The Williams family of Gorsedd Grucyn (by Ken Davies)
Records of the Census Enumerators 1841 - 1901
1841 saw agricultural labourer Owen Jones, 42 married to Elizabeth 41 living at Gorsedd. They had three daughters Gwen 10, Hanah 7, and Elinor 4. Jane Davies was their 55 year old servant.
David Davies 39 of Llanwrog and his wife Catherine 32 of Llanfair, were there for next two censuses in 1851 and 1861. There were no children present in either periods, but nephew Price Williams 4 of Llanbibley was there (named Pierce in 1861) as a cowman aged 14 in the latter. Robert Jones 27 of Llanrwst was a farm labourer, and Jane Williams 15 a house servant of Llanrug in 1851, but they had moved on ten years later as Jane Thomas 19 of Llanrwst was there as the dairymaid.
1871 recorded Owen Williams family at Gorsedd Grucyn.
Owen Williams 31, born Trewydr formerly lived at Tan Y Graig in 1841 with wife Gwen 29 and daughters Margaret 7 and Catherine 1. Wife and all children are recorded as born in Llanrwst in all censuses.
By 1851 Owen 41, farming 67 acres of land and Gwen 39, who was named Winifred on the census, kept home for Margaret, 17, Ann 8, William 7, Jane 4 and Thomas 1. Catherine 11 was not at Tan y Graig then.
In 1861 Owen and Gwen’s family at Tan y Graig consisted of Catherine 21, a house servant at home, Ann 18, a dressmaker, Jane 13, Thomas 11 and Hannah aged 4.
Before 1866, Owen and his family moved to Gorsedd, where he farmed 67 acres. The census for 1871 shows him aged 61 with wife again called Winifred 59, with his family of Thomas Williams 21 (also known as Grucyn the bard), Robert 19, Jane 23 married with a daughter Winifred 1, daughter Anne Owen 28, also married with a daughter Winfred 2 who was born in Ffestiniog, and a granddaughter Hannah Williams 14. Hannah died aged 23 and was buried on the 15th December 1879. Owen also had an infant son (name not known), who died aged 14 months and was buried on June 20th 1872.
Daughter Jane would eventually move to Bryniog, Grove Park, Colwyn Bay, where she died on January 14th 1916 as Mrs Jane Edwards aged 68. A poetical tribute was written in her memory by brother Thomas Williams ‘Grucyn’, and appears in the ‘Penillion Thomas Williams’ Link on this website, recalling their Tan Y Graig days.
1881 showed Owen aged 75 at Gorsedd with wife Winifred 69, sons Thomas 31 and Robert 29 both recorded as farmers. Granddaughter Winifred Jones 12 remained there (mother Jane not in residence) and grandson Thomas John Williams 1. Anne Jones 20 of Dolwyddelan, worked as a dairymaid. Daughter Anne who was at Gorsedd in 1871 is, 10 years later, recorded as living with her husband William Owen 38, born Trewydr, at Tanrallt, Llanrwst with children Winifred 12 and Thomas J. 3, both born in Ffestiniog and Hannah 7 months, born Trewydr. William’s occupation is described as an engine driver, stationary at Rhos Quarry, Capel Curig.
Owen Williams died aged 80 and was buried on the 8th December 1889 at Capel Seion, Llanrwst.
In 1891 Thomas Williams 41, was head of Gorsedd, following the death of his father, with his mother, now called Gwen, aged 80. Working there was a 21 year old dairymaid from Dolwyddelan, Jane Jones – she would marry Thomas. Farm servant David Jones 17 of Dolwyddelan and John Jones 16, a labourer, also worked there. Nephew Thomas John Williams 11 was still in residence, but died aged 16 and was buried on September 29th 1896.
1901 and Thomas Williams, 51 had living with him, his wife Jane 31, 20 years his junior. Their family at the time consisted of Owen 8, Humphrey 7, Robert John 6, Winifred 4, Hannah 2 and 8 month old Jane. She died and was buried on November 3 1922 aged 23. Thomas and Jane also had an infant son Thomas 3, who died and was buried on August 8th 1896.
Thomas’ mother Gwen, at a ripe old age of 91, was also there. She died aged 94 and was buried on the 24th February 1904. All spoke Welsh.
HISTORY OF THE FAMILY AFTER 1901
After 1901 – what happened to the family?
Owen a farmer, later lived at Ty Hwnt i’r Afon, Gwytherin – he never married.
Humphrey, or Wmffra married Ellen and lived at Railway Terrace, Llanrwst.
Bob continued to farm Gorsedd and died in 1975 – he remained a bachelor.
Winifred married Idwal Glyn Davies, and lived in Llanrwst, Hannah married Peter Williams, and lived at Ty’n y Bryn, Nant y Rhiw and later Hafoty Gwyn, Pentrefoelas, and Jane remained unmarried and had a daughter Annie Gwenfron around 1919.
Twins Mair and Joseph were yet to be born.
Thomas and Jane also had another two sets of twins who were still-born.
Thomas Williams died on the 21st November 1923 aged 74.
Sadly, he lies in an unmarked plot at Capel Seion, Llanrwst. He is buried with his parents Owen and Gwen, an unnamed brother, children Hannah, Thomas, Jane, and nephew Thomas John.
Above: Idwal G Davies wearing that fore-and-aft peaked postman's headgear, with Annie, Joe, and Mrs Jane Williams.
Above: Taken at the time of W O Davies' marriage to Jean Davies, a shot of Mair, Sally, Mrs Jane Williams, Hannah and Annie in 1951.
Wife Jane who died on the 14th April 1953, aged 83, is buried at Cae Melwr Cemetery, there being no room for her to rest with her husband at Capel Seion.
Jane's original headstone bore the name of Thomas Williams, but his name was removed when the latest stone was placed there, as Thomas was not buried there.
Buried with her are sons Robert John Williams who died May 11th 1975 aged 80, Joseph Williams who passed away December 21 1991 aged 80 and Annie Gwenfron Davies, died October 15, 1987 aged 68.
Jane Jones was allegedly born on a mountain path near Dolwyddelen around 1870. Her birth was never registered. Somerset House accepted that Jane was 60 (for pension purposes) because they accepted that she was the same age as Mrs Evans Fronwen!
She is thought to have been the daughter of David Jones, a blacksmith in Dolwyddelen, but I have been unable to confirm this. She lived at one time in Tan Yr Eglwys, Dolwyddelen.
OBITUARY OF JANE WILLIAMS (NEE JONES)
Jane's obituary reads:
Mrs Jane Williams of Gorsedd Grycun, Nant y Rhiw, Llanrwst who died on Tuesday week, was the mother of 17 children.
The ten surviving sons and daughters together with some of Mrs Williams’ 26 grandchildren and her four great-grandchildren were among the relatives and friends who attended a short service at the farmhouse on Saturday. Interment was at the public cemetery Llanrwst.
Mrs Williams was a native of Dolwyddelan, but had lived at Gorsedd Grycun for nearly 70 years. She was a member of Nant y Rhiw Congregational Chapel. Her husband, Thomas Williams (Grucyn), died 30 years ago. He was a well-known local bard whose elegiac poems gained him considerable repute.
The service at the house was conducted by the Rev. Byron Hughes, Melin Y Coed, and at the graveside by the Revs Byron Hughes, Enoc T. Davies and W.E. Thomas.
The chief mourners included Messrs. Owen Williams, E. Humphrey Williams, Robert John Williams, Joseph Williams and Ifor Cynwyd Williams (sons); Mr & Mrs Emrys Williams, Mr & Mrs Ynyr P. Williams (sons and daughters in law); Mr & Mrs Peter Williams, Mr & Mrs Hywel Jackson, Mr & Mrs Robert D. Roberts, (daughters and sons in law); Mr I. Glynne Davies, (son in law), Mrs I.G. Davies (daughter in law); Mrs A.G. Davies, Miss Ceinwen Davies, (granddaughters); and Tom E. Davies, (great grandson).
Six of the sons were the bearers, assisted by Messrs. Cadwaladr Roberts, Idris Jackson, Elwyn Jackson, Elfed Williams, William Owen Davies and T. Glynne Davies, grandsons.
