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Cranogwen project team get planning go-ahead for Llangrannog statue

14 Apr 2022 3 minute read
Sarah Jane Rees ‘Cranogwen’ and Llangrannog’s Memorial Gardens.

Katy Jenkins, local democracy reporter

A life-size statue of a local historical figure is to be erected in Llangrannog as part of the national Monumental Welsh Women campaign.

Planning permission has been granted this week for a life-size bronze statue of Cranogwen – one of five statutes celebrating Welsh women – to be erected at Llangrannog Welfare Memorial Garden, which is on the road down to Llangrannog beach.

Local and national historical figure Sarah Jane Rees, best known for her bardic name Cranogwen, and referred to by Professor Deirdre Beddoe as “the most outstanding Welsh woman of the nineteenth century”, was a prominent mariner, poet, journalist, preacher and campaigner and the first woman to win a bardic prize at the National Eisteddfod.

The campaign to place the statue in Llangrannog has been the work of Monumental Welsh Women who want to increase the number of public statues of real women in Wales.

The statue of Sarah Jane Rees will be the third of a named Welsh woman elected in the country after Betty Campbell was unveiled in Cardiff in September of last year and a statue of Elaine Morgan was unveiled in Mountain Ash on March 18.

Memorial garden

In February, campaigners revealed that the plan to locate a statue of Cranogwen in the Memorial Gardens in Llangrannog on the Ceredigion coast.

The application for full planning consent for a full redesign of the garden area and the erection of the statue, standing 2.3metres tall including its plinth, has been approved by Ceredigion County Council planning officers.

A new wider entrance will be created, improving pedestrian access and safety as it will not be abutting the road, and natural stone will be used through the site with poetry written by Cranogwen following alongside a curved, central path.

New planting, walling, seating and stone pillars at the garden entrance are also planned.

“The proposal is adjudged to constitute a betterment of the public garden through an appropriate and attractive design to commemorate a figure of local and national significance,” a planning report states, adding it is “considered to be an enhancement to the immediate and wider landscape.”

The Cranogwen Project Team includes representatives of Llangrannog Welfare Committee, Monumental Welsh Women, Hidden Heroines, Cranogwen Monument and Aberystwyth University.

Artist impression: Llangrannog Welfare Memorial Garden will be redesigned as part of the statue project.

Female sculptor

Acclaimed artist Sebastien Boyesen was brought in to complete the design after campaigners hit a £20,000 online fundraising target.

In recognition of Cranogwen, who among other career achievements encouraged the talents of other women, MWW partnered with Lisa Evans, Programme Director of the degree honours programme in Sculpture at Carmarthen School of Art, Coleg Sir Gâr, to award a paid menteeship for one year to an emerging post-graduate female sculptor from Coleg Sir Gâr to work with Boyesen on this commission.

It has been awarded to Keziah Ferguson, who said: “I feel incredibly privileged to be involved in the project, to honour the legacy of Cranogwen. The warm reception I received in Llangrannog has made me doubly excited to start work with Seb and the team.”

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