A Pageant of Anglesey

Other names

  • Pageant of Mona

Pageant type

Jump to Summary


Place: Bon Sauveur Convent (Hollyhead) (Hollyhead, Anglesey, Wales)

Year: 1951

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 5


9–16 June 1951

[9 and 11–16 June 1951 8 June: Dress Rehearsal for schoolchildren]

The opening performance on Saturday had to be abandoned after the sixth episode due to ‘inclement weather’. On Monday 11 June and Wednesday 13 June, conditions were so bad that the performance was cancelled.1 The Pageant was held under a weatherproof marquee in the Convent Gardens

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Author and Adviser [Pageant Master]: Jones, A.E. (Cynan)
  • President: Lady Megan Lloyd George, MP
  • Producer: Ronée Evens
  • Director of Music and Organist: W. Bradwen Jones
  • Harpist and Penillion Singer: Eleanor Dwyryd
  • Mistresses of Ballet: Mae Thickins, ESTD
  • Mistresses of Ballet: Dilys Hughes-Williams
  • General Stage Manager: Goronwy W. Williams, BSc
  • In Charge of Amplification and all Electrical Equipment: Evan Roberts
  • Chief Steward: Owen Lloyd Williams, JP, BSc
  • Hon. Treasurer: J.E. Bell
  • Hon. Secretary: Dewi O. Williams
  • Prologue, Stage Manager: Dilys Hughes-Williams
  • Episode I, Stage Manager: Frederick Taylor
  • Episode II, Stage Manager: Eric Roberts
  • Episode III, Choreography and Episode Management by: Dilys Hughes-Williams
  • Episode IV, Stage Manager: Phyllis Tudor Jones
  • Episode V, Stage Manager: T. Noel Roberts
  • Episode VI, Choreography and Stage Management: Evelyn Foy
  • Episode VII, Choreography and Stage Management: Mae Thickins
  • Episode VIII, Stage Manager: Avril Hughes
  • Episode IX, Stage Manager: Avril Hughes
  • Episode X, Stage Manager: Lilian Richards

Names of executive committee or equivalent

The pageant was staged under the auspices of the Holyhead Urban District Council, the Anglesey Community Council, and the Arts Council


  • Chairman: John Lewis
  • Hon. Sec.: Alwyn Jones, BSc, LLB


  • Chairman: L.E. Roberts
  • Hon. Sec.: W.M. Roberts


  • Chairman: Ll. Lewis
  • Hon. Sec: H. Parry Davies, LRAM, ARCM


  • Chairman: Fred Taylor
  • Hon. Sec.: Phyllis Tudor Jones

Costumes and Designs:

  • Chairman: M. Griffith
  • Hon. Sec.: L. Richards


  • Chairman: H. Stokes
  • Hon. Sec: J. Richards

Grounds and Marquee:

  • Chairman: O. Lloyd Williams, KP, BSc
  • Hon. Sec: H.S. Whaley, BSc

Stage Management:

  • Chairman: T.O. Thomas
  • Hon. Sec.: D.R. Philkin

Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)

  • Jones, A.E. (Cynan)
  • Jones, John Morris
  • Shakespeare, William


The Rev. A.E. Jones CBE (pen-name Cynan) wrote most of the script. John Morris Jones wrote the text of Episode III. Text from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was used in Episode IV, which was ‘indebted’ to this play for the lines spoken by the Fool.2 Shakespeare’s Henry VI was used for Episode VI.

Names of composers

  • Jones, W. Bradwen

Numbers of performers


Financial information

Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

Festival of Britain.

The tenth episode commemorated the last link of the railway, a hundred years previously.

Audience information

  • Grandstand: Yes
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: n/a


1000 children attended the dress rehearsal.3

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest

7s. 6d–2s. 6d.

Reserved: 7s. 6d.;5s.
Unreserved: 3s. 6d.;2s. 6d.

Associated events

Associated events including cycling races, a Railway Queen, and the town being decorated with bunting for the festival.

