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Iorwerth Cyfeiliog Peate

The Society’s first Blue Plaque was erected to commemorate the life and achievements of Iorwerth Cyfeiliog Peate, who lived at 29 Lon y Dail for nearly twenty years.

A native of Montgomeryshire, Iorwerth Peate was passionate about the language and culture of the Welsh people, particularly of those in rural and traditional craft occupations. He studied Geography at the University of Wales at Aberystwyth, where his tutors were instrumental in strengthening Peate’s knowledge and interest in rural culture and the prehistory of Wales.

From Aberystwyth, Peate was appointed Assistant Keeper in the National Museum of Wales’s Department of Archaeology, then became Head of the sub-department of Welsh Culture and History. It was at this time that he began to realise his dream of creating a museum of folk culture, similar to those he had seen in places in Scandinavia. During WWII, Peate chaired the Rhiwbina Garden Village Association; he was meticulous in ensuring that necessary safety equipment was available and that the concerns of residents were addressed.

When in 1946, the Earl of Plymouth donated St Fagans Castle and 100 acres of gardens, Peate was able to make his dream a reality with the establishment of the Welsh Folk Museum (now the St Fagans National Museum of History), of which he was the first Curator. Under his leadership, the collection of buildings from all areas of Wales continued. His attention to detail meant that not only was each building faithfully restored, but its surroundings were regarded as equally important, reflecting the original situation of each cottage, chapel or smithy.

Iorwerth Peate died in 1982, and is buried behind Capel Penrhiw at St Fagans – a fitting tribute to the vision and determination of a true advocate of the celebration of the language, culture and folk life of Wales.

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