Eisteddfod Chair and Crown Unveiled

Eisteddfod Chair and Crown Unveiled

Both the Rhondda Cynon Taf National Eisteddfod’s Crown and Chair are presented to the festival’s Executive Committee, at a special ceremony in the Guildhall, Llantrisant. 

The Crown and the financial prize of £750 are donated by Ysgol Garth Olwg, which continues to nurture proud Welsh speakers in the Pontypridd area. The Crown was designed by Elan Rhys Rowlands. 

The Crown is presented for a ‘pryddest’ or collection of poems not in cynghanedd, of no more than 250 lines, on ‘Atgof’ (Memory). The adjudicators are Tudur Dylan Jones, Elinor Gwynn and Guto Dafydd. 

Elan combined the impressive features of the Old Bridge in Pontypridd with the pattern of the notes of our national anthem composed in the town. As part of her original application, Elan created a board featuring celebrities and significant features of Rhondda Cynon Taf. Among the celebrities were the father and son James James and Evan James who composed ‘Land of my Fathers’. 

She suggested that the Crown be created with small pieces of pure silver placed like soundwaves with the intention of weaving the musical history of the area into the Crown. The title of the Eisteddfod was placed on the bridge to anchor the design and the Nod Cyfrin, symbol of Gorsedd Cymru since the time of Iolo Morganwg, decorates the front of the Crown, incorporating the strong historical connection with the tradition of the Eisteddfod. 

Elan decided to learn more about the Eisteddfod area before creating the Crown and went to Ysgol Garth Olwg, the Crown’s sponsors, to gather the ideas of young people in the area. She worked with 15 pupils on the project and took their ideas into account in the finished design. 

The Eisteddfod Chair will also be presented to the Executive Committee this evening, and this year’s Chair has been designed and created by designer Berian Daniel. It has been donated by the pupils and community of Ysgol Llanhari, to celebrate the school and the Llanhari family’s contribution to 50 years of Welsh medium education in Rhondda Cynon Taf. 

Oak from an ancient forest, ironwork reflecting the industry of the valleys and coal, the ‘Gold of the Rhondda’, are the features in the Chair this year. 

The tree has been cut in half and in the middle is a ‘river’ of pieces of coal submerged in resin with everything held in place by iron bars. 

Artist and designer, Berian Daniel, explained that the three parts represent the Rhondda, Cynon and Taf rivers which give their name to the county which is home to the Eisteddfod this year.

 “The pupils of Ysgol Llanhari in Pont-y-clun came up with the idea of creating a river of coal and the term ‘Gold of the Rhondda’. Coal came from the earth of the valleys creating work and wealth. And although the industry has come to an end, its influence remains strong and the school wanted to see this reflected in this chair,” he said. 

As it celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2024, the school is also sponsoring the Chair and pupils, staff and friends have been working diligently to raise the necessary funds. Berian has spent the past few months working with the pupils to create and complete the design. 

The wood came from a tree in woodland close to Iolo Morganwg’s home in Cowbridge. The river of coal had to be perfect as every small piece was hidden by resin, and Berian experimented several times until it was right. 

The Nod Cyfrin is created from iron, and there are elements of the nature, culture and industry of the Rhondda, Cynon and Taf valleys in the finished Chair. The inspiration for these have come from the school’s pupils. 

Accepting the Crown and the Chair on behalf of the Eisteddfod, Chair of the local Executive Committee, Helen Prosser, said, “It’s such a pleasure to be here tonight to accept the Crown and the Chair on behalf of the Eisteddfod. 

“This is the first time we’ve seen the Crown and the Chair, and I speak for my fellow Executive committee members when I say that we’re delighted with them both. I’m sure that everyone all over Wales will be thrilled to see them for the first time. 

“They’re a national symbol of our language and culture, but the local is also clear to see in both, and this is what we’ve wanted to achieve throughout our Eisteddfod journey. We’re very aware that we’re hosting this year’s National Eisteddfod – but it’s our festival, with a Valleys’ feel to everything; in the programmes, and, I’m delighted to say, in our Chair and Crown.

 “Tonight is a chance for us to say thank you. Thank you, Ysgol Garth Olwg for your generosity in sponsoring the Crown and the financial prize.  We’re also grateful to Elan Rhys Rowlands for her beautiful and artistic work creating such a wonderful Crown. 

“And then the Chair, created from a tree that grew near Iolo Morganwg’s home. What a privilege to have such a Chair here in Rhondda Cynon Taf. Our heartfelt thanks to Berian Daniel for his work in creating such a special Chair, and thanks also to the pupils, community and family of Ysgol Llanhari for their generous sponsorship. 

“Tomorrow we’ll celebrate 50 days to go until Wales comes to Ynysangharad Park. We can’t wait for everyone to arrive so you can enjoy the fantastic programme we’ve created for you. We’ve waited such a long time to host the Eisteddfod – 68 years in fact – and it’s almost here.  So, the message is clear as we unveil the Chair and the Crown this evening; come to Pontypridd; explore Rhondda Cynon Taf and enjoy. We’re all ready and waiting for you!” 

The Crowning ceremony is on Monday 5 August at 16:00, and the Chairing ceremony on Friday 9 August at 16:00.  Both ceremonies are held in the Pavilion.

Early bird tickets available online until 23:59 on Friday 14 June.  Full price tickets available online and on the gate.

Go online for information about the Rhondda Cynon Taf National Eisteddfod, held in Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd from 3-10 August.

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