The Glamorgan cricketer who was a pioneer of meteorology in Wales.

Charles Venables-Llewelyn. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Charles Venables-Llewelyn, who played three times for Glamorgan during the 1890s, was one of the pioneers of meteorology in Wales.

Born at Ynysygerwn in June 1870, Charles was the son of JTD Llewelyn, the squire of Penllergaer, and the man who in 1888 had convened the meeting at The Angel Hotel in Cardiff at which Glamorgan County Cricket Club came into being. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, Charles played cricket for the Cadoxton club and, together with his elder brother Willie, was coached by Billy Bancroft in the grounds of their family home to the north of Swansea.

In August 1891 he made his debut for Glamorgan in their match against Monmouthshire at Rodney Parade. The visitors won by an innings and 169 runs with Charles’s contribution being a mere single. He also played for Glamorgan in their match against the MCC at Lord’s in 1891, with Charles scoring 16, before appearing the following year in their trial match against a Colts XXII at Swansea.

The following year, Charles married Katherine Minna, the daughter of Richard Venables of Llysdinam, and moved to the extensive estate near Llandrindod Wells. For some time, Charles had held an interest in meteorology and, after moving into Llysdinam, he set up a weather station, collecting maximum and minimum temperatures as well as rainfall totals, with his data being supplied for many years to the Met. Office. This continued for many years after his death in 1951 and in 1982 Llysdinam hit the weather records as it recoded the lowest-ever temperature ever recorded in November in the U.K. with a reading of -28 degrees C.

In the early 1900s Charles also entered local politics and subsequently became a Conservative MP, representing Radnorshire in the House of Commons during 1910, before serving as both High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant of Radnorshire. In 1911 he and his wife also created a wildlife centre at Llysdinam and their son Michael set up the Llysdinam Field Centre in 1970 which was run by Cardiff University until 2010. It subsequently re-opened in 2014 as a centre to support independent, inter-disciplinary research into topics such as sustainability, landscape and sense of place.

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