The Story of Llandaff
- The Llandaff Pageant
- The Llandaff Story
Place: Unknown, Llandaff (Cardiff/Caerdydd) (Cardiff/Caerdydd, Glamorganshire, Wales)
Number of performances: 3
6–8 September 1951, 7pm
Llandaff had been incorporated into the city of Cardiff in 1922.
Name of pageant master and other named staff
- Director of Music: Yvonne Lloyd-Jones
- Dances Arranged by: Mary Bennett
- Dances Accompanied by: Olive Williams
- Harpist: Jean Evans
- Stage Manager: William Lawday
- Asst. Stage Manager: Frank New
- Asst. Stage Manager: Arthur R. Hanson
- Scenery: Albert Thomas
- Décor: Geoffrey J. Ryder
- Décor: Sylvia Lewis
- Décor: Juliet Edwards
- Musical Effects: Charles Lloyd-Jones
- Mistress of the Horse: Dorette Gould
- Property Master: Alan Bennett
- Wardrobe Mistress: Dora Phillips
- Wardrobe Mistress: Olive Bathurst
- Wardrobe Mistress: Glennys Griffith
- Make-Up: Edith Harris
- Make-Up: W. Lee Reynolds
- Make-Up: Robert Tanner
- Make-Up: Gwenneth Lincoln
- Make-Up: E. Woodman
- Coiffure: Grace Horton
- Registrar: Mari New
- Seating: Walter Grainger
- Marshall: Edna Grainger
- Marshall: John Cribb
- Marshall: William Williams
- Marshall: James P. Connor
- Publicity: Robert Loosemore
- Publicity: Edward Phillips
- Publicity: A. Gwyn Penn
- Publicity: Robert Tanner
- Business Secretary: S. Ashby Bathurst
- Asst. Business Secretary: Olive Bathurst
Names of executive committee or equivalent
- President: Alderman G.E.B. Frewer
- Chairman: R. Loosemore, Esq.
- Vice-Chairman: T. Tucker, Esq.
- General Secretary: S. Ashby Bathurst, Esq.
- General Secretary: Mrs O.W. Bathurst
- Treasurer: W. Grainger, Esq.
- Mrs. E. Grainger
- Mrs Hanson
- Mrs Lloyd-Jones
- Mrs Edwards
- Mrs Griffith
- Mrs Lawday
- Mrs M. New
- Mrs A. Bennett
- E. Phillips, Esq.
- A.G. Penn, Esq.
- Captain W. Lawday
- A. Bennett, Esq.
- A. Thomas, Esq.
- R. Tanner, Esq.
Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)
- Hanson, F. Louise
Mrs F. Louise Hanson
Names of composers
Numbers of performers106
47 women, 20 men, 29 girls and 10 boys.
Object of any funds raised
Part of the Festival of Britain celebrations.
- Grandstand: Not Known
- Grandstand capacity: n/a
- Total audience: n/a
Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest
2s. 6d.–1s. 7d.
Adults 2s. 6d.
Children 1s. 7d.
Scene I. Bronze Age
Relics of the Bronze Age have been discovered in this district which point to the fact that man lived here over 3000 years ago.
Scene II. Roman Occupation
The Land of Wales was well tilled before the time of the Roman Invasion. It is probable that the Christian faith was first taught here during that time and many churches built.
Scene III. Consecration of St Dyfrig, 5th Century
St Dubritius or Dyfrig, the first known Bishop of Llandaff. The people of Glamorgan were a noble and generous race, deeply attached to their Bishop, and made generous gifts in the cause of religion.
Scene IV. St Dyfrig at a School for Priests
St Dyfrig developed the monastic and collegiate life in South Wales.
Scene V. The Market at Llandaff in the time of St Teilo the 2nd Bishop of Llandaff, 6th Century
Teilo founded a Monastic College called Bangor Deilo at Llandaff and also an Episcopal Court. During this century there was a great religious revival in Wales.
Scene VI. Bishop Gmeilliauc, Early 10th Century
The Danes sack the Cathedral and seize the Bishop.
