Welcome to the

Chelmsford & District Welsh Society


    Membership is open to anyone with Welsh origins or connections,          or to anyone with an appreciation of Welsh heritage and traditions.

     There are currently 90 members and you would be warmly welcomed to come and join us for one of our meetings.





featuring the


and the talented trio


to be held at Chelmsford Cathedral on Saturday, 8th June, 2019.

Tickets are £17.50 and are available from:

Arthur Williams on 01621 778711.

or, ordered via the website contact form

or, nearer the concert date, tickets will be available from



We need the help of all of our society members to sell as many tickets as they can, to help us to make this a successful concert.



It is with great sadness that we announce the death

of John Styles, devoted husband of Cynthia.

We offer our sincere condolences to Cynthia and

the wider family at this sad time.

John's funeral will take place at Chelmsford Cathedral on Tuesday 9th April at 2.30 p.m.

It would be good to see as many society

members as possible support

Cynthia on this occasion.




WEDNESDAY April 24th 2019

7.00p.m. for 7.30p.m. 



Your favourites from the past with








The Society celebrated the feast of Dewi Sant, St David, the Patron Saint of Wales, with its 56th Annual Dinner at the County Hotel, Chelmsford, and a church service at Little Baddow URC. The 115 members and guests dined on beautifully dressed tables, with the Welsh national emblem, a leek, as a centre piece, under the regal gaze of y Ddraig Goch, the red dragon on the national banner. The rousing strains of the Men of Harlech, played by the harpist, Rachel Bartels, announced the entrance of the Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr Yvonne Spence and her escort John Spence, and the guest speaker Huw Edwards, BBC news anchor, commentator and presenter, escorted by the President, Ivy Price and her husband Mike, the Vice President Liz Armishaw and her husband Jim, and Carys Williams. Grace was said by Brother Gildas. The dinner comprised: cyw a cennin gwasgedig a salad ffa gynnes ar surdoes (chicken and leek pressing and a warm bean salad on sourdough); lwyn cig moch rhost, mwtrin afal, gyda llysiau tymhorol a tatenau rhost neu newydd (roast loin of pork, apple compote, with seasonal vegetables and roast or new potatoes); tarten lemon a mascapone; (lemon and mascarpone tart); Coffi, te , a petit fours (coffee, tea  and petit fours). Following the dinner the President proposed the loyal toast to The Queen. The toast to Dewi Sant was proposed by the Vice President. Huw Edwards delivered a strong speech, regretting the current increasingly divisive social climate across the whole of the UK as the 29th of March loomed ever closer. In proposing a toast to The Society he was encouraged that, amid the uncertainty, the members of the Society continued to celebrate their Welsh roots in an inclusive spirit. The president congratulated Huw on his excellent speech and proposed a toast to Our Guests. The mayor responded on behalf of the guests. There followed some musical entertainment provided by Rachel Bartels, the harpist,  and the young tenor Dafydd Wyn Jones, accompanied by the Blue Riband pianist Meinir Wyn Davis. Dafydd, from Llanrhayadr, is a second year student at the Royal College of Music in London, and won first prize in the 16-19 year male singing competition at the Welsh National Eisteddfod in Anglsea, where the prize was donated by the Chelmsford and District Welsh Society. He will surely have a successful career. At the conclusion, Ivy thanked Liz and Kay Bright, assisted by David Brown, and with floral arrangements prepared by Shirley Moody, for arranging such a splendid celebration and Gwil Williams for being such an accomplished M.C. The evening ended with a joyous rendering of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

The church service was arranged by Shirley Moody and conducted by the Revd. Michael Aston, with Keith Byatt at the organ. The President, Ivy Price read the lesson in Welsh and the Vice President, Liz Armishaw read the lesson in English. Following the tradition, the last hymn was dedicated to the two members who had died during the year, Elsie Salmon and Daniel Lewis. The dedication was made by Carys Williams. Following the service tea and cakes were served by Edith Brown and the catering committee in the vestry. The Society is grateful to the Minister and officers of Little Baddow URC for allowing them to use the church for the service, for the 28th year in succession.



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 Intensive Welsh Summer Course Professional Welsh Course

Aberystwyth Intensive Welsh Summer Course July 29 - August 23, 2019
This is a course for a wide range of learners - from with little or no knowledge of Welsh up to those who are fluent but want to improve the accuracy of their spoken and written skills. For beginners, this is an opportunity to master basic communicative skills in the language within as short a period as possible, and for everybody it is a chance to make a real improvement in their mastery of the Welsh language. To this end, the timetable is very demanding. Nevertheless, there will be plenty of time for revision and practising the language skills acquired on the course.
The Course runs for 4 weeks but you are welcome to attend for a week or two if this is more convenient.
For more information and a registration form, please go to:




A PRESENTATION by Debra John from Swansea

who brings to life TALES FROM WALES



The Society was pleased to welcome freelance actress and storyteller Debra John to its March 2019 meeting. Debra was born and brought up in Swansea, studied Drama and English at Aberystwyth University and achieved a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. Debra specialises in period costume character performances giving educational insight into the heritage of Wales and is perhaps best known for her roles in “The Story of Wales” and “Mamwlad”; in the latter of these, Debra played Amy Dillwyn, a role that she performed in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip.


