GALLERIES by Leigh Hatts
JTHOR, statesman, !siastic, administrator, selficist, indefatigable traveller, rmer, raconteur and gossip." ;e are some of the many riptions of the colourful -century Gerald of Wales is being widely remembered e Principality.
is the 800th anniversary of mile 51 day round journey ugh Wales by Gerald who accompanying the -ibishop of Canterbury. 'deacon Gerald has been tduced to Welsh children by of an animated television )on film narrated by Max :e playing Gerald's page.
le Primate's party is seen g and feasting its way across es with Archbishop Baldwin ing a mitre even in bed.
idiv, the Welsh Historic numents body, has missioned internationally vn artists to visit sites which on the famous tour and the t is 12 limited edition prints.
d Gentleman went to the )p's palace at St Davids e Gerald had longed to be to take up official residence e bishop.
)rdon Miles shows a perfect nan arch at Strata Florida ey near his West Wales home John Macfarlane, whose : is in the Laura Ashley !ction, went to St Winifred's and Chapel.
tese new pictures are orted in a touring exhibition tring paintings and drawings e by earlier artists (such as er and Sorrell) of some of ites over the past 250 years. te main Gerald of Wales )ition is at the National eum of Wales in Cardiff ly until October 30; ssion £2) where the theme is crusading priest". Gerald said to be destined for lation when he made sand cathedrals rather than castles on the Welsh beach.
At the age of nine he went to the Benedictine monastery at Gloucester although he cared little for the local English who he thought sounded like hissing geese.
The exhibition rightly opens with his books for these were his greatest weapons. As Archdeacon of Brecon, he issued an instruction manual for clergy warning them against using cider for communion wine and, worst of all, getting married.
Wives cluttered the parsonage with children and commandeered the only horse. Gerald had known a priest who intoned "Sweetheart help me" instead of "The Lord be with You".
Versions of Gerald's Irish book are also displayed. One is an early example of an illustrated chronicle and shows two men of Connaught in a coracle and a horseman riding bare chested. This, the most widely read Gerald book was possibly the first ever to be hyped with the author reading it aloud to an Oxford audience attracted by a free buffet.
Also on show is the only survivng manuscript of Gerald's Life of St David. The author coveted the St Davids bishopric which he was first nominated for in 1176 and actually elected to in 1199 before Archbishop Walter of Canterbury vetoed the appointment.
Armed with free copies of his books, Gerald made four journeys to Rome to appeal directly to Innocent III. The Archbishop of Canterbury, warned Gerald, was a fornicator, an arsonist, and very probably a heretic and murderer, what was more, his Latin grammar was appalling.
Ten years earlier Gerald had undertaken his round Wales tour with Walter's predecessor to drum up support for the Crusades. The earliest surviving copy of Gerald's account an early tourist guide belonged to Canterbury's St Augustine's Abbey.