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This report is taken from PN Review 135, Volume 27 Number 1, September - October 2000.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

When I took over from Meic Stephens as editor of Poetry Wales in 1973, I introduced a new cover design. Apart from the name of the magazine, the issue date and the publisher its only feature was a facsimile, a little larger than actual size, of the great seal of Owain Glyndwr. On the front he appears mounted; his horse, richly accoutred, is galloping forward, he is armed with sword and shield, his helmet is crowned with a dragon crest. On the back, he is seated on a throne surmounted by a canopy, hunting dogs are at his feet and, behind him, protective angels spread banners figured with leopards passans - from the arms of the house of Gwynedd, with which he claimed an important, if distant, connection. Both are powerful images, loaded with meaning for any with a sense of Welsh nationhood.

A reproduction of the same seal, bought many years ago from the shop at the National Museum of Wales, lies on the desk beside me as I write. I have recently seen the real thing, attached to an original document, the letter, in Latin, addressed by Glyndwr to Charles VI of France, 'Given at Pennal on the thirty-first day of March AD 1406, and in the sixth year of our rule', on loan from the archives nationales at Paris. The man who sought by this letter to establish Wales as an independent Christian principality, owing allegiance to the anti-pope, Benedict, at Avignon, was a ...


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