Pageant outline

The Opening Chorus

The chorus asks the Harp of the Mountain-Land to recall the days when warrior hearts beat proudly to its strain. The chorus then tells how the harp was not silenced by the Roman invasion or the dark years of Saxon rule. the ‘dark years’ of the Saxon rule. The chorus ends by asking the harp to call back that spirit to the days of peace.

The Prologue. Enthronement of Mona the ‘Mother of Wales’, the Harpist’s Dream

Following a fanfare by the Trumpeters, twelve little girls dance on to the lawn to harp music, each representing one Welsh County (other than Anglesey), and each with a standard-bearer. They hang the Pageant Throne with garlands, as if to honour a Queen. Mona, attended by her three pages, is taken to her throne by a young cleric of the 18th century (Goronwy Owen). The other Counties and their standard-bearers salute Mona, the ‘Mother of Wales’, and the Pageant Harpist greets her with a penillion setting of Goronwy’s classic ode in her praise. Mona then thanks her ‘children’ and greets the Pageant to the pageant, which, she says, will use the past to impart wisdom and faith.

Episode I. The Age of the Druids

The Scene is a sacred grove near ‘Holyhead’, where the Druids have fled to escape the Romans – who are invading the south of the Island. From the little village of huts a small procession of Druids and harpers in white robes, accompanied by the villagers, warriors, women and children, and their Chieftain, Anatiomaros, approaches the sacred grove. The procession is led by the Archdruid, wearing a golden torque and crowned with an oak-leaf garland. Arrived at an oak-tree in the middle of the grove, he begins the ritual of cutting down the sacred mistletoe with his golden sickle, handed to him by the Chieftain. The cut mistletoe is given in a white cloth to two of his assistant Druids. The ceremony is interrupted by Roman war-trumpet and the Druidic harp-music stops. British sentries attempt to flee. Anatiomaros stops them and rallies the men to fight for their liberty. The Arch Druid places a staff in the earth and swears that the Romans will not pass that mark. They pray, before the Romans enter. Anatiomaros, undaunted by a thrown spear, speaks with Suetonius of the Romans, and tells them that they must leave before it is too late. At that moment a Roman messenger brings news that Queen Boudicea is in revolt and has already destroyed two cities. Suetonius instructs his men to leave for the mainland to defend the Empire. The Britons cheer.

Episode II. St Cybi Founds his Sanctuary

[The following is the description of St Cybi provided in the programme —the actual episode is in Welsh.]4

‘The ‘Life of St Cybi’ says that he was the son of the Cornish King Selyf (or Solomon) and Gwen, sister of Non, the mother of St David, and that he was in advanced years when he settled in Anglesey after arduous pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Rome. There are foundations by ‘St Cuby’ in Cornwall, which country he and his disciples fled because his kinsmen wished to elevate him to the throne. Cybi and his disciples came first to Morgannwg (‘Llangibby’), and then passed on to Ireland and the Isle of Arran, where they remained four years and built a church. On account of a feud between Maelog, one of his disciples, and the Irish Saint Fintan, Cybi and his followers made themselves a boat to leave Aran and sail for Mona, where the boat ran on the rocks of Holyhead, and the Saint decided to make his cell there. The ‘Life’ goes on to relate how King Maelgwyn Gwynedd not only allowed him to retain this cell but endowed there the church of ‘Caer Gybi,’ granting him the right of sanctuary over the whole isle, which therefore came to be known as ‘the Holy Isle’.’

Episode III. Goleuni’r Efengyl. The Legend of St Seiriol and St Cybi

[The following is the description provided in the programme, since a lot of the episode was in Welsh]5 ‘There is a tradition that the heads of the two principal ecclesiastical foundations of Anglesey in the sixth century—St Seiriol of Penmon and Ynys Seiriol, and St Cybi of Caergybi—used to meet each other midway across Anglesey once a week in holy converse at the wells of Clorach, in the parish of Llandyfrydog. Cybi, journeying from west to east in the morning, and from east to west when returning in the late afternoon, had the sun always in his face and so became tanned, while Seiriol, who journeyed always with his back to the sun, preserved his fair complexion. For this reason they are popularly called ‘Seiriol Wyn’ (The Fair) and ‘Cybi Felyn’ (the Tawny)… the story has been delightfully told in ballad form by that great Anglesey philologist and poet, Sir John Morris-Jones. His ballad will be sung to the harp in the ensuing scene. The two wells of Clorach, Ffynnon Gybi and Ffynnon Seiriol, were situated, one each side of the road, about a mile and a half from Llannerchymedd… In the scene that follows, the meeting of the two saints at Clorach is represented and the virtue of the holy wells is symbolised by the cure of a blind girl brought to the Saints by a party of her playmates.’