Floral tributes were sent by Bob a Joe; Annie, Ceinwen a Tom bach; teulu Ty Hwnt i’r Afon; Humphrey; teulu Foty Gwyn; Mair a Bob; teulu Cil Owen; Ynyr Ceridwen a’r plant; Sally a Hywel; Ifor a’r plant; Gwen, Glynne a’r plant; William a Jean; Idris, Megan a Beryl; Tom, Mair a Gareth bach; Dwalad a Rhianwen; Alwena a Caradog; Elwyn, Gwen a David; Blodwen; Alun; Nowie a Humphrey; Maggie a’r teulu, Birkenhead a Llundain; teulu Foty Fawr; teulu Fron Wen; teulu Bron Haul, Bryn Seion; Bob, Myfi and little Christopher, St Asaph; all at Brookfield; Stan, Eirwen a Dewi bach; Liz ac Evan, Maes Gwyn; Lorna a Phyllis, Brookfield; Llanrwst postmen.
JOSEPH AND MAIR
Finally, twins Joseph and Mair appeared on S4C television shortly before Jo died 1991. They had been invited by Ysgol Gynradd, Llanrwst to attend their school Christmas Nativity play as their names were very fitting for the occasion.
Jo recalled his mother Jane making ‘tymblan pwdin’ which was ‘gwerth chweil’. She said that bringing up the twins was no trouble at all, and his mother was in her element having the family around her, particularly on Sundays. Jo and Mair recalled their Christmas presents as children being a pair of socks, an apple and an orange each. Jo was the youngest of his generation in the family - a generation the likes of which we shall, sadly, never see again.
(Thanks to Ken for the above information.)
THOMAS WILLIAMS GORSEDD GRUCYN (by Rowena Evans)
Some years ago the local community paper "Yr Odyn" carried an article in Welsh about Thomas Williams, written by Dafydd Evans who at one time lived at Plas Matw and was at school at the same time as Thomas Williams' children.
Although Thomas Williams had limited formal education, he read and wrote Welsh well, and read every Welsh periodical he could, such as "Y Faner", "The Banner". To read the big papers of the day opened wide he had to hold them at arms' length, and in the evening hold a candle with one hand at the same time.
Above: Thomas Williams, Gorsedd Grucyn, in Llanrwst.
His memory was exceptional and he contributed regularly to the Welsh journals himself as a poet, composing memorial verses about people he knew. His Bible was ever close to hand, and he remembered what he read. After hearing a sermon, he would be able to repeat it to someone else during the week. His daughter Winnie was the mother of poet T. Glynne Davies, who won the Crown in the 1951 National Eisteddfod in Llanrwst.
Above: Jane Williams and Ynyr
Doing the shopping in Llanrwst meant not only riding his pony to town, but actually riding it into E.B. Jones' shop to pick up his supplies. He would ride home with a sack slung across the pony's back in front of him, bread at one end and groceries at the other end.
Farming was his life. He tilled the land to grow oats, barley, potatoes, and swedes for the family and animals. The roads then were such that a threshing machine could not be taken to Gorsedd, so Thomas Williams threshed it himself, and was an expert at the task. His oats were clean enough to take to the Gwytherin mill, where it was turned into oatmeal. This was a staple food in the region in those days, and was used to make "brwas", shot, porridge and flummery (sour oatmeal boiled and jellied). A pig supplied the family with bacon.
Above: Gorsedd Grucyn
At one time local families were discussing the possibility of building a school in Nant y Rhiw, and the likelihood of there not being enough pupils. "You build the school," Thomas Williams declared, "and I will see you have pupils." He kept his promise and twins Joseph and Mair , Ynyr, Emrys and Bob Williams attended the Nant y Rhiw School along with the children of Nant y Rhiw. (See the school photos on the "Groups" page.) The Williams boys used to call William Evans of Fronwen "dewyrth", uncle, though the exact relationship is not clear at present. They used to walk to Nant-y-Rhiw chapel all the way from Gorsedd Grucyn via Fronwen.
Oats were also used to make oatcakes, as seen above in this photograph of Sarah Olwen Jackson in Gorsedd Grycun. After cooking, the oatcakes were dried out near the fire.
Above: The final resting place of Sarah Olwen and her husband Howell Jackson.
DESCENDENTS OF JANE AND THOMAS WILLIAMS (by Rhianwen Roberts)
Thomas Williams born 1850 Died 21/11/1923 Home: Gorsedd Grycun Occupation: Farmer
Jane Jones (wife) b.1870 d. 14/04/1953
CHILDREN OF JANE AND THOMAS WILLIAMS
E. HUMPHREY Married Ellen. Home: Railway Terrace,Llanrwst
OWEN b. 27/8/1892 d. 06/06/1963 Bachelor Farmer Home: Tu Hwnt I'r Afon, Gwytherin
THOMAS b. 1893 d.05/08/1896 Home: Gorsedd Grycun, Nant y Rhiw
ROBERT JOHN b. 18/10/1894 d. 11/03/1975 Bachelor Farmer Home: Gorsedd Grycun, Nant y Rhiw
JANE b. 1899 d. 31/10/1922 Spinster Home: Gorsedd Grycun, Nant y Rhiw
WINIFRED MYFANWY b. 6/1/1897 d. 21/02/1945 m.Idwal G.Davies, Postman. Home: School Bank Terrace,Llanrwst
HANNAH CERIDWEN b.15/06/1901 d. 16/10/1988 m. Peter Williams. Farmer Home: Hafoty Gwyn, Pentrevoelas
SARAH OLWEN b. 1902 d. 08/02/1983 m. Howell Jackson, Labourer. Home: Bont y Clwt, Melin y Coed
GWILYM b.1904 d. 09/01/1940 m. Gwendoline Home: Cwm, Dyserth
MAIR twin b. 02/06/1905 d.23/08/1999 m. Robert D. Roberts, Farmer Home: Maes Madog, Capel Garmon
JOSEPH twin b. 02/06/1905 d. 21/12/1991 Bachelor Farmer. Home: Gorsedd Grycun, Nant y Rhiw
IFOR CYNWYD b. 30/03/1907 d. 09/04/1987 m.Annie Owen. Home: Marine Road, Colwyn Bay
IEUAN EMRYS b. 19/01/1909 d. 07/10/1989 m.Kate. Occupation: Farmer Home: Cilowen, Llanfair Tal Haearn
YNYR PHILLIP b. 15/02/1911 d. 25/09/1975 m.Ceridwen Occ: Labourer. Home: Tegfan, Melin y Coed
DESCENDANTS OF THE ABOVE:
Annie Gwenfron married Sydney Davies - Son: Thomas Eiddon
WINNIE (WINIFRED MYFANWY)
William Owen b. 15/08/1923 Married Jean Roberts. Sons: Kenneth & Paul
Thomas Glynne b.12/01/1926 Married Mair Jones. Sons: Gareth/Geraint/Aled/Owen
Ceinwen b.17/08/1937 m. Vivian Biffin. Son:Martin
Elfed married Catherine
Emlyn married Elinor Children: ? / Clwyd
Alun married Mair Occupation: Farmer Daughters: Eurwen / Alwena
Hywel b.Sept. 1940 Married Rhiannon Occupation: Farmer Children: Megan / Dion / Ffion
Idris Married Megan. Children: Beryl / Eirian / Leonard / Mair
Elwyn m. Gwen. Son: David
Alwena b. 19/11/1928 Married Caradog Evans
Blodwen married Michael
Jean married John Edwards. Daughter: Janet
Cadwaladr 17/11/1928 married Jean Welch Occupation: Businessman Daughter Fiona Jane
Rhianwen 13/01/1944 married John E. Roberts Occupation: Teacher Daughters: Elen Wyn / Nia Wyn
Alun b.April 1944. Married Edith
EMRYS (IEUAN EMRYS)
Aledwen married Iorweth Jones, Occupation Farmer Children: Dylan / Clwyd / Morwenna
Norman married Ann Daughers: Bethan / Menna
Philip b.Oct. 1944. Married Miriam. Sons: Gareth / Alwyn
Elfed married Sharon Children: Llyr /
Many thanks to Rhianwen Roberts, Mair's daughter, for the above family information.
Gorsedd Grycun from the top road looking south west.
