Posted: Tue 1st Mar 2016

Welsh Anthem Memorial To Be Restored /
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Mar 1st, 2016

The iconic Evan and James James Memorial at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park is to be restored to its former glory for future generations to enjoy. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The memorial dedicated to the composers of the Welsh National Anthem has proudly stood in front of the bandstand at the Pontypridd park since 1930. Exposed to the elements for over 90 years, it is now in need of some attention. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Pontypridd weaver Evan James is said to have written the words to Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of my Fathers) one Sunday morning in January 1856 to accompany a tune composed by his son James. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It was first performed in public at Tabor Methodist Chapel in Maesteg, and came to great prominence after the 1858 Llangollen National Eisteddfod. It is now sang all over the world, especially at sporting events. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Council is removing the memorial on Monday, March 7, for the restoration work to be carried out. It will be returned later this summer. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Ann Crimmings, Cabinet Member for the Environment, Leisure and Culture, said: “The Evan and James James Memorial is such an iconic and important part of Welsh heritage. It also adds to the beauty and attraction of Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, the home of Lido Ponty, the National Lido of Wales. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I am delighted that this restoration work is being carried out in order for future generations to honour the father and son for their immense contribution to the culture of Wales.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

James James was born in Argoed in 1832 and his family moved to Pontypridd 15 years later, with his father Evan running a woollen mill in Mill Street. James, a talented harpist, earned a living performing in local public houses. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The memorial to the father-and-son was designed by Sir William Goscombe John, the sculptor who helped his wood carver father with the restoration work of Cardiff Castle. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

James’ son Taliesin James (1856-1938), a lecturer at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, played the harp at the official unveiling ceremony on July 23, 1930. More than 1,000 people attended the ceremony, conducted by Lord Treowen, Sir Ivor Herbert. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The bilingual inscription on the memorial says: “Evan James and James James (1809-1878/1832-1902) father and son of Pontypridd who, inspired by a deep and tender love of their native land, united poetry and song and gave to Wales her national hymn Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The memorial is mounted onto a pedestal of blue pennant stone sourced from the Graig yr Hesg Quarry, Pontypridd. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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