County Lives: G – Glamorganshire; Gloucestershire

map of G;lamorgan showing historic county area

Glamorgan and Gloucestershire – separated only by Monmouthshire – sit along the Severn valley and the river’s outfall into the Bristol Channel.

Glamorganshire is neatly framed on Speed’s map by the plans of Cardyfe, “the fairest town of all South Wales” and Llandaffe, with its castle and cathedral and “without any other memorable matter worthy the speaking of”. The Llandaff publishers of small presses Paperway and Oyster might beg to differ: the Roger McGough collections include poetry published by and for him in issues from 1968,  and also Charles Simic’s Brooms published by Edge Press in Barry (1978).

You can read writings by earlier poets from the county in Special Collections, including Iolo Morganwg (1747-1826), or Edward Williams, the versatile ‘bard of Glamorgan’, who first brought the bardic Gorsedd ceremony to the Eisteddfod in 1819. The Eisteddfod was held in Cardiff in 1834, and regularly revisits Cardiff and Swansea and much of the Vale and Valleys inbetween: Aberavon, Aberdare, Barry, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Gowerton – Lliw Vallley, Llandow, Merthyr Tydfil, Mountain Ash, Neath, Newport, Pontypridd, Rhymney Valley, Treorchy …

Locally-published Glamorganshire histories include Siluriana; or, Contributions towards the history of Gwent & Glamorgan (Newport: 1859) and A history of the Town and Castle of Cardiff (1854). John Speed had a poetic contemporary, William Harbert (or Herbert) (1583?-1628), who is deftly disambiguated in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography from his namesakes of Swansea (an uncle), White Friars (a cousin), two second cousins and a third cousin once removed, his contemporary of Coldbrook, and his own son. Another Glamorganshire resident hard to pin down is Henry P. Pryce of 96, High Street, Barry. All we know is that he wrote his name and address in his 1822 edition of a best-selling French grammar by Antoine Pyron du Martre, or Mr. Porny.

map of Gloucestershire showing historic county area
map of Gloucestershire showing historic county boundary

Speed’s map of Gloucestershire is busily surrounded by heraldic insignia, pictures of battles, and plans of the cities of Gloucester:  

not great but standeth holsomly and sweetly as it were upon a hill

and Bristol

one of the greatest and famous cites in England, the greatest parte thereof standeth in ye boundes of Glocestershire ye rest in Somersetshire: but the Bristollians will nott be counted in eyther, but wilbe a County or Shire within them selfes.

Any reader familiar with Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester will have an image of Gloucester’s fine cathedral, and the ancient shop just outside its precincts. Our Children’s book collection is fortunate to hold several editions, including the privately printed 1902 copy with the inscription ‘With love & best wishes for Christmas, from Beatrix Potter. Dec. 20th 02’.

There are guides to Gloucester cathedral in John Murray’s series of handbooks (1874), John Britton’s (1829), the Society of Antiquities (1809), and an account of its Three Choirs Festival (1812) by Daniel Lysons whose sturdy legs Horace Walpole admired. Samuel Rudder’s New history of Gloucestershire was also praised by Walpole as, “the most sensible history of a county we have had yet”. Perhaps our most thoroughly Gloucestershire book is the Gloucester-printed 1812 edition of Silvanella, owned by Gloucester resident, librarian, bibliographer and antiquary, Roland Austin (1874-1954), with an autograph letter tucked in.

Special Collections classmarks of items cited:


  • Charles Simic (1938-), Brooms: selected poems (Barry: Edge Press, 1978): SPEC McGough 158
  • Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru, 1834. Awenyddion Gwent a Dyfed; sef y cyfansoddiadau barddoniaidd a ennillasant dlysau a gwobraueraill yn Eisteddfod Caerdydd, yr hon a gynnaliwyd, ar yr 20fed, 21 ain a’r 22ain o Awst, 1834: SPEC Y83.3.1939
  • Elijah Waring, Recollections and anecdotes of Edward Williams, the bard of Glamorgan; or, Iolo Morganwg (1850): SPEC Y85.3.116
  • Edward Williams, called Iolo Morganwg, Awenyddion Morganwg, neu Farddoniaeth cadair Merthyr Tudful (Merthyr Tudful: Argraffedig yn argraffdy’r beirdd gan J. Jenkins, dros y cyhoeddwr, D. Jones, 1826): SPEC Y82.3.220
  • Edward Williams, called Iolo Morganwg, Poems, lyrical and pastoral (The author. 1794): SPEC Y79.3.709
  • A. B. Grosart, The poems of William Harbert of Glamorgan; vol. 1 of Miscellanies of the Fuller Worthies Library in four volumes (1870): SPEC H78.5
  • David Lloyd Isaac (1816-1876), Siluriana; or, Contributions towards the history of Gwent & Glamorgan (Newport : Printed by W. Christophers, Merlin Office, 1859): SPEC Y85.3.110
  • William Lemuel Jenkins, A history of the Town and Castle of Cardiff (Cardiff, 1854): SPEC Y85.3.108
  • Antoine Pyron Du Martre, Grammatical exercises, French and English … to which is added an introduction to French poetry by Mr Porny (1822): JUV.1319:3


  • Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), The tailor of Gloucester (London: Strangeways and Sons, printers, 1902): JUV.188:1.5
  • Richard John King (1818-1879), Handbook to the cathedrals of England: Western division. Gloucester, Hereford, Worcester, Bristol, Lichfield (Murray, 1874): FRASER 22
  • John Britton, The history and antiquities of the Abbey, & Cathedral Church of Gloucester (1829): SPEC Y82.4.14
  • Daniel Lysons (1762-1834), History of the origin and progress of the meeting of the three choirs of Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford, and of the charity connected with it; to which is prefixed, A view of the condition of the parochial clergy of this kingdom from the earliest times (Gloucester: printed by D. Walker, and sold for the benefit of the charity, 1812): SPEC Y81.3.965
  • Sir H. C. Englefield, Some account of the Cathedral Church of Gloucester, illustrative of the plans, elevations, and sections, of that building (1809): SPEC 304.1.4(5) and SPEC E.L.17.7
  • Samuel Rudder, A new history of Gloucestershire (1779): SPEC Q19.11/oversize
  • Silvanella, or, The history of a gipsey: a novel (1812): SPEC G53.33