1834 Cardiff Eisteddfod

The Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfodau were organised by one of the The Cambrian Societies (of Gwent, Dyfed, Powys and Gwynedd) which organised their own Eisteddfodau from 1819 to 1834 under the aegis of the THE CYMMRODORIAN SOCIETY of London (Established 1751. Re-established 1818). Their objectives did not include the support of Welsh industry.
NLW MS11116E, (various posters, leaflets and letters relating to these eisteddfodau)

The Cymmrodorian Society Eisteddfodau appear to have been superseded by those organised by the Cymreigyddion Societies, including those held at Abergavenny, 1834-1853

We understand that in addition to the usual attractions, the approaching splendid meeting will constitute a scene of an entirely novel and striking character; as it is the intention of its fair promoters to enhance its interest, as a national festival, by appearing in the native costume of the country.
The Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 17 May, 1834

1834 The Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod, Cardiff
The Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod became the Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod after Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria became patrons (between 1832 and 1834), but they didn’t attend the Cardiff Eisteddfod in 1834 and there is no record in the Royal archives concerning their patronage.

The arrangements for the Eisteddfod at Cardiff, are proceeding upon a scale of splendour corresponding with the national interest of the occasion. “We have been given to understand (says a correspondent), that a resolution has been adopted by some of our fair countrywomen, to appear at the Eisteddfod in the national costume of the Welsh peasantry, as worn in Glamorganshire and several other districts of South and North Wales and when we recollect the graceful character of the scarlet whittle, and the picturesque effect of the plaid tunic, robed-shaped gown, and glossy beaver, we cannot do otherwise than applaud this exceedingly tasteful, as well as national and praiseworthy determination, and we sincerely hope that it will be the means of affording encouragement to the native manufactures of the Principality, which have of late been too much neglected for others of foreign introduction.
Cambrian 17.5.1834 [There were no reports that such costumes were worn at this Eisteddfod]

It is with great satisfaction that we have heard of the intentions of the aristocracy to revive and encourage the elegant, though much neglected costumes of Wales at the approaching Eisteddfod. It will perhaps be considered far fetched to say that we are politically glad of it, as the analogy between politics and dress may not at first sight distinctly appear. But in these unsettled times it certainly is wise to endeavor to promote nationality, and to turn the attention of the Cambrian peasantry to the revival of their declining, though still existing costumes, and ancient usages and it is a fact worthy of remark, that as all distinctions of dress in England has disappeared between different ranks of society, this country has decidedly been declining and becoming demoralised, and the scene of yearly increasing confusion. In short, when each class abandons its natural sphere, and struggles to attain the level of those above it, order and peace cannot be maintained.
London Evening Standard, 15 May 1834; Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 17 May 1834; Carmarthen Journal, 23 May, 1834, p. 3

Reports of the Eisteddfod.
Prize no 16. For the best essay in English with a Welsh translation; or in Welsh with an English translation On the Advantages Resulting from the Preservation of the Welsh Language and the National Costumes of Wales.
The Marquess of Bute presented the prize ring to Mrs Hall of Llanover.
Concerts were attended by upwards of 400 fashionables each day.
(Cambrian (newspaper), 23.8.1834; 30.8.1834; The Welshman, 22.8.1834)

Description of the eisteddfod and report that the overcrowded platform gave way. (From Charlotte Guest’s journal, quoted in Guest, Revel, and John, A.V., Lady Charlotte, A Biography of the 19th Century (1989), p. 105)

The edition of the of the Glamorgan, Monmouthshire and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian (GMBG&MG) for the 23rd August 1834 which contained reports of the Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod at Cardiff, ran out due to high demand, so a special edition containing the reports was produced.

The reports contained the following over two pages:

  • long list of nobles and gentry who were in Cardiff at the time
  • extensive accounts of the Marques of Bute’s and Rev Thomas Prices’ speeches (others speeches were in later issues)
  • The Marquis of Bute, as chairman, was moved to present Mrs Hall with her prize himself ‘because she was a lady’
  • the judges adjudications
  • Reports of Thursdays events

The edition for the 30th August, 1834 contained

  • Extensive reports of Friday’s events
  • Reports of speeches and concerts
  • Description of the ball
  • Description of the costumes worn by 8 of the women at the ball, two of whom wore turbans. (There was no mention of Welsh costume or of Mrs Hall in this list.

The edition for 6th September 1834 reported that the reports of the Eisteddfod, printed on silk and satin were presented to the Marquis of Bute and the Rev W.B. Knight and Mr Taliesin Williams.

The  edition for 20th September 1834 published detailed financial accounts for the Eisteddfod. Over £500 profit was made and much of this went to a local hospital. The Marquis of Bute declined a medal but accepted the promise of a specially bound Presentation copy of the prize competitions. Further copies of this were to be presented to others involved in the organisation of the Eisteddfod including the ‘Welsh correspondents’ ab Iolo (Taliesin Williams).

In the Press and will be published on Tuesday next for 1 shilling
The English Poems and Odes which obtained medals and other Prizes at the Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod, Cardiff, 20-22 August, 1834. William Bird, Cardiff; Longman, Rees and Co, London and all other book sellers.
Part II containing the Welch [sic] poems, Englynion etc will be ready on or about the 21st October, 1834.
GMBG&MG for 27.9.1834

The published entries:
A Collection of English poems and odes, which obtained medals and other prizes at the Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod : held at Cardiff on the 20th, 21st, and 22nd of August, 1834 Publisher London : Cardiff : Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman ; William Bird, 1834. (NLW digital catalogue)
Poems, written for the Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod, held at Cardiff, on the 20th, 21st, and 22nd of August, 1834. Author Prichard, David. Publisher Bridgend : Printed by John G. Bird, 1834. (NLW digital catalogue)
Ode : the Princess Victoria : written for the Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod, held at Cardiff, on the 21th, 21st and 22nd of August, 1834 … / Author: Booker, M., Mrs. Publisher [Cardiff] : [Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod], 1835. (NLW digital catalogue)
Augusta Hall’s essay prize-winning on the preservation of the Welsh Language and Costumes was published in 1836.

Prize-winning poems and essays were published between 1834 and 1836 (there is a volume of all of them bound together, in the National Library of Wales).  This includes the English and Welsh version of Augusta Hall’s essay, each of 18 pages, published in 1836, with separate pagination.  Awenyddion Gwent a Dyfed : sef Y Cyfansoddiadau Barddoniadd a Ennillasant Dlysau, a Gwobrau Eraill, yn Eisteddfod Caerdydd yr hon yn Gynnaliwyd Ar yr 20fed, 21ain, a’r 22ain o Awst, 1834, (Llundain: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman; and William Bird, Caerdydd, 1834).

A report of the Eisteddfod was re-printed in 1883
The national Eisteddfod of Wales : full report of the great Eisteddfod held within the walls of Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, in the year 1834 [from the Merthyr Guardian ; Aug. 23rd and 30th, 1834] of the Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod, Reprinted in fac-simile by W. Jones…, for the Committee of the National Eisteddfod of 1883, (1883).