A Report on the November Meeting of The Resolven History Society

Both Halloween and Guy Fawkes night have come and gone in a certain lack lustre fashion this year. the dismal , dark nights and the lingering half-life of the Covid- 19 pandemic have made people reluctant to leave their homes at night and must account for the tiny audience who arrived at the Church hall to hear this month’s speaker Ann Marie Thomas of Swansea.

Before starting her talk on “Alina , the white lady of Oystermouth Castle”, she gave a synopsis on how she had become an author of several books on the history of Swansea and the Gower. A stroke had left her bed ridden and hospitalised and made her begin writing, firstly a book of poetry and then followed by books surrounding the fascinating history of medieval Swansea and the Gower. The main thrust of the story surrounded the de Breos family that had accompanied the invasion of the British Isles by the Normans in 1066. The thirteenth century story of Alina de Breos involved , the weak Edward the Second and his lover Hugh de Despenser , who killed the Welsh Chieftain Llewelyn Bren. This formed a phalanx of intrigue between Welsh, English and Norman in the area which contained intrigue and bloody battles. Indeed Garngoch near Gorseinon is so called owing to the name referring to the hilts of blood following a battle when the Welsh defeated the Normans. Alina was called the “white lady”, because she was reputed to haunt Oystermouth castle after her death. The castle itself has been subject to significant restoration in recent years with the décor being restored to its former glory. Several place names remain in Swansea commemorating the de Breos family, including Parc de Breos, a former hunting lodge.

Mr Trefor Jones, thanked Mrs Thomas for her fascinating talk.

The next meeting of the Society will be held on Monday 13th December. It is titled a Members’ night , not because only members will be present, but that they will give the content of the meeting including a historical quiz. The Society will then take a break in order for the dark nights to pass and hopefully persuade our supporters out to the meetings once again, in March.

Trefor Jones.

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