Debra’s first half performance comprised five mythological tales being told to a young boy by an old woman:-


The first of these tales revolved around the misadventures of a Bat, a Bramble and a Cormorant. (As with so many tales the original source of this one is shrouded in the mists of time, a version being attributed at least as far back as Aesop, who, being a Greek fabulist born in the 7th Century BC (BCE) had, as far as we know no direct connection with Wales!).  The Bat and the Bramble unwisely invest in a money-making scheme dreamt up by the Cormorant to ship goods over the seas.  The ship is lost in a storm and sinks to the bottom of the sea leaving the cormorant to dive from cliffs to the seabed to trace the wreck of the ship its contents, the bat to live in the darkness to avoid its creditors and the bramble to snare the clothes of unwary passers-by so as to recoup its stock of wool that was lost when the ship foundered.


In the second tale Megan, a maid, moves with all of her belongings inland from Aberystwyth and is separated by a river from her most valued possession, her milk cow. She is accosted by a phantasmagorical monk who builds a bridge across the river to reunite the two. Unlike the Severn Bridge (and in the true spirit of mythological tales) passage over this bridge still requires the payment of a toll – on this occasion the right of the monk to ownership of the first living thing to cross the bridge. Megan manages to outwit the scheming monk by rolling a loaf of bread over the bridge to be eagerly pursued by her dog. The monk disappears leaving Megan to be reacquainted with her cow. For those members wishing to visit the site of this terrifying incident the bridge is now conveniently known as Devil’s Bridge.


Debra’s third tale centred around the stay of a wizard, Huw Lloyd, at an unfrequented inn near Betws-y-Coed – the two sisters running the inn being deprived of their custom by a series of mysterious robberies from previous guests. During the night an attempt is made on Huw’s possessions by two cats that enter his room via the chimney.  Huw fights off the cats, cutting the wrist of one of them with his sword, and they flee back up the chimney. Assuming that the cats have been deterred from further larcenous activity Huw settles his bill observing that one of the sisters has a bandage around her wrist and so, realising that the sisters are witches who adopt the guise of cats, draws blood from the other thus removing the spell from both of them.

The fourth tale, contained in the Mabinogion, follows Prince Pwyll of Dyfed who, whilst out hunting, ascends a magical mound that will either show him a marvel or deal him a blow. The maid Rhiannon appears to him and, after a long pursuit on horseback by Pwyll, explains that she has sought him out to marry him in preference to her current betrothed, Gwawl. A disguised Gwawl attends their wedding feast and tricks Pwyll into granting Gwawl the hand of Rhiannon. Rhiannon instructs Pwyll to attend her wedding dressed as a beggar and request Gwawl to fill a 'small bag' with food. She has enchanted the 'small bag' so it cannot ever be filled and Gwawl is persuaded to step into it to control its magic. Pwyll traps him in the bag which his men beat and kick forcing Gwawl to relinquish Rhiannon and extract no revenge for the incident. Rhiannon marries Pwyll then journeys to Dyfed as its queen.


In the fifth and final tale a clever boy named Tangwyn is given permission to leave home by his father who cautions him that he should always listen to the words of a preacher. Tangwyn is eventually offered the job of House Steward to a rich nobleman however he is so popular in the household that the nobleman becomes envious of him and a plot is hatched to kill him. Tangwyn is asked to take a pitcher of beer to the lime workers on the estate little knowing that they had been instructed to kill the first man they see walking across the meadow towards them. Tangwyn sets out on his fateful journey only to hear a preacher calling to him and, mindful of his promise to his father, deviates from his task. The nobleman, thinking that his instructions had been carried out, sets out across the meadow with another pitcher of beer to thank the lime workers. The conclusion to this tale is immediately apparent!

Following refreshments and the raffle Debra returned in the costume of an Upper Housemaid in a grand Edwardian household and, in character, gave us a description of her duties in the household, weaving in various candid comments about her employers, other grand households and the servants around her (both above and below, bringing to mind the famous comedy sketch “I know my place”). Debra brought to life wonderfully and with considerable humour the life of domestic servitude made familiar to most of us by TV shows such as “Upstairs Downstairs” and (slightly less realistically) “Downton Abbey” and by books such as Margaret Powell’s “Below Stairs”.

It is to be hoped that another visit from Debra can be arranged in the future.


Clive Bright