Tuesday 28 September 2021

Edward F Dafis

 These are videos of two songs I played on Spectrum on Air by the aforesaid Welsh pop group - with lyrics in English and Welsh. They can be a great aid to learning the language.

St Fagan's National Museum of History

Whilst we were staying in Caerleon during our recent trip to Wales, I took a day out to visit the National Museum of (Welsh) History at St Fagan;s near Cardiff. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. There is so much to see there - which really brings Welsh History to life.

Over the last year or so, I've been reading a lot about Welsh history. My favourite general books on the subject are Jon Gower's "The Story of Wales"; John Davies' "A History of Wales" and Gwynfor Evans' "Land of My Fathers".Miranda Alehouse-Green and ray Howell have written an excellent book on "Celtic Wales", and Kari Maund has a useful introduction to the lives and activities of "The Welsh Kings". 

There are a number of other books I have & journals that I use.

The National Museum of History brought these to life.

Some buildings within the site are based on archaeological finds. I was particularly interested in the Llys Llywelyn - based on the Llyn Rhosyr in Ynys Môn (Anglesey) which was excavated in the 1990s. The Bryn Eryr Iron Age Roundhouses are re-creations based on a farmstead in Eastern Ynys Môn. These are modelled on the findings of an excavation done during the 1980s.

Othe buildings have been taken down from their original site - and reconstructed. I visited the church next to the Llys Llywelyn - and was surprised and really thrilled to find that it was the church in the village where my Great Great Grandparents lived in the 19th Century - before the Griffiths' moved to Betws, near Ammanford.

As well as lots of places to visit, there are some excellent indoor exhibitions - and a bookshop with lots of books that I was tempted to buy (and was not able to resist).

The website is https://museum.wales/stfagans/. A map of the museum is available at https://museum.wales/media/52014/Site-Map-of-St-Fagans-National-Museum-of-History_r.pdf.

Further information about individual buildings and displays can be found here.

Tuesday 21 September 2021

Six Ashes


This village, on the border today of Staffordshire and Shropshire - was proposed as a meeting place of international borders of much greater significance. In 1405 Owain Glyndŵr, Henry Percy, the 1st Earl of Northumbria and Edmund Mortimer (who had a better claim to the throne than Henry IV who usurped the throne from Richard II (who Henry imprisoned - and who died shortly afterwards)) agreed in the "Tripartite Indenture" to divide England and Wales into three countries - with "Onnenau Meigion" as the place where the boundaries of the three states would meet.

“... Owain and his heirs shall have the whole of Cambria or Wales, within the borders, limits, and boundaries underwritten, divided from Loegria, which is commonly called England; namely, from the Severn coast where the River Severn leads from the sea, going down to the North Gate of the city of Worcester [Foregate]; and from that gate directly to the ash trees commonly called Onennau Meigion in the Cambrian or Welsh language, which grow on the high road from Bridgnorth to Kinver [Six Ashes]; thence directly by the high road, which commonly is called the old or ancient way, as far as the head or source of the river Trent [Biddulph Moor, north of Stoke]; thence directly to the head or source of the river commonly called the Mersey [Compstall, east of Manchester]; and thence, as that river leads to the sea [at Liverpool], going down within the borders, limits, and bounds written above.”

Percy (the Earl of Northumberland) would then have roughly the northern half of Lloegr -

(Northumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Norfolk.)

- and Edmund Mortimer would have the rest of Lloegr.

This place was chosen because it was the subject of a prophecy of Merlin - that a great eagle  would muster a host of Welsh warriors who would defeat the English. Sadly, the "prophecy" was centuries later than the time of Merlin - and may even be a "post-dated prophecy" of a defeat here of Penda of Mercia by Cadwallon ap Cadfan of Gwynedd in the Seventh Century.

Glyndŵr tried to make his way to Six Ashes, but was halted by Henry IV at Great Witley, about 15 miles away. A stand off ensued, with both sides eventually retreating.

Visiting Historic Sites

On today's Heritage Matters, I talked about the best websites to visit if you wish to make a trip to one of the many historic sites in England and Wales.

United Kingdom

National Trust

and try this out - https://www.historyhit.com/the-best-neolithic-sites-in-britain/ 



Coflein - the online database for the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW)

St Fagans National History Museum (the picture below is of the Llys Llewelyn)


English Heritage 

Historic England


Over the last couple of weeks on Heritage Matters on SpectrumOnAir , I've done a couple of pieces about the riches of history to be found in Caerleon. 

Caerleon is best known as one of the three long-term legionary Headquarters in Roman Britain. There is the superb National Roman Legion Museum, The Roman Baths (sadly closed at the time of our visit), the Amphitheatre, the foundations of the Barracks and some of the walls (visible from the path alongside the Amphitheatre toward the River).

