top ten tuesday · welsh week

Top Ten Favourite Heroines


This is a feature that celebrates lists!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I really like this week’s topic, which is Top Ten Favourite Heroines. It’s also exciting because I get to tie it in with Welsh Week which is currently happening on the blog, so I’m adding a little twist to this week’s top ten. I’m going to be looking at

Top Ten Welsh Heroines

Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, 1097-1136

1. Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd

Welsh princess who eloped with a prince, and then led her husband’s army into battle. She was captured and beheaded, but inspired others in South Wales to rise against the Normans/English.

Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn, 1282 – 1337

2. Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn

Another Welsh princess, and daughter of the last native Prince of Wales. She was imprisoned for fifty years in a convent, and never returned to Wales after her capture.

Betsi Cadwaladr, 1789-1860

3. Betsi Cadwaladr

She worked alongside Florence Nightingale as a nurse in the Crimean War (despite the fact that Nightingale was totally opposed to a working-class Welsh woman going to Crimea). She moved to a hospital nearer the front line where she made a lot of good changes, and then returned to Britain at the age of 66. She also traveled all over the world while she was young, working as a maid or an assistant.

Elizabeth Phillips Hughes, 1851-1925

4. Elizabeth Phillips Hughes

Welsh scholar and promoter of women’s education. She was the first woman to take first-class honours at Cambridge, and was appointed  Principal of the Cambridge Training College for Women, later named Hughes Hall. She then returned to Wales to continue to fight for better secondary education.

Elizabeth Andrews, 1882-1960

5. Elizabeth Andrews

Suffragette and first woman organiser of the Labour Party in Wales. She campaigned a lot for health and education services, and was awarded an OBE in 1948.

Margaret Haig Mackworth, 1883-1958

6. Margaret Haig Mackworth

Viscountess Rhondda and active suffragist. She campaigned for women’s suffrage across South Wales in the year before the first world war, and served a period of time in prison due to activities such as attempting to destroy a post box with a chemical bomb. She worked with her father in the US during WWI and survived her ship being torpedoed by a German submarine when returning to the UK. She also tried to take her father’s seat in the House of Lords after his death, but failed.

Gwendoline Davies,1882-1951, and Margaret Davies, 1884-1963.

7. Gwendoline and Margaret Davies

Sisters who were Impressionist and 20th-century art collectors. They set up an arts centre just after WWI, and collected art whilst traveling Europe. They also set up a printing press, and sponsored the Gregynog Music Festival. In the mid 20th-century, they donated their 260 works of art to the National Museum of Wales.

NPG x170240; Lady Megan Arfon Lloyd George by Bassano
Megan Lloyd George, 1902-1966

8. Megan Lloyd George

First female MP for a Welsh constituency, and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, before defecting to the Labour Party in 1955. She campaigned for a Welsh Parliament and the creation of a Secretary of State for Wales.

Elaine Morgan, 1920-2013

9. Elaine Morgan

Welsh writer for television and author of books about evolutionary anthropology. Her work for television included several popular dramas, and was drawn into scientific writing because she was irritated that because most explanations of human evolution were largely male-centered.

Tanni Grey-Thompson, 1969-

10. Tanni Grey-Thompson

Wheelchair racer, parliamentarian and television presenter. As a paralympic athlete, she won 16 medals, including 11 golds, and held over 30 world records. She also won the London marathon six times between 1992 and 2002.

There are plenty more Welsh women who’ve done pretty awesome things, but these are just a few of them.

Which heroines were on your list this week?


6 thoughts on “Top Ten Favourite Heroines

    1. They’re all pretty obscure, but I really enjoyed researching some of them while I was writing up the post. 😀

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