In 1928 Mair married Robert David Roberts, the son of Cadwaladr Roberts of Foty Gerrig, Siloam, the brother of Ellen Ann Evans of Fronwen. They lived at Maes Madog, Capel Garmon.
Above: Wedding of Robert David Roberts and Mair Williams 1928
Above: Ynyr Phillip Williams at Fronwen in the 20s or 30s.
Ynyr appears on school photos on the Old Photos - Groups page.
Ynyr married Ceridwen and lived at Tegfan, Melin y Coed.
Above: Bob Williams, Gorsedd Grucyn
Above: The Evans Family of Fronwen in 1927 with Joe Williams, Gorsedd Grucyn
Above Joe and Ynyr Gorsedd Grucyn on their way to chapel via Fronwen, and Katie.
The resting place of Ynyr Philip Williams and his wife, Ceridwen.
by Ken Davies, Broadlands, Milford Common, Newtown, P
owys, SY16 3AR.
“Cuckoo, cuckoo”. It was early March 1910. My grandfather Glyn Postman allowed himself a wry smile as he approached a farm on his rural post round. Glyn had done his annual cuckoo call, and he waited for the excited face of the farmer as he rushed out to tell Glyn that he had just heard the first cuckoo of the year.
Idwal Glyn Davies was born on the 13th June 1886, the son of Edward and Ellen Davies, 3 School Bank Terrace, Llanrwst. He started work as a postman in the early 1900s, and his first ever job was delivering letters and parcels on foot in the Pandy Tudur area of Abergele. After his deliveries he waited in a shed supplied by the Post Office until late afternoon, collecting any letters at Pandy Tudur Post Office and post boxes in the area as he walked back to Llanrwst, arriving around 7 o’clock in the evening.
His working day would start by meeting the 5 o’clock train from Llandudno Junction with other postmen to collect post bags and bring them to the Post Office for sorting on a two wheeled cart. The postmen would sort and deliver the post to their respectIive areas.
Taid Llanrwst, as we called him, delivered around Melin y Coed, Nant y Rhiw and Nant Bwlch yr Haearn. He walked 12 miles a day and during the 1950s his wage was only £2.10.0. (£2.50) for a 48 hour week.
Glyn received two uniforms a year, a great coat and a cloak to keep himself and letters dry. The uniform was dark blue with a thin red strip around the jacket and coat cuffs and a red line down the trousers. His hat was unique as it had peaks at the front and back.
A whistle was supplied so that he could forewarn farmers of his impending arrival. When calling at the home, Glyn would call “Oes ‘na bobol?” (Anyone at home?), and would receive a reply “Dewch i mewn postman” (Come in postman).
He generally had permission to cross fields, which gave him the opportunity to share some local news, have sustenance and a cup of tea. Each farm cared for a postman, supplying a breakfast of home cured bacon, eggs, fresh butter and home made bread. Farmers were generous at Christmas with their tips. Glyn would invariably return home with a pocket full of money.
Glyn sang second tenor with Llanrwst Male Voice Choir, and could often be heard singing on his way to work and when delivering his letters.
During the First World War, he was attached to the Highland Artillery as a 1st Class Signalman. He was one of thousands who faced chlorine gas at Ypres.
He worked as a nightwatchman at Parc leadmines following his retirement.
His father Edward was born in Llanarmon yn Ial around 1856, and married Ellen Williams (born 16th November 1850). She was the daughter of William Williams and Ellen Williams, nee Hughes, of Pentre Mawr, Capel Garmon. Edward and Ellen had another three children in addition to Idwal Glyn; William Edward Davies, Ellen Davies and Margaret Davies.
Edward, a lead miner at Nant Bwlch yr Haearn, was a successful musician and choir master in the town. He could play from memory any music which he had heard. Around 1888, Edward left home for America, with the expectation that his family would follow. This did not happen. The last that was heard of Edward was playing a piano in a Wild West saloon, in Idaho or Idaho Springs. Rumour has it that he returned to this country, but did not go back home. Edward’s grandson and Glyn’s son, T. Glynne Davies, wrote a Welsh language novel, ‘Marged’, based on the family during that period. Ellen died around 1936.
Above: The Wedding of Idwal Glyn Davies and Winifred Myfanwy Williams, Gorsedd Grucyn.
Glyn married Winifred Myfanwy Williams who was a daughter to Thomas and Jane Williams, Gorsedd Grucyn, Nant y Rhiw, Llanrwst. Thomas was a character and local poet. When discussing the possibility of a school in the Nant y Rhiw area, he was told that there were not enough children to warrant one. He demanded that a school be built, and he would supply the children! He and his wife obliged by raising 18 children, and the school was built!
Above: Winifred Myfanwy Davies (nee Williams Gorsedd Grycun) with William Owen Davies in 1923.
Above: William Owen Davies aged three.
Glyn completed 43 years service with the Post Office, as did his eldest son, my father, William Owen Davies who married Jean Roberts of Dolgarrog. My brother Paul has continued the postal tradition, totalling some 110 years service. Glyn and Winifred also had two daughters, Glenys, who died an infant, and Ceinwen. After his wife Winifred Myfanwy died, Glyn married Gwen Williams who had a daughter Jean. They had two sons, David and Edward
I’m sure my grandfather’s spirit still roams the beautiful open farmland around Llanrwst, and that he still smiles to himself when he hears the first cuckoo. The real cuckoo, that is.
Many thanks to Ken Davies, Glyn's grandson, for that fascinating story! See some of his photos on dolgellau.com and visit his website at penmon.org
Annie Ceridwen Owen nee Evans (Fronwen) remembers Idwal Glyn calling at Fronwen with the post. Her mother, Ellen Ann, used to give him a drink of buttermilk. In the 1930s when Annie was working in Birmingham she wrote a postcard home, which people did a lot in those days; a post card was the quick and easy way to communicate. In the message she wrote that her mother should give the postman some buttermilk, and Ellen Ann was "tickled to death" when Glyn delivered the mail and told her that Annie wanted her to give him some buttermilk. Annie also remembers his second wife, Gwen.
A blind man lived on his round. On one occasion he asked Glyn to help him pick some apples from the trees in his orchard. Glyn gladly obliged. When up the trees, Glyn couldn't understand why the blind man was continuously asking him question, and Glyn queried this with him. He replied that if Glyn was answering his questions, then he could tell that Glyn wasn't eating any of the apples while he was up the trees.
Winifred Myfanwy passed away in 1947 with heart failure. Glyn later married his housekeeper, Gwen, and they had two sons, David and Edward. Gwen’s daughter Jean also lived with them.
Above: The sons of Idwal Glyn and Winifred Davies, William Owen on the left, with Thomas Glynne on the right. Ken tells the story of Idwal Glyn throwing some daisies into a stream when out collecting kindling in Coed y Gwyllt with young Thomas. "Dad, they'll never come back," observed young Tom. Glyn, telling Winifred about the incident, said, "Mae gennym ni fardd fan hyn!” (We’ve got a bard here!) True enough, and T. Glynne Davies (always Tom to his Llanrwst friends) went on to win the bardic crown (see below).
Ken says about "Taid Llanrwst": I remember him staying with us at Ivy House, Dolgellau in 1960 - I recall him singing hymns in his sleep, and us as a family walking the Barmouth railway bridge over the Mawddach Estuary.
Ken also writes:
On the 27th October 1961, Taid wrote the following letter to us in Dolgellau.
Here are a few lines so that you will know that I'm better. I really felt grand Wednesday apart from feeling rather giddy. I slept the best part of yesterday, and today again, I feel better if only my legs would give me better support. I dare not stoop at all, - strict orders.
Doctor Howarth called on me this morning, and will call at a later date. He's really fine! and his green 'G' pills soothes me in a few minutes. I'm also eating better today, and I was able to tackle a good sized herring for today's dinner. I swallow 14 pills each day, 2 whites and 12 greens. If you will be writing to Ceinwen shortly, please inform her that I was very glad to receive her letter this morning and I hope to write to her soon.
Jean and John have bought a house and things are passing through Howel Jones' hands. John's mother told A.G. (Aunty Gwen, Glyn's second wife) yesterday that the happy event will take place next March, Cofion, TAID.
