Thomas Price (Carnhuanawc)

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Portrait of Carnhuanawc (c. 1826) by "Emmanuel Giaconia" (pseudonym; possibly William Jones or Hugh Hughes), University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter Carnhuanawc.jpg
Portrait of Carnhuanawc (c.1826) by "Emmanuel Giaconia" (pseudonym; possibly William Jones or Hugh Hughes), University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter

The Reverend Thomas Price (2 October 1787 – 7 November 1848) [1] (known by the bardic name of Carnhuanawc) was a historian and a major Welsh literary figure of the early 19th century. Price was also "an essayist, orator, naturalist, educationalist, linguist, antiquarian, artist and musician". He contributed to learned and popular journals and was a leading figure in the revival of the Eisteddfod. [2]

This article is about the particular significance of the year 1787 to Wales and its people.

This article is about the particular significance of the year 1848 to Wales and its people.

A bardic name is a pseudonym used in Wales, Cornwall or Brittany by poets and other artists, especially those involved in the eisteddfod movement.



Price was born at Pencaerelin, in Llanfihangel Bryn Pabuan, near Builth Wells. In 1805 he attended Brecon Grammar School, living in lodgings until he was able to qualify as a deacon of the Church of England. He became a curate in Radnorshire, living at Builth Wells with his mother. He wrote in both the English and Welsh languages. Carnhuanawc was subsequently incumbent of Llanfihangel Cwmdu, Breconshire.

Builth Wells town and electoral ward in Powys, Wales

Builth Wells is a market town and community in the county of Powys, within the historic boundaries of Brecknockshire (Breconshire), mid Wales, lying at the confluence of the River Wye and the River Irfon, in the Welsh section of the Wye Valley. It has a population of 2,568.

Church of England Anglican state church of England

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

Radnorshire Historic county of Wales

Radnor or Radnorshire is a sparsely populated area, one of thirteen historic and former administrative counties of Wales. It is represented by the Radnorshire area of Powys, which according to the 2011 census, had a population of 25,821. The historic county was bounded to the north by Montgomeryshire and Shropshire, to the east by Herefordshire, to the south by Brecknockshire and to the west by Cardiganshire.

Price was a major influence on Lady Charlotte Guest, whom he assisted in her translation of the Mabinogion . He was also associated with the work of Augusta Hall, Baroness Llanover, to whom he taught Welsh. When his health failed, the baroness became his patron and brought him to live nearby.

Lady Charlotte Guest Welsh translator and business woman

Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Guest, later Lady Charlotte Schreiber, was an English aristocrat who is best known as the first publisher in modern print format of The Mabinogion which is the earliest prose literature of Britain. Guest established The Mabinogion as a source literature of Europe, claiming this recognition among literati in the context of contemporary passions for the Chivalric romance of King Arthur and the Gothic movement. The title Guest used derived from a mediaeval copyist error already established in the 18th century by William Owen Pughe and the London Welsh societies.

<i>Mabinogion</i> Earliest prose stories of the literature of Britain

The Mabinogion are the earliest prose stories of the literature of Britain. The stories were compiled in Middle Welsh in the 12th–13th centuries from earlier oral traditions. There are two main source manuscripts, created c. 1350–1410, as well as a few earlier fragments. The title covers a collection of eleven prose stories of widely different types, offering drama, philosophy, romance, tragedy, fantasy and humour, and created by various narrators over time. There is a classic hero quest, "Culhwch and Olwen"; a historic legend in "Lludd and Llefelys," complete with glimpses of a far off age; and other tales portray a very different King Arthur from the later popular versions. The highly sophisticated complexity of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi defies categorisation. The stories are so diverse that it has been argued that they are not even a true collection.

Augusta Hall, Baroness Llanover British noble

Augusta Hall, Baroness Llanover, born Augusta Waddington, was a Welsh heiress, best known as a patron of the Welsh arts.

Price was an advocate of pan-Celticism and to this end, between 1824 and 1845, he learnt the Breton language. He also encouraged the British and Foreign Bible Society to fund the publication, in 1827, of Jean-François Le Gonidec's translation of the New Testament into Breton. In 1829 he visited Le Gonidec, whom he had assisted with the translation, at his home in Angoulême. [3]


Pan-Celticism, also known as Celticism or Celtic nationalism is a political, social and cultural movement advocating solidarity and cooperation between Celtic nations and the modern Celts in North-Western Europe. Some pan-Celtic organisations advocate the Celtic nations seceding from the United Kingdom and France and forming their own separate federal state together, while others simply advocate very close cooperation between independent sovereign Celtic nations, in the form of Irish nationalism, Scottish nationalism, Welsh nationalism, Breton nationalism, Cornish nationalism and Manx nationalism.

Breton language Celtic language

Breton is a Southwestern Brittonic language of the Celtic and Indo-European language family, spoken in Brittany.

British and Foreign Bible Society

The British and Foreign Bible Society, often known in England and Wales as simply the Bible Society, is a non-denominational Christian Bible society with charity status whose purpose is to make the Bible available throughout the world.

Price was also a close friend of Théodore Hersart de La Villemarqué ("Kervarker"), the leading Breton literary figure of the day, who was editor of the collection of popular songs known as the Barzaz Breiz (Ballads of Brittany). Price brought La Villemarqué to a hugely successful series of Eisteddfodau at Abergavenny. [4]

Théodore Claude Henri, vicomte Hersart de la Villemarqué French writer

Théodore Claude Henri, vicomte Hersart de la Villemarqué was a French philologist and man of letters.

Barzaz Breiz literary work

Barzaz Breiz is a collection of Breton popular songs collected by Théodore Hersart de la Villemarqué and published in 1839. It was compiled from oral tradition and preserves traditional folk tales, legends and music. Hersart de la Villemarqué grew up in the manor of Plessix in Nizon, near Pont-Aven, and was half Breton himself.

Abergavenny town in Monmouthshire, Wales

Abergavenny is a market town and community in Monmouthshire, Wales. Abergavenny is promoted as a Gateway to Wales. It is located on the A40 trunk road and the A465 Heads of the Valleys road and is approximately 6 miles (10 km) from the border with England.


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  1. Brinley Rees. "Price, Thomas (Carnhuanawc; 1787-1848), historian and antiquary". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  2. John T. Koch Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia, entry "Thomas Price"
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