Members at our 2007 BBQ

Naturalists' Society

Cymdeithas Naturiaethwyr



Col. Sir Cennydd George Traherne T.D., LL.D., M.A (1910-1995) 88th President

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Sir Cennydd George Traherne was not the first member of his family to be involved with the Society. We have a number of references to the family in the Transactions.

From Volume XXVI of the Transactions in 1903: -

The following records were supplied by Capt. Traherne, Coedyrhydyglyn. Golden Oriole. Was seen at St. Hilary, 1878, and at Coedyrhydyglyn in 1883 and 1886. These birds were in pairs and probably bred there. Quail. Shot at St. Hilary in 1876. Hoopoe. A single one was seen at St. Hilary in 1877. Hawfinch noted at Coedyrhydyglyn a pair on March 13th, 1903, and another pair on the 21st, feeding on cedar seeds.

In Volume XXXVIII of the Transactions in 1905: -

Willow Warbler. March 26th. Fir plantation on east side of the Garth by D. R. Paterson and T. W. Proger, and on same day at Coedarhydyglyn, numbers were seen by Capt. G. Traherne.

The son of Llewellym Traherne, Cennydd was born on 14 December 1910 at Coedarhydyglyn, an elegant Regency mansion on the outskirts of Cardiff, with a magnificent view over the Ely valley to the Uplands beyond. There he and Lady Rowena created an important arboretum. The society have had the pleasure to visit again in recent years (You can read about it here).

Sir Cennydd Traherne (1910-1995) by Thomas Roland Rathmell (1912-1990) courtesy of Cardiff University

Sir Cennydd Traherne (1910-1995) by Thomas Roland Rathmell (1912-1990) courtesy of Cardiff University

There are a couple of very important passages in Volume LXXI of the transactions in 1938 where we see for the first time Cennydd G. Traherne (Mr. as he was then). He had, in 1937, purchased the Duffryn Estate to safeguard its gardens: -

113 members of the Society took part in the 3rd Summer Meeting which was held in the grounds of Duffryn, St. Nicholas, on Saturday, 24th September. Unfortunately, the weather again proved disappointing but a tour of the grounds was made and guidance and information were given by Mr. H. A. Hyde, M.A., F.L.S., and Mr. Sayles, the Head Gardener. After tea, taken in the Duffryn House, Mr. Charles F. Shepherd of the Cardiff Public Library gave a talk on the history of Duffryn and Mr. T. Guy Clarke expressed the appreciation of the members to Mr. Traherne and to those who had contributed to the afternoon's enjoyment. Mr. Traherne arrived as the party were leaving and the appreciation of the members was conveyed to him.

An expression of appreciation has been forwarded to Mr. Cennydd G. Traherne in connection with his most generous offer of the house and gardens at Duffryn, St. Nicholas, to the Welsh nation. The Society was well represented at the conference held to consider the acceptance of the offer and Messrs. Frank Bird and Gilbert D. Shepherd have been nominated as the Society's representatives upon the Committee to take action in the matter. It is sincerely hoped that it may be found possible to establish this most valuable property as a national botanical gardens for Wales, and to this end the Society has offered its complete cooperation.

For those who live in the Cardiff area this last item must be seen as a lost opportunity. With no criticism to the excellent gardens we have in Camarthen now, it would have been wonderful to have such a resource on our doorstep for the many years in between this offer and the final establishment of the Welsh Botanic Gardens and we can only presume that a close working relationship would have been made between such a resource and the Society.

He was educated at Wellington and Brasenose College, Oxford and trained as a barrister. He served with the Royal Artillery and in 1942 was seconded to the military police. Later he was Deputy Assistant Provost Marshal in the 2nd Army and was early into France on D-Day plus one. He was Lord Lieutenant of Glamorgan from 1952 until 1974 when, on the splitting of the lieutenancy, he became Lord Lieutenant of South, Mid and West Glamorgan. He retired from the post in 1985. As Lord lieutenant he was elected an Honorary member of the Society as noted in Volume LXXXVI of the Transactions in 1957: -

Honorary Members. The Lord-lieutenant of Glamorgan, Major Cennydd G. Traherne, T.D., M.A. (Oxon.), J.P., was elected an Honorary Member of the Society.

As Lord-Lieutenant, Sir Cennydd was Custos Rotulorum or Keeper of the Rolls, a title which carries responsibility for the care of the county's archives. As Custos he chaired the Glamorgan Records Committee, later the Glamorgan Archives Joint Committee, from 1952 to 1985. He took a keen interest in the work of the Record Office and supported its efforts to safeguard the area's all too vulnerable archival heritages. In 1956, in conjunction with Dr Richard John, he helped retrieve and promote the publication of a Glamorgan County History, a project which had been suspended at the outbreak of war in 1939

He was the president of the Society during its centenary year and his part in the proceedings was fully recorded in Volume XCIV of the Transactions in 1968 from which an excerpt: -

An exhibition of the work of the Parent Society and the Sections was shown in the National Museum of Wales from 19th until 30th September. It was opened by the President, Sir Cennydd Traherne, T.D., LL.D., M.A., who also presented prizes to Junior competitors. A Civic Reception by the Rt. Hon. the Lord Mayor of Cardiff was held in the City Hall followed by the Centenary Dinner in the Assembly Room. The Chief Guest was the Most Hon. the Marquess of Anglesey, F.S.A., who proposed the health of the Society. Mr. Edgar T. Shepherd, F.C.A., responded. A presentation was made to Mr. Shepherd who retired after having been Hon. Treasurer for many years; the Society's grateful thanks were expressed to him by the President. Sir Cennydd Traherne proposed a toast to the guests, and the Lord Mayor responded. About 200 people were present.

Sir Cennydd Traherne at the Centenary Dinner

Sir Cennydd Traherne at the Centenary Dinner

His knighthood is noted in Volume XCV of the Transactions in 1970

Special Features... The honour of the Knight of the Garter was conferred on Sir Cennydd Traherne

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Before this... Mary Patricia Moore, B.A. (1929 - 2002) 87th President

Next up... Lt Col. R. J. H. Lloyd, O.B.E., T.D., D.L., F.C.I.S. 89th President

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These pages are part of the Cardiff Naturalists' Society 150th Anniversary celebrations and are about our history and are celebrating the people who developed our Society and helped build the city and the cultural heritage of Cardiff. You can read more about that using the links above

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