Speaker:Professor Charles Thomas FBA
SIR JOHN RHYS MEMORIAL LECTUREMore about the Sir John Rhys Memorial Lectures
In 1924 the Academy was given the proceeds of an appeal fund to set up a ‘memorial’ for the late Sir John Rhys FBA. The Academy decided that the memorial would take the form of a ‘lecture, or paper, or monograph on a Welsh or other Celtic theme’. The lecture was first delivered in 1925.
Sir John Rhys Memorial Lecture, delivered by Professor Gruffydd Aled Williams, on 16 November 2010 (venue: Royal Society of Edinburgh), as part of the British Academy's 'Medieval Week'. In Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1, Hotspur is made to refer to the partiality of Owain Glyndwr (Glendower) for prophecies, which he characterises dismissively as 'skimble-skamble stuff'. This lecture explores the authentic medieval Welsh literary corpus associated with Glyndwr, consisting in the main of bardic eulogies rather than prophecies and mostly composed before the outbreak of the 1400 revolt. The poems are examined in historical context including some of Scottish interest (alluding to Glyndwr's participation in the English invasion of Scotland in 1385). Themes to be considered will include their possible utility, both before and during the revolt as political propaganda designed to further Owain's cause.