Recap: 2019 Annual General Meeting

The 95th Annual General Meeting of the Ancient Monuments Society took place on Saturday 6 July 2019 at Gregynog Hall, Powys, near Newtown, Wales. The meeting was chaired by the Society’s President, The Rt. Hon. The Lord Inglewood DL.

We were delighted to welcome a significant number of members, and found the Hall a most fascinating venue. We are especially grateful to AMS Trustee Carole Ryan for her help in arranging the event.

Gregynog Hall, nr Newtown, Powys; Photo: (c) Broneirion (2005) via Wikimedia Commons

“Far from any city yet at the heart of Welsh history, art and politics…” 

Gregynog Hall in Powys is a Grade II* listed building incorporating early C17 panelling from an earlier house. It was rebuilt in the 1840s for Charles Hanbury-Tracy, 1st Baron Sudeley, and by 1872 the house had taken its present form, of brick clad in concrete and painted to imitate the local timber-framed tradition. The grade I listed gardens are considered highly important in their own right, and our visit will include self-guided access to the grounds. Gregynog was home to the Davies sisters, Gwendoline (1882-1951) and Margaret (1884-1963), the granddaughters of David Davies, Welsh industrialist, coal pioneer, and strict Calvinistic Methodist. They were educated in Wales and travelled extensively in Europe, adding a sophisticated knowledge of art history to their profound sense of religious duty. Both served with the French Red Cross in WWI, and they bought Gregynog in 1920, founding the private Gregynog Press, and the Gregynog Music Festival, Wales’s oldest celebration of classical music.

The sisters believed in widening access to art and culture, championing and funding forward-looking initiatives, and donating many important works to the National Museum Wales (Amgueddfa Cymru) and elsewhere. Gregynog Hall itself was bequeathed to the University of Wales, in whose care it continues to be a cultural centre, and a memorial to the Davies sisters as art collectors and public benefactors.

We are also grateful to a local member for giving us the opportunity to visit the Robert Owen Memorial Museum in Newtown on the morning of Saturday 6 July. The museum commemorates one of Newtown’s sons, who became a prominent social reformer of the 19th century.

The Free Library (1902) which contains the Robert Owen Memorial Museum; Photo: Jaggery / Robert Owen Memorial Museum, Newtown / CC BY-SA 2.0

Thanks to all who made the journey to attend, and we hope to see you at next year’s AGM.

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