Scene VII. Bishop Urban, Early 12th Century
He was the first Bishop after the Norman Conquest and found this Bishopric greatly impoverished. He planned to re-build the Cathedral as a suitable shrine for the remains of St. Dyfrig, which he removed from the Island of Bardsey.
Scene VIII. Gerald the Welshman Visits Llandaff, 12th Century
Scene IX. Llandaff Fair
A fair was held at Llandaff annually for four days during Whit-week, from the early 13th century until the middle of the 19th century.
Scene X. Owen Glyndwr, 15th Century
Attacked Llandaff in 1402 and devastated the Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace.
Scene XI. Garden of Sir David Mathew’s Residence, Late 15th Century
Sir David Mathew, an eminent Yorkist, was Standard Bearer to Edward IV at the Battle of Towton, where he saved the King’s life. At the same battle his eldest son, John, was killed, leaving a widow and a little daughter. Thomas and Reynbourn are younger sons of Sir David. The lady playing the part of Lady Mathew is a direct descendant of Sir David Mathew.
Scene XII. Bishop William Morgan, Late 16th Century
Translated the Old Testament into the Welsh Language and was a learned man.
Scene XIII. King Charles I Visits Llandaff, Late 17th Century
Scene XIV. The Italian Temple, 18th Century
Mr. Wood of Bath, directed by Bishop John Harris, undertook the erection of the Italian Temple to replace the ruined Cathedral.
Scene XV. A Noson Lawen at Llandaff in the Latter Half of the 19th Century
Scene XVI. The Great War, 1914–1918
Scene XVII. 20th-Century Landmarks
A committee room in the City Hall, Cardiff, 1931.
Scene XVIII [appears to be missing in programme]
Scene XIX Enthronement of Archbishop of Wales at Llandaff, 1949
Scene XX. Epilogue and Finale
Key historical figures mentioned
- Dyfrig [St Dyfrig, Dubricius] (supp. fl. c.475–c.525) holy man and supposed bishop
- Teilo [St Teilo, Eliau, Eliud] (supp. fl. c.550) holy man and supposed bishop
- Urban [Gwrgan] (d. 1134) bishop of Llandaff
- Gerald of Wales [Giraldus Cambrensis, Gerald de Barry] (c.1146–1220x23) author and ecclesiastic
- Glyn Dŵr [Glyndŵr], Owain [Owain ap Gruffudd Fychan, Owen Glendower] (c.1359–c.1416) rebel leader in Wales
- Morgan, William (1544/5–1604) bishop of St Asaph and biblical translator
- Charles I (1600–1649) king of England, Scotland, and Ireland
- Wood, John (bap. 1704, d. 1754) architect and town planner
Musical productionHarpists, piano (presumed), and some ‘musical effects’
Newspaper coverage of pageant
Book of words
Other primary published materials
- Llandaff Citizens’ Association Presents the Llandaff Story: A Pageant of Life in the Cathedral City in Twenty Colourful Scenes. Cardiff, 1951. 6d.
Copy in the National Library of Wales.
References in secondary literature
Archival holdings connected to pageant
- [Llandaff Pageant] [graphic]. Author: Geoff Charles 1909-2002. Casgliad Geoff Charles Collection. 99395043302419. Description: Images of people in costume at the Llandaff pageant including a group of women dressed as noblewomen (gch02158) and a Welsh lady with a man dressed as Gerallt [Gymro] (gch02159). A selection of the images have been published and appeared in Y Cymro, 14 September 1951.
- At the National Library of Wales
Sources used in preparation of pageant
The Story of Llandaff was the smallest of several pageants held in Wales to celebrate the 1951 Festival of Britain. It was organised by the Llandaff’s Citizens’ Association, a body that was especially active in the social life of the small Cathedral City in the immediate post-war years, with 300 members in the 1960s before it declined towards the end of the twentieth century (only 30 members were left by 2010).3 Although not much evidence of the pageant remains, and very little is now known about what actually happened during the episodes, the event seems to have been a small local success.
