100 Welsh Heroes

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by john davies, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. john davies

    john davies Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 18, 2003
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    There's a current online poll to find "100 Welsh Heroes" at website by that name. You can nominate in 5 categories; leaders, thinkers, performers, creative, and groundbreakers.

    Here is a list of some possibles (many of whom will of course be more familiar in Wales and Britain than abroad). But your votes are welcome! I included Frank Lloyd Wright (rather than other Welsh Americans) as he was of dual Welsh parentage and proud of it.

    -David Lloyd George
    -Aneurin Bevan
    -Henry VII (victor at Bosworth, creator of peace and prosperity)
    -Alfred Wallace (co-originator of the theory of evolution by natural selection)
    -Owain Glyndwr
    -King Arthur
    -Llywelyn ab Iorwerth ("the great")
    -Roald Dahl
    -Dylan Thomas
    -Bertrand Russell
    -Gareth Edwards (regularly voted greatest ever Rugby player)
    -Henry V (of Monmouth)
    -Hywel Dda (enlightened 10th century law-maker)
    -Tom Jones
    -Dafydd ap Gwilym (great medieval poet)
    -T.E.Lawrence ("of Arabia")
    -Anthony Hopkins
    -Jimmy Wilde (great flyweight boxer, arguably the best pound for pound)
    -Richard Burton
    -John Charles (Soccer's gentle giant)
    -Princess Diana (by adoption)
    -Frank Lloyd Wright (Welsh parentage)
    -Robert Owen (pioneering co-operative socialist)
    -Barry John (Rugby's "King")
    -Gwen John (artist)
    -Roy Jenkins
    -Richard Price (18th century humanist writer, "apostle of liberty")
    -David Hughes (first radio transmission, inventor of microphone, teleprinter)
    -Henry Morgan (pirate)
    -Neil Kinnock
    -Shirley Bassey
    -St Patrick (from Wales!)
    -St David
    -Gwynfor Evans (Plaid Cymru, language campaigner)
    -Henry Stanley (explorer)
    -Michael Heseltine
    -Tanni Grey-Thompson (disabled athlete)
    -Bishop William Morgan (bible translator, language preserver)
    -James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers)
    -Rhodri Mawr (9th century unifying ruler)
    -Bryn Terfel (opera singer)
    -Catherine Zeta Jones
    -Michael Howard
    -Tommy Cooper (comedian)
    -Colin Jackson (athlete)
    -Laura Ashley
    -John Prescott
    -Billy Meredith (greatest pre-WW2 British Soccer player)
    -Cerys Matthews
    -Kate Roberts (novelist in Welsh)
    -John Cale (innovative musician)
    -Peter Greenaway (film director)
    -Michael Jones (pioneered Welsh Patagonian settlement)
    -Ryan Giggs
    -Richard Wilson (landscape artist, influence on Turner and Constable)
    -Brian Josephson (Nobel-winning scientist)
    -Geoffrey Howe
    -Lynn Davies (long-jumper)
    -Ian Rush
    -Gwenllian ferch Gruffudd ap Cynan (warrior princess, possible author of Mabinogi)
    -Ian Woosnam
    -Kyffin Williams (artist)
    -Robert Recorde (mathematician, = sign)
    -Charles Rolls (Rolls-Royce)
    -Mark Hughes
    -Dawn French
    -Mary Quant
    -Sarah Siddons (famous 18th century actress)
    -William Grove (19th century Scientist; first fuel cell)
    -Archbishop Rowan Williams
    -Iolo Morgannwg
    -Carol Vorderman
    -Betsi Cadwaladr (Crimean nurse who did more practical good than Florence Nightingale)
    -Stephen Jones (Geneticist)
    -Huw Edwards
    -Jemima Nicholas (heroine who captured French troops invading Fishguard in 1797)
    -Llywelyn ap Gruffudd ("the last")
    -Dr William Price (radical 19th century Republican and feminist free-thinker, advocate of prevention not cure)
    -Karl Jenkins (composer)
    -John Humphrys
    -Ray Reardon
    -Saunders Lewis, (nationalist, playwright, poet)
    -Evan Williams (scientist, discovered Meson particle)
    -George Herbert (17th century poet)
    -Donald Davies (internet pioneer)
    -John Dee (Elizabethan tutor, astronomer, mathematician, astronomer, spy)
    -Charlotte Church
    -David Jones (poet, artist)
    -Rhodri Morgan
    -Terry Jones (Monty Python)
    -Cliff Morgan
    -Thomas Jones (original 18th century Radnorshire artist)
    -Ron Davies
    -Joe Calzaghe
    -Augustus John
    -David Davies (19th century magnate)
    -William Williams (hymn writer)
    -John Nash (architect)
    -John Frost
    -Bart Roberts (pirate)
    -Tommy Farr
    -Ken Follett
    -Paolo Radmilovic (4 Olympic gold medals)
    -Waldo Williams (Welsh language poet)
    -Prince Madoc (reputed to have reached America long before Columbus)
    -Jean Rhys
    -Billy Boston (Rugby league great)
    -Owain Lawgoch (medieval warrior in France)
    -Terry Matthews (business billionaire)
    -Dick Francis (jockey, author)
    -Stanley Baker
    -Richard Meade (equestrian Olympic gold medallist)
    -Shakin Stevens
    -Ivor Novello
    -Mark Williams (Snooker)
    -Harry Secombe
    -Richard Deacon (sculptor)
    -Michael Ball
    -Jim Driscoll (boxer)
    -Ioan Gruffudd
    -Isaac Roberts (astro-photometry)
    -Thomas Picton (2nd in command at Waterloo)
    -Ernest Jones (father of British psycho-analysis)
    -Jonathon Davies
    -Aled Jones
    -Nicole Cooke (world champion cyclist)
    -Clough Williams-Ellis (Portmeirion architect)
    -Dafydd Wigley
    -Ann Griffiths (young hymn writer)
    -Owain Gwynedd
    -Super Furry Animals
    -Christian Bale
    -Beau Nash
    -Rhys Ifans
    -Phil Bennett
    -Richard Amerik (America was named after him)
    -Bill Frost (1st powered flight?)
    -Dafydd Iwan
    -Andrew Vicari (Britain's highest paid artist)

