Welsh Journals

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SURVEYING DECREPIT WELSH CATHEDRALS: THE PUBLICATION OF BROWNE WILLIS'S ACCOUNTS OF ST DAVID'S AND LLANDAFF DAVID STOKER INTRODUCTION Writing in 1768, in the patronising tones that the educated English once adopted towards the Welsh, the antiquary Richard Gough bemoaned the paucity of historical publications relating to Wales: Very little pains have been taken by the natives or neighbours to illustrate the history and antiquities of this part of the island. Yet antiquity is the glory of every Welchman, and the spirit of competition with the later inhabitants of England one would have expected should fire their breasts with a desire to be known and celebrated beyond them. If their ancestors could not spare time to write about a territory which they could hardly defend, their descendants with secure tenure [now] have all the helps a living language and original records can afford. Gough's Anecdotes of British Topography devotes only twenty-eight pages to describing publications about Wales, compared with the 579 for England.' It is also clear that, with the single exception of Edward Lhuyd, the author had a low opinion of the Welsh as historians (although he was basing his assessment solely on printed items in the English and Latin languages). This attitude towards Welsh historiography, whilst partial and ill-informed, was nevertheless widespread in the early eighteenth century. It was symptomatic of a wider disdain for Welsh culture.