music and opinion from Wales' wandering poet.
Penrhys, Rhondda Page
Jeremy Corbyn tweets @jeremycorbyn
Estate regeneration must put local people first.
In London @SadiqKhan is doing just that by using Labour policies to protect social housing and give residents a real say - before any development takes place. Sadiq Khan to cut cash for housing schemes opposed by residents...
Regeneration that demolishes social housing will need residents’ votes to win funding...
(Source - theguardian.com)
TOGETHER - STRONGER !
Penrhys was definitely improving - our youngsters were looking to help, as older residents pitched in, and Penrhys Voice drew every group closer, to work together for the common good.
The problem has nearly always been based on "lack of money or lack of funds", but there are some so-called 'sink estates' leading the way - and Penrhys could be one of them.
Another estate once seen as almost hopeless is Marsh Farm, which now has a truly amazing story to tell of socialism and community work in action "on the ground". You can check out their brilliant story here:
Which Way For Penrhys? Just outside the Labour Party Conference Welsh Streets show Penrhys the bad way.
Welsh Street was promised top down plans for years, and the streets where the Beatle Ringo Starr was born, are now derelict.
Yet 4 Streets, a similar area, designed and managed by the community, is a prize-winning success.
Local communities need to be engaged and included in proposals to develop their communities. As shown by Welsh Streets and Granby 4 Streets, this is where the best plans are created and implemented.
Ex- Labour leaders Jeremy Corbyn & John McDonnell, were beginning to lay out similar plans for developing the UK’s infrastructure, via a National Infrastructure bank, and a network of Regional Banks to kick- start redevelopment, with £500bn, but the unimaginative Blairites have won, for now, & put a non-entity in their place.
That leaves only local plans possible!
It's important that we all learn from successes at Granby 4 Streets and elsewhere, that local communities are not merely to be consulted on fait accompli plans -- but to be put at the heart of developing plans in the first place.
Coalitions of cooperatives, community agencies and residents can and should be, the foundation of building communities --- from the bottom up.
The Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust’s 10 Houses Project not only leaves five homes with an affordable rent and five homes under shared ownership, but it also offers training schemes for local 16-to-24-year-olds who want to get into construction.
PENRHYS - THE BURIED TREASURE OF WALES
Penrhys is the most magical mystical place you will ever find, and it's almost been forgotten!
The highest village in Wales, this is the land named in remembrance of our Prince Rhys - probably the most cultured and wise Prince to rule southern Wales - who kept invaders from destroying Wales & its unique culture by using his wisdom - & who died fighting to keep his kingdom safe, at a time when he was very old.
Penrhys is one of the top 100 world Shrines, and the people of Wales poured here to refresh their spirits: until the Norman French & later, those who feared Welsh patriotism, neglected and reduced it --- in a diminution barely paralleled in any land's history.
Penrhys was the site of a monastery which fed the economy of south East Wales, and its Shrine drew pilgrims from all over West Europe, as its healing powers and spring, grew in fame and prestige.
It is no exaggeration to say that for hundreds of years, Penrhys Shrine was the "Lourdes" of Western Europe.
A soul prayer to the pure from Penrhys, where dreams come true ! with beautiful music by Efran Kaye
NEWS FROM THE DIOCESES. 20th May 1893
Mr. Hobson Matthews, in an interesting address, said the well was on the site of the once famous monastery of Penrhys, which in Catholic times, was the foremost shrine of the Blessed Virgin in Wales, where was preserved a renowned image of Saint Mary, with her Divine Child in her arms.
The few memorials that still exist of the ancient monastery of Pen Rhys ab Tewdwr are situated on the southern spur of a chain of hills known as Cefn Twyn, Rhondda, which separates the two valleys of the Rhondda.
Its remote situation has caused it to be overlooked by tourists, and even by historians and antiquaries, so that hardly any mention of it was to be found in books. At the middle of this century, some portions of Penrhys monastery existed, though incorporated with other modern erections and difficult to identify.
The present farmhouse of Penrhys had been erected on the site of the ancient monastery, the materials of which, appear to have been largely employed in its construction. Particularly the barn, that stands in a field near the house, and which is still called "V Fynwent " (the churchyard), was formed, to a considerable extent, out of portions of the ancient monastic buildings, one of the windows, and parts of the old walls of which, were, at that period, very discernible.
By 1875, however, the few remains had been ruthlessly swept away, in repairing the farm buildings. The only object of interest that still remained was the holy well. This still stood uninjured, & continued to attract numerous believers in the healing properties of its miraculous waters, which were said to have performed many remarkable cures in cases of rheumatism, king's evil, & other ailments.
