The Calendar Woman for 4th June is Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd (1097-1136)
Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd was the Princess consort of
Deheubarth in Wales who became famous for her revolt against the Normans. The youngest
daughter of Prince Gruffud ap Cynan of Gwynedd, the young Gwenllian eloped with
a visiting Prince, Gruffydd ap Rhys, at the age of 16 and joined him in Deheubarth,
South Wales. The Norman invasion of South Wales was putting pressure on her new
family and they were often on the move. Gwenllian would travel with her husband
in mountain or forest strongholds, joining him on retaliatory strikes against
the Norman-held posts in Deheubarth, redistributing their goods and money among
the Deheubarth Welsh who had been dispossessed.
In 1136 conflict over the English throne weakened the
central authority in England and offered the chance for a revolt, which began
in South Wales lead by Hywel ap Maredudd, Lord of Brycheiniog. He was initially
successful, inspiring Gwenllian’s husband to meet with her father and secure
aid to further the revolt. In his absence, the Nomans led raids in Deheubarth,
prompting Gwenllian to raise an army for their defence. The battle, fought near
Kidwelly Castle, ended in defeat for Gwenllian – she was captured in battle and
beheaded along with two of her sons.
As news of her death spread, others in South Wales were
inspired to rise up and overthrow Norman controlled areas of Wales. Her brother’s
also took up arms, invading several Norman-controlled regions in her name and
for centuries after her death, Welshmen cried out ‘revenge for Gwenllian’ when
fighting in battle.
15th century Welsh poet Gwerful Mechain is one of the country’s most celebrated female poets, primarily for her poem Cywydd y Cedor (”Ode to Pubic Hair”). In it, she criticizes men for praising the other parts of a woman’s body, but not the genitalia. She declares herself “of great noble stock,” urges poets to “let songs about the quim circulate,” and ends by saying “lovely bush, God save it.”
The poem, in its entirety, is reproduced below. Regular RP posts resume next week.
Every foolish drunken poet, boorish vanity without ceasing, (never may I warrant it, I of great noble stock,) has always declaimed fruitless praise in song of the girls of the lands all day long, certain gift, most incompletely, by God the Father: praising the hair, gown of fine love, and every such living girl, and lower down praising merrily the brows above the eyes; praising also, lovely shape, the smoothness of the soft breasts, and the beauty’s arms, bright drape, she deserved honour, and the girl’s hands. Then with his finest wizardry before night he did sing, he pays homage to God’s greatness, fruitless eulogy with his tongue: leaving the middle without praise and the place where children are conceived, and the warm quim, clear excellence, tender and fat, bright fervent broken circle, where I loved, in perfect health, the quim below the smock. You are a body of boundless strength, a faultless court of fat’s plumage. I declare, the quim is fair, circle of broad-edged lips, it is a valley longer than a spoon or a hand, a ditch to hold a penis two hands long; cunt there by the swelling arse, song’s table with its double in red. And the bright saints, men of the church, when they get the chance, perfect gift, don’t fail, highest blessing, by Beuno, to give it a good feel. For this reason, thorough rebuke, all you proud poets, let songs to the quim circulate without fail to gain reward. Sultan of an ode, it is silk, little seam, curtain on a fine bright cunt, flaps in a place of greeting, the sour grove, it is full of love, very proud forest, faultless gift, tender frieze, fur of a fine pair of testicles, a girl’s thick grove, circle of precious greeting, lovely bush, God save it.
A seven year old Princess Elizabeth serves tea in front of Y Bwthyn Bach, the royal Wendy house, a gift from the people of Wales to Elizabeth and Margaret on Elizabeth’s sixth birthday in March of 1932. To accompany the house, which was
modeled after a typical Welsh cottage, she was also given a pedal car, with a live puppy in the back seat. In 2012 Princess Beatrice helped give the playhouse a facelift, changing the colour scheme from the original blue to a new pale green, choosing new curtains, updating the wiring and having the roof re-thatched. Eight decades later and the royal children still play in the little house. Royal Lodge, 1933.