“The Land of My Fathers”

“The Land of My Fathers”

There has been talk for a while that my paternal line has a link to two important men in Welsh history.  The dates all tie in and it seems likely that this link is correct.  However, I have not personally verified the information but would like to share it anyway.

On 29th August 1773, my 5x great grandfather, Evan James was born in Pencader, Carmarthenshire, however there is some uncertainty about the place of birth.  He was the son of a Woollen Manufacturer.

Evan and his wife, Elizabeth had at least 12 children, Edward (my 4x great grandfather), David, Lewis, Daniel, Daniel, Richard, Mary, Evan, Margaret, James, James, Thomas.

Evan and Elizabeth’s 8th known child, Evan, was born on 11th February 1809 in Castle Street, Caerphilly.  In 1831 Evan married Elizabeth Jones in Bedwellty, Monmouthshire.  In 1841 Evan Jnr and Elizabeth were living at Ancient Druid, Bedwellty with their 2 children, James, 7 and Charles, 3.

Evan James

In 1847 Evan and his family had moved to Pontypridd to run a woollen factory and in 1851 they were living on Mill Street, Pontypridd.  Evan’s occupation was stated as “Woollen Manufactory employing 14 men”.  They were living with their children, James, 18, Charles, 12, Edwin, 8, William, 5 and Evan’s nephew, Daniel aged 18.

In January 1856 Evan’s son James, another Woollen manufacturer, composed the tune of ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ or ‘Land of my Fathers’ or more commonly known as The Welsh National Anthem.
This being said there are a number of stories regarding the anthem’s origins.  Whether Evan wrote the lyrics as a response to his brother’s invitation to America or James composed the music while walking along the Rhondda River, father and son named the piece ‘Glan Rhondda’.

James James

The Welsh National Anthem gained acceptance by the Welsh as a whole and was considered as such before the end of the 19th Century despite not being officially or legally recognised before then.

Evan James died in Pontypridd on 30th September 1878.  James James lived on until 1902 when he died in Aberdare.

Whether this link to my Welsh heritage is fanciful or not, I don’t know.  (I’m too involved in wishful thinking to be unbiased) Unless some evidence declaring Evan and James are not my relatives to claim, then I will keep them as such and be proud of them.