[The following is the part of the episode in English]: As St Seirol and St Cybi approach their wonted meeting-place from opposite directions, each bearing his Cross-staff, the Pageant harpist sings Morris-Jones’ ballad. While the ballad is sung, the Saints meet and embrace, quenching their thirst at the well and praying. A blind girl is cured by the well. The Saints graciously accept gifts from the children and send them home with blessings. The children sing a hymn of praise to God, before the Saints take leave of each other and go their ways.

Episode IV. The Age of the Sea-Raiders

[The following is the description provided in the programme]6

‘The scene is near the priory church of Caergybi. The watchman rings the bell in wild alarum to warn the islanders that he has sighted Viking ships in the bay. A procession of monks crosses the scene, preceded by the processional cross, and bearing the Shrine of St Cybi, to convey the sacred relics of their church to a safe place. They chant to invoke Divine Protection. When the monks have disappeared, the blood-curdling cries of the Vikings [can be heard] as they rush ashore to raid the priory and the little village about it. Some of them are seen running towards the church with lighted torches to set fire to it; another party with lances drives before it a number of women and children from the village, captured as slaves. Through the screen of smoke and flames, that now envelopes the church, its destroyers re-appear—some of them drunk and reeling under the burdens of spoil, carelessly flinging gold cups and priceless vestments to be shared by their comrades of the slaving party. The leader of the raid sounds his horn for retreat, and leads his men back to the ships singing their Viking battle-chorus, while the weeping captive women stretch their helpless hands towards the burning sanctuary in a last farewell, before being driven off to the long black ships, doomed to a life of slavery and shame in a distant and heathen land.’

Episode V. The Age of the Crusades [1188]

[Taken verbatim from the ‘Introductory note’ as the actual episode is in Welsh.]7

‘This is an imaginary and composite scene based in part on a well-authenticated historical event—the preaching of the Crusade by Archbishop Baldwin to Prince Rhodri and the men of Mona in 1188 above the Menai Straits, as told by his fellow-traveller Giraldus Cambrensis in his famous ‘Itinerary through Wales’, and in part on the strong tradition that the distinguished Anglesey chieftain Ednyfed Fychan went on crusade and subsequently became Chancellor to the greatest of the Welsh princes, Llywelyn Fawr.’


Episode VI. A Royal Romance. The scene is the Queen’s Garden at Windsor, May 1423

An English and a Welsh Page enter and set up a stool for the Queen, jostling, chatting and playing games. At one point they argue about Owen Tudor—the Welsh page declaring him descended from the old British kings. The English page jeers and insults the Welsh page and Tudor. They fight. The Welsh page wins and makes the English page swear to never again insult the Queen and his kinsman. A jester breaks up the fight, and encourages them to make-up. The Queen approaches, with her ladies and gentlemen in waiting—including the young squire Owen Tudor. They are entertained by the Jester– though the Queen mourns for the King. A Pavane is danced at the instruction of the Queen. The Queen and Owen then talk about Wales, and various Anglesey dances. Owen teaches her the Welsh Garter Dance of Anglesey. They flirt, before the Queen presents Owen with a wedding ring and instructs him to prepare a secret wedding. They dance a Betrothal Dance., as all watch on.

