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Camden News - by TOM FOOT
Published: 1 October 2009
The Morganwg stone on Primrose Hill
The Morganwg stone on Primrose Hill
Park objectors say Welsh hero was a criminal

Danny Abse leaps to poet’s defence

TO his followers, he was a revolutionary poet to rival the Romantic writers of his day, a Welsh druid leader whose visionary ideas captured the spirit of the age.
But to the Friends of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, Iolo Morganwg was a liar and an opium addict. The Friends claim he was a “bloody criminal” undeserving of a permanent memorial stone in the park.
A row has erupted after the park’s guardians objected to a stone plaque commemorating the life of Morganwg – also known as Edward Williams – in Primrose Hill.
The plaque, with the inscription “truth against the world”, was laid in Primrose Hill as a temporary installation during a summer solstice druid event in June attended by Welsh newsreader Huw Edwards and three Plaid Cymru MPs.
It marks the historic day in 1792 when Morganwg convened the first meeting of the Gorsedd of Bards of the Island of Britain. The Welsh cultural group, which still meets more than two centuries later, is made up of prominent Welsh figures who have made a distinguished contribution to the nation’s language and culture.
They regard Morganwg’s Primrose Hill assembly as one of the most important points in Welsh history.
But Friends chairman Malcolm Kafetz said: “The man in question, Edward Williams, otherwise known as Iolo Morganwg, had an extraordinary and interesting but not necessarily praiseworthy life. He had a bookshop, wrote poems and folk songs and discovered a series of influential medieval chronicles. It was only after some 100 years that these were discovered to be forgeries. The Friends do not want monuments on the Hill, but particularly not this one.
“This chap was bankrupt and a forger. A bloody criminal. This plaque has just appeared out of nowhere. It is a diabolical cheek.”
Mr Kafetz has rallied the 1,200-strong Friends group with a stinging editorial in the quarterly newsletter – under the headline “Iolo – Who He?” – ahead of a decision by the Royal Parks Agency on whether the stone can stay, expected later this month.
Dannie Abse, a Welsh poet and younger brother of political reformer Leo Abse, said: “Morganwg was a legendary Welsh poet.
“He did forge poems. But he was a great, great scholar – and he fooled everybody. I’m not sure if he was a drug addict, but he was certainly the best poet that went to Cardiff jail.”
He added: “Christopher Marlowe died in a pub brawl – but we celebrate him don’t we?
“Lord Byron was a womaniser, but he is buried in Westminster Cathedral. So why not commemorate Iolo on Primrose Hill?”
A spokeswoman for the Royal Parks Agency said a decision on the plaque is expected by the end of the year.

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I thinks it's interesting how once again a few centuries later, jealous and devious people critisize what they don't understand. They knocked Iolo a few hundread years back for the breathtaking work he put out then, and they're doing it again now. It's more of justification for not allowing real work to be out out there then it is being a martyr for something improtant.Critics don't do anyone favours and they certainly don't recognise the best the history has to offer.
C. Robbins


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