Rhoscolyn has a fascinating history, with its patron saint, Gwenfaen, first making her home and church here in 630 AD. Some say that the druids’ last stand against the Romans, who invaded Mona (Anglesey) in 60 or 61 AD, was at Cymyran, the inland sea between Mona and Holy Island and the open sea, south of Four Mile Bridge.  Anglesey itself also has a very interesting history as you will see below.

Beautiful stained glass windows

Churches in the Holyhead parish are lucky enough to have some really very beautiful and special windows. Including several in both St Cybi’s and St Gwenfaen’s made in or around 1919 by William Morris & Co, to drawings by Sir Edward Burne Jones.  these are two sets of two that you will be familiar with in St Gwenfaen:

We were recently fortunate enough to attend a lecture and viewing of the Burne Jones exhibition that is currently on at the Tate Britain gallery.  There we saw just one stained glass window (this is because, like “ours” the majority are still in the churches they were made for) – you can see it on the left here:


The one on the right is clearly not by Burne Jones, but considerably earlier.  But with a similar “lamb” theme – perhaps when he visited the churches he was inspired by the existng one (which is just by the pulpit) – pure speculation but a nice thought.

By the way, the curator of the Tate exhibition was familiar with the ones we have up here and Burne Jones’ connections – she said she had visited.

Some December history snippets

On the 5th in 1791, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in Vienna, aged 35. During his brief life, he created over 600 musical compositions, and yet he died a pauper.

On the 9th in 1886, American industrialist Clarence Birdseye was born in Brooklyn, New York. He developed a method of deep-freezing foods.

On the 10th in 1896, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel died at San Remo, Italy. His will stipulated that income from his $9 million estate be used for awards recognizing persons who have made valuable contributions to humanity. Each Nobel Peace prize is valued at about $1 million.

On the 14th in 1918, British women voted for the first time in a general election and were allowed to run for office.

On the 16th in 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany. He created powerful, emotional music, but suffered from hearing loss before he was 30. By the time of his last (Ninth) symphony, he was completely deaf. In 1824, he conducted the Ninth Symphony at its world premier in Vienna although he was unable to hear either the orchestra or the applause.

On the 21st in 1846, anaesthesia was used for the first time in Britain during an operation at University College Hospital in London, performed by Robert Liston who amputated the leg of a servant.

With thanks to Pat Hughes and the Holy Island Pastoral Care Circle – Pat is a fount of historical information – see her Christmas historical dates in the side bar.