Two days later, I can remember a policeman calling at our house in Dolgellau and asking to speak to Dad in private. He came to inform us that Taid had died on the 29th October 1961.
Above: This picture of Llanrwst Post Office staff was taken in either the 1920's or 1930's. Idwal Glyn Davies is second from the left, middle row. Other identified post men in the back row are Llew the Postman (second left) and Oliver Bach (second right). Picture supplied to the Daily Post by Mr William Parry Jones of Llanrwst.
Images of the old postmen's uniforms can be seen on bebin.net/images/WHIBebin.jpg; postalheritage.org.uk/exhibitions/vapurch; etc. The bathpostalmuseum.org says about the double peaked cap:
1896 Double Peaked Cap. In 1896 the cap which became known as the 'shako' was introduced. The cap included a cloth covered peak at the back as a protection from the rain and a drop front peak of glazed leather. The cap was disliked in all quarters. A London newspaper described it as 'The ugliest peaked fore-and-aft headgear ever'.
Above: Glyn Postman on the right (Mr Idwal Glyn Davies).
Ken also says: I'm going through a lot of old documents and came across this newspaper cutting - it may be of interest. It was in May 1935 - I don't know the paper, but it would have been the local Papur Bro.
LLADD DYFRGI - Y dydd o'r blaen pan am dro yng nghymdogaeth Capel Garmon gwelodd Mr Idwal Glyn Davies, School Bank Terrace, llythyrgludydd, ast ifanc yn ymladd a dyfrgi ifanc ar lan ffrwd ar un o feusydd Maes Madog. Digwyddai fod gan Mr Davies ffon ddraenen yn ei law ac wedi mynd tu ol i'r dyfrgi yn llechwraidd trawodd ef ddwywaith nes ei ladd. Nid yn aml y gwelir dyfrgi belled o'i gynhefin, a rhaid ei fod wedi colli ei ffordd i'r afon sy'n ymuno a'r Gonwy heb fod nepell o Lanrwst.
OTTER KILLING - The other day while walking in the neighbourhood of Capel Garmon Mr Idwal Glyn Davies, School Bank Terrace, postman, saw a young bitch fighting a young otter on the bank of a stream on one of the fields of Maes Madog. Mr Davies happened to have a thorn stick in his hand and getting stealthily behind the otter he hit it twice, killing it. An otter is not often observed far from its home territory, and it must have lost its way to the river that joins the Conway not far from Llanrwst.
Above: June 9, 1951 - Wedding of William Owen Davies and Jean Roberts of Dolgarrog at Capel Seion, Llanrwst.
Annie Gwendoline Davies and her uncle, Jo Williams.
Above: Gorsedd Grucyn 1966 - Jo Williams with Ken and Paul Davies.
(KD / Ed RE)
COFIO JO GORSEDD
gan Dei Bryniog (1991)
Saif Gorsedd Grucyn rhyw dair milltir hediad bran o dref Llanrwst a bu'n rhan o stad y Cyffdy hyd at amser chwalu honno yn y flwyddyn mil naw un saith. Fe'i prynwyd gan y tenant Thomas Williams am bum cant ac wyth deg a phump o bunnoedd ac yno bu'n byw am weddill ei oes hefo Jane Williams ei wraig, yn ffarmio a magu un o deuluoedd lluosocaf y gymdogaeth.
A'i i'r dref ac yn ol ar gefn merlen a cherddai Jane Williams ar ei ol, basged lawn ar bob braich, - ond rhywsut, llwyddai i afael yng nghynffon y gaseg wrth dringo'r allt am adref .
Mae llawer o hanesion digon difyr am Thomas Williams a'i gyfnod, ac mae'r stori honno'n hysbys bron i bawb amdano'n ceisio arghyoeddi awrdudodau addysg ei ddydd fod angen ysgol yn Nant Y Rhiw. "Codwch chi ysgol ac mi na innau'n siwr y bydd plant ynddi."
Un o'r plant hynny ydoedd Joseph, fu farw ychydig cyn y Nadolig (1991), efaill i Mair a'r unig un sy'n fyw bellach o'r teuluhynod yma. Mae'n anodd son am Jo heb grybwyll Bob ei frawd ac Annie yr un pryd, gan mai y nhw ill tri fu'n byw ac yn ffarmio Gorsedd Grucyn hyd at ddiwedd blwyddyn mil naw saith tri, yn prysur odro, danfon llaeth i'r ffordd, hel cynhaeaf, llenwi taflodydd, gwneud teisi, hel olion a hel broc.
Un diwyd iawn fu Jo, syml ac annwyl. A'i i'r dre bob nos Sadwrn am dipyn o hwyl hefo'r hogia, ac ymlwybrodd yn gyson i gapel Nant Y Rhiw trwy bob tywydd. Credai mewn ysbrydion ac adroddai straeon ofergoelus gydag awch, daliai sylw manwl ar ogwydd lleuad a chyfeiriad gwynt ac un craff ydoedd hefo arwyddion tywydd. Heb ymhelaethu geiriau, buont gymdogion tan gamp. Beth yn fwy all dyn ei dystio?
Boed heddwch i'w llwch a hiraeth lond y gwynt am weld eu tebyg unwaith eto.
REMEMBERING JO GORSEDD
by Dei Bryniog 1991
Gorsedd Grucyn stands some three miles as the crow flies from the town of Llanrwst, and it was part of the Cyffdy Estate until the time that was broken up in the year 1917. It was bought by the tenant, Thomas Williams, for £585 and there he lived for the rest of his life with Jane Williams his wife, farming and raising one of the most numerous families of the neighbourhood.
He would go to town and back on a pony and Jane Williams would walk after him, a full basket on each arm - yet she somehow succeeded in holding on to the mare's tail while climbing the hill for home. There are many interesting tales about Thomas Williams and his period, and that story must be known to nearly everybody wherein he tried to convince the education authorities of his day that a school was needed in Nant y Rhiw. "You build the school, and I will make sure there are children in it".
An old photo of Nant y Rhiw School.
One of those children was Joseph, who died a little before Christmas 1991, twin to Mair and the only one of this exceptional family still living. It is hard to speak of Jo without mentioning Bob his brother and Annie at the same time, as they are the three who lived and farmed Gorsedd Grucyn until the end of the year 1973, busy milking, taking milk to the road, gathering the harvest, filling lofts, making haystacks, collecting rubbish and collecting wood.
Jo was a very industrious man, simple and endearing. He would go to town every Saturday night for a bit of fun with the boys, and consistently made his way to Nant y Rhiw chapel in all weathers. He believed in ghosts and told superstitious tales with relish; he took careful note of the phases of the moon and the direction of the wind, being sagacious with signs of the weather. In short, they were superb neighbours. What greater testimony can a man give?
Peace to his ashes and a wind full of longing to see his like once again.
(Translation: Rowena Evans)
LIFE IN THE OLD DAYS AT GORSEDD GRUCYN
(A letter to Dei Bryniog from William Owen Davies)
31 Awst 1999
Annwyl Dei, Mary a'r plant,
Wythnos i heddiw yr oeddym yn mwynhau eich croeso yng Ngorsedd Grycun, a diolch yn fawr iawn i chi.
Aeth yr ymweliad a mi yn ol drigain mlynedd, pan oeddwn yn treulio llawer o amser yn Gorsedd. Os nad oedd angen carthu'r beudy a'r stabal, 'roeddwn yn cerdded y caeau, yn enwedig amser aredig Ffridd yr Orsedd, pan oedd y corn chwiglog yn nythu.
'R oedd yr iar yn cerdded llatheni cyn codi i'r awyr, lle bo neb yn gwybod ble'r oedd y nyth, ond os oedd pedwar wy yn y nyth a'u pigau at y canol, nid oeddwn yn cyffwrdd a hwy, gan fod yr iar wedi dechrau eistedd arnynt. Byddai Nain yn ffrio'r wya corn chwiglog i mi ac 'roeddynt yn flasus (blas cryfach nag wy iar), gyda bara cartre' a menyn ffres.
Pleser arall oedd dal tyrchod gyda trap ac yn gwneud yn siwr fy mod yn rhwbio fy nwylo yn y pridd, neu mi fuasai'r twrch yn arogli fy nghorff. Gan wneud yn siwr nad oedd ddim golau yn mynd i'r twll, 'roeddwn yn sicr o dwrch erbyn y bore.
