top of page

Hanes yn y Tir - Elin Jones

*For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of webpage*

♥Welsh Children's Book of the Month: Oct 2021♥

♥Shortlist TNNO 2022♥

Age: 9-16 (KS2/3/4)


This is what Elin Williams (13) had to say...

This is a book about Welsh history by Elin Jones, which takes us on a journey from the very beginning (some 5000 years ago when the first people began to evolve, living in caves) to the establishment of the Senedd in Cardiff Bay in 1997.

There are many other interesting events in Welsh history between the covers, such as the history of the Celts and Romans, the establishment of Christianity in Wales and the resulting churches that were built, grand castles, the Welsh and their role in the slave trade, the raising of tollbooths and their destruction in the Rebecca riots, the terrible history of the Welsh Not in our schools, the two world wars, women's rights, and so much more.

I liked the way the volume was divided, with four timelines denoting the different main periods. There are also plenty of interesting pictures and diagrams; I believe that this softens the content and keeps our interest. Many of the statistics are presented in the form of charts and pictures, such as the map of Wales showing the growth in the number of railways over a period of time – so much more effective than just lists of numbers.

I liked the cover because it is colourful, contains characters from different periods, and the inclusion of the dragon is eye catching. This is a valuable addition to any bookshelf.

Review from, by kind permission of Book Council for Wales.


Morgan Dafydd, Sôn am Lyfra's opinion:

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have much to say about those old dusty history textbooks from my time in school. Although it was only the early 2000s, we were still using some pretty old, scruffy black and white books from the 80s in our lessons. These did little to ignite the curiosity of any learner.

We spent more time studying the conquests of the English royal family at the expense of our own rich history. Of course, I acknowledge it’s important to learn about events elsewhere in the world but I still feel there are major gaps in my knowledge of Welsh history and how Wales shaped the world. Now, thanks to this book, I’ve got a second chance to catch-up, and to finally to learn about periods of our history that are unfamiliar to me, such as the Age of the Princes.

As a teacher, I welcome this comprehensive resource, which lands just in time for the New Curriculum for Wales. According to the Welsh Government, all schools in the country have received a copy of the book, which is also available in English, under the title History Grounded.

Although its usefulness in the classroom is clear, this is a book with much wider appeal. Adults and history enthusiasts will find this book to be quite handy.

The scope of the resource is huge – it takes the reader on a visual journey through over 5,000 years. As well as giving a broad overview, the book also zooms in on some remarkable periods, individuals and events, including the Cymdeithas yr Iaith campaigns and the establishment of the Welsh Senedd. Overall, this is a volume that offers a highly visual journey through the rich and varied history of our country, full of relevant and engaging photographs that add to the text.

We get some sage advice from the author at the beginning of the book; a constant reminder that we’re all just guessing really when we study history. Despite the evidence that remains, we weren’t there when it happened so we can only try and piece the jigsaw pieces together as best we can. We also get a warning that history isn’t all gumdrops and rainbows. Indeed, it’s littered with cruelty, warmongering and death. It must also be remembered that bias and one-sided views are rife in history, as it was usually documented by the well-off, and men in particular.

Although there are a few pages that pertain to slavery, I would have liked to see more discussing the part that Wales played during colonial times. Although it’s an uncomfortable subject, it’s important to discuss the role that some individuals such as Thomas Picton, Pembrokeshire or Henry Morton Stanley, Denbigh played in the slave trade. Statues that celebrate their accomplishments still stand in our communities today, but we must recognize that a dark side to their lives exists. Rather than avoiding, ignoring or erasing this, we must have an open and frank conversation about it. Perhaps we missed an opportunity to do this here.

Of course, it’s impossible to fit everything into one volume, but it is fair to say that the author has done very diligent and thorough work here. Unfortunately, we don't have time machines, but this book is the next best thing! So open the covers and take yourself on a journey back through Welsh history, the history ingrained in our lands; which belongs to us all.

so glad to see Betty Campbell getting a mensh - what a remarkable lady!


Publisher: Carreg Gwalch

Released: Sept. 2021

Price: £16.50

Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9781845278311

Also available in English: History Grounded




Elin Jones used to teach at Preseli, Rhydfelen and Cwm Rhymni secondary schools before being appointed education officer at the National Museum of Wales. In her work she had to be familiar with every period of Welsh history, and had to prepare resources for every age and ability. In 1966 she started work in an advisory role with the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales, with responsibility for regulating history qualifications and developing the curriculum for history as well as its assessment methods, and commissioning history teaching resources. In 2013 she chaired the taskforce that was responsible for preparing a report to the Education Minister on the Welsh Curriculum, history and the story of Wales. Elin Jones is a popular guest on Radio Cymru where she discusses stories and characters from Welsh history.



bottom of page