Burning Down the House - The Firebombing Welsh Dragons

The lush green valleys and long sandy beaches of Wales are one of the most popular UK holiday destinations for English tourists. However, their beauty harbours dark secrets from a time when Wales was rife with fierce, fire breathing dragons who didn't welcome the English invasion with such zeal.

In 1979, the Meibion Glyndwr (The Sons of Glyndwr) began their campaign of cottage burning, setting alight 8 English owned holiday homes within one month, in protest at the growing trend of property in rural Wales being sold to English people as second homes. The campaign was to last for 12 years, during which over 200 English owned holiday cottages went up in smoke.

The name 'Son of Glyndwr' was derived from a 15th century Welsh rebel leader called Owain Glyndwr. He was a potent figurehead of Welsh nationalism, having risen up against the occupying English and led a divided people with an army just one-twelfth the size of England's against two kings and a dozen armies, forcing the English to withdraw from Welsh borders. He is a Welsh hero and legend and it's no surprise that his actions are still an inspiration for Welshman centuries later.

But what exactly was it that these fierce Welsh dragons were objecting to? There are many positive arguments for tourism, not least the fact that it was bringing in much needed money to areas which were economically depressed.

Well, Meibion Glyndwr, and several other nationalist groups didn't see it like that. They were violently opposed to what they saw as a growing trend of wealthy English "incomers" buying up rural properties as second homes in their beloved Welsh Heartland, and saw this as a threat to Wales' language, identity and culture. The English as a cultural threat may have been a little far-fetched, but there was little doubting the economic consequences of the English spending spree; house prices were forced beyond the means of many locals, causing great resentment that they could no longer afford to live in the communities of their birth; in some of the most popular coastal towns and villages, almost 50% of the houses were English owned.

In addition to the firebombing of English owned holiday cottages, English owned businesses were also attacked in Wales and England, and incendiary devices were placed in Conservative party offices in London and estate agents premises in Liverpool, Sutton Coldfield and Haverfordwest. However, in 12 years of the campaign, there were no deaths; the only injury was a woman who suffered minor burns to her hands after opening a letter bomb.

Thankfully, Meibion Glyndwr are no longer active, having subsided at the start of the 1990s, and for the last 17 years tourism in Wales has prospered, boosting the economy in many regions where few other sources of income exists.

Andrew Regan is an online, freelance author from Scotland. He is a keen rugby player and enjoys travelling.

Source: www.articledashboard.com