Dal lefrod (lefrau yw sgwarnog ifanc fel y gwyddost) - unwaith a welswm un, byddwn yn rhoi peswch, a mi fydda'r lefran yn wardio. Gan gerdded yn araf tu ol iddi (nid yw sgwarnog ddim ond yn gweld y ddwy ochr iddi) ac yn ei chodi a'i chyflechu cyn ei gollwng yn rhydd. Dal sgwarnogod yn y clawdd yng ngwaelod Ffridd yr Orsedd gyda magl lle'r oedd y llwybr swarnogod yn arwain trwy'r clawdd, gan osod y fagl hyd dwrn a bawd i waelod y fagl (hyd dwrn i gwningen). Yna bydda Jo yn eu gwerthu am 2/6 yn y dre.
Dyddiau hyfryd mewn nefoedd o fyd Dei?
Erbyn hyn yr ydym wedi ail setlo mewn treflan lle nad oes dim ond y traffic yn symud.
Cofion gorau atoch oll, a diolch am eich croeso,
Wil a Jean
(William Owen a Jean Davies)
Dear Dei, Mary and the children
A week ago today we were enjoying your welcome in Gorsedd Grycun, and many thanks to you.
The visit took me back sixty years, when I was spending a lot of time in Gorsedd. If there was no need to muck out the cowshed and the stables, I would be walking the fields, especially at the time of ploughing the Gorsedd sheepwalk, when the lapwing was nesting.
The hen would walk yards before rising into the air so nobody would know where the nest was, but if there were four eggs in the nest with their pointed ends towards the middle I didn't touch them as the hen had started hatching them. Nain used to fry lapwing eggs for me, and they were delicious (a stronger taste than hens' eggs) with home baked bread and fresh butter.
Another pleasure was catching moles with a trap and making sure that I rubbed my hands in the soil, otherwise the mole would scent my body. By making sure no light went into the hole I was sure of a mole by the morning.
Catching leverets (a leveret is a young hare, as you know) - once I saw one I would give a cough, and the hare would freeze. Then walking slowly behind her (a hare can only see to either side of her) and picking her up and (chyflechu/try to hide?) before letting her go. Catching hares with a snare in the hedge at the bottom of Gorsedd sheepwalk where the hare path led through the hedge, setting the snare the length of a fist and a thumb to the bottom of the snare (the length of a fist for a rabbit). Then Jo would sell them for 2/6 in town . . .
Delightful days in Paradise, Dei?
By now we have settled in a small town where nothing moves but the traffic.
Best wishes to you all, and thank you for your welcome.
Wil a Jean
(William Owen and Jean Davies)
(Translation: Rowena Evans)
Also from the Ken Davies collection comes this reminder of precious leave during World War II.
Ken says: "Taken when Dad was home on leave during WW2. - Mother - Winifred Myfanwy, Anti Carrie, Dad and Ceinwen."
WILLIAM OWEN DAVIES 1923-2002
William Owen Davies was born on the 15th March 1923 in Llanrwst, the eldest of Idwal Glynne and Winifred Myfanwy Davies' four children.
Educated at Llanrwst Grammar School, he was a keen athlete, winning the Victor Ludorum in 1939 and 1940 and runner up in 1938.
He played football and cricket for Llanrwst and once took 8 wickets for 38 runs.
He started work with Llanrwst Post Office in 1940 as a counter clerk, where his father was a postman (see article 'Glyn Postman').
William was called up to the army in 1942. He recalled walking to Llanrwst station following his call-up,to go training in Heath, Cardiff and he could hear a Welsh song being played on all the radios as he passed houses in Llanrwst - the song was "Rwyf innau'n filwr bychan, yn cychwyn ar fy nhaith" (I am a little soldier, starting on my journey). He joined the 8th Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers. He enrolled in the battalion's Intelligence Section, and learned about military aircraft of all countries.
Like many thousands of other soldiers, he landed on the beaches of Arromanches during the D-Day landings. He was involved in establishing suitable ground in France for tank warfare.
William landed at Arromanches on the 23rd June 1944. He put his own life in danger near Caen, when he volunteered, as he was the only single man in their group, to go into "no man's land" under heavy enemy fire to fetch water. At one point he was in a shell hole with a boy from Blaenau Ffestiniog, and decided to move to another hole. He was blown several yards into the air by a German shell.
After the war, he rejoined the Post Office.
In 1951, he married Jean Roberts, daughter of Owen John and Sarah Michell Roberts of Dolgarrog. Jean worked for David Thomas, Solicitor in Llanrwst. They raised two son, Ken and Paul.
William enjoyed writing children's stories and poetry. Several of his stories were broadcast on the radio in the 1950's. "Helyntion Wili Draenog" and "Lalws" (actually based on a cat who once lived at Gorsedd!) were later published and distributed throughout Welsh schools.
He won chairs in Eisteddfodau; Holywell in 1954 and Llansawel, Carmarthenshire, in 1974. His poetry was published in his book "Cerddi Tair Tref".
He was appointed Postmaster in Dolgellau in 1960, and was given a double promotion to Llandeilo in 1970, where he worked until his retirement in 1983.
Throughout these times, wife Jean gave him tremendous support.
They loved and had great interest in their sons Ken and Paul, and their wives Marian and Teresa. Their grand daughters Kim, Rhian, Sarah, Rebecca and Bethany were a shining light to them and they loved to share in the successes of their schoolwork.
William took a great interest in the news of the wider family areas, and they loved their annual visits to "yr hen gynefin". (See letter to Dei Bryniog in 1999)
William passed away on the 30th November 2002, and Jean still lives in Llandeilo.
The following words are taken from a reference written for him by The Reverend John Jones M.A. in 1940.
"He is of an unblemished character, worthy of all trust and confidence. He will give of his best". How very true those words were. He was also a very kind, generous person, who would willingly help anyone who had a problem.
He is greatly missed.
Visitors! W. O. Davies and family visiting Gorsedd Grucyn in 1999 on one of their regular trips to the old neighbourhood, a week before he wrote the letter above to Dei Bryniog.
GORSEDD GRUCYN OR GRYCUN?
Ken says: Dad explained this to me. We always used to spell it Grycun and it was known as such. However, Dei Bryniog has renamed it to the original spelling of "Grucyn". I cannot for the life of me find out who Grucyn is (or Crucyn without the mutation perhaps). So, you could argue both are correct, depending on which period we're talking about.
Dad could remember the names of all the fields at Gorsedd - there was one field where the grass was particularly good; neighbouring farmers used to graze their sickly cattle/sheep on it to aid recovery. Sadly Dad never got round to listing them for me, but I have some names - Cae Nant, Ffridd yr Orsedd, Waen Fawr, Ffridd Maes, and Ffridd Bryniog
One thing Dad did for me was to draw a map of old Llanrwst - named all the streets as they were in the old days - it's a masterpiece on about three pages I think. Dad also wrote a lot of poetry and had a book published. None of the poems were based on his experiences, or farming life at Gorsedd unfortunately.
Above: Outbuilding at Gorsedd Grucyn.
T. GLYNNE DAVIES
Tom was a 'scream' to be with - absolutely superb sense of humour. I wish I had known Uncle Tom a lot better. I remember him telling me how he knew people who knew him from his Llanrwst days, when he became famous as a radio presenter. Anyone who called him "Tom" was from "home", and he would say " A sut mae pethau yn ochrau Llanrwst?" He would never say this to anyone who called him "Glynne".
I remember Uncle Tom interviewing the Beatles (interview can heard on the BBC Wales Radio Website) when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi went to Bangor. I was a Rolling Stones fan at the time, and I asked him what he thought of the pop stars he'd interviewed. He told me that they were all "big kids" apart from Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones), who treated him with respect and was a perfect gentleman, and answered all his questions civilly - a bit different to Mick Jagger's image.
Uncle Tom and Anti Mair were extremely supportive to us as a family when Dad was very ill during the 60's. I'll never forget that.
