Site of Plaid Cymru’s founding, Pwllheli

Site of Plaid Cymru’s founding, Pwllheli

This shop is where the political party Plaid Cymru was effectively formed in 1925. It was then a café known as Maes Gwyn.

When the National Eisteddfod was held in Pwllheli in 1925, six men met at Maes Gwyn and founded Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru (“the National Party of Wales”). It brought together two movements which had recently been formed. One of them was Byddin Ymreolwyr Cymru (the “Home Rule Army of Wales”), founded in Penarth, near Cardiff. The other was Y Mudiad Cymreig (“The Welsh Movement”), founded in Caernarfon.

The party was renamed Plaid Cymru in 1945. It won its first seat in the House of Commons in 1966, when Gwynfor Evans won the Carmarthen by-election. The Pwllheli area was first represented by a Plaid Cymru MP in 1974.

Three of the men who met in 1925 at Maes Gwyn – Saunders Lewis, David John Williams and Lewis Valentine – were jailed in 1936 for an arson attack on the embryonic RAF base at Penyberth, west of Pwllheli. The base was designed to train airmen in bombing techniques.

Lewis Valentine had been wounded in the First World War, where his experiences in the army medical service turned him against war as a means of resolving disputes. He had pacifist and nationalist motives for attacking the RAF base.

Saunders Lewis had also been wounded in the war, in which he served as an army Lieutenant. Having lost his job as a university lecturer in Swansea in 1936, he worked as a dramatist, teacher and journalist. In 1962 he gave a radio lecture titled Tynged yr Iaith (“The Fate of the Language”), highlighting that the 1961 census had found that the proportion of Welsh speakers had declined to only 26% of Wales’ population. This inspired campaigns for greater recognition and protection for the Welsh language.

Postcode: LL53 5HA    View Location Map

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