Wales

National Eisteddfod: Solving 'mystery' of first chair

Bard Tudur Dylan Jones standing next to 1819 Eisteddfod chair in Camarthen
Image caption Tudur Dylan Jones believes the chair at Carmarthenshire Museum is not the only one made for the 1819 National Eisteddfod

A National Eisteddfod winner is trying to solve the "mystery" of what became of the first chair gifted at the event.

The chairing of the bard is the highlight of the annual cultural festival and honours the winner of a poetry contest.

A specially designed chair is used in the ceremony and handed to the winner.

It had not been thought one was given out at an historic Eisteddfod 200 years ago, but organisers of an anniversary event believe one may exist.

They are now trying to track it down.

The 1819 Carmarthen National Eisteddfod was the first time the Gorsedd of the Bards - an association made up of poets, writers, musicians, artists and others who have contributed to the nation - featured at the festival.

It was also the first time a chair was used in the ceremony to crown the poetry competition winner.

However, at the time, the winner received a medal and it was not thought a chair was handed out, with the one used in the ceremony currently on display at Carmarthenshire Museum in Abergwili.

Image caption The National Eisteddfod dates back to the 12th century and celebrates literature, music and performance

But research for a book to mark 200 years since the festival found evidence suggesting another was handed out.

Tudur Dylan Jones, who won the chair in 1995 and 2005, came across a newspaper article about an auction in Powys in 1898.

It mentions Eisteddfod medals for sale and a chair with a silver shield carrying the motto "Calon wrth Galon" (heart to heart), that was formerly the property of Reverend Walter Davies.

He was the bard at the 1819 National Eisteddfod, suggesting he had in fact been gifted a chair.

Mr Jones said: "There is no inscription or silver plaque on this chair in the museum in Abergwili and that suggests that there could be a second chair."

He added: "But where is the second chair? If there is a second chair, of course - this is the mystery."

Organisers of Gŵyl yr Orsedd, which takes place between 1 and 13 July, want to find it ahead of the event.

Geraint Roberts said: "We would be over the moon if we could trace this chair and bring it back to Carmarthen. "

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