Tuesday 12 June 2018

Alphabetical list of articles, and other writings

               Alphabetical list
125 31st October
96 The 1947 Mumbles lifeboat tragedy
115 Air Raid Precautions
86 The Albert Hall
146 Kingsley Amis
94 Ann of Swansea
46 The Apostle of Gower
42 Arctic Convoys
54 Rev. Leon Atkin
145 Gladys Aylward
27 Bacon Hole and Minchin Hole    
131 The Balinka Expeditions                          
89 Baptist Chapels
43 The Bathing House
61 The Battle of Gower
60 Roger Beck
75 The Bells of Santiago
136 Bethany Chapel, West Cross
24 Bible College of Wales
25 Earliest Blue plaques
55 The Boer War cenotaph
48 Dr Thomas Bowdler
20 Edward ‘Taffy’ Bowen
104 Brandy Cove Skeleton
29 The Brangwyn Panels
151 William de Breos
23 Sir Arthur Whitten Brown
53 I.K. Brunel
98 Burry Holms
28 The Bush Hotel
41 Calon Lân
74 Castle Square
77 Mutiny on the 'Caswell'
112 Cefn Coed Hospital
92 The Cenotaph
63 John Charles
133 Church Bells and ringing
118 City Status
108 Colonial Building
126 'Death Ray Matthews'
18 Amy Dillwyn
3 Lewis Weston Dillwyn
121 'The Dollar Ship'
102 Jessie Donaldson
132 Dylan Thomas's Swansea
47 Edward II
13 Ben Evans
14 P.O. Edgar Evans
124 Edgar Evans statue
49 Will Evans paintings
153 Follies
137 Glanmor School
116 The Gower Show
64 The Grenfells
4 Cyril Gwynn  
82 Pete Ham and Badfinger   
129 Lady Houston
22 Frances Ridley Havergal
93 James Stevens tragedy, 1903
71 Alfred Janes
15 Dr Griffith John
84 Dai Jones, tenor
51 Dr Daniel Jones
26 Dr Ernest Jones
152 Colonel Philip Jones
81 The Kardomah
139 Fr. Charles Kavanagh
83 Killay House
97 Kilvrough Manor 
106 Lewis Lewis
8 Saunders Lewis
105 LifePoint
135 Lliw Valley reservoirs
12 Mackworth Suicide
141 Mannheim Twinning
10 John Miles
7 Mond Buildings
1 Morgan and Higgs
66 Morris Castle
110 Robert Morris
91 Mumbles Head battery
70 Mumbles Lighthouse
65 Mumbles pier
36 ‘Beau’ Nash
85 Neath's England crciket captains
50 Nicholaston Church
117 North Dock rail catastrophe, 1865
9 Morfydd Owen
156 Morfydd Owen centenery
101 Only Two Can Play
59 Oxwich Castle
107 Oystermouth Cemetery
80 Oystermouth Church
68 Oystermouth School
109 Pantygwydr Baptist Chuch
119 Parc-le-breos
5 Parc Wern
87 Parry-Thomas at Pendine, 1926
39 Dame Adelina Patti
142 Penlle'r Castell
52 Penllergare
31 Pennard Castle
147 Pennard Golf Club
62 Penrice
34 The Plaza Cinema
19 Port Eynon lifeboat disaster
33 The Prince’s Fountain
140 Public Executions
72 Pwll Du shipwreck
56 Terminus Railways
144 Rebecca in Gower
155 Red Lady of Paviland
154 Rhossili Rectory
148 Rhyddings
57 Ceri Richards
30 Evan Roberts and the 1904 Revival
128 Rotherslade
21 St Helen’s cricket
111 St James' Church
79 William J Samuell
67 Seren Gomer
134 Severn Princess
130 The Slip Bridge
149 Southey's descendant
44 Baron Spolasco
76 The Swansea Canal
40 Swansea Museum
32 C.R.M. Talbot
90 Phil Tanner
127 William Thomas o Lan
17 Tir John Power Station
45 Titanic
2 Trams
143 The Underground Chapels
123 Unitarians
120 The Vikings
78 Glynn Vivian
114 Henry Hussey Vivian
138 The Vivian Hall
122 Vernon Watkins 50th anniversary
16 Vernon Watkins and Lloyd’s Bank
103 Vernon Watkins at Pennard
11 Weaver’s Flour Mill
150 Harri Webb
73 Weobley Castle
37 The Wesley Chapel
58 Percy White
38 Whiteford lighthouse
69 Wind Street           
35 The Women of Mumbles Head
6 Worm’s Head
113 Wrecking
99 Y.M.C.A.
Six articles on Christmas themes (South Wales Evening Post, Dec 2015)
New Year's Day tragedy, 1916 (Gower Journal vol. 66, 2015)
Frances Ridley Havergal, hymn writer (Gower Journal vol. 48, 1997)
Vernon Watkins, ‘Swansea’s other poet’ (Gower Journal vol. 65, 2014)
Edgar Evans of Gower (Gower Society publication, 2008)
The Methodist Martyr: William Seward
Christian articles (Burry Green Magazine)

