Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

when the Danish invaders were occupying element in the Vale must have been at the attention of the English), there is least as strong five hundred years ago as it evidence that the Cymric tongue made

is now.

Another district which became considerable inroads upon English-speaking thoroughly Anglicised was the peninsula territory eastward of the Dyke, though not of Gower, which remained until the time to the extent of ousting the English speech of Henry VIII. an independent lordship, altogether.* In other respects, the incom separate from the rest of Glamorgan. ing of the Danes made little difference to Wales, as far as language was concerned.

We come now to consider the question

of the English-speaking districts on the Their descents on the coast of North Wales, and their settlernents in South Wales, seem

eastern border. This question stands in

intimate relation with the formation of the to have left no permanent trace in the

Welsh shires by Edward I. and Henry language of the country.

VIII. and the consequent final settlement The policy of the Norman kings in the

of the eastern limits of Wales. The Stainstitution of lordship marchers along the

tute of Rhuddlan, in the thirteenth year of eastern and southern fringes of Wales was the reign of Edward I., provided for the attended with important results to the government of the dominions of Llywelyn linguistic condition of the Welsh Marches. by dividing them into shires, organised Every Norman castle and town became a after the English manner. But the domincentre, at first no doubt partly of French, ions of Llywelyn (with those of his brother but afterwards mainly of English, customs Dafydd) had included a part of what is and speech. The number of English names now Flintshire.

A new county was thereamong the litigants mentioned in the Ruthin fore formed out of this eastern portion of Court Rolls (just published in the Cym- the domain of the Welsh princes, and placed mrodorion Record Series) will furnish some under a sheriff of Flint in an anomalous indication of the extent to which English kind of dependence on the adjacent county settlers poured over the Welsh border in of Chester. The county thus formed, with the train of their Norman lords. This a few later additions, became the modern foreign influence was doubtless much more

Flintshire. The remaining five eastern permanent in certain districts than in counties, viz., Denbigh, Montgomery, Radothers. The towns of Wales remained nor, Brecknock, and Monmouth, were largely English-speaking down to John formed by Henry VIII. in 1536 out of the Penry's time. But as a general rule the ancient lordship marchers, which were descendants of the English settlers became then finally abolished; and the eastern

or later absorbed in the Welsh border of Wales was finally settled in its speaking population. There were, however, present form. some conspicuous instances in which the

It is scarcely necessary to say that, in English language finally prevailed over the determining the geographical limits of Welsh. In South Pembrokeshire, which Wales, neither Edward I. nor Henry VIII. was ruled over by the Clares and early

were influenced in the least by linguisorganised on the model of an English county tic considerations. The mother-tongue of palatine, the displacement of the earlier

Edward I. was Norman French ; and, inhabitants and their language by the

although he was well acquainted with English and Flemish invaders was com

English, he would probably have regarded plete and permanent. In the Vale of

both English and Welsh as destined ultiGlamorgan, won from the Welsh by Robert

mately to give place to the French language. Fitzhamon and his traditional twelve

The attitude of Henry to the Welsh tongue knights, the process of displacement was

was not so much one of indifference as of less thoroughly carried out; but it appears positive hostility. As is well known, it very probable that the English-speaking

was part of his settled policy to discourage

and suppress by every means in his power * See the whole question discussed in a very able paper in Y Cymmiodor (1889), by Mr. A. N. Palmer-a paper which the use of the national language in Wales.

We need not therefore be surprised that fail to appreciate for its admirable statement of the facts.

sooner

even those who do not agree with its conclusion cannot

the political boundary line of Wales, as shire, the peninsula of Gower, and the settled by these two sovereigns, by no larger half of Pembrokeshire. The Vale of means coincided with the linguistic one. Glamorgan, and most of the towns throughThe county of Flint contained from the out the country, were also very largely first an English portion (including among English-speaking Everywhere the upper other districts the whole of Maelor Saesneg) classes were beginning to abandon their as well as a Welsh portion. Under the Welsh. The oft quoted testimony of John settlement of Henry VIII., several districts Penry* shows decisively that a knowledge which had hitherto been regarded as in of English was at least as widely diffused Wales, and which were wholly or partly in Wales in his time as it was fifty years Welsh-speaking, were annexed to adjacent ago. Sir Thomas Phillips calculated that English counties. Such were the lordships the population of Wales in 1570 would be of Oswestry, Whittington, and Ellesmere, about 325,000, of whom 75,000 would be which were now joined to Salop; and English monoglots; but if Penry's stateseveral lordships in the south-east of the ments are to be trusted, the number of modern Herefordshire. On the other hand those well acquainted with English must a considerable fringe of the newly created have been very much greater. counties of Denbigh, Montgomery, and Mon

