Centenary Celebrations 2009

The activities of the Society’s centenary year began on 21 March with a lecture in Welsh given by Dr Dylan Foster Evans, entitled ‘Or Morfa Bychan i’r Morfa Mawr — llanw a thrai y cywydd yng Ngheredigion’ (‘From Morfa Bychan to Morfa Mawr — the ebb and flow of the cywydd in Ceredigion’). Following the Annual General Meeting on 18 April, at the Belle Vue Hotel, Aberystwyth, the Centenary Lecture was presented by our Chairman, Professor Geraint H. Jenkins, who gave an account of ‘Our Founding Fathers and Mothers: The Cardiganshire Antiquarians’. Among the invited dignitaries present were civic representatives of the county’s towns and of the County Council, and it was encouraging to see such a sizeable audience who had gathered to hear about the history of the Society and of those who had been responsible for its foundation and survival. The lecture was followed by a festive tea, sponsored by the Chairman of the County Council.

On 16 May a large group of members and friends of the Society visited Plas Abermeurig under the expert guidance of Richard Suggett. The owners, David and Pam Clarke, were kind enough to provide additional information on the history of the house, its previous owners and the identity of those who were depicted in the portraits on the walls of the house. It was on to Gwastad Gwrda next, another historic house, where the group received a very warm welcome from the current owners, Andrew and Ffion Davies. Richard Suggett traced the history of the building, whilst Ffion Davies supplied further details regarding her family’s connection with the house, along with the process of restoration. A small exhibition of photographs and articles, including photographs outlining the process of the restoration, had been arranged for the Society’s benefit. Before setting off for home, everyone returned to Plas Abermeurig to enjoy a delicious tea courtesy of the owners.

On 20 June the Centenary Excursion commemorated the event which marked the establishment of the Cardiganshire Antiquarians by setting out to Strata Florida Abbey almost one hundred years to the day that the Society was founded there on 23 June 1909. The excursion was led by expert speakers who discussed the site’s cultural, religous and architectural significance as well as aspects of its conservation. The Revd Dr David H. Williams traced the history of the Cistercians, while Professor Dafydd Johnston spoke of the literary and scholarly associations of the Abbey and its connection with Welsh poets.

After lunch at the Black Lion in Pontrhydfendigaid we returned to Strata Florida and a tour of the ruins, where Professor David Austin explained the archaeological work in progress both within the parameters of the Abbey itself and beyond and Kate Roberts outlined the conservation work being undertaken. Before leaving, a centenary photograph was taken as a souvenir of the occasion (see cover illustration).

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