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Illustrations

Mark Williams specialises in illustrating the history and social traditions of South Wales in which he combines his natural talent as a storyteller with the superb skills of a master draughtsman to weave an intriguing and witty history of the ancient Kingdom of Gwent.

 


Pictorial Calendar of the Ancient Kingdom of Gwent - 2003.

Twelve episodes from local history depicted in an illustrated calendar for 2003
Produced in association with the Gwent Country History Association and Newport Local History Society.

 

The year starts off with the great floods of January 1606, when 26 Monmouthshire parishes were submerged and between 500 and 2,000 people are thought to have drowned. "One of the stories I have portrayed is the one of the couple marooned on their cottage roof, despairing of ever being rescued, when a large barrel floated by. They gratefully climbed into the barrel and were carried to safety on the incoming tide."

 

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February highlights the feud between the Morgan and Herbert families back in the 1500s. March, which starts with St David's Day, is about the English and Welsh sides of Monmouthshire and also the fact the writer George Borrow, who was in Newport in 1854, found Welsh still being spoken there.

"It's history and folklore all mixed up. One of my favourite stories concerned Edmund Jones, the 'Prophet of the Tranch', near Pontypool. "The reverend gentleman was born, appropriately enough, on April 1, 1702, and believed that if you believed in ghosts you were bound, therefore, to believe in the Holy Ghost. "He went round collecting all sorts of ghost stories and folk tales without bothering too much as to whether they were true or not. When a tongue-in-cheek miner said that he had seen swallows underground in winter, hibernating with their beaks stuck into the roofs of caverns, the credulous Jones took it all in."

 

"Gwent is rich in human stories which I have tried to work into the calendar. For October, for instance, I've featured the 'stay down' strike at Nine Mile Point colliery in 1935, when over 200 miners stayed underground for 177 hours as a protest at the employment of non-union colliers. "Some of the policemen drafted in to break the strike were seen to be in tears when the sound of the miners singing hymns floated up the mine shaft."

 

 

Historical Map of the Ancient Kingdom of Gwent

 

This large scale drawing of the ancient Welsh Kingdom of Gwent depicts literally hundreds of events and places in the historic kingdom. The giant A0 sized poster shows the whole of the present day county with its villages and towns picked out in detailed pen and ink drawings and the historic stories associated with the place.

 

 

 

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