In the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries mouth was English-speaking. The most

the fortunes of the Welsh language seemed striking example of the transference of

to be at their lowest ebb.+ To this result Welsh territory to England occurred in the

many causes contributed besides the atticase of the newly created county of Mon

tude of the Tudor sovereigns toward the mouth, which was formally withdrawn

tongue of their Cymric ancestors. We from the judicial system of Wales, and

have, above all, to ke account of the placed under the jurisdiction of the courts at Westminster. But this purely legal

decay of Welsh literature. The magnificent distinction between Monmouthshire and literary achievements of the middle ages

had been followed in Wales, as in nearly the rest of Wales was not recognised by popular sentiment, and in the next century

every other country of Europe, by several

centuries of intellectual sterility. In Engwe find writers of repute still speaking of land this period of literary decline was the “thirteen shires of Wales.”

terminated earlier than in other Germanic own day the unity of Monmouthshire with Wales has once more been decisively asser

countries by the splendid outburst of poetic ted and has received official recognition. Elizabeth and the early Stuarts, and which

activity which marked

marked the reigns of It should be noted that boundaries of the

went hand in hand with a remarkable deWelsh dioceses in many cases follow the older limits of Wales more closely than do velopment of national sentiment and pride the modern shire-divisions. Thus, Oswestryed for a moment as though the Welsh

in England's greatness. It certainly seemand Whittington are in the diocese of St. Asaph; Monmouthshire is in the diocese of people were about to be swept along in this

tide of enthusiasm for all things English Llandatf; on the other hand, the fact that the Gower peninsula belongs ecclesiastically

to the extent of forgetting that they had

a history, a literature, and a language of not to Llandaff but to St. David's is an

their own. At the beginning of the seveninteresting reminder that, previous to 1536, the lordship of Gower had a separate juris • "Admit we cannot haue Welsh preachers, vet let vs not diction from that of the county palatine

be without English, where it is vnderstood. There is neuer

a market towne in Wales where English is not as rife as of Glamorgan.

Welsh. From Cheapstow to Westchester (the whole compasse of our land) on the Sea-side they all vnderstand

English. Where Munmoth & Radnock sbiers_border When Wales, then, received its present

vppon the marches, they all speake English. In Penbrok

Consider Anglisey, Mamlimits in 1536, the exclusively English gymru, Caernaruon, and see if all these people inust dwel

vpon mount Gerizzin and be subiect to the curse, because speaking districts within its borders would they vnderstand not the English toung.-Humble Suppli.

cution (Oxford, 1587). The whole pamphlet contains most comprise the eastern portions of Flint

valuable information on the linguistic condition of Wales

in Penry's time. (including English Maelor) and of Denbigh, a fringe of Montgomeryshire and Radnor

+ See Mr. Ivor James' able essay, "Welsh in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries," Cardiif, 1887.)

In our

sheer no great store of Welsh.

teenth century Welsh was still spoken were stirring the hearts of thousands; Welsh throughout the greater part of Wales, but was the language of the theological literhad practically abdicated the position of a ature which grew up as a result of the literary language.

revival. Outside the domain of religion the

national literature was showing signs of From this condition of degradation and renewed vigour; and antiquarian interest decay the Welsh language was rescued by in the literary past of Wales was being rethe translation of the Bible into Welsh in

vived. At the same time, the circulating the early part of the seventeenth century. schools of Griffith Jones, Llanddowror, The Welsh people were thus supplied with a literary model which made them less de- giving short shrift to the hoary-headed folly

of ignoring Welsh as a medium of inpendent upon English as a medium of

struction, were teaching Welsh children by cultivated expression.

Doubtless, too, as

the tens of thousands to read their native Mr. Ivor James has so ably pointed out,

tongue. Thus, by the end of the eighteenth the spread of English was further checked

century, Welsh had once more become the by the decay of education consequent upon organ of literary expression for the Welsh the impoverishment caused by the Civil Wars. In spite of the well-meant efforts of extraordinary development of literary and

nation; and the way was prepared for that Gouge and others in the latter part of the journalistic activity which has done so much seventeenth century for teaching Welsh

in the nineteenth century to maintain the children English, it seems tolerably clear that by the end of that century the popu