Episode VII. A Fairy Interlude—The Tale of Gruffydd’s Daughter

This episode told, in ballet form, the story of Ifan Gruffydd and the loss of his daughter to fairies after she had been trying to find an escaped cow. His daughter is shown, when trying to get a better view of a circle of dancing circles, accidentally being whirled along into the dance. After being unable to find her, he visits a Wise Woman from Mynaddwyn who tells him to go to the same spot the very same day the following year with three mighty men and a strong rope. Gruffydd does so; sees his daughter with the fairy dancers; ties the rope around his waist; and hauls his daughter out of the ring.

Episode VIII. Holyhead Wakes Day, 1753 (A Composite Picture of Anglesey in the Mid-Eighteenth Century)

This scene depicts the Gwlylmabsant, or Wakes Day, a religious feature of old Welsh life popular in the eighteenth century Vendors and hawkers erect stalls and sell their wares. People procession down the street, dressed in their finery. A ballad singer performs (in Welsh), and sells broadsheet almanacs — printed in Dublin to avoid purchase tax. There are various conversations in Welsh between sweethearts and the Almanac seller. One of the sweethearts is captured by a Press-gang. Music is performed and a dancing contest takes place—for women, an endurance competition, which leads to many fainting. A fight eventually breaks up the dance. The Vicar of Holyhead, the Reverend Thomas Ellis, appears in the street accompanied by his friend William Morris, Deputy Controller of the Customs, and the Town-Crier. They end the street-brawling. [The next section is in Welsh; it seems that, from the episode description, what follows was Ellis and Morris announcing that the Gwylmabsant would hereafter be held on the Thursday following Relics Sunday, with prizes for supervised races and dances and feats of strength and agility, rather than as currently on Sunday—which was sinful. In short, by changing the day he succeeded in turning the notorious Holyhead Gwylmabsant into the most attractive and well conducted ‘Athletic Sports’ in Anglesey.] The scene ends with a procession into St Cybi’s Church for the Sunday Service, led by the Vicar and his Choir-Master William Morris, and the vendors packing up their stalls and wares until the following Thursday.

Episode IX. Mona and Methodism—John Elias O Fon [1824] [Episode in Welsh]

A field-meeting of the Calvinistic Methodist Assembly, held at Holyhead in October, 1824, preached at by John Elias O Fon. An incident is portrayed where O Fon removes noisy and foolish drunkards, by creating an ‘auction’. After declaring that no one will bid for the drunkards, and proclaiming that they must go to the devil, he hears the voice of Jesus resolving to take the men. All celebrate.

Episode X. The Last Link, 1850

A crowd of townsfolk of Holyhead comes down the street to the front of the Royal Hotel, led by a local choir singing Cob Malltraeth, an Anglesey folk song. As George Stephenson (the train builder) and his party appear from the hotel the crowd gets more excited. Dr O.O. Roberts, chairman of the gathering, tells the crowd in Welsh that they have met to do honour to one of the greatest benefactors of the common people in their generation. In English, he goes on to tell the crowd that the day will be important in England and Wales, and even for Ireland. He introduces Stephenson, to cheers from the crowd. Stephenson addresses the crowd, thanking them for their cordial and musical Welsh welcome. He promises to develop the railway to its full potential, and expresses his opinion that ‘Of all public works which man ever conceived, Railways, I believe, have diffused more comfort to the working man than any other.’ He pays tribute to the working men of Anglesey and Caernarvonshire. He ends by expressing his satisfaction and confidence in the railway bridge, to tremendous cheering.

The Epilogue

To the music of the harp, Mon Mam Cymru reappears and is taken by Goronwy and the cast of the pageant to her throne. She sings Mon by the Reverend William Morris (in Welsh), a song of praise. Mon then rises to speak, in English:

O who can count the sands on Llifon’s shore
Or tell each mighty name in Mona’s lore?
We have but ‘conjured from the vast deep’
These few brave spirits from their age-long sleep
To re-enact within this holy place
Some exploits of an old, heroic race,
That you may learn today, whate’er betide,
From these, who nobly lived and nobly died.
So now ‘our insubstantial pageant’ ends,
And on its scenes the Veil of Time descends.
These were ‘The stuff of dreams’, but dreams can dower
With richest heritage the waking hour.
Therefore unite, your faith made doubly fast,
To praise ‘Our God, our help in ages past’.

