Home Magazine
Forum
Archives Links

Another Chartist Journey
Dr Ellin Jones

Ten years ago, to mark the 170th anniversary of the Newport Rising, the Cariad Quilters of Blackwood created a special piece to celebrate Chartism in Blackwood.

 



 

Here are some of the characteristic features of our cynefin – the pit and the rugby pitch, the chapel and the ancient church on the hill, the choir and the public house – and the pub the quilt shows is the ‘Coach and Horses’ where the Blackwood Chartists used to meet.

 

The theme of the work is the journey from darkness into light, with the white of the Chartist Bridge and the Blackwood Institute on the right of the quilt conveying the hope and light of democracy.

 

The quilt was designed as a hanging, and it was presented to Blackwood Institute in 2009. It was on display there for a decade, visual evidence of the quilters’ skills, the struggles of the past and the respect paid by the present to that past. But this year, the 180th anniversary of the Rising, the management of the Institute decided to return the quilt to its makers. They no longer wished to display it.

The quilting group were very disappointed – and those of us who want to ensure that the history of our area and its part in the development of democracy are properly celebrated were very worried. But the quilt has now gone on a journey of its own, and been welcomed by another institution, one which reflects the future as well as the past of our communities.

 

In September, the Senedd held a series of events to celebrate 20 years of devolution. Our Chartist Heritage (OCH) were invited to take part. The Cariad Quilters of Blackwood had previously asked OCH officers if they would be happy to present the hanging as a gift to the Senedd on this significant anniversary – and the officers were very happy to do so. As you can see from the photograph, Elin Jones, the Presiding Officer of the Assembly, was delighted to accept the quilt from another Elin Jones, the Deputy Chair of OCH!

 

 

The Chartists will be remembered in Newport again this year, when OCH holds Cynnwrf Casnewydd/The Newport Rising, a series of events during the first week of November. There will be concerts, a conference, film shows and, on November 2nd, the opportunity to walk by torchlight in the steps of the Chartists, down the road which leads from the cathedral to the Westgate Hotel. In 1839 the Chartists were met by gunfire from the soldiers in the hotel, but in 2019 the old building will welcome the marchers with food, drink and entertainment.

 

The following day, November 3rd, there will be an opportunity to go on a guided walk to the cave near Trefil, Tredegyr, where the Chartists stored their weapons in 1839. Then, in the late afternoon of November 4th, there will be a simple commemorative ceremony in the cathedral graveyard. The bodies of ten of the Chartists killed at the Westgate in 1839 were buried in four unmarked graves on the norths side of the church. Today there is a plaque in the graveyard to commemorate them, and every year on November 4th people gather to remember and to place red roses on the plaque, to honour those who gave their lives for those democratic rights some take so lightly today.

 

 

The reverse side of the quilt!

 

Taith “Taith y Siartr”
Ellin Jones

Ddeng mlynedd yn ôl, 170 o flynyddoedd ers i weithwyr y cymoedd hyn geisio ennill hawliau democrataidd trwy gyfrwng Siartr y Bobl, creodd grŵp cwiltio “Cariad” y Coed Duon ddarn arbennig i ddathlu Siartiaeth. Dyma ffrwyth eu llafur:

 

Gwelwch yma nodweddion ein cynefin, o’r pwll glo a’r maes rygbi i’r capel a’r eglwys ar y bryn, y côr a’r dafarn – sef “Coach and Horses” y Coed Duon, man cyfarfod y Siartwyr gynt. Thema’r gwaith yw taith o’r tywyllwch tuag at y goleuni, ac mae Pont y Siartwyr ar ochr dde y gwaith ac adeilad claerwyn Stiwt y Coed Duon yn cyfleu gobaith a goleuni democratiaeth.

 Cyflwynodd y cwiltwyr eu gwaith cain i’r Stiwt yn 2009. Cafodd ei arddangos yno am ddegawd wedyn, yn dystiolaeth weladwy o grefft y cwiltwyr, ymdrechion y gorffennol a pharch y presennol tuag at ei hanes. Ond eleni, ddeng mlynedd yn ddiweddarach, penderfynodd rheolwyr y Stiwt ddychwelyd y cwilt i’w wneuthurwyr. Nid oeddynt am ei arddangos bellach.

Mawr oedd siom y cwiltwyr – a mawr oedd pryder y rhai ohonom sy’n awyddus i ddathlu hanes ein hardal ni, a’i rhan yn natblygiad democratiaeth. Ond mae cwilt “Taith y Siartr” wedi mynd ar daith ei hun, a chael croeso mewn adeilad arall ac un sydd, efallai, yn fwy perthnasol i’n cymdeithas gyfoes na’r Stiwt.

Ym mis Medi eleni, cynhaliwyd gŵyl arbennig yn y Senedd i ddathlu penblwydd y Cynulliad yn 20 oed. Cynhaliodd Ein Treftadaeth y Siartr, cymdeithas sy’n hybu ymwybyddiaeth o Siartiaeth, sesiwn arbennig fel rhan o’r ŵyl. Gofynodd cwiltwyr y Coed Duon i swyddogion y gymdeithas a fyddent yn barod i gyflwyno’r cwilt fel rhodd i’r Senedd ar yr achlysur arbennig hwn – ac roeddynt wrth eu bodd yn gwneud hynny. Fel y gwelwch, roedd Llywydd y Cynulliad, Elin Jones, wrth ei bodd hefyd yn derbyn y cwilt oddi wrth Elin Jones arall, sef Is-Gadeirydd Ein Treftadaeth y Siartr.

 

 

Bydd y Siartwyr yn cael eu cofio yng Nghasnewydd eleni eto, wrth i Ein Treftadaeth y Siartr gynnal Cynnwrf Casnewydd, cyfres o ddigwyddiadau yn ystod penwythnos cyntaf mis Tachwedd. Bydd cyngherddau, cynhadledd undydd a ffilmiau ac, ar Dachwedd 2, cyfle i gerdded yng ngolau ffaglau i lawr y rhiw sy’n arwain o eglwys gadeiriol St Gwynllyw at westy’r Westgate, lle bu’r cyflafan gwaedlyd rhwng y Siartwyr a milwyr y goron. Ond eleni fydd croeso i’r ymdeithwyr yn yr hen westy, sydd bellach yn agor ei ddrysau eto ar gyfer achlysuron a drefnir gan Ein Treftadaeth y Siartr.

Yn diwrnod canlynol, Dachwedd 3ydd, bydd taith gerdded i ogof ger Trefil, Tredegyr, stordy arfau’r Siartwyr ym 1839. Yna, gyda’r hwyr ar Dachwedd 4ydd, diwrnod y cyflafan, bydd seremoni syml ym mynwent yr eglwys gadeiriol. Yno y claddwyd cyrff y deg Siartwyr sy’n gafodd eu lladd yn yr ymladd, mewn pedwar beddau di-enw. Erbyn heddiw mae plâc wedi ei osod yn y fynwent i’w cofio, ac yno bydd pobl yn ymgynnull bob blwyddyn i osod rhosynnau coch i gofio’r rhai fu farw wrth geisio ennill y breintiau democrataidd hynny y cymerwn mor ganiataol heddiw.

 

 

Cefn y cwilt!