The wedding of T Glynne Davies and Mair Jones 4 April 1950
Bont Ifans, Esgairgeiliog, Ceinws. Y ganfed briodas yn (100th wedding in) Eglwys Corris, 4ydd Ebrill 1950
FROM A WELSH MAGAZINE
Bardd, nofelydd, newyddiadurwr a darlledwr, dyn amlochrog a diwylliedig oedd T. Glynne Davies. Ar ben hynny, roedd yn gymeriad hoffus, cwmni da, dyn doniol a ffraeth, gyda chylch eang o gyfeillion a gwybodaeth drylwyr o'i Gymru. Ganwyd ef ym 1926 yn Llanrwst, Sir Ddinbych, tref oedd wastad yn agos at ei galon. Cafodd ei addysg yn yr Ysgol Ramadeg yno cyn cymryd swydd mewn labordy ym Mae Colwyn. Yn ystod yr Ail Ryfel Byd gweithiai am rhyw flwyddyn mewn pwll glo yn Oakdale yn Sir Fynwy fel un o'r 'Bevin Boys' - dynion ifanc a wnaeth eu cyfraniad i economi'r wlad trwy weithio o dan ddaear.
Gyrfa newyddiadurol Ym 1949, wedi gwasanaethu yn y fyddin ym Malta, bwriadai fynd i Goleg Prifysgol Cymru, Aberystwyth, ond fe benderfynodd droi at newyddiaduraeth, gan weithio i'r Cambrian News yn Aberystwyth, Y Cymro a'r South Wales Evening Post. Ymunodd â staff y BBC ym 1957 fel gohebydd newyddion a daeth ei lais unigryw yn adnabyddus ar bob aelwyd Cymraeg. Datblygodd yn ddarlledwr dawnus dros ben, gyda hiwmor parod a dull hollol anffurfiol, yn wahanol i'r hyn a oedd yn arferol yn y Gorfforaeth ar y pryd. Ym 1963 aeth i weithio i'r BBC yn Yr Wyddgrug ac i Fangor ym 1970 i gyflwyno'r rhaglen boblogaidd 'Bore Da'. Arhosodd gyda'r rhaglen am chwe mlynedd cyn symud unwaith eto i weithio i'r BBC yn Abertawe.
Bardd a nofelydd
Daeth i amlygrwydd fel bardd pan ennillodd y Goron yn yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol ym 1951 gyda'i bryddest 'Adfeilion' a derbyniodd gryn glod gan y beirniaid llenyddol. Aeth ymlaen i gyhoeddi dwy gyfrol o gerddi, sef Llwybrau Pridd (1961) a Hedydd yn yr Haul (1969). Mae nifer o'i gerddi yn arbrofol ac yn torri tir newydd yn eu ffurfiau a'u hieithwedd. Ymddangosodd casgliad cyflawn o'i gerddi ym 1987. Ei gampwaith, heb os nac onibai, yw'r nofel Marged (1974), clamp o lyfr sydd yn un o nofelau Cymraeg pwysicaf yr ugeinfed ganrif. Mae'r stori yn dilyn hanes teulu o Lanrwst dros ganrif a mwy. Mae'n byrlymu â chymeriadau a golygfeydd cofiadwy, ac yn adlewyrchu gyda chryn gywirdeb y tlodi a dioddefaint y mae teulu Marged, y prif gymeriad, yn ei ddioddef. Nid yw'n ormodiaith dweud bod y nofel uchelgeisiol, gynhwysfawr, lliwgar, bwerus hon ymhlith y nofelau gorau a ysgrifennwyd yn y Gymraeg erioed. Cyhoeddodd T.Glynne Davies yn ogystal gyfrol o storïau byrion, Cân Serch (1954), a nofel arall, Haf Creulon (1960).
Bu farw yng Nghaerdydd ym 1988.
T. Glynne Davies wearing the crown he won In Llanrwst National Eisteddfod, 1951.
FROM THE DAILY POST:
JOURNALIST IS CROWN BARD
Winning poem took him a year to compose
YOUTH HOLDS THE STAGE AT NATIONAL EISTEDDFOD
FROM A "DAILY POST" REPORTER
In this town where he was born twenty-five years ago, Mr. T Glynne Davies, a Machynlleth journalist, was today crowned Bard of the 1951 National Eisteddfod and received the adulation of a crowd of more than 15,000 people from all parts of the world.
The crowning ceremony was performed with all the ritual which is becoming increasingly associated with Gorsedd activities under the direction of the present Archdruid, Cynan, who has already been hailed elsewhere as a master of pageantry.
An innavation was introduced to the ceremony when the ornate banner of the Gorsedd of Bards was brought on to the stage. Surrounded by its escort it remained spot-lighted on the stage while the Gorsedd procession, headed by Erfyl Fychan (Recorder), Trfin (sword bearer) and Cynan made its way from the rear of the pavilion and assembled around it. It made a grand background for the ceremony.
Before the members began filing into the pavilion, trumpeters of the Welsh Guards at the rear of the stage sounded a fanfare, to which reply came echoing down the huge hall from other trumpeters at the rear entrance.
After Caerwyn, the octogenarian poet and Eisteddfod conductor, had pronounced the Gorsedd prayer, the Archdruid summoned Professor T. H. Parry-Williams to deliver the adjudication on this year's Crown poem, on behalf of himself and his co-adjudicators, Mr Gwilym R. Jones and Mr J. M. Edwards.
The choice of subjects for the Crown poem lay between "Llywelyn Fawr" and "Adfeilion" (Ruins).
Twenty nine poems were received said Professor Parry -Williams, three of them on the first subject and twenty-six on the second. Out of this unusually large number of entries no fewer than six poems were regarded as outstanding and in some respects worthy of being awarded the Crown.
So high was the standard this year that Professor Parry-Williams was constrained to remark: "I hope that six or more of these poems can be published in book form so that the country can know which way the wind is blowing".
The successful poet, who used his father's first name, Idwal, as nom-de-plume, is a native of Llanrwst, his father being Mr I Glynne Davies; his home being in School Bank Terrace.
Above: Ken says - "Dad and Mam by the Eisteddfod Stone Circle with TGD's memorial slate; his ashes are scattered near here."
Tom died in 1988. His ashes were scattered by the Gorsedd Stones near the bridge in Llanrwst.
A plaque lies on the wall of his birthplace, 64 Denbigh Street, placed
by the then Mayoress, Cllr Patricia Williams.
Tom and Mair have four sons. Gareth Glyn, a broadcaster and composer, lives in Anglesey. Geraint is a hearing specialist and singer with Ar Log, and lives in the Conway Valley. Aled, until recently, was head of BBC Radio Cymru and is now a programme production consultant in Cardiff. Owen has his own company and tours around the schools with his educational programmes. He lives near his mother Mair in the Caernarfon area. All are married with children.
Here is another account of part of the family by Ken Davies as it appeared on penmon.org - used here with permission:
THOMAS AND ELIZABETH DAVIES
Thomas Davies 50, was born around 1791 as was his wife Elizabeth, 50. They are my great, great, great grandparents. In 1841, they lived at Ty Coch, Pant Isa, Llanfihangel with two of their sons, Daniel aged 20 working as an agricultural labourer as indeed was his father and Simon, 20, who was a slater. Simon was christened on the 10th June 1820. Ages in the 1841 census were rounded to the nearest 5 years.
Thomas and Elizabeth's other son Edward, my great, great grandfather who was born about 1823, was not living at home at the time.
Simon, Edward's brother had moved to live at Rhiw Yale in 1851 and had married Mary 27. They had four children Thomas 5, Jane 4, John 2 and Edward 4 months old. Simon was now a slater and plasterer.
Ten years on, in 1861, Simon and his family had moved to live in the village of Llanarmon yn Ial. Wife Mary was 37, and children Thomas 15, Jane 14, John 12, Edward 10, Elizabeth 8, Isaac 6, Louise 2 and the very young Mary, who was only a day old. An additional member of the household was Simon's brother Edward's son, also Edward, my great grandfather. Edward was 5 years old.
Simon continued to live in Llanarmon. In 1871 he was 50, living with wife Mary 47, son Thomas 25, Edward 20, William 5 and Simon 3. Ten years on, Simon 60 and Mary 57 had only daughter Jane living with them.
By 1891, Mary had died, leaving Simon a widower aged 60, with daughter Jane 34, now caring for him.
