16 January 2007

The Great Battle: Gwyl y Cestyll/Festival of Castles.

Gwyl y Cestyll - Festival of Castles
1283 - 1983.

In March 1983, The Welsh Tourist Board – in their wisdom???
Initiated their contribution to the 700th anniversary of the
assassination and execution of our native Princes and leaders
and to our conquest as a nation by declaring a ‘Gwyl y Cestyll 1983’ - a festival to celebrate the symbols of the completion of our
conquest in 1283! Whatever or whoever was behind this initiative, it was rubbing salt in Welsh wounds that have never and will never heal and was insulting to say the least so, COFIWN was impelled to do something about it – and we did. During the ‘Gwyl y Cestyll’ launch weekend, we called a ‘Sarhad 83’ rally in Caernarfon with a number of powerful speakers from a variety of movements. Following the rally, a black coffin representing the death of the Welsh nation was carried to the main castle gate. Right at the last moment, COFIWN’s Press Officer, Siân Ifan, announced over the loudspeaker that COFIWN intended to have a ‘sit down’ in the castle and for everyone to rush in with the coffin.

It was some time before the officials realized what we were up to and many of the COFIWN members and supporters had got in before the main gate was locked – locking tourists inside as well as protesters. The remaining 500 protesters sat around the main gate for the afternoon and delivered speeches. The attack on the castle made the main English TV news that Saturday night much to our suprize!

We had made our point and continued to protest outside Anglo Norman castles throughout 1983.

Patriots are still annually called upon to set up on 11 Rhagfyr Annually ‘1282 Remembrance Gardens’ close to the gateways of the Anglo – Norman Castles in Cymru to remind that such castles were built to conquer Cymru, not least of course that monument to conquest, Castell Caernarfon which in 1911 and 1969 was venue of Investitures of English ''Princes of Wales.
Caernarfon Castle with view of the platform from which the English ''Princes of Wales'' are presented to the
people. Picture shows a statue of Lloyd George who of course invented the idea of an actual Investiture taking place in Wales in 1911. The ground upon which this statue stands, I believe was donated to the English Crown. See two plaques on wall close by, which if I remember correctly state this to be a truth. Pre - 1911, it was intended to place a statue of Owain Glyndwr here but that was not to be.

However, Investitures aside, another one of course is 'on line' at some future date but I doubt if Cadw will be so insensitive again and organise another 'Festival of Castles. Indeed in 2004 when Embassy Glyndwr with Gwynedd Patriots were organising commemoration of Owain Glyndwr rising up his 'Golden Dragon' War banner atop Twt Hill on 2 Tachwedd 1401, the plan was to march from Twt Hill to 'Cofeb 1282' and on to the gates of Caernarfon Castle. We were taken aback when Cadw contacted local organisers and invited them to continue into the Castle to fly 'Baner Glyndwr' from the battlements, at same time Cadw agreed to fly 'Baner Glyndwr' on 16 Medi 'Dydd Glyndwr' at Castell Caernarfon. Following on this Cadw was contacted by Embassy Glyndwr and agreement was reached to fly 'Baneri Glyndwr' on this day at all ''Cadw Castles'' with a flag pole. How good can it get? We shall see, as in 2008 we mark the 725th anniversary of the ending of the war of 1282 - 83 and perhaps appropriate this time around for Cadw to organise the presenting of a "native version" of the years of conquest 1282 - 83 - 84. In this connection I inform Patriots of recent commemorations in America of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 1806, it is interesting to note that organisers approached this historic event as a ‘Commemoration’ and not a ‘Festival’ (see discussions on this, on the web). Further, the commemoration was a dual one with "European America" organising their commemoration whilst ‘First Nation Peoples’ organised their own commemoration with their views on this historic event clearly presented. Sian Ifan of Embassy Glyndwr is proposing to Cadw that to mark the 725th anniversary of 1283, they and other bodies organise with Welsh Communities and Schools etc, that in 2008 the truth of 1282 – 3 – 4 conquest of Cymru is publically presented in a number of interesting ways in both the communities and Castles on Wales. Contact Sian Ifans at Embassy Glyndwr for further information regards this ‘Ysbryd Cofiwn’ Initiative, we also suggest you go search web for the ‘Lewis and Clark Expedition Commemoration 1806’ for a number of excellent ideas and some major initiatives.

Returning to 'Gwyl y Cestyll'83', I to conclude with a collection of news cuttings from that period of a Cofiwn led struggle against yet another insult to the Welsh Nation and People, though I fear far too many then, now and possibly in the future would welcome such insults particularly if they were to come via the foisting upon us again of yet another English Man as 'Prince William of Wales' but that's another matter I will deal with else where.
See Cuttings Copies below:

Summery: This is only a small part of our cuttings collection regards the campaign against 'Gwyl y Cestyll'83, today 'Media Cymru/Wales' would censor such 'Cofiwn Style' nationalist events and activities, this as is so evident in their ''non - reportage'' and ''Stalinisation'' of Embassy Glyndwr particularly by the Western Mail and BBC Wales also since 2004 by 'Y Cymro'. This is easly proved by reference to cuttings collection comparisons. There is no doubt ''Media Wales'' is in pocket of the ''Assembly of Appeasement'' with English Imperialism whilst ''Media Cymru'' has unfortunatly ''accepted'' the ''SAXON SHILLING'' aka 'Grants and other Subsidies'. Trust me, you better believe it?. I would also make contemporary observation and comment, that ''Welsh Nationalism'' has declined so much it is very doubtfull if such a 'Cofiwn Campaign' as mounted against the 'Festival of Castles' could rally as many patriots today as in the period 1982 - 1983. Whose fault is that? is it because the ''times have changed'' or lack of solid deirmined ''Radical Nationalist'' Leadership, Movement and Struggle? Whatever? it will be interesting to see if 3000 patriots will march around Builth Wells to mark in 2007, the 725th Anniversary of the assassination of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd as was the case in 1982 Cofiwn great commemoration gathering. (Details of 2007 commemoration will be posted in this blog in due course.)
NB: Photo Pics are G.ap Gruffydd (C) Cofiwn Archive.