Resolfen History Society – October meeting Report

A Report on the October meeting of Resolfen History Society

A small if enthusiastic audience attended this month’s speaker which featured Anne Marie Thomas of Swansea. Mrs Thomas has specialised in the history of Gower and has spoken to the Society on two previous occasions. However, this year’s talk strayed from Wales to England, the Angevin kingdom of what is now most of France , Ireland and Scotland. The fascinating story included the machinations of the de Breos family and King John, ending in the establishment of a permanent settlement in the Magna Carta at Runnymede, in June 1215. Mrs Thomas pointed out that the famous joke about the Magna Carta being signed at the bottom was incorrect , since it was “sealed”, because it is doubtful if the erratic King John was literate at all.

King John has had a bad press, however when Mrs Thomas began researching his character, she found he was far worse than that. He was the youngest in a family of four boys and his three older siblings were killed enabling him to ascend the throne, though he disputed the right to the throne with the son of an elder brother, Arthur of Brittany. This was crucial to the tangled tale told in her book the “Broken Reed”, in which William de Breos fell in and out of favour, and the feudal tangle involved Llewelyn Fawr (the Great) who was in turn married to King John’s daughter.

Mr David Woosnam thanked Mrs Thomas for a fascinating tale, and hoped she would return next year to speak on the subject of the Magna Carta itself.

The next meeting of the Society will be on Monday 13th November at 7:00 when Mr Keith Tucker of Neath will conclude his fascinating talk on the “Images of Neath”.

Trefor Jones

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