Wednesday, 9 June 2010

List Members

By Daniel Pryce Lawrence

A while ago, well about a year ago, after looking on the 100 Welsh Heroes website I decided to write a list of who I thought were the greatest 10 Welshmen and women of all time. It ended up being the 15 greatest (it was tough to narrow down), and unfortunately no women are featured in it, that is mainly due to fact that there is hardly any women on the list of the top 100, which I based my list on. I was going to do a new list in which the names Kate Roberts, Margaret Haig Thomas and Tanni Gery Thompson may have featured, but I thought for now I would stick with my earlier list and would ask for your opinions on that.

The reason I did the list was because I wanted to pick those great Welsh men and women who I thought had made the biggest contribution to Wales and the World. Personally, although I much admire the work of our sports stars, actors, musicians and singers I have missed them out of my list. The Tom Jones', Catherine Zeta Jones' and many other singers and actors for which Wales is famous are well known, and some of them do a great job representing Wales around the World. But in my list I wanted the scientists, thinkers and nation builders to be recognised, as I have always thought they do not receive the acclaim they deserve.

They were all born in Wales except David Lloyd George (born in Manchester), and King Arthur (no-one knows where he was born). But both have strong connections to Wales and I think can be considered Welsh for the purposes of my list. You could argue that Alfred Russell Wallace and Bertrand Russell were not Welsh, but as they were both born here (Bertrand Russell also died here), spent many years in the country and were aware of their questionable nationality I think they could be considered Welsh. There are many more people often claimed as Welsh who have far more tenuous links to the country.

Another list that I think would make interesting reading would be a list of those people of Welsh decent who have gone on to have a major impact on the World. The list would feature some of the greatest American presidents, such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Abraham Lincoln, not to mention those with less illustrious careers such as Murray Humphrey's and Jesse James. But that list would prove even more tricky and is for another day.

I've always been a fan of these sort of lists, and I realise people will all have their own ideas about who our greatest heroes are. They are a bit of fun, but I also think they may (especially when voted on by the public) tell us something about what the people of Wales think is most important to them. After all, it is the standards set by our greatest heroes by which we all measure ourselves, and by which the world measures us.

So here they are, what do you think?

My Welsh Heroes:

1. Owain Glyndwr

2. David Lloyd George

3. Aneurin Bevan

4. Robert Owen

5. Gwynfor Evans

6. Bertrand Russell

7. Bishop William Morgan

8. Alfred Russell Wallace

9. Hwyel Dda

10. Llywelyn ab Iorwerth

11. Dr Richard Price

12. King Arthur

13. Gerald of Wales

14. Raymond Williams

15. Iolo Morganwg

Daniel Pryce Lawrence
South Wales East Representative


Anonymous said...

nobody knows who these people are up with croatia and macedonia la vive de la macedonia

glynbeddau said...

There are plenty of Women you could have included.
Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd(Warrior Princess)
Nest ferch Rhys (Welsh Beauty)
Annie Powell (First Communist Mayor in the UK)
For starters any one of these could replace some of your choices

Luke James said...

Tom Jones is a horrible union jack waving, god save the Queen singing sellout. He can't even sing our anthem.

And obviously I would have to have Gwynfor at number 2.

Cymru X said...

Anonymous - If you dont know who some of the people are in the list you have led a very sheltered life.

Glynbeddau - I totally agree with you. Gwenllian for example is someone I would definately consider in a revised list. I was in the Cydweli area the other day, and it was interesting to find out more about her life and impact.

Luke - Your right as well, one of the reasons I was annoyed with the list when I first read it was that you get people like Tom Jones really high up on the list when I really didnt think they deserved it. The fact that they missed out women like those mentioned above and that performers who havent done anything for Wales get placed so high up the list seemed to me a bit crazy! Seems like we have our priorities in the wrong place.

Emyr said...

Glynbeddau - Annie Powell, although a Welsh speaker herself, tried to strongly discourage my grandfather (a communist activist in Penygraig, Rhondda) from sending my mother to a Welsh medium school, saying that it would not do her any good to learn any other language than English. It is thanks to people like her that the language is in the state it is today.

The whole point of this blog was to get people to think about who they regarded as important, and Dan definitely got the ball rolling. So, here are my top 10.

1. Llywelyn ein Llyw Olaf
2. Owain Glyndwr
3. Gwynfor Evans
4. Waldo Williams (Pacifist socialist poet)
5. Syr Ifan Ab Owen Edwards (Founder of The Urdd)
6. Dewi Sant (St. David)
7. Gwenynen Gwent (Lady of Llanofer)
8. Dafydd Wigley
9. Grace Williams ( Composer)
10. Leanne Wood