The players and the audience now stand to sing ‘O God, our Help in Ages Past’.

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Owen, Goronwy [pseud. Gronwy Ddu] (1723–1769) poet
  • Suetonius Paullinus, Gaius (fl. c.AD 40–69) Roman governor of Britain
  • Cybi [St Cybi, Kebi, Mo Chop] (fl. 6th cent.) founder of churches
  • Peulan [St Peulan, Paulinus] (fl. 6th cent.) holy man
  • Cyngar [St Cyngar, Cungar, Congar, Cungarus] (supp. fl. early 8th cent.) holy man
  • Maelgwn Gwynedd (d. 547/549) king of Gwynedd
  • Seiriol [St Seiriol] (fl. 6th cent.) holy man
  • Gwalchmai ap Meilyr (fl. 1132–1180) Welsh-language poet
  • Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd (d. 1195) Welsh prince
  • Baldwin [Baldwin of Forde] (c.1125–1190) archbishop of Canterbury
  • Gerald of Wales [Giraldus Cambrensis, Gerald de Barry] (c.1146–1220x23) author and ecclesiastic
  • Catherine [Catherine of Valois] (1401–1437) queen of England, consort of Henry V
  • Tudor, Owen [Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur] (c.1400–1461) courtier
  • Morris, William (1705–1763) antiquary and botanist
  • Elias, John (1774–1841) Welsh Calvinistic Methodist minister
  • Stephenson, Robert (1803–1859) railway and civil engineer

Musical production

The Holyhead Philharmonic Society
Conductor: W. Bradwen Jones

Choir Accompanist: May Winter

Trumpeters, fiddlers, flautists.

Opening Chorus:
  • ‘Harp of the Mountain-Land’. Words by Felicia Hemans.
Episode I:
  • Music: W. Bradwen Jones.
Episode IV:
  • Music: W. Bradwen Jones.
Episode VII:
  • Music: W. Bradwen Jones.
Episode X:
  • Anthem composed by W. Bradwen Jones.
  • ‘Cob Malltraeth’.
  • ‘O God, our Help in Ages Past’. 
  • ‘Mon’. William Morris.

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Holyhead and Anglesey Mail

Book of words

A Pageant of Anglesey. Anglesey, 1951.

Price 2s. Copy in National Library of Wales.

Other primary published materials


References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant


Sources used in preparation of pageant

  • William Cathrall. History of North Wales. Manchester, 1828.
  • Chronicle of Anglesey History [no other details available]
  • Morris. Letters. Vol. 1, 298. [no other details given]


The Pageant of Anglesey took place in June 1951, as an auxiliary event of the Festival of Britain—a commemoration of the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was one of many events, including pageants in Cardiff and Raglan both of which stressed Wales' unique cultural and linguistic heritage. It was written by the Reverend Albert Evans Jones, a famous poet and director who worked under the pseudonym ‘Cynan’ (after becoming a member of the Gorsedd of Bards in the 1920s). A prominent National Eisteddfod competitor, Cynan was ‘endowed with a keen sense of drama and pageant’, and had previously staged pageants at Conway in 1927 and Caernarfon Castle in 1929 and 1930. A playwright and lecturer as well, he was one of the key figures in the production of Welsh Drama from the 1920s, and was, at the time of the Pageant of Anglesey, arguably at the height of his importance.8 The pageant was a declaration of Welsh individuality and the importance of its artistic culture and history, yet, at the same time, also an affirmation of the principality’s place within British history and culture more generally. Though the pageant was held in Holyhead, the largest town on the island, the press declared that the event was one ‘in which the whole county may take pride.’9

The wider ethos of the Festival of Britain was one of national rebuilding and reconstruction, expressed through a confidence in the arts, sciences, and technology of the nation, and a distinctly internationalist modernist style of presentation.10 The Book of Words for the pageant seemed to draw on this ethos, drawing attention to the ‘modern, go-ahead business town’ of Holyhead where the performance took place, and the engineering feat of the Britannia Tubular Bridge in 1850. This bridge, built by Robert Stephenson, had the dual effect, argued the organisers, not only of linking Anglesey to the spirit of the 1851 Great Exhibition, and thus the 1951 Festival, but also of quite literally joining Anglesey with the mainland.11 The Anglesey Pageant, however, was not, seemingly, an official event of the Festival. Instead, the annual celebrations of Welsh culture and language, the Eisteddfod was agreed by the Festival Office and the Welsh Festival Committee to be the Welsh contribution.12 Despite this, Anglesey’s pageant threw itself behind the aims of the Festival—as did the Land of My Fathers pageant at Cardiff the same summer.

