From the College of Human and Health Sciences to Calon Lan

A member of staff working in the College of Human and Health Sciences’ Finance team has played her part in the development of an animated film and exhibition celebrating the life of Welsh Bard, Daniel James.

Finance Assistant Teresa Hillier, who is also a final year student on the DACE BA Humanities course, has been working on the Daniel James Project, researching the life and work of Daniel James, the man behind the lyrics of the popular Welsh hymn Calon Lan.

Teresa and the team have worked with animation company, Turnip Starfish and three Swansea based schools, Tirdeunaw, Bryn Tawe and Gwyrosydd to develop a 15 minute animated film about Daniel James life.  The premiere of the film took place this week (10 July) at Mynyddbach Chapel.

It is now hoped that the film will be used as an educational resource for schools, libraries and museums.

Teresa will also play her part in a series of community talks about the Bard as well as helping to prepare a range of displays and objects for an exhibition at Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum between 7 September and 18 November.

The Project, a collaboration between Treboeth History Group, Swansea University and local Schools, forms part of the larger Connected Communities Project, which seeks to research the industrial and post-industrial communities of the Swansea Valley.

Teresa said:  “I was born and brought up in Treboeth and attended Gwyrosydd School so Daniel James’ life is of particular interest to me.  So far, we have built on the fantastic work already done by Treboeth History Society and have built up a picture of his life.

“We hope to raise the profile of Daniel James so that people can learn about the man behind Calon Lan.  We have started translating some of his poems into English and I think that he deserves recognition for his largely forgotten work.”    

Treboeth born “ordinary working man” Daniel James was a local character who was well known in the village’s public house, the Kings Head, for sitting in a peculiarly high chair and composing poems in return for pints.  During his life, the twice married poet had three books of Welsh poetry published under his Bardic name, Gwyrosydd, but he will be most remembered for penning the much loved hymn Calon Lan.  James later moved to Blaengarw and Mountain Ash in search of work, he died in Morriston at his daughters home and is buried in Mynyddbach Chapel.