history

Y postmon

January 27, 2023 0 Comments
Y postmon

Un o’r ychydig swyddi sydd heb newid yn ei hanfod dros y blynyddoedd yw postmon.  Mae rhywbeth sylfaenol, anostyngadwy am gerdded o ddrws i ddrws lawr yr heol i ddanfon llythyrau a pharseli i’r trigolion, a thorri gair cyfeillgar â nhw ar y ffordd.  Daeth y gair ‘postmon’ yn gyffredin yn yr 1860au, ac ers […]

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Pant Glas: a Meirionnydd commune in 1840

December 2, 2022 2 Comments
Pant Glas: a Meirionnydd commune in 1840

Barmouth was not the only place in Meirionnydd to host utopian settlements in the nineteenth century.  Fanny Talbot’s Ruskinian village there was preceded by a quixotic attempt to set up a socialist commune in a very different part of the region, Abergeirw. In Liverpool in 1839 a splinter group began to break away from Robert […]

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Castle of light

November 25, 2022 2 Comments
Castle of light

Barmouth and utopia make an unlikely combination.  But for a brief period the town, best known for its donkeys, candy-floss and Brummies, was the home of an idealistic social experiment, and an historic act of generosity. Fanny Talbot was born in Somerset in 1824, the youngest daughter of John and Mary Bowne.  Her father was […]

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A playing card with feeling

November 11, 2022 2 Comments
A playing card with feeling

Last week the National Trust kindly asked me to give a talk based on the items in an exhibition in Newton House, Dinefwr, Unlocked: 125 objects from Dinefwr.  The choice of objects, most of them connected to Newton House and Dinefwr Park, was up to me.  I could hardly fail to include one commonplace but […]

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Battle of the buildings

November 4, 2022 0 Comments
Battle of the buildings

Felicia Hemans, the leading woman poet of the Romantic period in Britain, came to Wales in 1800 when she was seven years old.  (Felicia Browne was her original name: her father, George, owned a wine-importing business.)  Her first home was a cottage near Abergele, before the family moved in 1809 to St Asaph to live […]

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Cynwrig’s stone foot

October 22, 2022 0 Comments
Cynwrig’s stone foot

This week I finally managed to get to St Illtud’s Church in Llanelltyd, near Dolgellau, and see for myself the stone, just over three feet tall and chained up like a dog, that sits on a low plinth at the west end of the nave.  In the dim light it’s very difficult to make out […]

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Watcyn Wyn a’r ‘Welsh Note’

October 14, 2022 0 Comments
Watcyn Wyn a’r ‘Welsh Note’

Pedair brawddeg sy gan Wicipedia i’w ddweud am Watkyn Hezekiah Williams.  Ond yn ei ddydd roedd ‘Watcyn Wyn’ yn adnabyddus iawn fel bardd, ac fel sefydlwr ysgol nodedig, Ysgol Gwynfryn, Rhydaman.   Dim ond arbenigwyr, siŵr o fod, sy’n darllen ei farddoniaeth, er bod o leiaf un o’i emynau, ‘Rwy’n gweld o bell y dydd yn […]

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Stephen W. Williams, engineer, architect, archaeologist

August 26, 2022 2 Comments
Stephen W. Williams, engineer, architect, archaeologist

His name’s been familiar to me for years, but it’s only in recent months that I’ve got to know him better.  In May this year I happened to stay the night in Penralley House, his home in Rhayader, and earlier in our walk up the Wye we passed Bryn Wern, a country house he designed […]

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Lasseter’s last ride

August 5, 2022 5 Comments
Lasseter’s last ride

Our school was just across the road.  I could have left our little brick house, Corton Cottage, at one minute to nine and still have been in time for lessons.  The school building was small, built of warm stone, and handsome in its modest way.  It dated back to the 1860s.  At first not much […]

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R.J. Derfel ar lyfrgelloedd

July 29, 2022 0 Comments
R.J. Derfel ar lyfrgelloedd

Cofir R.J. Derfel heddiw yn bennaf fel y dyn a fathodd y term ‘Brad y Llyfrau Gleision’, teitl ei ddrama a gyhoeddwyd yn 1854, saith mlynedd ar ôl yr adroddiad drwg-enwog gan y llywodraeth ar gyflwr addysg yng Nghymru.  Ond dylen ni ei gofio hefyd fel un o’r rhai cynharaf i ysgrifennu am sosialaeth trwy […]

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