The Festival of Britain, more generally, was a chance to overcome memories of the destruction of war by projecting a sense of national identity backwards—to rethink a national sense of place and to ‘fall in love with the land again’.13 This was evident in the main narrative of the pageant, expressed through dialogue, singing, music, and ballet. The opening scene set a celebratory tone of Welshness, when Mona the Mother of Wales (Mom Mam Cymru) was taken to her throne by the eighteenth-century poet Goronwy Owen, one of the ‘most famous of all her gifted sons’. As this took place, a harpist played traditional Welsh melodies, and twelve little girls representing the other Welsh counties danced nearby. Local traditions of Anglesey and Wales more generally featured, such as the legend of St Seiriol and St Cybi in the third episode; the mythical tale of Gruffydd’s Daughter and fairies in the seventh episode; and the Holyhead Wakes Day celebrations in the eight episode. In the Epilogue the Mother of Wales spoke in English to the audience, describing how the pageant had shown ‘Some exploits of an old, heroic race’, and instructed the audience to ‘unite, your faith made doubly fast, To praise “Our God, our help in ages past”’. While there were these moments of Welsh pride in culture, there was also an attempt to connect the history of the principality to the wider story of the nation. The wooing of Katherine of France by Owain of Penmynydd, portrayed in Episode VI, for example, gave England ‘the greatest of all the royal lines, the House of Tudor’.14 This scene was also the only one not to be set in Anglesey, instead taking place at Windsor. Similarly, the final episode, of the building of the bridge, was more about outward connectivity than insular culture. In general, there was little in the pageant that could offend English sensibilities, and none of the more contentious Welsh independence scenes of earlier pageants. Owain Glyndwr and the Welsh revolt of 1400–1415, a popular scene from earlier pageants, was not shown. The only point of contention came in the sixth episode, when a Welsh page and English page fought over the memory of Glyndwr—the Welsh page winning, and making the English page swear ‘never again’ to ‘breathe a word of scandal against the Queen and my kinsman.’

Religion was undoubtedly a central part of the pageant, dominating the first, second, third, eighth, and ninth episodes. The pageant Book of Words described how these scenes indicated the ‘importance of the religious factor in the development of Anglesey’—from the Celtic Church to the Church of England, and including the ‘immeasurable effect of Nonconformity’ and Methodism in particular, as represented by John Elias O Fon.15 The press confirmed this, describing how ‘the pageant, subtly, perhaps even consciously, emphasised the reality and abiding qualities of religion in the island history—that was the greatest achievement for the Faith has endured, and will remain.’16 Many English pageants had left an explicit focus on religion behind by this point; the Pageant of Anglesey’s focus reflects both the more general importance of religion on the island, as well as its authorship by Cynan.