    Possibly Martin Amis (birthplace not clear).
  2. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

    Jul 14, 2002
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    Very interesting list, lots of names I don't know, but many that I would not have associated with Wales

    Now, who named New South Wales? Should be worth a mention.

    Quibble - I do seem to remember an explorer named Amerigo de Vespucci, whose name was purportedly the source of the name for the new continents.
  3. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

    Feb 22, 2001
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    I want to nominate the people in that pub in which a boy went one day for lunch and became carried away.

    When this boy and his family went on a day trip to Wales they stopped in a pub for lunch. This boy had a natural affinity for languages but when they went into this pub he was mesmerized by what he found. Here were people who looked like he did, who behaved like he did, yet were speaking a language that bore NO resemblance at all to his own. He was dumbfounded that right next to where he lived were these people who belonged to a culture that was nothing like the "Pax Britannia" English culture that dominated the island.

    In those days Welsh language and culture were suppressed and considered backward so it was not taught in schools and there were no news publications in Welsh. The realization that a mysterious, unknown people living so close spurred this boy to learn Welsh and study the ancient cultures that inhabited Britain before the English made it appear that there were no other peoples on the island.

    That boy grew-up to become an Oxford don and chairman of the philology department. He came to speak eight languages and did the definitive translation, still used today, of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, one of the great myths of Europe.

    He also invented a few languages of his own, just for fun, and used Welsh as a basis for the most developed and familiar of them.

    That language is Sindarin.

    And it is spoken by the elves of Middle Earth.

    And that boy, so richly inspired by the beautiful, mysterious, and melodious language of Wales, was J.R.R. Tolkien.


    Diolch Yn Fawr, Cymru!
  4. john davies

    john davies Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 18, 2003
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    Thanks for that, Jason; brilliant. I knew there was a certain acknowledged Welsh influence on some of the names, language, atmosphere of LOTR, but not the background. Ancient Welsh culture is still sadly neglected in Britain. The Arthurian legends were Welsh originally of course, but over the years the English placed the new and older Arthurian tales to the West of England. Few people are aware that Welsh was once the language of present-day England, and also Southern Scotland. Many in Wales consider the medieval Dafydd ap Gwilym our greatest ever poet, but he's virtually unknown elsewhere.

    John; yeah, the Amerik origin isn't definite but i understand there's an increasing tendency to favour him over Amerigo. I'd not heard of him till recently, so i really can't say, but he's had votes in the poll so i've included him in the list.

    Another legend with possible historical truth behind it is of Native American tribes with links to the ancient Welsh explorer Madoc, who's supposed to have reached America long before Columbus. Some of the present tribe came over to Anglesey a few years back, comparing languages, as their legend has them with descendants from a white settler, and apparently the Spanish after Columbus called (and marked on old maps) one area off the American coast near the tribal homeland the "Welsh sea". Of course it could all be nonsense, but it makes for interesting speculation.

    One undeniable Welsh settlement was in Patagonia. Some of the current descendants are keeping the language alive there and do cultural exchanges in Wales. Strange having gauchos called Jones and Evans. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid apparently came across them, may have lived in their area.
  5. john davies

    john davies Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 18, 2003
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    There are 2 on my list who i think have been most unfairly neglected.

    Alfred Russel Wallace. His letter to Darwin saying he was going to publish a new theory of evolution by natural selection prompted the much older, already established Darwin, who'd been working independently on the theory for years but was reluctant to take the plunge, to have a joint presentation. Wallace wrote on a much wider variety of subjects, was a fine travel writer, geo-zoologist, environmental conservationist, a much more politically progressive and socially concerned thinker than Darwin, advocating the redistrubution of land and wealth, women's rights etc.

    Jimmy Wilde. "The ghost with the hammer in his hand", world flyweight champ 1916-23, fought much bigger men at a time of fewer weight divisions and only one world champ in each. Surely among the handful of greatest international boxers, but now almost forgotten. He was attacked by a thug with a weapon in his 70's and lost his memory of his achievements. I hope he'll make the 100 at least and get proper recognition.

    Do look these 2 up!
  6. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

    Feb 22, 2001
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  7. john davies

    john davies Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 18, 2003
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    I'm heartened by your attitude and interest, Jason. Very helpful, powerful and positive comment. I'm intending to go over to Brittany in the New Year. I was reading in The Cambrian magazine not long ago about a Welsh guy's view of cultural protests (which he joined) there; sounds like they are indeed having a very hard time of it from the French govt.

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