Memorial garden set to be home of Cranogwen statue

By Chris Betteley   |   Reporter   |
Tuesday 22nd February 2022 12:45 pm
@ChrisABetteley
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Cranogwen garden
Cranogwen garden (N/A )

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PLaNS for a statue of trailblazing poet and journalist Cranogwen in Llangrannog are gathering pace, with a place to house the new work of art identified.

Described as “the most outstanding Welsh woman of the 19th century”, Llangrannog-born Sarah Jane Rees (1839-1916) is better known by her bardic name of Cranogwen.

A campaign to erect a bronze life-size statue has been spearheaded by the Monumental Welsh Women campaign which is striving to increase the number of public statues of women in Wales.

While the design of the new statue is still being finalised, plans have now been put forward to house the statue in the Llangrannog Welfare Memorial Garden in the village.

Permission to make the memorial garden the home of the new statue - to include redesign work of the area - have been put before Ceredigion council planners.

Cynyr Ifan, the chair of the Llangrannog Welfare Committee, said: “The “Prosiect Cerflun Crannogwen” has existed over the last year and has created local, national and indeed international attention.

“The project has now gained an astonishing level of momentum that indicates and confirms the need for the memorial in this heroine’s birthplace in order to remember, celebrate her heritage and to teach about Cranogwen’s history and background.

“There is strong evidence of community support and beyond of this scheme through all financial donations, input from community experts and academic institutions.

“The site for the memorial set out in the planning application is ideal for the scheme as it is in a safe, leisure/recreation area, accessible to all ages and physical abilities and visually to locals and passing visitors.

“There is already a community garden here on the land owned by the community and so this would be the obvious site to place the memorial.”

The plans would see a redesign of the garden area with associated works including improving accessibility and safety by changing the entrance of the existing garden.

The planned statue will be cast in bronze and stand approxiamtely 2.3m tall including the plinth.

A headteacher of the village school by the age of 21, Cranogwen set up her own Navigation School in Llangrannog in 1859.

As a poet, she won notoriety as the first female winner of a poetry prize at the National Eisteddfod in Aberystwyth in 1865.

She became the first woman to edit a Welsh-language women’s magazine, Y Frythones, which campaigned for girls’ education and provided a platform for other female writers.

As a lecturer and preacher, she travelled across Wales and America, at a time when public speaking by women was disapproved of.

She also founded the South Wales Women’s Temperance Union and outlined her vision for a refuge for homeless young women.

The scheme to build a statue in her honour has received financial backing from the Welsh Government and Aberystwyth University.

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