EDWARD AND MARGARET DAVIES
By 1871, Edward, now 15, had gone to live with parents Edward Davies, 48, born in Llanarmon, and Margaret Davies, 44, my great, great grandparents. Edward senior was farming 10 acres at Pendiau (?), Llywarch Parish, Llanarmon. and his wife Margaret was from Cerrigydrudion. Their daughter Margaret, 12, was also locally born and living at home.
Edward married Ellen Williams of Pentre Mawr
Edward was born in Llanarmon yn Ial, and married Ellen Williams of Pentre Mawr, Capel Garmon. He worked as a lead miner at Nant Bwlch yr Haearn, and was also a choirmaster in Llanrwst. The lived at 3 School Bank Terrace.
The 1881 census shows the family consisting on Edward, 25, working as a miner, wife Ellen, 30, and children William Edward, 3, and Margret, 1, both born in Llanrwst. John Owen, 23, a joiner from Llangerniew, was lodging with them.
Edward left for America and the intention was for the rest of the family to follow. I've established from shipping records that an Edward Davies left home for America, arriving there on the 24th February 1890, having sailed on the City of Chester ship.
Ellen, 40 at the 1891 census, has no employment recorded against her name. Edward could have been sending money home. Son William Edward, 13, was a scholar, Margaret is not recorded as living at home, Ellen Maud was 7 and my grandfather, Idwal Glyn, 4 years old.
Edward corresponded with home for a while and then communication ceased. He was last heard of playing a piano either in Idaho or Idaho Springs. News may have filtered through from America that he had died, or alternatively he was legally assumed as dead, as the family had not heard from him for sometime, because in the 1901 census for 3 School Bank Terrace, Ellen, 50, is recorded as a widow.
Son William Edward Davies, 23, was working as railway goods clerk, Ellen Maud Davies, 17, was a milliner, and Idwal Glyn Davies, 14, was employed as a labourer in a mineral works. Helping Ellen make ends meet was boarder John T Jones 20 a plasterer and slater.
Ellen and family stayed in Llanrwst. A rumour exists that he may have returned to this country, but never returned home. His grandson T. Glynne Davies wrote a Welsh language novel called Marged, which was based on Ellen and her family.
EDWARD AND ELLEN'S CHILDREN.
William Edward Davies was also a choirmaster at Llanrwst and later worked as a Manager with Pearl Assurance. He and his wife Mary Ellen Clarke Davies had four children; Edward Clarke Davies, Mary Clarke Davies, Beryl Clarke Davies, Arthur Clarke Davies and William Clarke Davies. They lived at Hillgrove, Abergele Road, Llanrwst.
Margaret Davies was born around 1880, and was living at home during the 1881 census. She was not living there during the two following censuses. She suffered with a club foot and went to work as a seamstress in Liverpool. She remained unmarried and is buried in Capel Seion.
Ellen Maud Davies (Aunty Nellie) was born around 1884. She married William Wilson and became a shopkeeper at Carlton, Denbigh Street, Llanrwst. The couple had three sons, Cecil, Bob and Norman.
Idwal Glyn Davies was my grandfather
(Thanks to Ken Davies for all the above insights into the Gorsedd Grucyn family and for sharing his memories and mementos with us. Thanks also to Richard Bryn Jones for the following history of William Williams, the elder brother of Thomas Williams)
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WILLIAM WILLIAMS (originally of Tan y Graig)
Thomas Williams’ older brother was William Williams, the oldest son of Owen Williams of Tan y Graig and Gorsedd Grucyn (SH 832595).
The census of 1851 shows William living with the family, but by 1861 he had moved away and was possibly working at Llwynsaint farm near Gwytherin.
William Williams married Ellen Hughes on 13th May 1871 in the Seion Chapel (Calvinistic Methodist), Station Road, Llanrwst. The marriage certificate records that William Williams of Henfodnant, Eglwysfach, was aged 26 and Ellen Hughes of Gwyndy, Eglwysfach, was aged 25.
William's father is shown as Owen Williams, a farmer, Ellen's father as William Hughes, also a farmer. Their witnesses were Price Jones and Catherine Williams, likely William’s sister. She signed with her mark.
In the 1871 census, William Williams is shown as an agricultural labourer living in Old Bodnod near to Bodnod Hall. Bodnod Hall was occupied by William Hanmer who became a baronet. It was located on the Aberconway estate of which the famous Bodnant Gardens are now part. Old Bodnod still appears on the current map; Henfodnant is its rough equivalent in Welsh. The name of the farmer in 1871 was Owen Jones. The most recent occupant was Lady Rose McClaren, whose history may be viewed at the following web page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Rose_McLaren . The McLaren family also owned Bryn Rhudd, farmed by ancestors of Dilys Grace Austin nee Jones, the maternal grandmother of Richard Bryn Jones, who has done the research for William’s history.
Gwyndy, where Ellen Hughes was living with her aunt in 1871, still stands, just a mile away from Old Bodnod.
Ellen's parents were William and Ann Hughes; Ann was born in about 1816 in Llangwstenin near Mochdre, and William was born around1800 in Llansantffraid. William worked as an agricultural labourer. They had two daughters, both born near Is-glan on the Flintshire. Ellen was also known as Eleanor or Ellenor in some records.
Above: Llwydcoed Isa
In the 1881 census, William's family is recorded as living at Llwydcoed Isa, a farm in the hills above Colwyn Bay and Mochdre. Llwydcoed Isa is still a working farm in good condition. The family consisted of William, 35, born in Llanrwst, a farmer of 75 acres employing two men, Eleanor, 35, his wife, born at Llanerch-y-mor, Winifred, 7, their daughter, William O, aged 3, Dinah, aged 2, and Anne, aged 3 months. The children were all born at Llwydcoed Isaf.
In the 1891 census, the Williams family is living with the Salisbury family in Scarisbrick House, Abergele Road, Conway. William, working as a Head Carter, was now 45 and Ellen 44, was recorded as having been born in Whitford. Daughter Winifred was now 17, Dinah 14, Annie 10 and son Robert 7. Elizabeth was 4, Mary 3, and Thomas 1. All children were recorded as having been born in Colwyn Bay.
In nearby Lawson Road stands the Welsh Presbyterian Chapel, Bethlehem, where William and Ellen's daughter Elizabeth Ellen Williams and Richard Jones were married in 1910.
Their son William O, who in 1891 would have been 13, is living at Gwern Tyno farm (also referred to as Wern Dyno), just to the south of Colwyn Bay on the Nant-y-Glyn Road, working for Thomas Evans (b. 1851) and his wife Elizabeth (b. 1855). Wern Dyno is fairly close to Llwydcoed Isaf farm on the Nant-y-Glyn Road.
The other family living in spacious Scarisbrick House is surnamed Salisbury. The wife (Elizabeth) was born in Llanrwst in 1855 so there may be a connection with William; the Salisbury children were also born in Llanrwst. Salisbury is a name in Llanrwst that dates back to the 17th century at least. Edward is to be found lodging in Ffestiniog in 1881; he was working as a stonemason as he is in 1891. He came originally from Llanasa in Flintshire. He is not to be found in 1901.
There is a record of the death of a William Williams aged 52 in 1898 registered in Conway. This may well be our William.
In the 1901 census, the Willliams family is living in Grove Park, Colwyn Bay, a road of Victorian villas to the south of Abergele Road near The Dingle. By 1901, Ellen/Elinor is a widow and living with Winifred, 27, William, 23, a general carter, Dinah, 22, a dressmaker, Annie, 20, Robert 17, working as a greengrocer, Elizabeth, 14, Mary, 13, and Thomas, 11. All the children are noted as speaking both Welsh and English.
Of the five daughters of William and Ellen, only Nellie (Elizabeth Ellen) and Mary married. The boys were Robert Henry, Thomas William, and William Owen. Thomas was killed in action during WWI. William Owen had two sons, Trevor and Ritchie, and a daughter, Gwyneth.
William and Ellen’s youngest daughter, Mary Catherine, married a tailor, Jack (probably Williams, probably born in Penrhyndeudraeth), and they emigrated to the United States and lived in Chicago. After retiring, they returned to Old Colwyn, and Mary was a witness ata Nellie’s wedding in 1910.
