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Bedwyr Williams selected for cross-border public art project

Following the community consultation, Ancient Connections is delighted to announce that artist Bedwyr Williams working with Contemporary Art Society has been selected to create the new piece of public art titled ‘Do the Little Things’ that will link St Davids with Ferns, Wexford.


Bedwyr, who is based in Caernafon, North Wales, has proposed to create a series of giant beehives, three in St Davids Cathedral grounds and three in Ferns (location to be decided). These beautiful structures would be modelled on traditional skeps, and although they would be much larger than a typical beehive, they are functional hives and would house real bee colonies. The artist has proposed that the communities in each location will take over the care for the bees and compare the unique flavour of the honey produced with their neighbours across the Irish Sea through exchange visits.


The decision to select Bedwyr from the shortlist of five artists, was made by a cross-border panel of specialists, who unanimously agreed that Bedwyr’s proposal bridged ancient traditions with modern concerns for the environment and biodiversity as well as highlighting the story of friendship between St David and St Aidan. According to legend, St Aidan was mentored by St David, who gave him a gift of bees before Aidan returned to Ireland to found the monastery in Ferns.


Bedwyr’s proposal was also the overall favourite with the communities when the scores were averaged out, with a Pembrokeshire voter saying “I like the fact that this is a “living” sculpture, in that it will house live bee colonies. This will provide much needed pollinating insects in both communities and continue the ancient tradition of bee keeping”. And a Wexford voter saying “This project is simplicity itself, I particularly like the idea of the bees collecting the pollen to bring it back to the beehive and being turned into lovely honey. It would be a great idea and it would help to conserve and safeguard our environment”.

Bedwyr says:

“I’m interested in objects that invite communities to become active participants to make the artwork whole. I want people to become fully engaged in the artwork, doing the little things to bring the artwork to life, forgetting themselves and their daily concerns for a few hours. St David’s last words were “Gwnewch y pethau bychain” or “Do the little things.” This ethos has guided the development of my proposal which is founded on the story of St David and St Aidan and steeped in the magic and history of these two intertwined locations”.

Bedwyr will now engage with the communities in both regions to drill down into the detail of how to translate this wonderful concept into a successful venture in practical terms.


Dig at St Patrick’s Chapel, Whitesands Bay uncovers fascinating objects

The archaeological dig at St Patricks Chapel, Whitesands, St Davids is now on Day 24. The Dyfed Archaeological Trust team and volunteers have been working incredibly hard to excavate the site and piece together the stories of the people who are buried here. Who were they and where did they come from?

Over one hundred skeletons have been uncovered, many of them are infants. In addition, a horn pin with copper alloy corrosion and part of a shale bracelet were excavated as well as a clay furnace, which was discovered beside the chapel wall, and may have been used for melting metal. The team have also found a possible gaming board with a checked pattern on the top right hand corner, which was placed on top of a cist grave.

Radiocarbon dating has shown that the cemetery was in use from the 6th century to the 11th century A.D. Analysis of the skeletons at the University of Sheffield has revealed a mixed population of men, women and children of all ages. Graves are aligned east/west with the head to the west. In keeping with the Christian burial tradition there were no possessions buried with the bodies. Some of the skeletons were in cists – graves lined and capped with stone slabs, a burial tradition common across western Britain in the early medieval period. A unique burial rite was also identified: burials of children with white quartz pebbles placed on the top of the cists.

The dig continues until 16th July, visitors are welcome and free tours are conducted every day.

The Little Things opera – first song released!

Ancient Connections is thrilled with the latest developments from one of our community projects led by Village Voices of Llangwm – “The Little Things – A Musical Journey” telling the story of the relationship between St David and St Aidan. This community opera is an ambitious cross-border project in collaboration with Ferns Choir with performances planned in the National Opera House, Wexford and St David’s Cathedral July 2022. Non’s Storm is performed by Emma Evans. Music composed by Sam Howley, words by Peter George. Next video will be a duet between St David and St Aidan, followed by a third all cast and chorus piece. Watch this space!

Community contributes to new mural design for Theatr Gwaun

The Theatr Gwaun mural project kicked off with several days of community engagement at the Theatre with the selected artist Grant Radford of Accent London. Three schools took part in workshops, Ysgol Wdig, Ysgol Bro Gwaun and Ysgol Glannau Gwaun, as well as a number of consultation sessions with volunteers and members of the public.


Over the next few weeks, Grant will develop a draft design for a vibrant mural celebrating the stories and ancient connections that link Fishguard and Wexford while reflecting the essence of the town’s identity and the role of Theatr Gwaun as its cultural hub. The mural will be completed late summer or early Autumn.

New Mural for Theatr Gwaun, Fishguard!

An exciting new mural is planned for the exterior wall at Theatr Gwaun this year! Grant Radford of Accent London, originally from Port Talbort, was chosen by a panel made up of representatives of Theatr Gwaun, Fishguard Town Council, Fishguard Art Society and Ancient Connections. Grant will work with Fishguard’s community and schools to develop a vibrant mural celebrating the stories and ancient connections that link Fishguard and Wexford while reflecting the essence of the town’s identity and the role of Theatr Gwaun as its cultural hub.


The panel were delighted by the response to the open call for artists to create this new mural. Many talented artists with great ideas applied for the commission, making this a competitive and rigorous process. Grant’s proven experience, versatile style and community consultation ideas gave confidence to the panel. We eagerly await to see what appears. 


Next steps will be a schools’ and community engagement programme in the Spring and a final design agreed in the Summer. The mural will be completed late summer or early Autumn.