Throughout 2005 the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society will be celebrating its
foundation in April 1905. The culmination was the Centenary Dinner held at the Ivy Bush Royal Hotel,
Carmarthen, when the President, the Revd J. Towyn Jones, and the Chairman, Mr Arfon Rees, welcomed
90 members and distinguished guests.
The Guests of Honour were Dr R. Brinley Jones, President of the National Library
of Wales, and Mrs Stephanie Jones (centre back row next to chairman Arfon Rees on the right). Other
guests were the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Morris of Aberafon (centre, next to Atiquary Editor Muriel
Bowen Evans) and Lady Morris, the High Sheriff and Mrs Thomas (front row left), the Mayor and Mayoress
of Carmarthen, the Mayor of Kidwelly and the Mayor's Consort, and the Vice-Chair of Carmarthenshire
County Council. The Society's Vice-President, Sir David Mansel Lewis and Lady Mary, were also present.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Llanelli were unable to attend.
In his after-dinner speech Dr Brinley Jones spoke eruditely of the contributions
made to scholarship by two Carmarthenshire men, Sir John Williams and Daniel Lleufer Thomas. Both
were born deep in the heart of rural Carmarthenshire, both graduated and rose high in their professions,
respectively that of medicine and the law, and both contributed greatly to the cultural and social
life of Wales.
Sir John collected books and manuscripts all his life and his gifts, particularly
of the Peniarth and Llansteffan Manuscripts, formed the basis of the National Library of Wales collections.
In all he gave 25,000 books and 1200 manuscripts. When the Library was founded, one of his greatest
ambitions, for which he had worked a long time, had been achieved. It was fitting that he should
be appointed its first president.
Lleufer Thomas was already showing an interest in history when he was brought home
from elementary school to work on the farm. Soon after being called to the Bar he started to write
for the Dictionary of National Biography and then became secretary of the commission reporting on
agricultural labour in Wales. In 1905 he prepared the memorandum which caused the Privy Council
to set up the National Library and persuaded the miners of South Wales to give a shilling from their
pay towards the Library's building fund.
Members of the Antiquarian Society, as well as researchers from the whole of Wales
and far beyond its boundaries have cause to be grateful to these two men.
Publications Secretary Heward Rees approaches his table with his customary aplomb
Members Gwyon Nethercote, Yvonne Parry, Athalie Childs, Diana Pazienti and Anne Davies
gather for a drink before dinner
Members Jean Griffiths and Iris Davies