Welsh Connection

Not many people are aware of how many Welsh men and women are connected to other places. So here’s a brief list of how your region may have been influenced by a Welshman (or Welshwoman). With explanatory notes by Dave.


Mount Everest
Mount Everest

First climbed by Sir Edmund Hillary (a Kiwi, admittedly) whose team trained in Snowdonia before the expedition in 1953. The Himalayas? Looks just like Wales.

Colonel Sir George Everest  4 July 1790 – 1 December 1866) was a Welsh surveyor, geographer and Surveyor-General of India from 1830 to 1843. He was born in Gwernvale Manor west of Crickhowell in Powys. The mountain was named after him.



Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO (16 August 1888  — 19 May 1935), known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18. Immortalised as Lawrence of Arabia in the 1961 film of that name. He died whilst riding one of his beloved Brough Superiors (British motorcycle known as the Rolls Royce of motorcycles and very fast for its time).


Elihu Yale

Yale University is named in honour of Elihu Yale, born in Wales. Yale’s ancestry can be traced back to the family estate at Plas yn Iâl near the village of Llandegla, Denbighshire, Wales. The name Yale is the English spelling of the Welsh place name, Iâl. Yale was not a particularly nice man, though, he was notorious for arresting and trying (and hanging!) Indians on his own private authority whilst governor of Fort St. George, India.


Ellis Island, New York
Ellis Island, New York

New York’s Ellis Island, gateway to the States for millions of immigrants, is named after Wrexham born Samuel Ellis who owned the island in the 1700s. He was born about 1733 in Wrexham, North East Wales and died in 1794 in New York, NY. He purchased the island on January 20, 1785. After his death his family did not appear to be very interested in keeping it (were they mad!?), and it soon passed into the hands of the government.


“Dr Livingstone, I presume”

Journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley who ‘found’ David Livingstone, was born and bred in Denbigh. Sir Henry Morton Stanley, GCB, born John Rowlands, was a Welsh American journalist and explorer famous for his exploration of central Africa and his search for Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone. Upon finding Livingstone, Stanley allegedly uttered the now-famous greeting, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Stanley is also known for his discoveries in and development of the Congo region.
Interestingly, the film ‘Zulu’ was made by Stanley Baker (Welsh actor) about the attack on Rorke’s Drift (South Africa) by loads of Zulus (Africans) against a couple of Welsh blokes (Ivor Emmanuel and Michael Caine, who isn’t Welsh). It’s the only film where the town of Bala gets a mention.


Robert Recorde (ca. 1512 – 1558) was a Welsh physician and mathematician. A member of a respectable family of Tenby, Wales, born in 1512, he introduced the “equals” sign (=) and also the “plus” sign(+) in 1557. Sadly, a year later, having been sued for defamation by a political enemy, he was arrested for debt and died in the King’s Bench Prison, Southwark, in June, 1558. Presumably his bank manager hadn’t learnt of the newfangled plus sign when declaring him bankrupt.


Higgs Event
Higgs Event at the LHC

Dr Lyn Evans (born Lyndon Evans in 1945 in Aberdare), is a Welsh scientist, the project leader of the CERN, Switzerland-based Large Hadron Collider. he became involved in the planning of the project in 1994, and in light of his leadership role in the LHC, Evans was redubbed by the press as “Evans the Atom”. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, and “one of the great engineering milestones of mankind”. It was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) from 1998 to 2008, with the aim of allowing physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics and high-energy physics, and particularly prove or disprove the existence of the hypothesized Higgs boson. Not at all complicated.


Shirley Bassey, Jamelia, Girls Aloud and Connie Fisher. Charlotte Church, Duffy, Mary Hopkin (aah, those were the days). Not forgetting Bonny Tyler and Cerys Matthews and Aled Jones. And Tom Jones. And Bryn Terfel, Dave Edmunds, Shakin’ Stevens and Ricky Valance. And the one and only Katherine Jenkins.