Sunday 10 June 2018

156 Morfydd Owen centenery

156 Morfydd Owen centenery
Elin Manahan Thomas, the Gorseinon-born soprano, sang Handel’s "Eternal source of light divine" at the recent Royal Wedding.  On 2 July she will be singing at the Gower Festival at St Paul’s Church in Sketty, where her subject will be the Welsh soprano, composer and pianist Morfydd Owen, who died in Mumbles 100 years ago.   
Morfydd Owen was born into a Welsh-speaking family in 1891, and soon showed signs of being a musical prodigy, playing the piano and beginning to compose even from the age of six.  After performing in chapels and at local eisteddfodau she studied at University College, Cardiff, and went on to London’s Royal Academy of Music, where she won every available prize at the end of her first year. 
She became a member of the Welsh Presbyterian Chapel in Charing Cross Road, and began to move in influential London Welsh circles.  She collaborated with the wife of Liberal MP Herbert Lewis to transcribe and arrange Welsh folk songs.  Admitted to the Gorsedd of Bards at the 1912 National Eisteddfod at Wrexham, she took the Bardic name Llwyn, being often known as Morfydd Llwyn-Owen.  While living in Hampstead she also moved in a very different sphere, meeting writers in Bohemian circles like D.H. Lawrence and Ezra Pound, and forming a lifelong friendship with Liberal MP and writer Eliot Crawshay-Williams.  An Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, she gave concerts in Bath and Oxford before her professional début at the Aeolian Hall in New Bond Street in January 1917.  But to the dismay of her chapel friends, a month later she married the flamboyant psychoanalyst Dr Ernest Jones from Gowerton, at a time when psychoanalysis was regarded with deep suspicion.  This severely curtailed her musical output, for Jones did not wish his wife to perform in public, and domestic duties at their West End flat and cottage in Sussex limited her musical creativity.  There was also tension between Jones’s atheism and her Christian faith. 
As the First World War prevented her taking up an award to study Russian folk music in St Petersburg, her husband brought her to visit Gower in August 1918.  They stayed at Craig-y-môr, at the top of Plunch Lane in Mumbles, the home of Jones’s widowed father, who had re-married.  The couple visited Caswell, Langland, Sketty, Swansea Market, and Castle Street’s Kardomah Café.  But Morfydd was taken ill with appendicitis, requiring an immediate operation.  Having a car, Jones could have driven her to Swansea Hospital (now Home Gower), but instead she was operated on at Craig-y-môr, with Jones acting as anesthetist.  With hindsight ether should have been used instead of chloroform, for tragically Morfydd died of chloroform poisoning, a few weeks before her twenty-seventh birthday.  She was buried at the top of Oystermouth cemetery - even before any death certificate was issued - and no post-mortem was carried out.   Her grave is marked with a red sandstone column giving the incorrect date of her birth (Jones believed she was two years younger than she was), and the dates of her marriage and death, with words in German from Goethe that translated read, “Here the indescribable consequences (of love) have been fulfilled”, for German was the language of the early psychoanalysts.  The circumstances of Morfydd Owen’s death raise several questions, which during war-time went unanswered. 
So Wales lost potentially one of her greatest musical talents, who will be remembered at the Gower Festival on 2 July, at a BBC Promenade concert, a lecture by Dr Rhian Davies at Swansea University on 6 September, the unveiling of a blue plaque outside Craig-y-môr the next day (the centenary of her death), with a ceremony around her grave, and the following day a blue plaque at her Treforest birthplace.  
The obituary in “Y Gorlan” stated: “O Death! We knew that thou were blind, but in striking Morfydd thou hast taught us that thou art also deaf.