It was an important place - but an even older site stands on a hill overlooking the village of Caerleon - The Lodge Hill Fort. Below is a video I took on my recent visit.

There is an excellent webpage about the hill fort - http://www.caerleon.net/history/lodge/index.htm        

You can listen to previous editions of Heritage Matter by clicking here.

Sunday 19 September 2021

Party Conference Season

 Party Conference season is now underway in the United Kingdom.

The Liberal Democrats held their online conference over the past weekend. Labour holds it's in-person conference in Brighton from next Saturday (25th September) until its conclusion with the Leaders Speech on Wednesday (29th September). The Conservatives have a hybrid conference (on-line and in person) based in Manchester from 3rd to 6th October. Plaid Cymru meet in Aberystwyth on 15th & 16th October. The Green Party has arranged for Workshops (online) on 18-21 October with the Main Conference (online and in person) on 22nd-24th in Birmingham. The SNP held their conference earlier in September.

The PPS Programme on Spectrumonair will be seeking to bring pieces to you about what happens at conference over the next couple of weeks.

Monday 13 September 2021

Scrutiny in the US Congress

 In today's PPS Programme on Spectrum on Air, I took a look at scrutiny in the US Congress - (a term which includes both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate). The previous week, I did a piece on scrutiny in the British House of Commons - and there was a lot of 'compare and contrast' in the pieces.

To Watch Committees - Go to

House of Representatives


The Best guides to procedure are available at

House of Representatives - Rules Committee: Rules & Resources 

Senate - Resources

Sunday 12 September 2021

Keeping Abreast of Scrutiny in the UK Parliament

 I did a couple of pieces last week on the PPS programme on Spectrum on Air about Scrutiny in the British House of Commons. All past programmes are kept on the website by the programme details for at least six weeks.

The Select Committee website is https://committees.parliament.uk. On this website you can search by Committee, or by Inquiry. It also has details about hearings on the day you access it (or, if it is a non-sitting day) the next sitting date. These pages are worth exploring, as you can find details of forthcoming inquiries and previously published reports.

You can watch Committees on https://parliamentlive.tv/Commons. You can watch live - or look back at previous meetings.

Oral Questions are set down in the Order Book for the forthcoming sitting at https://commonsbusiness.parliament.uk/document/49729/html 

The answers are reported in Hansard.

The "Bible" of Parliamentary Practice is Erskine May - which will cost a few hundred pounds to BUY, but is available to read for free at https://erskinemay.parliament.uk. I'd recommend anyone who might wish to run for Parliament to take a look - and get used to navigating this invaluablele resource. (Those who know the rules, and how to use them, tend to get their way more than those who try to get by without a solid knowledge of the rules.)

Friday 3 September 2021

Food Festival (Gwyl Fwyd) Amgueddfa Cymru

 I'm a big fan of food festivals - and I'm a big fan of "Amgueddfa Cymru" (The National Museum of Wales). Next week the two coincide, and fortunately (for me - living in Milton Keynes: which is not well served by roads to Wales) it is, this year, an online event.

It runs from Monday 6th September until Sunday 12th September. The website is https://museum.wales/whatson/food-festival-2021/ 

I've already looked up the programme - and despite it being very busy for me - I've already diarised a number of the events.

Do take a look at what's on - 

Also there are social media websites highlighting aspects of the festival which are already posting  - 


https://twitter.com/AmgueddfaCymru (some recipes ahead of presentations)

Some events will be in English, others in Welsh - and some in both. If you don't understand Welsh (& on a personal note - I am learning the language - it really is beautiful - it may look horribly complicated, but actually is a lot more logical than say, English (just different rules) - and as someone who is terrible at learning languages - is rewarding and achievable)  - no problem (dim problem) - many of the posts on facebook & twitter offer translations.

Thursday 2 September 2021

Scottish Archaeology Month

 If you live in Scotland, or are visiting Scotland this month take a look at https://archaeologyscotland.org.uk/explore/?fbclid=IwAR2ADlDbAaYN2YnIS9G_nOmbdhY3ym8k5vBQFdmuWBh5-ZFJn50AUA1OeFQ


Many events are online.

It’s a very interesting country!

Wednesday 1 September 2021

FAC - Foreign Secretary to give evidence today

At 2pm this afternoon the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons will be meeting to take evidence from the Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon Dominic Raab, on Government Policy on Afghanistan. It is being held in the Wilson Room in Portcullis House. The committee will mean in private first, and open the meeting to the public (and the cameras) at ABOUT 2.00pm (UK time) - (my experience with committees that occasionally they let the public in early, but sometimes, may not start the public part start for some time AFTER the stated time)

This link should take you to the live broadcast. If it fails (I have no way of checking in advance) - go to https://parliamentlive.tv/Commons and view Full Event Guide