The National Eisteddfod for 1876 at Wrexham

Y Cymmrodor (The Welshman) Vol 1. Pg42. Published 1877.

The Chair was draped with a black cloth. The winning poet, Taliesin of Eifion, Thomas Jones, died the night his poem was sent to Wrexham

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The long-anticipated Eisteddfod has passed into the domain of history, and, in fulfilment of our promise, we record some of its more prominent features and work. The pavilion, erected at a cost of some eight hundred pounds, enfolded beneath its canvas an audience of at least eight thousand people. To enhance its acoustic properties an artistically formed sounding-board had been erected over the platform. With its aid the voice of the speaker could be thrown into the farthest corners of the edifice. Mottoes, such as usually grace the pavilion of the Eisteddfod, floated above and around. And when the large area was filled, as on the chair-day under the presidency of Sir “W. W. Wynn, it formed a scene of almost overwhelming grandeur.

Something, it was felt, was wanting in the proportions of the structure. It was not so graceful as that of the previous year at Pwllheli. It lacked the elliptic arching that gave so distinctive a character to the Carnarvonshire pavilion; but its vastness and adaptation to its intended purpose amply compensated for its want of structural beauty.

Estyn, Mynyddog, and Llew Llwyfo conducted the proceedings. The principal instrumentalists were Sir Julius Benedict, Mr. Brinley Richards, and Mr. John Thomas. Among the higher vocalists were Mesdames Edith Wynne, Patey, Kate Wynne Matheson, Misses Mary Davies, Lizzie Evans, Harries, Mary Jane Williams, Marian Williams, Maggie Jones Williams, Messrs. Edward Lloyd, Eos Morlais, Sauvage, Lewis Thomas, etc. ; the conductor being Mr. Mills of Llanidloes.

Where all were excellent, it seems invidious to point out particular persons. Madame Edith Wynne, however, seemed to excel herself, especially in her duets with the charming Madame Patey. Miss Mary Davies’s winsome appearance and sweet vocalisation, Miss Lizzie Evans’s rich voice, Miss Mary Jane Williams’s sweet, modest demeanour and excellent singing, and Miss Marian Williams’s execution, deserve all praise. Had we space we would lavish a panegyric on that excellent rising vocalist, Mr. James Sauvage. But Messrs. Lewis Thomas, Edward Lloyd, and Eos Morlais need no praise of ours.

Neither will we attempt to speak of the three great instrumentalists. It will be enough to say that they fully sustained their high reputation. We must, however, add that Mr. Mill, as conductor, showed great talent and power. The Gorsedd opened its proceedings on the morning of Tuesday, the 22nd of August, under the presidency of the Rev. T. Lloyd (Estyn), as Chief Druid, who delivered the opening address, and was succeeded by Mr. Brereton of Mold (Andreas o Fon), who moved the following resolution in behalf of the University College of Wales, viz. :

“That in the opinion of the Welsh people in National Gorsedd assembled, the time has arrived for the recognition of the claims of higher or university education in Wales, by a Government grant to the National University College of Aberystwyth, and that a petition to that effect be presented to the Premier.”

Mr. Brereton added:

Fellow countrymen – I appear before you this day as the exponent of an idea which finds an echo in every heart. We are, I think, pretty well agreed as to the want of a national university for Wales. And that it is expedient, without loss of time, to meet that want is an idea which has, long ago, commended itself to the great majority of my compatriots. The only difference of opinion which has occurred in dealing with the question has been as to the manner in which that want should be met. Two proposals have been submitted for public approval – one of which is a scheme for creating a university by

Source: Y Cymmrodor (The Welshman) Vol 1. Pg42. Published 1877.