A long way from Wales

Primrose Hill is south of Hampstead village and southeast of Swiss Cottage. It is a delightful place to take exercise and has been home to several notable figures. From its summit at 210 feet above sea-level, it is possible to enjoy a superb panorama of London when weather permits. At its summit, a low concrete construction is inscribed with some words by the poet William Blake (1757-1827).

In the centre of the circular concrete platform at the summit of the hill, there is a round commemorative metal plaque surrounded with words in the Welsh language. It was placed to remember Iolo Morganwg (1747-1826), who was born in Wales as ‘Edward Williams’. He was a poet and antiquarian, who both wrote and collected poetry in the Welsh language. He had a great interest in preserving the literary and cultural heritage of his native land. His integrity as a scholar was somewhat undermined by the fact that he had forged several manuscripts that he claimed were of mediaeval origin. Nevertheless, he was involved in the early revival of Druidism. In 1792, he founded the ‘Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain’ (Gorsedd of Bards of the Island of Britain). The Gorsedd, which still meets today, is a society of poets, writers, musicians, artists, and other individuals, who have made  notable contributions to the Welsh nation, language and culture. Every year, the Gorsedd assembles at a festival of Welsh culture, now known as the Eisteddfod. According to the website of the Royal Parks, Primrose Hill was the site of the first ever Gorsedd, which was held on midsummer’s day, 21 June, 1792, a long way from Wales.

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