The Beginnings of the National Eisteddfod

Caernarfon, 1862: the Prince of Wales's cantata

History of the Welsh Eisteddfodau

This 1862 medal is Owen Alaw's. He won it for composing a cantata, one of those compositions that were amazingly important in the 1860s - the Prince of Wales cantata. Owen Alaw composed the music, Ceiriog wrote the words and the cantata was performed at the National Eisteddfod in Swansea in 1863, with the pavilion packed to capacity. Of course they sang the pop song of the day during the performance, that is, God Bless the Prince of Wales (he had just celebrated his twenty-first birthday, of course). It was Ceiriog, more than anyone, who was responsible for staging that song during the performance in Swansea, and Brinli Richards, the brilliant pianist from Carmarthen, who composed the melody for God Bless the Prince of Wales, and he, and the harpist Pencerdd Gwalia, were both regal figures at the first National Eisteddfodau.