As a diasporadic Scot, I feel a fellowship with other occupants of the Celtic fringe, including those from the Brythonic branch of the lingual tree.
The shiring of Wales by England may have taken place in the 1530s and 40s, but by then the Cymry had infiltrated what was arguably the most powerful institution of sixteenth-century England. The Tudor dynasty formally consecrated its Welsh lineage by including the Red Dragon in its royal arms. Earlier the future Henry VII raised the Red Dragon with its Tudor green and white background when he defeated Richard III and his supporters at Bosworth Field in 1485.
A little more recently, and right on the heels of their fellow Celts in Scotland, the Welsh regained their own parliament. It remains to be seen what Devolution will ultimately deliver to both, but it is interesting to watch.
In between, the Cymry have made their own disproportionate contributions to not only “Britain” and “Britishness”, but to the wider world. But fear not, I have no intention of assembling a list that irrefutably demonstrates how the Welsh invented the “modern world”. No doubt you can find something of that sort in a bargain bin at your local book bizarre of choice. Such claims have become what Trojan founding myths were to nascent European nation-states.
I do need to mention, however, a few Welshman that have meant something to me, if not the modern world, which, surely, is a more important cause than I am. Although I am open to contributions, as always.
Bertrand Russell never meant anything to me. Mathematicians never make good philosophers.
Richard D. James may not mean something to a lot of people. But Aphex Twin might, but not really that much to me.
It means more to me that Roger Glover is a Welshman. But not all Welshmen are Highway Stars.
It means much more to me that Peter Greenaway is Welsh. But not many Welshmen have made films as wonderful as The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, and her Lover.
And while it might not be traditional Welsh music, a power trio originally from North Wales has recently captured my ear.
Hwyl am rwan ...
http://youtu.be/9kNQeDlgBoc (switch to 1080p)