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The Ladies Fall - Yscwd Gwladis, Vale Of Neath

The Ladies Fall - Yscwd Gwladis, Vale Of Neath

Photographer: Napper, R P, British and Foreign Portrait Company

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1864

Shelfmark: 1784.a.30

Item number: 12

Length: 20

Width: 16

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

View of the Ladies' Fall (Yscwd Gwladis), one of the celebrated waterfalls of the Vale of Neath in south Wales, taken by R.P. Napper of the British and Foreign Portrait Company. The image is one of twenty landscape photographs documenting the picturesque scenery of the Neath valley by Napper published in 1864. In his accompanying text, Charles Henry Waring recounts the legends associated with the waterfall:

“Perhaps the most elegant Fall in the Vale of Neath is the one here depicted. It is not, however, for this reason that it is called ‘The Ladies’ Fall:’ this is merely an English form given to the Welsh name...Gwladis...signifying a Vestal Virgin; and among many celebrated women of this name, who lived in the olden times, one was so famous for her beauty that Martial, in one of his Epigrams, says, ‘It is impossible to believe that Claudia (the Latin of her name) is one of the “Blue Stained Britons,” as she is more beautiful than an Italian.’ This same Claudia is she who is mentioned by St. Paul in his 2nd Epistle to Timothy, in conjunction with Linus and Pudens...[she] was the first native Briton who embraced Christianity. Whether this Fall was named after her or not it is impossible to say. But it is more likely to have been named after Gwladis, one of the twenty-six daughters of Brychan, King of Glewisog. She married Gunleus; and the valley of Ystradgunlais, in Breconshire, is said to have been her marriage portion. Gunleus subsequently retired from the world, leading the life of an anchorite amongst the mountains of Ystradgunlais; and there is reason for supposing that his wife, following his example, selected the spot which bears her name, as the site of her hermitage.”

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