The wider ethos of the Festival of Britain was one of national rebuilding and reconstruction, expressed through confidence in the arts, sciences and technology of the nation. As with other Welsh pageants held during the Festival, however, the Story of Landaff was not an official Festival event. The annual celebrations of Welsh culture and language, the Eisteddfodau, were agreed by the Festival Office and the Welsh Festival Committee to constitute the official Welsh contribution to festivities as a whole.4 However, the pageant did nonetheless seem to meet the priority of the Festival—which were, generally, the overcoming of recent bad memories by projecting a sense of national identity backwards—to rethink a national sense of place and to ‘fall in love with the land again’.5 Such bad memories were clearly evident in Llandaff—its beloved Cathedral was destroyed during the Cardiff Blitz in January 1941.
It was an especially local portrayal of history, concentrating mostly on Llandaff’s now ruined cathedral and on the building up of the Christian faith over centuries. Owain Glyndwr did feature, in what was likely a rare negative portrayal—since he ‘devastated’ the Cathedral in 1402 during the Welsh Revolt. Other scenes also connected Llandaff to larger national events—such as the Roman Invasion and the First and Second World Wars. In contrast to most of the Welsh pageants, however, the narrative went right up to contemporary times—perhaps because the enthronement of the Archbishop of Wales, John Morgan, at Llandaff in 1949 (portrayed in the penultimate scene) was such an important event. The pageant had a much higher than average number of scenes, with 20 distinct episodes. It is unclear whether these all had dialogue since not much detail has survived, but it is likely that many of these were processional or mime.
Despite the large number of scenes and the likely lack of extensive dialogue, the story was still historically accurate—the author, F Louis Hanson, having spent ‘hours at the Cardiff Central Library every day and week for months studying historical books for the authentic background that gave “The Llandaff Story” its ring of sincerity.’6 A reporter from the Cardiff Times certainly agreed, declaring that there was ‘one thing that cannot be disputed’: the pageant ‘taught us more about our own heritage than we have ever known before.’ The performers, and the children especially, the reporter argued, had ‘absorbed the story of the ancient diocese into their lives… They will be able to relive the past because they have been a part of it. Whether they realise it or not they will engender a pride in their own locality.’7 Hanson seemed to confirm this enthusiasm. Despite the clear effort she had put in herself, she ‘modestly’ told the press that ‘it was a co-operative effort. All helped, all played their part, and that is the reason for the success of the Story of Landaff.’8
The Story of Llandaff was undoubtedly a small event, with a cast of around one hundred and only ‘hundreds’ attending.9 However, in a minor way it seems to have been a popular success, at least according to its organiser and the press. Above all, it stands as an example of a civic association helping to rebuild local social life in difficult times—a key feature of the wider ethos of the Festival of Britain—by performing a local historic past.
- ‘The Story behind “The Landaff Story”’, Cardiff Times, 15 September 1951, 3.
- Llandaff Citizens’ Association Presents the Llandaff Story: A Pageant of Life in the Cathedral City in Twenty Colourful Scenes. 1951. 6d.
- ‘Llandaff Citizens Association’, Notes made by VSC [unclear who this is] following visit to Mrs Gwyneth Davies at 20 Hendre Close, Llandaff, on 11 August 2010, Insole Court Archive Research Group, accessed 2 February 2014, http://www.insoleresearchgroup.co.uk/Llandaff%20Citizens%20Association.pdf.
- Harriet Atkinson, The Festival of Britain: A Land and its People (London, 2012), 104.
- Atkinson, The Festival of Britain: A Land and its People, 2.
- ‘The Story behind “The Landaff Story”’, Cardiff Times, 15 September 1951, 3.
- Unknown article from the Cardiff Times in 1951, viewed at Insole Court Archive Research Group, accessed 2 February 2015, http://www.insoleresearchgroup.co.uk/page294.html.
- ‘The Story behind ‘The Landaff Story’’, 3.
- Ibid., 3.
How to cite this entry
Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘The Story of Llandaff’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1224/