It developed into a movement based on socialist and egalitarian principles based on community values and traditional culture. Later, under the principled leadership of Gwynfor Evans, it proclaimed its advocacy of non-violence and assumed an international outlook, which saw Wales as a free and unbridled nation taking its place among the other nations of Europe and the world. It espoused the values of Welsh community life and vowed to safeguard the language - "o bydded i'r hen iaith barhau".
This Welsh nationalism rose above purely ideological considerations and reached across the barriers which had been set up by years of indoctrination and conditioning. It is a very inoffensive, yet determined and persistent, variety of nationalism, and it seeks to achieve its goals through argument and persuasion, not violent struggle as depicted in the Irish model. The epic struggles of Owain Glyndwr ceased many centuries ago after it was understood that the nation was faced by insuperable odds. It is in this present age that a new spirit of nationhood has imbued the people of Wales and drawn the nation together in a renewed effort to press for self-government. We now look forward to the prospect of a full Parliament for Wales.
To his devotees, Saunders Lewis’ legacy is immense. Alongside his literary output - he wrote plays, poems and novels - he had a profound influence on 20th century Welsh politics. A founder of Plaid Cymru, he was a hero to nationalists while remaining equally unloved by those who did not share his views. Lewis was born in Cheshire in 1893 and brought up amongst the Welsh community on Merseyside. But it was his experience of the First World War, especially fighting alongside Irishmen, that seems to have had the most significant effect on him. It helped to shape his convictions about the importance of Welsh national identity although - unlike hard line Irish republicans - he stopped short of advocating violence against representatives of the British state.In 1936 Lewis, together with two other activists, set fire to the new RAF base at Penyberth in Gwynedd. They gave themselves up to the police, claiming justification on nationalist and pacifist grounds.In the aftermath of the Penyberth arson, Lewis lost his university lecturing post and in controversial circumstances went on trial at the Old Bailey in London. He was sentenced to nine months imprisonment.In a radio lecture of 1962 he said "Restoring the Welsh language in Wales is nothing less than a revolution. It is only through revolutionary means that we can succeed." The broadcast led to the creation of Cymdeithas Yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) and inspired its campaigns of direct action over the following decades.Cymdeithas protests undoubtedly played a part in the establishment of S4C, the Welsh language television channel, in 1982 and the Welsh Language Act of 1993.
Twice nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, Lewis was a deeply religious man and a convert to Catholicism. Not even his sternest critics would deny his lasting impact on the intellectual debate over the future of Welsh society.
Lewis Edward Valentine (June 1, 1893-March 1986) was a Baptist pastor, author, editor and political activist.
He was born in Llanddulas, Denbighshire, son of Samuel Valentine, a limestone quarryman, and his wife Mary. He began studying to go into the ministry of the Baptist church at the University College of North Wales, Bangor but his studies were curtailed due to the First World War.
His experience as a medical orderly during the First World War made him a Welsh nationalist and a pacifist. He became the first president of Plaid Cymru and its first parliamentary candidate in the 1929 General Election, when he stood in the Caernarfonshire constituency. In 1936, along with Saunders Lewis and D. J. Williams, Valentine took part in the symbolic burning of a bombing school at Penyberth in north-west Wales. He was sentenced to nine months in prison for this action.
As a pastor he served church in north Wales and edited the Baptist quarterly magazine, Seren Gomer, from 1951 to 1975. He also wrote of his experience in the war in Dyddiadur milwr (=A soldier's diary), 1988.
He is also famed as the writer of the hymn Gweddi dros Gymru (=A prayer for Wales), usually sung to the tune of Jean Sibelius's Finlandia Hymn, and generally thought of as the second Welsh national anthem.
He died in March, 1986.
D. J. Williams (David John Williams) (June 26, 1885–1970) was one of the foremost Welsh-language writers of the twentieth-century. He was also a prominent Welsh nationalist.
Williams was born in Rhydcymerau, Carmarthenshire. He studied English at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and Jesus College, Oxford. For most of his life he taught English at the grammar school in Fishguard, Pembrokeshire.
A socialist, he was one of the founders of Plaid Cymru, the Welsh National Party, in 1925. He took part, with Saunders Lewis and Lewis Valentine, in the symbolic burning of a bombing school at Penyberth in north-west Wales in 1936. As a result he spent nine months in Wormwood Scrubs prison.
Williams was a short story writer of renown and also the author of two volumes of autobiography. All his work is inspired by his vision of his native locality, of a close-knit community where common values give worth to all.
He died in 1970 at Rhydcymerau, Carmarthenshire.