The Chairing at Dyffryn Maelor, 1961

John Hywyn's memories of his father winning the chair in 1961

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Y Maes (Castle Square), Caernarfon, 1970

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The Eisteddfod Maes, Pentwyn, Cardiff, 1978

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Rhosllannerchrugog Eisteddfod procession, 1945

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Rev. Emrys Edwards in his chair, Eisteddfod 1961

Receiving the letter

Emrys! Emrys! The Chair .....

No. I'll never forget Mam's shout from the house.

Saturday night before the 1961 Rhosllannerchrugog Eisteddfod, and the family had just returned from a holiday near Oxford, where Dad and Mam had been looking after the small rural parish of Crowell as a locum, while the vicar ansd his family there were on holiday. Dad and myself busily emptying the car, Glen, my little seven year old sister being a nuisance, and Mam at it opening a fortnight's worth of post.  

Keeping the Secret

The summons should not have been that much of a surprise, as Dad came a very close second to T. Llew home in Caernarfon two years previously. But the two-week-old letter was asking for a reply by return of post “to be sure that you will be present at the ceremony”. There was no e-mail or mobile phones back in 1961, and at that time we had no home telephone. So it was back to the car, and off to Bangor, where Mr Ernest Roberts, the Secretary of the Eisteddfod Court, lived. Dad knocked, the door opened, and an arm dragged him into the house as if he had been caught stealing apples. As luck would have it, the Chair of Bangor Justices had not left for Rhos!

Get up early Thursday morning. Sunday best. Remember Mam asking “Do you want me to drive, Emrys, in case you're nervous,” Reach the Eisteddfod field mid-morning;greet various friends: “Is it you this year, Emrys?” (What answer do these people expect?) Glen and I were really excited, and it was a real strain for a 14 year old boy and his little sister to keep a straight face! Sitting in the huge Pavilion listening to Tilsli delivering the adjudication, and then William Morris calling for Cymro i'r Carn to stand. What a memory.

Celebrating in Caernarfon

When we arrived home that night, a note had been pushed through the door asking the family to go to the Maes in Caernarfon straight away. And there was another memory that Glen and I will keep forever. The Maes was packed! As well as Dad's victory, Dilys Wyn's famous choir had also won. As we walked to the Maes, a crowd from Ysgol Syr Hugh school were enjoying the occasion. “Here he is!” said a voice. And all we saw was three or four muscular boys lifting Dad onto their shoulders, and carrying him through the crowd in the direction of the main Post office, where a temporary stage had been erected. The 'King' and the Choir were praised, both had given the warm-hearted people of the world-famous Town a real reason to rejoice in the shadow of the castle.

The Chair today

Two years ago, after losing Mam, Glen, who has been a teacher at Hooson School since 1988, and I decided it would be nice if the Chair returned to its home, and at the moment it has pride of place in Ysgol Hooson, where it is used to chair the winning bard in the School Eisteddfod.

I often wonder what would have happened if Mam and Dad had agreed to look after Crowell Parish for three weeks!

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