The annual conference will be held in Myddfai, again on the last Saturday in June, which this year will be the 30th. Last year 2017 was deemed by Visit Wales, the Welsh Government’s tourism team, The Year of the Legends. Myddfai responded by creating the Myddfai Stained Glass Legends Window which was unveiled by Prince Charles in July. This beautiful new feature of the Community Hall is the inspiration for the theme of this year’s conference – The Legend, Llyn y Fan Fach and Healing Waters. There will be two presentations in the morning and two in the afternoon.
Lesley Griffith and Bernice Benton will open the meeting by describing the thinking behind the new window, its design and the execution of the finished work. As Llyn Y Fan Fach features prominently in the window, the second presentation will be about similar lakes in south Wales. V A Grant will be developing the theme and the concept of the “Liminal Lake”. During the morning session Mary MacGregor will be reading her poem “Morwyn Llyn Y Fan, the Lady of the Lake”.
After lunch Phil Cope will be speaking about the Physicians’ Well on Mynydd Myddfai in the context of healing/holy wells in Wales. The last speaker is David Austin and his paper will be ‘Healing water and sacred landscape at Strata Florida’. A detailed programme will soon be available.
The Physicians Well
During the last few years the site of the Physicians’ Well on Mynydd Myddfai has been confirmed. It is at the OS grid reference 807287. This is Welsh Water land and is adjacent to the Usk Reservoir. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) currently holds the lease for this area for afforestation. Until recently the site had been smothered by trees but these have now been harvested and a re-planting programme is ongoing.
Whatever one’s pre-conceptions about the Well; in this instance it is a spring emerging from a sandstone bed and is a significant source of clean water. The water trickles away and eventually joins a nearby stream – Afon Sgio. This source of clean water was used over the centuries by the local physicians in the preparation of their remedies.
The Society is working closely with NRC to rehabilitate the site and transform it into a rewarding visitor destination. The area will be cleaned and planted with trees shrubs and plants of medical significance. The old bench/seat will be a replaced by a new oak version, aesthetically pleasing with inscriptions confirming that the visitor is at an important historic site. The signs on the route from Myddfai to the Well, via Sarnau, will be replaced.
Robin Barlow led a successful walk to the Well in August last year. This will become an annual event and the date of this year’s walk, again in August, will soon be confirmed.
St Luke’s Service
Luke the Apostle, writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles was described by St Paul as “the beloved Physician”. In time he became the patron saint of the medical professions. During the last two years Mike Davies in conjunction with the vicar the Reverend Ian Aveson and Cantorion Llandeilo Singers, musical director Gordon Kilby have arranged a St Luke’s service in St Michael’s Church Myddfai on a Sunday close to the Feast of St Luke on October 18th This formula worked well, the congregation appreciated the Vicar’s message and the musical items. Afterwards light refreshments, provided by the Physicians of Myddfai Society, were available in the Community Hall. Planning is advanced for this year’s service on a Sunday close to October 18th and the date will soon be confirmed.
DDRW 11.02.18 Iomega Myddfai 2018 Programme for 2018
Wales has two major medical traditions; the Bone Setters of Anglesey in north Wales and the Physicians of Myddfai. Myddfai is a small village and an extensive rural area in north east Carmarthenshire in south Wales. This medical tradition extends back to the 13th century when medical expertise was handed down from father to son in families in the Myddfai area. For many years it was assumed that the tradition had died out until significant developments occurred at the beginning of the 21st century.
During the second half of the 20th century, two consultants at Bart’s, Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital, London were from Llangadog, a parish adjacent to Myddfai; Gareth Rees a cardiac surgeon and Glyn Evans an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Both attended the local primary school at Llangadog and the Grammar School at Llandovery which later became Ysgol Pantycelyn.
This unique achievement was recognised by the school during a Prize Giving Function in 2009. When Donald Williams was writing up the event as a feature article he could see that although the direct descendants of the original Physicians of Myddfai appeared to have petered out, the area, the Physicians of Myddfai country, in north east Carmarthenshire at the foot of the Black Mountain had continued to produce first class doctors. Gwynfe, another parish bordering Myddfai, had produced two outstanding examples. Sir John Williams (1840 – 1926) professor of Obstetrics at University College Hospital, London with patients from High Society including the Royal Family. In due course he became the greatest medical benefactor to the Welsh Nation as the founder of the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth. Ivor Lewis (1895-1982) who was born in Llanddeusant and brought up in Gwynfe became a distinguished thoracic surgeon in London and his pioneering contributions to surgery lives on in a new operation he devised for cancer of the gullet â€“ the Ivor Lewis Oesophagectomy.
