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Fundraiser launched for statue of ‘the most outstanding Welsh woman of the 19th century’

Sarah Jane Rees (Cranogwen) © Copyright National Library of Wales (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A fundraiser has been launched on GoFundMe to raise money for a bronze statue of the poet, journalist, mariner, teacher, and political campaigner Sarah Jane Rees— better known by her bardic name Cranogwen.

The fundraiser launched by Anne-Marie Bollen has so far raised almost half of its £10,000 goal.

Cranogwen has been described as 'the most remarkable Welsh woman of the 19th century.'

Sarah Jane Rees was born in 1839 and raised in the village of Llangrannog. She was described as a precocious child, and learnt Latin and Astronomy from local schoolmaster Hugh Davies.

She began her career as a sailor on cargo ships, and achieved a qualification allowing her to captain ships anywhere in the world.

She became a headteacher at the age of 21 and then became the first ever woman to win a poetry prize in the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol in Aberystwyth in 1865— competing against the likes of Islwyn (William Thomas).

In 1870, she released a book of poems Caniadau Cranogwen.

Later, she became the editor of Y Frythones, the first Welsh-language publication dedicated to women's issues.

In 1869-1870, she travelled around the United States, addressing mainly Welsh immigrant communities as far west as California, giving lessons on education, temperance, and other subjects.

She spent most of her life with her partner Jane Thomas and died in Cilfynydd.

She was buried in her home village of Llangrannog.

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