The 20th Century commemorative services at Cefn-y-bedd and Abbey Cwmhir
This section is intended to be expanded with information which it is hoped you will wish to supply.
From 1902 to 1982
On the western edge of the village of Cefn-y-bedd [now called Cilmery] there stands a fine stone monolith, pointing like a dagger to the sky. This is the memorial to Llywelyn our national leader, who was killed near to this spot, on 11th December 1282.
It was 620 after the death of Llywelyn when S.P.M. Bligh squire of Cilmeri Park, Builth, erected the first monument at Cefn-y-bedd in 1902, to the memory of “the gallant but unfortunate Prince Llywelyn Y Llyw Olaf” - the established view of 1956.
The 12 ft high monument was constructed of blocks of stone from the Old Hall Quarry at Llanelwedd, which are still to be seen forming the boundary to the steps leading from the road to the gates of the monument.
The obolisk was errected in by squire Bligh on a concrete base in a corner of a field near Cwm Llywelyn cottage, entirely at his own expense, on land which formed part of his Cilmery estate, “with the object of keeping the need for a national memorial before the Welsh nation”.
There is a very good account of the history of events which led Stanley Bligh to erect the monument at Cefn-y-bedd in Brycheiniog [1956, vol II pp. 154-155].
The new monument at Cefn-y-bedd to commemorate Llywelyn was unveiled in a ceremony held on 23rd June 1956 attended by the great and the good.
There is also an account of “The unveiling of the new memorial” at Cefn-y-bedd on Saturday 23rd. June 1956, in Brycheiniog [1956, vol II pp. 159-168], which described the event, including quoted speaches.
The movement between 1982 and 1996
This section will be up-dated shortly
Re-establishment - the years 1996 to 2005
In 1996 several visitors to the Abbey Cwm Hir Stand at the Llandeilo Eisteddfod, suggested that it would be good for the Abbey Cwm Hir Trust also to help to organise the events at Cefn-y-bedd, because fewer and fewer people were attending each year. This was a good idea, but it was important that it was not seen to be in conflict, or competition with those who still regularly commemorated Llywelyn’s death there on the second Saturday of December, each year.
By December, the Abbey Trust with the help of Nigel Hall, now vicar of Builth and Llanynys, organised for the Mass to be sung by members of Builth church choir in little Llanynys church, as it had been sung for Llywelyn on 11 December 1282, the day he died. The elegies to Llywelyn of Dafydd Benfras and Gruffudd ab yr Ynad Goch, were also read, with the work of Gerallt Lloyd Owen, Harri Webb and others. This ceremony has also continued, without break to this year 2007.
The traditional meeting at the monument at Cefn-y-bedd also continues and is growing again in popularity. A group of young people, who originally formed a militaristic guard-of-honour, now symbolically represent ‘The 18′ who died with Llywelyn and ad colour to the ceremony at the monument.
In 2005, it was noted by those remembering the death of Llywelyn, that at the same time as we remember his assassination, we completely ignored the sacrifice of - as Roger le Strange stated in his letter to Edward I - Llywelyn is dead and ‘All the Flower of the Welsh Army is destroyed’. We thus approached Builth Golf Club, which now occupies the ground where the army were slaughtered, for their agreement for us to hold a memorial service there. They agreed, and on Sunday morning, 9th December 2005, we held a wreath-laying ceremony there. The event was repeated, even more successfully in the rain of Sunday morning 10th December 2006, and memorial was composed by Calfin Griffiths of Llanfihangel ar arth, Carmarthen. Those present also then made the journey to Aberedwy, to Llywelyn Fawr’s castle, before returning to Abaty Cwm Hir by 13.00 for the annual service in the abbey.
The 20 years of the history of the Abbey Cwm Hir Trust has achieved many things and we now need young people to help us carry the work ahead for at least the next twenty years. If you would like to help please leave details with officers on the stand.