Gareth Rees and Glyn Evans were part of this rich tradition and their achievements gave credence to the idea that the tradition of the Physicians of Myddfai was continuing. Soon afterwards it became know that Robin Jones, who had recently been appointed as an associate professor of oncology in Seattle was a direct descendant of one of the historical medical families of Myddfai. He was born and brought up on Llwynmeredydd Farm in Myddfai and his father Lewis Jones was in no doubt that he was descended from the Bowen family of Cwm Ydw.
Discovering Robin Jones clearly confirmed that the tradition of the Physicians of Myddfai was flourishing in the 21st century. Authoritative figures in the field of the history of medicine and medicinal plant remedies, such as Dr Morfydd Owen and Professor Terry Turner, were delighted and considered that these developments must be celebrated.
In 2011 a special conference was held in the new Community Hall and Visitors Centre in Myddfai. This was very successful; so much so there was a demand for it to be repeated. Naturally this was not possible. However Dr Morfydd Owen advised that every effort be made to hold annual meetings on a theme linked with the historic tradition. After a successful themed conference in 2013 there was general feeling that the next step was to establish Cymdeithas Meddygon Myddfai the Physicians of Myddfai Society and this was launched at the 2014 meeting. In this way the new society came into being on the 28th June 2014.
Aims, Objectives and Constitution
The aims and objectives of The Society are clearly set out in the constitution which was approved by the AGM on 27th June 2017.
Objectives of the Society
1.1 To promote and raise the profile of this historic medical tradition. It will be bilingual and will include cultural, educational, and scientific activity with an emphasis on involving younger people.
1.2. The Society is keen to promote fellowship and friendship between members and to foster good links between local groups and similar organisations.
1.3. To hold an annual conference in Myddfai.
1.4 To work with local groups to enhance the profile of the Physicians in the area.
Membership of the Society
2.1. Membership is open to everyone who supports and maintains the Society’s objectives.
Intending members should apply to the Secretary who will send a form of application for membership.
Management of the Society
3.1. The management of the Society shall (subject to the directions of the Members) be a Committee consisting of the following members:-
The Election of Officers
4.1. The officers will be elected at the AGM.
4.2 The chairman will be elected initially for a term of four years but with the option of further terms of office.
4.3. The officers of secretary and treasurer four years and thereafter renewable for further periods of four years as the AGM decides.
4.4. The executive committee will consist of the officers and additional co-opted members so that the geographical spread of the membership, with Myddfai as its centre, is adequately represented.
Meetings of the Society
5.1. One conference a year will be held in the Village Hall in Myddfai.
5.2. At this meeting there will be an opportunity to hold an annual general meeting of the Society. Ten members shall form a quorum.
5.3. A Special General Meeting of the Society may be called at any time by the Committee, or, in compliance with a requisition addressed in writing to the Secretary, by at least eight members stating in writing the object for which they desire the meeting to be convened.Â Ten members shall constitute a quorum.
Subscriptions to the Society
6.1 The annual subscription of The Society, currently Â£10.00 shall be payable by all members with one exception. The joint membership fee for two people in the same household will be Â£15.00 per annum. This will be reviewed from time to time at the AGM.
6.2. The subscription should be paid by standing order.
6.3. Any member who, in respect of successive years, has omitted to pay the annual subscription due, after a special application of the Treasurer shall be deemed to have lapsed Membership.
Reports of the Society
7.1. Minutes of The Society shall be kept and maintained by the Secretary.
7.2. The Annual Report of The Society shall be prepared by the Honorary Secretary and submitted at the Annual General Meeting.
7.3. The Treasurer’s Report and Balance Sheet shall be submitted at the Annual General Meeting by the Treasurer.
7.4. The Treasurer will respond to any enquiries from the Inland Revenue.
Changes to the Constitution
8.1. No change shall be made to the Constitution except at the Annual General Meeting or at a meeting especially convened for the purpose.
8.2. Any desired alteration to the Constitution, shall be proposed and seconded by members present at the Annual or Special General Meeting. Notice of such proposals should be circulated with the Agenda.
8.3 No alterations will be made to the Constitution except by a majority of two thirds of the Members present, and the decision shall be by a show of hands or by ballot, if required.
Cymdeithas Meddygon Myddfai
Physicians of Myddfai Society
Chairman Dr R Brinley Jones
Secretary Donald Williams
Treasurer Arwyn Lewis
Membership Secretary Margaret Shapland
Editor of the Transactions Robin Barlow
All enquiries to the Secretary: Donald Williams
69 Cherry Grove
01792 202606 and 07790 265 166