Thursday, 22 January 2015

Chris Bryant now calls Owain's Parliament a myth.


It seems  Rhondda Labour MP Chris Bryant, has managed two silly things this week. Fresh from the  attacks on James Blunt where he singles out two entertainers for criticism  He now appears to come up with the idea that he's an expert on welsh History and think he can dismiss a major part of welsh history in a few dismissive words
On his BBC Blog David Cornock  write 
 As part of the BBC's "Democracy Day" I appeared alongside Mr Bryant on a two-hour programme looking at democracy within and beyond the UK.
My role was to summarise developments in Welsh governance through the ages. I mentioned Owain Glyndwr in passing.
Chris Bryant took the earliest opportunity to correct me: "David Cornock said that Owain Glyndwr held a parliament. He didn't. That is complete myth.
"The only person who ever referred to it anywhere near contemporaneously was Geoffrey of Monmouth and he said he pretended to hold a parliament. Actually, if he gathered anybody he gathered a few barons."
Compared to James Blunt, I got off lightly, but then I did go to a comprehensive schoolThe Geoffrey of Monmouth reference may though have come as a surprise to some people, not least because Geoffrey of Monmouth lived three centuries before Glyndwr's day.

The Geoffrey of Monmouth reference may though have come as a surprise to some people, not least because Geoffrey of Monmouth lived three centuries before Glyndwr's day.
Chris Bryant tweet
A contrite Mr Bryant later realised he had got things wrong and gracefully corrected his own mistake on twitter.
"An apology. I corrected @davidcornock but I was wrong. It wasn't Geoffrey of Monmouth but Adam of Usk who wrote about Owain Glyndwr."
Actuaiily Mr Bryant may have had a point Owain Glyndwr's Parliament may have been more symbolic than the start of welsh Democracy but the same could be said of English Medieval parliaments up to the death of Elizabeth 1st

I had the privilege  at Aberystwyth of studying as part of my History degree under the late (and much missed) R.R. Davies one of Wales's no the World's foremost Medieval  Historians. and I would recommend Mr Bryant to read R.R.R Davies' The revolt of Owain Glyndwr".

We are all often guilty of  trying to impose modern Ideas on past events and we are going to see this with the Magna Carta celebrations .

We will see what was  essentially a English treaty (although it recognised Llewellyn the Great) where e Barons under the guise of Liberty tried to protect their feudal rights are treated as  a beacon  of Democracy .

This a myth as maybe Owain's Parliament  (using our 21st century values ) was but Bryant attempt to belittle it seems to be largely based on a idea to prevent a Welsh National Hero being given prominence  so we can concentrate on the "Birth of  UK democracy" .

After all the danger of learning Welsh History might strengthen Welsh Nationalism and we can't have that can we? 

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