Welsh language in vigorous life. lation thoroughout the greater part of

At the beginning of this century Welsh Welsh Wales was relapsing into a state of had disappeared from five-sixths of Radcomplete monoglottism. On the other hand, norshire, and from the adjoining north there can be no doubt that English was

eastern corner of Brecknockshire. It was even then slowly gaining ground on Welsh

still spoken over the greater part of the along the eastern border of Mid and South county of Monmouth. In other respects Wales. This process continued steadily the boundary line between the two languduring the next century, when portions of ages in South Wales was much as it is at Brecknock and Monmouth, and the greater present, though there can be no doubt that part of Radnorshire, became exclusively everywhere, especially in Glamorgan and English-speaking

Brecknock, the proportion of English mono

glots was much smaller than it is now. In But influences were already at work to North Wales the boundary line has receded counterbalance this wearing away process scarcely at all, except in Montgomeryshire. on the English border. In the eighteenth We know on the authority of Gwallter century occurred that great religious Mechain where the linguistic boundary line awakening known as the Methodist move ran in this county in 1828. Between then ment, as the result of which the bulk of and now Welsh has receded a few miles to the Welsh people became dissenters from the west and south-west of Newtown, elsethe Church of England. From the first the where scarcely more than a mile, at some new movement took a distinctively Welsh points not at all. Probably at no point character. Welsh was the language in west of Gwallter Mechain's line is Welsh which the great preachers of the revival absolutely dead. swayed the throngs who listened to them; Welsh was the language of the hymns in

The first census of the population of

England and Wales was taken in 1801, and which the “sweet singers” of the movement expressed the thoughts and emotions which

we are hencefórward on comparatively safe

ground. The population of Wales in that • George Owen in his Description of Penbrokshire, written year was 587,245. If the above account in 1603 (Cymmrodorion Record Series, 1892), tells us that

of the boundary line between Welsh and Welshmen in his day "allthough they vsvallye speacke the Welshe tongue, yett will they writte eche to other in English Wales be approximately correct Englishe, and not in the speache they vsvallye talke. The reason is the vse they haue to writte in the one, and not

the census of 1801 will also afford us data to the same effect may be found in Mr. Ivor James' paper.

from which we can make a fairly accurate

vseinge to writte in the other,

(p. 36). Other testimonies

guess at the number of the English monoglot causes, but that of the two factors immipopulation at the beginning of the century. gration has been far the most important. Of I think we shall not be far wrong in put- the 1,771,451 persons residing in Wales and ting their number between 100,000 and Monmouthshire in 1891, only 1,491,590 120,000; and I incline to think that the were born there. The remainder, numberlatter figure is nearer the truth than the ing nearly 280,000 persons, are immigrants former. Within the next fifty years the into Wales, and for the most part, of population of Wales has almost exactly course, unable to speak Welsh. "Threedoubled, and at the census of 1891 it had fourths of these immigrants reside in the something more than trebled. Many esti most English counties of South Wales; so mates have been made during the century that the great majority of their descendof the relative proportions of the English ants may be likewise presumed to be English and Welsh populations in Wales. It will monoglots

. If to these be added the desbe sufficient to cite two of the most reli- cendants of earlier generations of immiable. Sir Thomas Phillips estimated that grants during the century, we cannot be in 1841, out of a total population of far wrong in assuming that over one-third 1,045,958, the number of the Welsh-speak- of the present population of Wales are ing inhabitants of Wales might be put at either English immigrants or the descend700,000, or about 67 per cent. According ants of such. Whilst thus the population to the very careful and exhaustive en of English Wales is constantly swelled by quiries made by Mr. Ravenstein thirty years

fresh arrivals from England, the more later, the proportions of the Welsh and Eng- Welsh-speaking counties ar ever being delish populations had not greatly changed pleted of their population by emigration during the interval. His estimate of the to England and elsewhere. But there is proportion of Welsh speakers to the also no doubt that the English language whole population, which was calculated on has considerably enlarged its borders at the basis of the census returns for 1871, the direct expense of Welsh, during the 'was 66-2 per cent. According to the cen century; and that in three ways. In sus returns of 1891, the proportion had the first place, there has been a great then fallen to 54'5 per cent. Assuming, immigration of Welsh-speaking people then, that my estimate of the English from the rural districts into the more population of Wales at the beginning of English portions of Wales and Monmouththe century is correct, the relative growth shire. In 1891, for example, there were of this population during the last ninety over 110,000 natives of other parts of years is as follows:

Wales residing in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire. The descendants of such im

migrants, in so far as they are to be found 33.8 p.c. 45.5 p.c.

in English towns like Čardiff and New

port, would tend to become exclusively From another point of view, the matter English in speech. Again, English has unmay be represented thus : The whole popu- doubtedly gained on Welsh along the eastlation of Wales has trebled during the past

ern border. In Monmouthshire, Welsh has ninety years; the Welsh-speaking portion steadily decreased throughout the century, of the population has rather more than doubled" in that time; but the purely considerably during the past twenty years.

