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Penrhys, Rhondda Page

We all want love... yearn for love, wait for love,
but human nature opposes the true Spirit...

so we all do those things, time and again,
that destroy love and fail to do those
 selfless acts our world needs...

when all major Faiths teach us to bow
to the Spirit of Love and be reborn.


Jeremy Corbyn tweets

Estate regeneration must put local people first.

In London @SadiqKhan is doing just that by using
Labour policies to protect social housing and
give residents a real say - before any
development takes place.
Sadiq Khan to cut cash for housing
schemes opposed by residents...

Regeneration that demolishes social housing
will need residents’ votes to win funding...

(Source - theguardian.com)


Penrhys was definitely improving - our youngsters
were looking to help, as older residents pitched in,
and Penrhys Voice drew every group closer,
to work together for the common good.

The problem has nearly always been based on
"lack of money or lack of funds", but there are
some so-called 'sink estates' leading the way
- and Penrhys could be one of them.

Another estate once seen as almost hopeless
is Marsh Farm, which now has a truly amazing
story to tell of socialism and community work
in action "on the ground". You can check out
their brilliant story here:


Which Way For Penrhys?

Just outside the Labour Party Conference
Welsh Streets show Penrhys the bad way.

Welsh Street was promised top down plans
for years, and the streets where the Beatle
Ringo Starr was born, are now derelict.

Yet 4 Streets, a similar area, designed
and managed by the community, is a
prize-winning success.

Local communities need to be engaged and included
 in proposals to develop their communities. As shown
by Welsh Streets and Granby 4 Streets, this is where
the best plans are created and implemented.

Ex- Labour leaders Jeremy Corbyn & John McDonnell,
were beginning to
 lay out similar plans for developing
the UK’s
 infrastructure, via a National Infrastructure
 bank, and a network of Regional Banks to kick-
start redevelopment, with £500bn, but the
unimaginative Blairites have won, for
now, & put a non-entity in their place.

That leaves only local plans possible!

 It's important that we all learn from successes
 at Granby 4 Streets and elsewhere, that local
 communities are not merely to be consulted
on fait accompli plans -- but to be put at the
 heart of developing plans in the first place.

Coalitions of cooperatives, community agencies
 and residents can and should be, the foundation
 of building communities --- from the bottom up.

The Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust’s
10 Houses Project not only leaves five homes
with an affordable rent and five homes under
shared ownership, but it also offers training
 schemes for local 16-to-24-year-olds who
 want to get into construction.

Image: St Mary's statue, Penrhys, Rhondda


Penrhys is the most magical mystical place you
will ever find, and it's almost been forgotten!

The highest village in Wales, this is the land
named in remembrance of our Prince Rhys -
probably the most cultured and wise Prince
to rule southern Wales - who kept invaders
from destroying Wales & its unique culture
by using his wisdom - & who died fighting
to keep his kingdom safe, at a time when
he was very old.

Penrhys is one of the top 100 world Shrines, and the
people of Wales poured here to refresh their spirits:
until the Norman French & later, those who feared
Welsh patriotism, neglected and reduced it --- in a
diminution barely paralleled in any land's history.

Penrhys was the site of a monastery which fed the
 economy of south East Wales, and its Shrine drew
pilgrims from all over West Europe, as its healing
 powers and spring, grew in fame and prestige.

It is no exaggeration to say that for hundreds of years,
Penrhys Shrine was the "Lourdes" of Western Europe.


A soul prayer to the pure from Penrhys,
where dreams come true !
with beautiful music by Efran Kaye

Image: The path to the little church from the Beacon, Penrhys, Rhondda

20th May 1893

Mr. Hobson Matthews, in an interesting address,
said the well was on the site of the once famous
 monastery of Penrhys, which in Catholic times,
 was the foremost shrine of the Blessed Virgin
 in Wales, where was preserved a renowned
 image of Saint Mary, with her Divine Child
 in her arms.

The few memorials that still exist of the ancient
monastery of Pen Rhys ab Tewdwr are situated
 on the southern spur of a chain of hills known
 as Cefn Twyn, Rhondda, which separates the
two valleys of the Rhondda.

Its remote situation has caused it to be overlooked
 by tourists, and even by historians and antiquaries,
 so that hardly any mention of it was to be found in
 books. At the middle of this century, some portions
 of Penrhys monastery existed, though incorporated
 with other modern erections and difficult to identify.

 The present farmhouse of Penrhys had been erected
 on the site of the ancient monastery, the materials
which, appear to have been largely employed in
construction. Particularly the barn, that stands

 in a field near the house, and which is still called
 "V Fynwent " (the churchyard), was formed, to a
 considerable extent, out of portions of the ancient
 monastic buildings, one of the windows, and parts
 of the old walls of which, were, at that period,
very discernible.

By 1875, however, the few remains had been
 ruthlessly swept away, in repairing the farm
 buildings. The only object of interest that still
 remained was the holy well. This still stood
 uninjured, & continued to attract numerous
 believers in the healing properties of its
 miraculous waters, which were said to have
 performed many remarkable cures in cases
of rheumatism, king's evil, & other ailments.

 It was simply a spring of pure water issuing
 copiously out of the grey sandstone of the
coal measures, known to geologists as the
 Pennant rock --- and it did not appear to
 contain any chemical property that would
 be likely to account for its possession of
any healing virtue.

The spring, Mr. Matthews pointed out, was
entered by stone steps, and arched over;
and at the back, above the spring, was a
niche, in which it was probable that there
 stood, originally, an image of Our Lady
 of Penrhys.

