The Welsh National Anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of my Fathers) is an iconic National Anthem and is generally considered to be amongst the finest anthems of the world.
Evan and James were from Pontypridd in the south Wales valleys and Evan and James composed Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau in January 1856. Today, the original manuscript is preserved for prosperity at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. A statue honouring the father and son now stands in Ynysangharad Park in Pontypridd. The original title was Glan Rhondda – meaning Banks of the Rhondda.
Pontypridd town sits at the junction of the Rhondda, Taf and Cynon valleys, where the Rhondda runs into the river Taf which eventually flows to the sea in Cardiff Bay. The melody or more modernly the tune Glan Rhondda (Banks of the Rhondda) was composed by James James (Iago Ap Ieuan, 1833-1902), one day in January 1856 as he walking along the river bank in his hometown. James was a harpista harpist who often played in the inns of Pontypridd and on his return home he sang it to his father. He asked his father to compos some lyrics for his tune and by the next day Evan had written three verses. It was rumoured at the time that the father Evan had already composed the words before his son wrote the melody, though this is far from certain.
Just a week after it's composition, it was performed by the local singer in the vestry of Tabor Chapel, Maesteg (which later became a working men's club). It quickly became popular among locals. Originally it had meant for dancing so was performed much quicker, but was slowed down to make it easier for crowds to sing together. The anthem gained popularity, initially in Pontypridd but it soon across all of Wales.
The earliest known copy of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau manuscipt by the James family is part instrumental and choral works composed between 1849 and 1863. It is the only piece in the manuscript credited to James, although his adaptation of God Save The Queen with a verse in Welsh is also featured. Today this vitally important historic document forms part of the collections of the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.
The song became better known still after the 1858 Langollen Eisteddfod. Thomas Llewelyn from Aberdare compiled a volume of unpublished Welsh airs for a competition entry. The 'beirniad' or adjudicator, John Owen, asked permission to include Glan Rhondda in his 1860 collection, Gems Of Welsh Melody.
Over a long period of years Hen Wlad fy Nhadau was increasingly sung at patriotic gatherings, and it gradually developed into Wales' national anthem. Interestingly, even today, it is neither officially or legally recognised as such. The playing of the Welsh National Anthem at rugby matches is memorable worldwide.
On 11th March 1899, a singer named Madge Breese sang Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau for the Gramophone Company. It is the first known recording made in the Welsh language. Lasting for one minute and 17 seconds, the recording was pressed onto a single-sided 7-inch disc.
Following James James' death in 1902, it was decided that a memorial should be erected to both the father and son. Sir William Goscombe John designed the monument and it took almost 30 years to be completed, and was finally unveiled in Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd, on 23 July 1930.
The two life sized bronze figures represents poetry and music, with an inscription which reads: In memory of Evan James and James James, father and son, of Pontypridd, who, inspired by a deep and tender love of their native land united poetry to song and gave Wales her National Anthem, Hen Wlad fy Nhadau.
In three verses although usually only the first verse is sung. The words to the Welsh national Anthem are as follows;
Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mad,
Dros ryddid collasant eu gwaed.
Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad.
Tra môr yn fur i'r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i'r hen iaith barhau.
Hen Gymru fynyddig, paradwys y bardd,
Pob dyffryn, pob clogwyn, i'm golwg sydd hardd;
Trwy deimlad gwladgarol, mor swynol yw si
Ei nentydd, afonydd, i fi.
Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad tan ei droed,
Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ag erioed,
Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad,
Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.
A translation of the words to the Welsh national Anthem in English is as follows;
The land of my fathers is dear to me,
Old land where the minstrels are honoured and free;
Its warring defenders so gallant and brave,
For freedom their life's blood they gave.
Home, home, true I am to home,
While seas secure the land so pure,
O may the old language endure.
Old land of the mountains, the Eden of bards,
Each gorge and each valley a loveliness guards;
Through love of my country, charmed voices will be
Its streams, and its rivers, to me.
Though foemen have trampled my land 'neath their feet,
The language of Cambria still knows no retreat;
The muse is not vanquished by traitor's fell hand,
Nor silenced the harp of my land.
A large contemporary throw, traditionally hand woven in Wales using 100% British wool. Carew has a multi-coloured natural warp of cream, light grey and dark grey, producing a lovely stripe. The throw is woven in a textured twill design using a solid colour weft. Also our traditional honeycomb weave pattern blankets are back in stock
Our Welsh tapestry Collection is named ‘Hiraeth’ and nothing says Hiraeth more than an iconic Welsh tapestry blanket, baby blanket, throw or cushion. Hiraeth is a Welsh concept of longing for home, which can be loosely translated as 'homesickness'. Many claim 'hiraeth' is a word which cannot be translated, meaning more than solely "missing home."
Clearpay offers simple and affordable instalment plans for FelinFach online shoppers. Clearpay allows you to purchase any products in four instalments. If you purchase an item for £100, you pay 4 instalments of £25. There is no additional cost to use Clearpay if you pay on time. All of your payments are interest-free and you will receive your order straight away.