Eisteddfod names Christine James first woman archdruid

Christine James hoped to serve as a "worthy example" for other women and Welsh learners

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The first woman to become archdruid will lead the 2013 National Eisteddfod ceremonies, it has been announced.

Christine James, originally from Tonypandy, Rhondda, will take on the role for the event in Denbigh.

Mrs James, also the first Welsh learner to hold the post, was the only person nominated for the ceremonial title.

She won the crown at the 2005 National Eisteddfod for a collection of poems inspired by art at the National Museum Cardiff.

ARCHDRUID'S DUTIES

  • The archdruid is the leader of the Gorsedd of the Bards (the Gorsedd and the eisteddfod are independent of each other)
  • The archdruid leads the main ceremonies held during the eisteddfod week
  • Is elected for three years

The announcement was made on Saturday at the proclamation ceremony for the 2013 Denbighshire and District National Eisteddfod.

The archdruid traditionally hosts the main ceremonies at the annual Welsh cultural festival every August.

The present archdruid, Jim Parc Nest, said: "Christine James is the first woman to be nominated as archdruid, and I am delighted to announce this today.

'Reason to rejoice'

"Christine is also the first Welsh learner to be nominated to the post, which is also a reason for us to rejoice as a nation.

"Many congratulations to Christine on her nomination, and I very much hope that she will be addressing you all at the proclamation ceremony in twelve months' time."

Originally from Tonypandy in the Rhondda Valley, Ms James was brought up in an English-speaking household and learnt Welsh at school in Porth and Aberystwyth University.

She is a senior lecturer at the Hywel Teifi Academy, Swansea University, and lives in Cardiff.

She told BBC Wales: "We're making a little bit of history with my becoming the first female archdruid - I hope that I'll be a worthy example for many more female archdruids in the years to come.

"The Gorsedd as a body has been fairly conservative over the years but things are a-changing, to quote a famous song.

"I can't say I've got an agenda - my only aim at the moment is that I do good for the Gorsedd, for the eisteddfod, and the things for which those bodies stand for, in particular the Welsh language and Welsh culture.

"I'm very anxious that whatever I do as archdruid promotes those things."

Mrs James won the Crown at the Eryri and District National Eisteddfod in 2005 for her collection of poems, Lluniau Lliw, inspired by famous works of art at National Museum Cardiff.

She was admitted to the Gorsedd of Bards in 2002, and has been a member of the Gorsedd Board since 2010.

The current archdruid's period of office draws to a close at the end of the Vale of Glamorgan National Eisteddfod in August.

The new arch-druid will take charge in June 2013 at the Proclamation Ceremony for the 2014 National Eisteddfod.

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