It was simply a spring of pure water issuing copiously out of the grey sandstone of the coal measures, known to geologists as the Pennant rock --- and it did not appear to contain any chemical property that would be likely to account for its possession of any healing virtue.
The spring, Mr. Matthews pointed out, was entered by stone steps, and arched over; and at the back, above the spring, was a niche, in which it was probable that there stood, originally, an image of Our Lady of Penrhys.
Even such great authorities as Dugdale and Tanner omit all reference to this monastery, and there remain only a few allusions in the writings of medieval Welsh bards.
Traditional accounts existing in Glamorgan show that it was founded to commemorate the death, near this place, of the unfortunate Rhys ab Tewdwr.
Over his grave was erected a large tumulus, near the monastery, which was called Bryn y Beddau: the "hill of graves." Robert Consul, Earl of Gloucester, grandson of Prince Rhys, and an illegitimate son of King Henry I., was believed to have founded the monastic house for the repose of the soul of his grandfather, Rhys ab Tewdwr.
This would be some time about the year 1133. The monastery was said to have been largely endowed with lands in the Rhondda Valleys, and it appeared that it was a house of Franciscans. [Ed. since largely disproven]
If this were so, it would account for the fact that Owen Glyndwr honoured and protected Penrhys.... Glyndwr is said to have presided here at an eisteddfod, which Iolo Morganwg said was held "Yn Mynachlog Pen Rhys yn Nglyn Rhondda."
An ancient bardic composition refers to Penrhys, thus: "I will go to Penrhys in my smock, for fear of the day of trembling; at my side my pilgrim's scrip, and in my hand, a taper a fathom long." It will be remembered that it was Latimer who said that the images of Our Lady of Walsingham and of Ipswich "with their two sisters of Doncaster and Penrhys would make a jolly muster in Sm:thfield."
When Penrhys is electronically surveyed, and all the ancient secrets delineated, who knows what else might be found? Perhaps, the old monastery tunnels, or other treasures !
Only a modern stone statue and the little church now remain, and - unlike Walsingham - which was destroyed at the same time as Penrhys, and now attracts great wealth and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims & tourists each year in an ecumenical triumph of the Spirit;- Penrhys still stands on an unrealised tourism and wealth-generating goldmine unparalleled in Wales !
But perhaps the long wait is over:
Penrhys Partnership did excel themselves - so much was done - a Flying Start Scheme, youth apprenticeships, old age provision, plus so many other improvements it's difficult to count them, never mind remember each one; benches, with picnic tables, courses, shows... the list is endless!
Soon we'll be a much needed source of pride to the whole Rhondda & Wales...
So many good people now, are working hard for Penrhys ... and the future it deserves!
There is a new movement based on Faith, Strength and Unity...
Soon - very soon now - a new organisation to bring Hope and wealth to Penrhys' working class people: - brothers & sisters all - will rise from the ashes.
Please watch this space - and spread the news !!!
THE PROTECTION OF PRINCES
Two warrior Princes were buried on Penrhys, in a sitting position, to stare in defence of the Rhondda - one looked over the 'Fawr, and the other gazed to the East at the 'Fach.
Both were stolen by an archaeological expedition and removed to London in the early 20th Century.
The systematic stripping of the Rhondda's heritage has been a recurring theme in its long song......
Yet the people here still have its Spirit.
Long live the fire and Spirit of Penrhys!
THE WHITE HOUSE SPARROW OF PENRHYS (LIVES IN PEACE)
proves the beauty of Nature, as "he" has given birth to several babies !
Many thanks to Ivor Williams for supplying all the original video.
A mighty man !!!
FROM FORESTRY TO...?
the Forestry Commission is open to public access planning, and would welcome an orchard, or a "Green Gym" for example, started by locals.
The future is made by...?
The Agroforestry and forest garden network continues to grow; more listings are being added all the time. If you need a reminder of how to access the list, see below.
This is an excellent way to get extra help to overcome problems or reinvigorate a project.
See https://www.agroforestry.co.uk/ product-category/courses/ for more information.
Regards Martin Crawford
Agroforestry Research Trust, 46 Hunters Moon, Dartington, Totnes, TQ9 6JT UK
Wasn't it beautiful to see the 3rd episode of 'The Story Of Wales' explain HOW important Penrhys was when its Shrine was truly open?
As the Consciousness and Unity of Penrhys grows, so the relative power of selfishness or cliques and gang-thinking will continue to shrink: and Penrhys will once more be able to stretch out its beautiful healing arms to the world again.
Perhaps the new Archbishop can break the log-jam (Everyone in the Rhondda knows that if the leaders of Cardiff Diocese want to, they can resurrect the Shrine of Mary & revitalise the Rhondda & Wales)