For the first time in its lifespan of nearly half a millennium, the 1536/42 Act of Union between Wales and England is on Welsh soil. This English act, under Henry VIII, saw the Welsh lands and peoples fall under the same judicial system as their invasive neighbours from across the imaginary line they call the marches. I’ll leave out the fact that Henry himself was born of a Welsh father….
To many a Welshman and woman the visit of this famous document to our capital city is about as welcome as an armwrestle with the Incredible Hulk – thanks in no small part to a line stating that (in modern English):
”…. and also that from henceforth no Person or Persons that use the Welsh Speech or Language, shall have or enjoy any manner Office or Fees within this Realm of England, Wales, or other the King’s Dominion, upon Pain of forfeiting the same Offices or Fees, unless he or they use and exercise the English Speech or Language….”
(And I thought it was German that capitalised nouns in their sentences?!…. And also it’s slightly sexist!)
Of course, 1993 saw an ammendment to this law, but the Welsh language has far from prospered because of it – at least prior to the early 90’s.
Many a Cornishman or woman might now be wanting me to explain that there has never been an Act of Union between Cornwall and England, and the 1536 writer of our document even went as far as including “Cornwallia / Cornubia” in his mid-sixteenth-century description of the FOUR realms over which he ruled.
But I digress. Why am I bringing up this ancient piece of paper and its aching significance today? Well, for the simple reason that I’d like to prove Harri’r Wythfed (Henry the Eighth) didn’t get it all wrong.
Aside from Wales and her judical system, the man who had 6 wives (or a mere 2 in the eyes of the church) wasn’t so bad after all. Whether he knew it or not, his simple yet Pope-annoying idea of an ecclisiastic divorce (cool metaphor, huh?) was a pretty darn good idea. And, yes, I’m more than aware that I’ll now most likely receive angry comments from anyone considering themselves Catholic these days, but do hear me out!
To many a Catholic Christian, marriage is a sacred bond between a man and his wife – a ‘God’ given gift of love, trust, understanding and unselfishness, if you will. But what of the men and women who choose to mistreat their partners – both verbally and physically? To the modern day citizen of our modern day world (at least in this country), a divorce would be the logical way to go. Now I’m not prepared to go into how difficult this can be for partners for various reasons – but, thanks to ‘good, olde’ Henry, it is a possibility!
Whereas I’m left feeling for the Catholic Christians in this situation. How might / could a man or woman abused by a ‘loving’ partner possibly fathom a life without said SICK other half?
I’m openly athiest. A believer in science and the power of the human-divine mind. Thankfully, I live in a culture where I am entitled to believe this feat. But I do think of those who have different beliefs – ones to which they are more than entitled, of course!
I’m only saying!
Smiley face for Henry and his condemning of the Welsh language 🙂