Dic Penderyn: "O Arglwydd, dyma gamwedd" - "Oh Lord, this is an injustice"

The Merthyr Rising of May and June 1831 took place when the coal miners and other working people took to the streets of Merthyr Tydfil in Wales in protest against unemployment and lowering wages. With cries of Caws a bara (cheese and bread) and I lawr â'r Brenin (down with the king) the protest spread throughout the area. Before the authorities regained control of the town through brutal force on 7 June the protesters effectively controlled Merthyr. However, the employers eventually took their bloody revenge with people sentenced to terms of imprisonment, penal transportation to Australia, and death by hanging.

Dic Penderyn (1808 – 13 August 1831) also known as Richard Lewis, was a Welsh labourer and coal miner who lived in Merthyr Tydfil. He was involved with the Merthyr Rising and was arrested for allegedly having stabbed a soldier and was sentenced to death. The injuries sustained were not fatal and there was no evidence that he was guilty of doing it. But the powers that be wanted their revenge and to set an example to those that dared to demand a decent life and defy their authority. The people of Merthyr called for his release with 11,000 signing a petition and others campaigned for the sentence to be commuted. However, the English Home Secretary Lord Melbourne refused wanting to teach these Welsh rebels a lesson.

Yesterday, 13th August, was the anniversary on the execution of Dic Penderyn at the age of 23. His last words were "O Arglwydd, dyma gamwedd" (English: "Oh Lord, this is an injustice"). His body was carried, accompanied by thousands, through the Vale of Glamorgan to his grave. Dic Penderyn is not forgotten by the people of Wales. He is buried in St Mary's churchyard, Port Talbot near Aberavon, and a memorial is placed on his grave. A plaque to Dic Penderyn can now also be found at the entrance to Cardiff Market on St Mary's Street, Cardiff, which was the place of his execution.

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