In one aspect, the Pageant of Anglesey departed more clearly from the main ethos of the Festival of Britain. Unsurprisingly, given that at least three-quarters of the island were Welsh speakers, much of the pageant was in Welsh. The Holyhead and Anglesey Mail confidently proclaimed that ‘non-Welsh people should have no difficulty in comprehending the Welsh scenes’, because many were in mime and a synopsis was given in the programme, and concluded that ‘It should not be more difficult for English-speaking persons to follow these scenes than it should be for an ordinary theatre-goer to follow the story of a ballet.’17 This was certainly a bold judgement. Though there was certainly a synopsis, it was very short in comparison to what were, in reality, long scenes entirely in Welsh. Historian Harriet Atkinson has argued that the English language was both ‘subject and object of the Festival of Britain’, a way to assert a ‘singular, cohesive British identity’ and make a claim for English as being the ‘profound contribution to world civilization and to the democratic principle.’ The Festival Office thus tolerated variance in local, regional or national languages of the four nations, but did not present them to any great extent as a ‘valid part of a multitudinous British identity.’18 In practice, this meant that festival competitions held to promote Celtic and Gaelic, such as the Pageant of Anglesey, were sponsored not by the Festival Official but by the Arts Council.19 Even though the choice to stage much of the pageant in Welsh put it somewhat outside the festival, it did gain support—particularly from Councillor E. Gibbons of the Dun Laoghaire Corporation (in Ireland). Presiding over one of the performances as an invited guest of the local authority, he used the event as an opportunity to make direct claims for more obvious nationalist sentiment. He declared he was as an ambassador of goodwill, and insisted that Wales and Ireland, ‘with their Celtic spirit’, had much in common. He implored the producers and actors to preserve their language and culture, since ‘A nation without a language was only half a nation.’20

The pageant was unfortunately beset by awful weather, and three of the planned performances, including the opening, were abandoned.21 Still, the Holyhead and Anglesey Mail was, perhaps predictably, very positive about the pageant. Cynan came in for particular praise for ‘investing dramatic values in his historical scenes without in any way affecting their validity’.22 Despite the washout weather, the pageant was (publically at least) deemed a local success. When asked by the press if he was satisfied with the results, Cynan replied ‘Yes, and it was certainly worthwhile to have undertaken such a labour of love if ultimately it will help the children of Holyhead to preserve their glorious heritage in the history and language of Wales.’23 It was certainly Welsh, both in the scenes chosen and the language used for much of the dialogue, yet also distinctly non-confrontational or nationalist. Though only a small event that left little of a national footprint, it still neatly fitted into the aim of the Festival of Britain in securing communication and togetherness between the countries and regions of the nation.


  1. ^ See ‘Festival Celebrations’, Holyhead and Anglesey Mail, 15 June 1951, 8.
  2. ^ A Pageant of Anglesey (Anglesey, 1951), 46.
  3. ^ ‘Festival Celebrations’, Holyhead and Anglesey Mail, 15 June 1951, 8.
  4. ^ A Pageant of Anglesey (Anglesey, 1951).
  5. ^ A Pageant of Anglesey (Anglesey, 1951).
  6. ^ A Pageant of Anglesey (Anglesey, 1951).
  7. ^ A Pageant of Anglesey (Anglesey, 1951).
  8. ^ Thomas Parry, ‘JONES, Sir CYNAN (ALBERT) EVANS (‘Cynan’; 1895–1970)’, Dictionary of Welsh Biography, accessed 29 January 2015, http://yba.llgc.org.uk/en/s2-JONE-EVA-1895.html.
  9. ^ ‘Pageant of Mona’, Holyhead and Anglesey Mail, 8 June 1951, 8.
  10. ^ See The Festival of Britain (London, 1951).
  11. ^ A Pageant of Anglesey (Anglesey, 1951), 67.
  12. ^ Harriet Atkinson, The Festival of Britain: A Land and its People (London, 2012), 104.
  13. ^ Ibid., 2.
  14. ^ A Pageant of Anglesey, 40–42.
  15. ^ Ibid., 60.
  16. ^ ‘Festival Celebrations’, Holyhead and Anglesey Mail, 15 June 1951, 8.
  17. ^ ‘Pageant of Mona’, Holyhead and Anglesey Mail, 8 June 1951, 8.
  18. ^ Atkinson, The Festival of Britain: A Land and its People, 131.
  19. ^ Atkinson, The Festival of Britain: A Land and its People, 129–131.
  20. ^ ‘Pageant’s Success’, Holyhead and Anglesey Mail, 22 June 1951, 6.
  21. ^ ‘Festival Celebrations’, 8.
  22. ^ ‘Pageant of Mona’, 8.
  23. ^ ‘Pageant’s Success’, 6.

How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘A Pageant of Anglesey’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/953/