On the 23rd and 24th July in 1889, in the village of Bagillt, Flintshire, North Wales, held their first Flintshire Chair and Crown Eisteddfod. An old derelict building owned by Newton Keates & Co, that was once ' The Copper Works ', was by much village ingenuity, transformed into a magnificent pavilion for the event. It also was the first pavilion in Wales to be lit by electric light !. The Bardic Chair was a much coveted prize to win and, was offered for the best poem of 500 lines on " Seren Bethlehem "..but was never awarded, as submissions were considered to have been of such mediocre standard. Thereafter, the Chair disappeared from public view only to resurface in an antique shop in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where it was purchased by the Craigdarroch Castle Society in 1976. How the chair traveled, by how and with whom, to Canada, still remains a mystery.
The Craigdarroch Castle Society in 1996, considered the chair surplus to their requirements and, consequently sold the chair to the Victoria Welsh Society, who recognized it for its cultural and historical values. In 2001, Colin Sheen, chair of the Bagillt History Club, re.discovered the chair as it was proudly featured on their Welsh Society's Web Page. In early 2006 Emlyn Round of Pender Island, British Columbia, also discovered their web page, with chair still proudly displayed. Emlyn, who was born in Bagillt and also is a member ' at large ' of the Bagillt History Club, obtained permission from Colin to approach the Welsh Society to consider repatriation of the chair to the village of Bagillt. A presentation by Emlyn, made on behalf of the Bagillt History Club for the village of Bagillt, before the Board of the Welsh Society in Victoria was favorably received and, was endorsed by the Society membership. It was also agreed that their original purchase costs would not be passed on, only the symbolic one pound sterling, as deed of sale, would be required. Emlyn with the assistance of Gwerfyl Richards, a Trustee Board member of the Welsh Society, transported the Chair to Pender Island on it's first leg of it's long journey home to Bagillt. Emlyn then transported the chair to Bekins International Movers in Vancouver for the second leg. Zoom Airlines to Manchester Airport completed the third leg and, finally Colin Sheen assisted by Terah Oldfield-Lloyd completed the final and last leg from Manchester Airport to the village of Bagillt where it was last seen 117 years ago !. The Chair is to be placed in St.Mary's Church in the village of Bagillt for safekeeping and display, until at such time that the village has a safe and secure alternative.
A Special Church service, At St Mary's Church Bagillt, celebrating the Chairs return is to be held on the 22nd. October 2006 at 2pm.
Emlyn Round, Pender Island, B.C