Thursday, 27 August 2009

Crown of Bardsey's 'King' to come home

AN exhibition in October celebrating the history of Bardsey Island or Ynys Enlli could feature the crown of the island's King.

Jointly organised by the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery and the Bardsey Island Trust the show will look at the history of the community which fished and farmed on the island until the middle of the 20th Century. It also marks 30 years since the Bardsey Island Trust was established as a registered charity in 1979.

Esther Roberts, Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery Curator said: "As part of the exhibition research, we are looking for anyone with photographs, stories or objects relating to the people who lived and worked on Bardsey until the mid 20th Century. The preparation is going well, and with the help of people who own photographs, artefacts and who has information about the island's history, we are confident that it will be an event to remember.

"Discussions are also ongoing to try to have the island's crown as part of the exhibition."

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the population of the island was around 100, but in 1925 the 'King' of Enlli, Love Pritchard (the title was bestowed on successive community leaders by Lord Newborough), led most of the remaining inhabitants to the mainland to seek a less laborious way of life. Others began to settle there shortly afterwards, making a living mainly by farming and fishing.

Made of tin, the crown is usually stored in the Maritime Museum in Liverpool. There have been many calls to have the crown returned to Gwynedd. Whilst the need to ensure strict security and environmental controls means that it will not be possible for the crown to return to the island, it is hoped that the standards in the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery, Bangor mean that it will be possible for the crown to return to Gwynedd for a period of six months.

When Lord Newborough sold the island in 1972 to the Honourable Michael Pearson (Lord Cowdrey), the farms were merged to form a single tenancy. The Bardsey Island Trust was able to buy the island from him in 1979, following an appeal led by dedicated Bardsey enthusiasts from all over the UK and supported by many Welsh academics and public figures as well as the Church in Wales.

John Griffiths of the Bardsey Island Trust said: "We are delighted to support this wonderful exhibition at Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery. It is particular timely that the event is held this year - 30 years since the establishment of the Trust as a registered charity.

"As a Trust, we work to protect the wildlife and ecosystem of the island, to encourage people to visit the island as a place of natural beauty and pilgrimage to protect the buildings and archaeological sites, to promote the artistic and cultural life of the island and to engage in farming to benefit the island's diverse habitats. We hope that this exhibition will be a great way for us to share this message with more people."

The exhibition will be at the Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery, Bangor from October 24, 2009 until 17 April 2010.

If you have any photographs that you would be happy for the exhibition team to scan, contact them to arrange a suitable time for your photographs to be scanned.

Contact the team:

Tony and Gwenllian Jones ( / 01758 780 209)

Esther Roberts ( / 01248 353 368)

John Griffiths ( / 08458 112233)

The Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery, Bangor is open from Tuesday to Friday from 12.30pm to 4.30pm and on Saturday from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Admission is free.


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