting SO’s successor, although there was no discussion between them and him about the decision. The Merthyr Express announced this shocking news of the release of one who had served his people as a local councilor, mayor and Member of Parliament for tens of years.

The rest is a myth. S.O. as an ‘Independent Labour’ candidate (which would not be legally possible today), winning 51% of the vote against the official Labour Tal Lloyd (another former mayor). By a strange coincidence, these are the exact percentages (rounded) that S.O. and his liberal opponent received in the 1935 by-election. Plaid Cymru’s annual conference was held at Cyfarthfa Castle in 1958 and Tal Lloyd, in his capacity as the mayor, officially welcomed the members to the borough.

Chris Rees was Plaid Cymru’s candidate in 1970. He once told me that he did not only congratulate S.O. but added that it was the first time he could say how proud he was that he hadn’t won himself! And I know of at least one member of the Party who helped S.O. in his campaign.

S.O. Davies was a patriot. In the Wikipedia entry about him it is said: Largely indifferent to party discipline, he defied official Labour policy by championing such causes as disarmament and Welsh nationalism.  He supported the Parliamentary petition for Wales movement in the 1950s, joining the speakers on stage at a rally organized by Plaid Cymru in Cardiff in September 1953 (see photo on page 297 of Tros Cymru, JE and Plaid by JE Jones, 1970). And in 1955 he introduced his ‘Government of Wales’ measure in the House of Commons, which was prepared with the help of party experts. But as expected, his attempt was unsuccessful.

Here is one interesting part of the debate on the floor of the House. S.O. said that support for the measure comes from ‘Monmouthshire, Cardiff, West —‘. George Thomas (MP for Cardiff West) interrupted him saying: ‘The hon. Gentleman won’t get much support there ‘. S.O. finished his sentence masterfully: ‘— Rhondda, and other places’.

S.O. Davies died in 1972, and the by-election was won for Labour by Ted Rowlands with 48.5% of the vote, the Plaid Cymru candidate Emrys Roberts gained 37%.



Remembering Glyn James

A Blue Plaque in memory of the leading nationalist Glyn James was unveiled on Saturday 19th October at 9 Darran Terrace, Glyn Rhedynog / Ferndale, Rhondda CF43 4LG.  

The plaque was unveiled by Councillor Geraint Davies and tributes were given by Cennard Davies and Jill Evans A.E. A musical contribution was given by Côr y Morlais. The event was organised by Maerdy Archive and its Secretary, David Owen.  


The Reverend Fred Jones (1877-1948) one founders of Plaid Cymru

The Reverend Fred Jones (1877-1948) was one of the six founding fathers of Plaid Cymru who launched the party at a historic meeting at Pwllheli in 1925 and one of the famous Cilie family of poets from Ceredigion.  He worked as a minister in Rhymni, Treorci and Tal-y-bont Ceredigion and was a lifelong nationalist.

Dafydd Iwan delivering a lecture on the career of his grandfather, Fred Jones, one of the founding members of Plaid Cymru.  Also in the picture is Ben Lake MP, who took the chair at the Plaid History session on 4 October during the party’s 2019 annual conference in Swansea.