In Brecknockshire, Welsh has receded English population has increased nearly The strip of territory which the English seven-fold.

language has won from the Welsh during The question remains to be asked,--How the century in Montgomeryshire has been far is this enormous increase of English described above. Finally, the exclusion of monoglots in Wales due to the immigration Welsh from the day-schools has undoubt-! of English-speaking people, and to what edly tended, in many districts already extent has it been brought about at the bilingual, to depress Welsh-speaking in expense of the Welsh-speaking population? favour of English. The fact that, in spit The reply is, that it is partly due to both of all these disadvantages, the number of

1801

1841

1871

1891

20 p.c.

33 p.c.

Welsh speakers is still on the increase in tion. They are quite as near the truth as Wales, is a marvellous testimony to the returns on such a matter as language can vitality of the language.

ever be expected to be. The different deIt thus appears that we are rapidly ap grees of proficiency in Welsh and English proaching a state of things in which the to be found among the inhabitants of English-speaking and the Welsh-speaking Wales are such as to be quite incapable portions of the population of Wales will of precise tabulation, and it is doubtful balance each other. From the nature of whether there is any possible method of the case, the growth of the English popu- taking a linguistic census which would not lation must continue to outstrip the growth be open to cavil. The extraordinary variof the Welsh. But the “ Welsh-speaking ations in the linguistic returns for Iremillion ” (to use a phrase of the late Dean land from one census year to another, show Edwards), will be a permanent element in the how difficult it is to obtain precise data on population of Wales for some time to come: such a subject. The following, for example, and as to the time when Welsh shall cease are the numbers of those returned as to be a spoken language, that is a point on speaking Irish in the last three censuses: in which no sensible man will care to make 1871, 817,875; in 1881, 949,932; in 1891, rash prophecies. Some there are, who 680,174. It cannot be seriously contended never tire of assuring us that the growth that the number of Irish speakers increased of the English language in Wales will be between 1871 and 1881 by more than followed by a revolution in the attitude of 132,000; but I am not aware that anyone the Welsh people towards questions of has ever called the bona fides of the Irish great public importance. I confess I do not returns into question. It is much to be see what ground there is for this opinion. regretted that the Registrar General, in his There is no Ulster in Wales. There are Report, should so needlessly have thrown not even the materials for a Welsh Ulster. suspicion on the Welsh returns. However, On all matters of public interest, ecclesias- as this official has now admitted that he tical and political, the voice of Welsh and has no evidence of anyone having wilfully of English Wales is one. It is the singular made a false return in Wales, it is clear good fortune of Wales that the stranger the “organised mendacity," which he was within her gates, who has no part in her assumed to have “so mercilessly exposed," past, and does not share her picturesque was a mere phantom of the imagination. traditions, should have joined hands so The following table, which I have comheartily with her in striving to realize her piled from the census returns, may posnational aspirations, and to shape her sibly be of use in illustrating some portions future according to her own ideals.

of the preceding article: NOTE ON THE LINGUISTIC CENSUS OF 1891.

Proportion per 1000 speaking In the foregoing article, I have assumed

English. Welsh. Welsh and that the returns of the linguistic census may

Six Northern Counties .. 236

269 be taken as substantially correct. I am

495
Six Western Counties
Sir W

.. 83 668 249 aware, of course, that their accuracy has (excluding Pembroke) been questioned by two different parties, Dò. including Pembroke 177 591 232 one complaining that the number returned

Six Eastern Counties .. 491 228 281

Do, including Monmouth 568 187 as speaking “Welsh only” is too large, the

245 ve | Six Southern Counties. 448 other that the number of those stated to Do. including Monmouth 530 239 231 speak“ English only” is too large. Both Wales & Monmouthshire.. 455 304 241 parties are right, and for precisely the Wales only .. .. 383 353 264 same reason. At the time of taking the The four dioceses: (approximate estimate) census, it was generally understood that Bangor .. .. .. 85 690 225 no mere smattering of either language was St. Asaph ..

.. 370 320 310 to count. This, of course, cut both ways. St. David's

.. 375 375 250

Llandafi It is a great pity that the bona fides of the

..

600 170 230 returns should have been called into ques

T. DARLINGTON.

English.

291

261

« ForrigeFortsett »