 Even such great authorities as Dugdale and
Tanner omit all reference to this monastery,
and there remain only a few allusions in
writings of medieval Welsh bards.

Traditional accounts existing in Glamorgan
 show that it was founded to commemorate
 the death, near this place, of the
Rhys ab Tewdwr.

 Over his grave was erected a large tumulus,
 near the monastery, which was called Bryn
 y Beddau: the "hill of graves." Robert Consul,
 Earl of Gloucester, grandson of Prince Rhys,
 and an illegitimate son of King Henry I., was
 believed to have founded the monastic house
for the repose of the soul of his grandfather,
Rhys ab Tewdwr.

 This would be some time about the year 1133.
The monastery was said to have been largely
 endowed with lands in the Rhondda Valleys,
 and it appeared that it was a house of
[Ed. since largely disproven]

If this were so, it would account for the fact
 that Owen Glyndwr honoured and protected
 Penrhys.... Glyndwr is said to have presided
here at an eisteddfod, which Iolo
said was held "Yn Mynachlog
Pen Rhys
yn Nglyn Rhondda."

An ancient bardic composition refers to Penrhys,
 thus: "I will go to Penrhys in my smock, for fear of
 the day of trembling; at my side my pilgrim's scrip,
 and in my hand, a taper a fathom long." It will be
 remembered that it was Latimer who said that the
 images of Our Lady of Walsingham and of Ipswich
 "with their two sisters of Doncaster and Penrhys
 would make a jolly muster in Sm:thfield."

When Penrhys is electronically surveyed,
and all the ancient secrets delineated,
knows what else might be found?
the old monastery tunnels,
or other treasures !

Image: The Little Church, Penrhys, Rhondda

Image: entrance to the little church, Penrhys, Rhondda

Image: Little Church, Rhondda, from the front

Image: Little church, Penrhys, Rhondda, from the back

Only a modern stone statue and the little church
now remain, and - unlike Walsingham - which was
destroyed at the same time as Penrhys, and now
attracts great wealth and hundreds of thousands
of pilgrims & tourists each year in an ecumenical
triumph of the Spirit;- Penrhys still stands on
an unrealised tourism and wealth-generating
goldmine unparalleled in Wales !

But perhaps the long wait is over:

Penrhys Partnership did excel themselves -
so much was done - a Flying Start Scheme,
youth apprenticeships, old age provision,
so many other improvements it's
difficult to
count them, never mind
remember each one;
benches, with
picnic tables, courses, shows...
the list is endless!

Soon we'll be a much needed source of
pride to the whole Rhondda & Wales...

So many good people now, are working hard
for Penrhys
...  and the future it deserves!

There is a new movement based
on Faith, Strength and Unity...

Soon - very soon now - a new
organisation to bring Hope
and wealth to Penrhys'
working class people:
- brothers & sisters all -
will rise from the ashes.

Please watch this space
- and spread the news !!!

Image: The Spring at the bottom of the little church, Penrhys, Rhondda


Two warrior Princes were buried on Penrhys,
in a sitting position, to stare in defence
of the Rhondda - one looked over the 'Fawr,
and the other gazed to the East at the 'Fach.

Both were stolen by an archaeological expedition
and removed to London in the early 20th Century.

The systematic stripping of the Rhondda's heritage
has been a recurring theme in its long song......

Yet the people here still have its Spirit.

Long live the fire and Spirit of Penrhys!


proves the beauty of Nature, as "he"
has given birth to several babies !

Many thanks to Ivor Williams for
supplying all the original video.

A mighty man !!!

Image: A new life for Penrhys


the Forestry Commission is open to public access
planning, and would welcome an orchard, or a
"Green Gym" for example, started by locals.

The future is made by...?


Dear folks

The Agroforestry and forest garden network
 continues to grow; more listings are being
added all the time. If you need a reminder
of how to access the list, see below.

This is an excellent way to get extra help to
 overcome problems or reinvigorate a project.

for more information.

Martin Crawford

Agroforestry Research Trust,
46 Hunters Moon, Dartington,
Totnes, TQ9 6JT UK

W: https://www.agroforestry.co.uk
E: mail@agroforestry.co.uk

New book September 2016: How to
Grow your own Nuts by Martin Crawford.

Agroforestry and

Forest Garden Network


Updated network listing and password

The latest updated network list can be viewed by logging in at 
using the new password: 

If you would like your project listed, or a listing changed,
just email us details!
Best wishes for 2018

Agroforestry and

Forest Garden Network
Updated link for network listing 

Apologies if the link in the last update seemed to
 cause some problems. The updated network list
can be viewed by logging in at 

using the password:   27fgnet18

If you would like your project listed, or
a listing changed, just email us details!

Image: Consciousness and Unity


Good old Derek Brockway helps the world
to explore our Shrine - and keep healthy -
with Madelaine Gray adding fascinating,
previously unmentioned, Welsh history!

It was available on BBC iPlayer at:



Wasn't it beautiful to see the 3rd episode of
'The Story Of Wales' explain HOW important
Penrhys was when its Shrine was truly open?

As the Consciousness and Unity of Penrhys grows,
so the relative power of selfishness or cliques
and gang-thinking will continue to shrink:
and Penrhys will once more be able to
stretch out
its beautiful healing arms
to the world again.

Perhaps the new Archbishop can break the log-jam
(Everyone in the Rhondda knows that if the leaders
of Cardiff Diocese want to, they can resurrect the
Shrine of Mary & revitalise the Rhondda & Wales)


As you know !

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