Denbigh, 1828: the first royal eisteddfod

National Museums and Galleries of Wales

National Museums and Galleries of Wales

The 1824 eisteddfod in Denbigh was an exciting one, and the bigwigs flocked to it. But more exciting by far was the eisteddfod that followed in 1828, again in Denbigh. This was called, for the first time I believe, a National Eisteddfod.

Why, you may ask? In simple terms because the Duke of Sussex, brother of the King, George the Fourth, happened to be in the area and called by. (Incidentally, he was very interested in clocks.) Well he visited the eisteddfod in Denbigh in 1828, and the excitement was great, as you may imagine.

Another eminent figure at this eisteddfod was one of the prominent poets of the period, who was beginning to make a name for himself - another clergyman, Evan Evans, the Reverend Evan Evans, the famous Ieuan Glan Geirionnydd. He won the chair at that Eisteddfod, of course, receiving a very splendid medal for a poem on Belshazzar's Feast. This is an early example, if you like, in these eisteddfodau of the way the Bible would dominate the subjects set for the poets, year after year.

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