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Major purchase by NLW

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William Shakespeare: Major purchase after four centuries

William Shakespeare: Major purchase after four centuries

FOUR centuries after the death of William Shakespeare, the National Library of Wales (NLW) has announced its purchase of a manuscript associated with the person to whom the playwright’s First Folio was dedicated.

In December, the National Library of Wales purchased at auction in London a manuscript work by George Owen (c. 1598-1665) of Pembrokeshire, written around 1624, and containing an account of successive Earls Pembroke from the Norman Conquest to the first quarter of the seventeenth century.

Owen dedicated his manuscript to William Herbert (1580-1630), third Earl of Pembroke, a powerful courtier and patron of the arts in the Jacobean court, and recipient of a jointdedication by editors John Heminge and Henry Condell to the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays.

Herbert seems to have been a magnet for those who searched for advancement and favour at the Royal court, and George Owen’s dedication of a manuscript to him displays a clear intention of impressing a possible benefactor, a nobleman who was also his distant cousin.

The compact manuscript now acquired by the Library, embellished with finely painted genealogical tables and a fine armorial, was intended to catch the nobleman’s eye, and seems to have achieved its purpose.

George Owen was an illegitimate son of the antiquary of the same name who became Wales’ first county historian. George Owen senior, author of The Description of Penbrockshire (1603) died in 1613, and his son wrote this new account of the earldom of Pembroke ‘to finish this work by him begotten … for the benefit of his younger children’, and to complete the task which his father ‘allwaies intended’.

Whatever the actual motivation for the work, the resulting patronage of William Herbert seems to have propelled George Owen junior from his home in Pembrokeshire to the heart of London courtly life. His nomination to the heraldic office of Rouge Croix pursuivant in February 1625 led to his further advancement as York Herald in December 1633, positions of influence in which he could indulge his passions for history and genealogy.

Although he turned his back on King Charles by supporting Parliament during the Civil Wars, he returned to royal favour in 1660 before retiring to Pembrokeshire the following year after a moderately successful life at court.

The National Library’s Director of Collections and Public Programmes, Pedr ap Llwyd, expressed his delight ‘in the acquisition of this unique text, the first work by George Owen junior to be represented in the Library’s holdings’.

He added that ‘the timing of the purchase is significant as it brings us ever closer to the personnel and culture of the Jacobean court frequented by Shakespeare and his associates’.

Whilst a copy of the Second Folio (1632) of Shakespeare’s plays is currently displayed in the National Library’s Words of War exhibition, no copy of the First Folio is believed to be in Wales. However, the National Library of Wales holds an unique contemporary manuscript poem addressed to John Heminge and Henry Condell, close associates of Shakespeare, in which they are praised for having presented the public with treasure greater than the gold of Mexico in the Bard’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies of 1623.

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Domestic abuse victims in Wales to be given more time to report assaults

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DOMESTIC abuse victims in Wales and England to be given more time to report assaults.

New measures targeted directly at keeping women and girls safer will be added to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill last week (Jan 4) the UK Government has announced.

Under the changes, victims of domestic abuse will be allowed more time to report incidents of common assault or battery against them. Currently, prosecutions must commence within six months of the offence.

Instead, this requirement will be moved to six months from the date the incident is formally reported to the police – with an overall time limit of two years from the offence to bring a prosecution.Domestic abuse is often reported late relative to other crimes; so this will ensure victims have enough time to seek justice and that perpetrators answer for their actions.

The UK Government says that today’s announcement builds on measures already in the Bill to better protect women such as ending the halfway release of offenders sentenced between four and seven years in prison for serious sexual offences – forcing them to spend two-thirds of their time in prison.

In December, the legislation was amended to make clear that a new legal duty requiring public bodies to work together to tackle serious violence can also include domestic abuse and sexual offences.

It means that these crimes should be taken as seriously as knife crime and homicide, with police, government, and health bodies required to collaborate locally, so that they can develop more holistic strategies to protect people from harm, including through early intervention.

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said: “My commitment to making our homes, streets and communities safer for women and girls is clear.”

“Every department in government is working to address and tackle all issues relating to violence against women and girls.”

“The Government has a focussed strategy, dedicated to providing essential support for survivors, the prevention of crimes against women and girls and bringing perpetrators to justice with the full force of the law.”

“Our actions include the new Domestic Abuse Act, with important changes to our laws; a newly created national police lead responsible solely on violence against women and girls, and millions of pounds have been invested in direct safety measures through the Safer Streets Fund.”

“These are all important public confidence measures and changes to ensure the safety of women and girls in public spaces.”

The UK Government has also said that taking non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers will be made a specific offence punishable by up to two years in prison.

It covers situations where the motive is to obtain sexual gratification, or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm.

Similar legislation introduced by the UK Government in 2019 that criminalised “up skirting” has led to more than 30 prosecutions since it became law.

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Vandalised church passes fundraising target

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The inside of the Church was also subjected to vandalism

A FUNDRAISER to rebuild a vandalised church met its goal of £20k within three days. 

Eglwys y Grog, which is situated near the cliffs at Mwnt. It is a well known landmark, and is a favourite among photographers.

Clive Davies, a local County Councillor, claims he is “totally blown away” with the donations. 

He said the church was targeted on 2 December, and again on 20 December, in “a pointless saddening act.”

“There was nothing of value in the church and it was a senseless act. There was no money there, just a small little church,” he added.

“The church members were getting a lot of requests to donate money and they contacted me to do something coordinated online so I set up a JustGiving page for them.

“It’s been a global response really, three thousand pounds came in overnight. There were messages of support from America, and there was a couple from Australia as well,

“There are a lot of good people out there and it is an amazing start to 2022 for us.”

When the campaign was launched on January 1st, a £20,000 goal was set.

The leaded windows of the church were smashed in with rocks

The inside of the church, as well as the leaded church windows and gated entrance, were all damaged.

Mr Davies, who is also a local councillor, claims to have long-standing family ties to the church, which includes plaques honouring his great-grandparents on either side of the altar.

“The local community has been amazing, supporting it and the power of social media made in tenfold,” he said.

“It was like a snowball effect really, local businesses have offered not only financial support but will be part of the restoration work needed now.”

“I’ll be meeting with the church members and the vicar and we’ll start discussing what needs doing, but also we’re going to have to look at safety for the future and what could we do in terms of security,” he added.

He stated that it was critical for the church to remain open while staying safe.

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£250 boost to all Ceredigion food banks

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PLAID CYMRU Councillors from Ceredigion will donate £250 to each food bank in the county to alleviate pressures over the Christmas period.

The issue of food banks continues on a daily basis in most towns in Wales due to lack of funds and benefits being cut. 

Individuals and families are forced to use food banks to make sure they have food for their children and families.

A spokesperson for the Councillors said: “Ceredigion County Council’s Plaid Cymru Group of Councilors is delighted to announce their decision again this year to donate £250.00 each to every food bank in Ceredigion.

“Food banks in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Aberaeron, Llandysul, Lampeter will benefit from this over Christmas.

“Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

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