At the time of Nellie's wedding, the family was living at 17 Greenfield Road, Colwyn Bay.
William's younger sister Jane also moved from Gorsedd Grucyn to nearby Bryniog, Grove Park, Colwyn Bay, where she died aged 68 on January 14th 1916 as Mrs Jane Edwards. A poetical tribute was written in her memory by brother Thomas Williams 'Grucyn', and appears in the 'Penillion Thomas Williams' link on this website, recalling their Tan y Graig days
Thomas Williams 1890-1918
Thomas Williams was the youngest of William's children. He served and died in the 1st World War.
Thomas was a private in the 6th Battalion of the East Kent Regiment who are nicknamed "The Buffs". He enlisted in the Buffs as an early volunteer during the first week of September 1914. He was posted to the 8th Battalion but for some reason didn't go overseas with them in 1915. At some stage he transferred to the 6th Battalion.
He died on 9th August 1918, likely at the Battle of Amiens. Amiens is in Picardy, North West France. The 6th Battalion of the Buffs became part of the 37th Brigade which was itself part of the 12th (Eastern) Division, one of the Kitchener's Army divisions raised from volunteers by Lord Kitchener. It fought on the Western Front for the duration of the First World War.
Thomas is buried in France at Franvillers; it is a village and district in the Department of the Somme, and stands on high ground above the River Ancre across the river from the scene of the battle in which Thomas fell.
More particulars of these events appear in Bryn Jones’ account on the Penmon site.
Elizabeth Ellen (Nellie) Jones nee Williams was born on 28th July 1886. She married Richard R Jones on 1st December 1910 at the Bethlehem Chapel, Lawson Road, Colwyn Bay. Richard died in 1938 at the age of 62 and Nellie died in Chester on 25th July 1974 aged 87 years, having lived in Vicar's Cross, Chester since about 1914..
Nellie is buried in Handbridge Cemetery, Chester. Her death was reported in the local newspaper in Chester.
After their marriage, Nellie and Richard lived briefly in Ffestiniog, probably at 28 The Square. Their sons David Cyril and Emyr Wynn were born there. In 1914 the family moved to Devonia, Vicar's Cross Road, Chester. Their only daughter, Elinor, born in 1923, still lives in the house - now a very lively lady in her eighties.
Richard worked in insurance for Pearl and General, rising by the time of his death to become insurance superintendent. Their sons were David Cyril, born in 1911, Emyr Wynn born in 1913, Mervyn, born in1916, W Arthur born in 1918, Ifor born in 1920, and Vincent, born in 1922, all born in Chester except for the first two. Elinor was also born in Chester.
Below is an extract from the Chester Chronicle during World War II
CHESTER FAMILY'S FINE RECORD
Brothers Cyril, Emyr, Mervyn, Arthur, Ivor and Vincent
Mrs Jones, widow of Mr Richard Jones, Devinia, 120 Vicar's Cross, has six sons, five of whom are in the Forces. Her only daughter is also on War work.
Cyril (31), her oldest son, is an aero engine inspector at an aircraft factory. Before the war, he was employed by Brookhirst Switengear Ltd., Last week he volunteered for the Home Guard.
Emyr (29) a private in the Argyles, has been in the Army for three years and is now with the First Army in North Africa. He was wounded on March 3rd this year. He was formerly employed in the Frodsham-street branch of the Chester Co-operative Society.
Mervyn (26), a telegraphist in the Royal Navy has been serving for two and a half years and was formerly employed by the local branch of Messrs George Mason's and afterwards with the firm in Yorkshire.
Arthur (24) is a corporal in the R.E.M.E. and was called up with the Militia in May 1939. He was sent to France at Christmas, was in the Dunkirk evacuation and was drafted overseas. He was formerly employed as an electrician at the Grosvenor Hotel, having served his apprenticeship with Messrs F. J. Jones electricians.
Ivor (22), a gunner, has been in the Royal Artillery for two years. He is now overseas. He served his apprenticeship at Brookhirst Switchgear Ltd..
Vincent (20), the youngest, has been on the ground staff of the R.A.F. for two years. He was formerly employed by Messrs Barretts, Foregate Street.
The daughter, Elinor, who is 19, is employed in the office of an aircraft factory.
FUNERAL OF MRS E. E. JONES
The death occurred on the 25th July of Mrs Elizabeth Ellen Jones, aged 87 of Devonia, 120 Vicar's Cross Road, Chester. She is survived by six sons and a daughter.
A member of the Welsh Presbyterian Church, Chester since 1914, she took great interest in all its activities. She was a former President of the Ladies' Guild and often competed in the local Eisteddfod. Her hobbies included dressmaking, needlework and embroidery.
The funeral took place on Tuesday, when a service at St John Street Presbyterian Church was conducted by Rev Rhys ab Ogwen Jones and Rev Meirion Philips.
The mourners were Mr & Mrs E.W. Jones, also rep. Emrys, Dilys and Tom; Mr M. Jones, Mr & Mrs W.A. Jones also rep. Mr D. Jones son; Mr & Mrs I. Jones; Mr & Mrs V. Jones (sons and duaughters in law); Mr & Mrs K. Roberts (son in law and daughter) , David Roberts, Bryn Jones also rep. Sandra; Trevor Jones also rep David and Alison; Linda and Brian Jones, Peter Jones (grandchildren); Mrs Gwyneth Evans, Alun Evans, Mr & Mrs Richie Williams (nephews & nieces); Mrs M. Abel, Mr A.E. Cheshire also rep. Mrs L. Cheshire, Mr & Mrs Bounds, Mrs C. Morris, Mr & Mrs Kelly, Mrs Barnett, Mrs Williams.
Those also present included; Messrs O. Roberts, J.F. Owen also rep. Mrs J. Owen), O. J. Roberts also rep Mrs Roberts and Mr & Mrs T.G. Hughes, J.H. Jones , Rev M. Philips, G. Williams also rep Mrs Williams, W.V. Jones also rep Mrs W.V. Jones, L. Davies also rep Mrs L. Daviesand Mrs E.W. Jones, D.A Jones.
Medames H. Williams, S.M. Roberts,, W.S. Morris also rep. Mr W.J. Morris, R. Williams, D. Evans also rep Mr D. Evans, Mrs E. Lister also rep Mr E. Lister, J. Emrys-Jones also rep Mr J. Emrys-Jones, J.H. Thomas, J.E. Hughes. Mrs Emrys-Roberts also rep Mr Emrys-Jones, A. Owens also rep Mr R.G. Davies and Mrs B Jackacott(?), E. Holdings also rep Mrs A. Williams, Mrs Arfon Williams.
Mr &Mrs T. Williams, Mr &Neville. Miss M.M. Owen
Floral tributes were received from; Cyril; Emyr and Violet and Dilys; Bryn and Emrys; Mervyn Arthur and Joyce; Ivor and Doreen; Vincent, Molly, Peter and Julian; Elinor Ernie and David; Trevor and David; Linda and Brian; Alison, Emily and Nance; Nia and Albert; Gwyneth, Trevor, Eirlys and Len; Gwyn, Richie,Tudor and Ceinwen; Mena and Alyn; Jean and Robert Mitchel; Alf and Lily Cheshire; Walter, David (Saltney), Mabel; Kate and Ray; Joan (?) and Ralph; C. Morris; A. and R. Brawd (?); John St, Church Ladies' Guild; City Road Church Ladies Guild.
The undertakers were Messrs G. Petin (?) and Son.
Emyr Wynn Jones married Violet May Austin of Llansantffraid Glyn Ceiriog in April 1948. They had three children and lived in Chester. The eldest child was Richard Bryn Jones (researcher of this history) born 1949. T; twins Emrys Evan and Dilys Elizabeth were born in 1950.
Richard Bryn married Sandra Titley of Trench Telford in 1971 and had two children, Gareth Richard and Geraint Paul. They now live in Bishop Burton in East Yorkshire where Bryn manages the village web site www.bishopburton.org.uk (click for link)
Gareth lives in Nottingham. Paul lives in Soest, Holland with his Dutch wife, Seppina Boodt and their three children.
Emrys married Carol Ellis and they have three children; all living in Flintshire, North Wales.
Dilys married Tom Halford; they live in Calgary, Canada and have two sons