Saturday, 25 February 2012

Land of my Fathers

Moving away from my operation and cancer for this post I have been inspired by the Wales V England Rugby match being played right now. My mind has been focusing on my country of Wales.

I am from North Wales, a town called Wrecsam which is a border town. I have a lineage going back hundreds and hundreds of years in fact one of my ancestors was the first recorded vicar of Wrexham Parish Church and Gresford Parish Church where I was married in 1994.

On my maternal side my family can be traced back to the time of the industrial revolution and many of my ancestors worked down pit regardless of age or gender.

I am proud of my heritage and proud of my history and the colourful and interesting family that I am lucky to have been born into.

I have many interesting discussions with my mam about our history and family and its my intention to record these discussions so that I can keep many of these stories which will die with her. Its so good to have living history of decades of growth.

It has always perplexed me from a very young age as to why in school we were always taught English history and not Welsh. All of my knowledge of Welsh history has come down via word of mouth from relatives or my own research. I firmly believe that this is wrong, Welsh history should be on the curriculum of all welsh schools as is the language.

I should have gone to a Welsh school when I was little but my older brother was discriminated against by our own. He was held back a year because he came from a "mixed" background, meaning my mam spoke welsh but my dad didn't. My parents withdrew him from the school because in their view we would be subjected to racism soon enough but not at the age of 4 and not by our own people.

My mams first language is welsh. She could read and write in welsh before she could speak a word of English. Despite this, when she was in school she was forbidden to speak her native tongue and if caught doing so was punished and made to wear a badge saying "Welsh Not" for the rest of the day.

I used to speak welsh and write it too but I have lost the ability in recent years with the death of welsh speaking relatives. When I was in school I used to write and write and write then my mam would go through my work and make any necessary corrections. You can imagine how down trodden I was made to feel when my work came back covered in red ink. I couldn't understand it! Until I found out that the curriculum was based on the language of South Wales.

Looking back at welsh history you can see clearly that we were a tribal nation ruled by Princes this has led to the language changing from region to region. Interestingly the only place in Wales which uses "maen odi" for its snowing is Rhos where my mam is from, the term is Nordic......

1 comment:

  1. This is so interesting Sara. I can't believe that you own country was so prejudice against the spoken language.
    My maiden name is Williams and my dad's family originated from Wales many generations ago. I have no information on this but a friend is working on it for me.
    I'm so drawn to Welsh words and the way they are spoken. There must still be some latent Welsh DNA inside of me.
    I even have a goat that speaks to me with Welsh words( or maybe it's "Nordic".)for the purpose of stories that I write.
    Thanks for the interesting post.
    Take care.


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