Llantwit Major (Llanilltud Fawr)

Map of Llantwit Major by Iolo

Map of Llantwit Major by Iolo

Llantwit Major was an important centre in Iolo's bardic vision and in his version of the history of Glamorgan its history was utterly transformed. In a letter, dated 20 October 1798, to David Thomas, he suggested that he planned to write a brief history of the town, and while discussing the stone pillar (the Samson pillar-stone) that he had discovered in the cemetery around 1789, he referred to 'The Antiquities of Lantwit Major, in the County of Glamorgan. Collected from various Documents. By Edward Williams 1800' (NLW 13114B, pp. 105-39). Iolo believed that Llantwit Major was the most important Christian centre in Glamorgan, if not in Wales. He claimed that the ruins of the college of St Illtud were visible on church land and that several other famous people had been students there, including St Caradoc, St Ilid, the poets Aneirin and Taliesin, and the mythical Brân Fendigaid.

The church of St Illtud, Llantwit Major

The church of St Illtud, Llantwit Major

 The gravestone of Iolo's daughter Margaret(Peggy)

The gravestone of Iolo's daughter Margaret(Peggy)

The church also houses examples of Iolo's work as a stonemason, for example, the memorial tablet to Anthony Jones (see stonemason (Iolo's life)). Also buried at Llantwit Major is Margaret (Peggy), Iolo's eldest daughter, who wrote a handful of English poems, including an elegy to her father.

'On the death of my Father who died Dec 17th 1826'

Elegy to Iolo by his eldest daughter, Margaret (Peggy):

'On the [death of] my Father who died Dec 17th 1826'

Where shall I go to seek for kind relief
I sink beneath a heavy load of grief
My much lov'd Father's number'd with the dead
His soul into a land of spirits fled
To bear the shock unmov'd I had no power
My strength forsook me in that awful hour
Tell me ye stoics can I cease to feel
A wound that time alas can never heal
He was a man with every virtue blest
No vicious wish he harbour'd in his breast
Blest with a heart benevolent and kind
A heart from every earthly dross refin'd
To friendship's Duty he no limits knew
Fair Virtue's path he always did pursue
His numerous talent[s] were not missapp[l]y'd

His service to the world he ne'er deny'd
Blest with a bright illuminated soul
That yielded to kind sympathy's control
Would gladly fly to offer kind relief
To every wretch he saw opprest with grief
How often with delight his voice I heard
Whilst he was with me I no evil fear'd
A kind a most indulgent parent he
Unbounded his affection was to me
His elevated soul's expanding powers
Shone brightest in his weak declining hours
By hope's false mirror I was long deciev'd

The view delighted me and I believ'd
The pleasing prospect vanish'd like a dream
O[f] bubbles floating on a rapid stream
Death like an artful fox with his sly dart
I[n] silence struck the blow that broke my heart
In life's rough thorny road I am left alone
To find my way into a world unknown
No earthly friend to help me on the way
Guard or direct me lest I go astray
Tho death depriv'd me of my Father dear
Even now his spirit may to me be near
My dear my onece lov'd Father still may be

A guarding Angel watching over me
O was I sure While in the vale of woe
That he is present wheresoever I go
Though thorns and briars life's dismal path anoy
How would my heart this moment leap for joy
Soon as the soul has wing'd its flight away
To the bright realms of everlasting day
What glorious scenes shall burst upon its sight
In that blest land of strange and new delight
There prais'd and worshipt by the heavenly train
Most glorious sight the King of glory reign
Tell me ye Angels is my Farther there
Doth he enjoy of all your bliss a share
Delightful thought O heartfelt extacy

Where parent shall their long lost children see
Children their parents meet array'd in light
In the sweet bonds of love to reunite
On that blest shore of everlasting day
Where every sorrow cease all tears are wip'd away

NLW 21377B, pp. 4b-6b