Saturday, 12 June 2010

Beating the Bounds.

Today I’m of to nearby Llantrisant for the Beating of the bounds. This happens every 7 years to celebrate the granting of the Royal charter im 1346 I am a Freeman of Llantrisant which is passed down from father to sons or to the husbands of the daughters of Freemen (so not exactly equal). And in theory this grants me certain rights on Llantrisant common.

The Freemen are the guardians of 290 acres of common land  Apparently,Hugh le Despenserwas was granted a Royal Charter  in 1346. The long-held belief that it was granted due to the courage shown by the Llantrisant longbow men at Crecy is however untrue, since the battle took place five months later . Though some claim that those returning from the war were created Freemen..

Of course being a Republican and a Nationalist, part of me baulks at celebrating anything that relates to the crown of England. But the knowledge that I have links with the area that I’m from, going back over 650 years is too much to ignore.

However does this make me more of a Welshman? My mothers maiden name of Goronwy suggest that I have very deep roots but when it comes to my nationality I think my state of mind is of more importance.

Remember Nick Griffin’s remark “That there are no Black Welshmen”? It was answered by the comedian Russell Howard who showed a photograph of Colin and simply said "Colin Jackson pretty much Welsh pretty much Black".

Anybody who saw Colin carrying the Welsh Flag with pride after winning Gold in Stutgartt in 1993 could not deny this.

So today I will celebrate my ancestry in Wales, and in Llantrisant in particular, but knowing that there are many people who cannot trace theirs back very far (or at all) who are just as Welsh as I am.

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