Haf Madoc Wilson Perthyn.


Haf Madoc Wilson

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-Tracing the family tree

-is an obsession for Welsh people.

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-We like to ask where do you come

-from and to whom are you related.

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-In the National Library

-in Aberystwyth...

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-..the Perthyn team is investigating

-some of your stories.

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-They've found some colourful

-characters. Welcome to Perthyn.

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-888

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-888

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-888

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-888

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-A few months ago, we invited you

-to send us your family stories.

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-They've been flooding in

-from all over Wales.

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-The National Library of Wales

-is home to a team of experts...

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-..who've been investigating

-your stories.

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-One of the stories

-that caught their attention...

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-..takes us to Borth-y-Gest

-to meet Haf Madoc Wilson...

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-..who wants our help to find out

-more about her grandfather's family.

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-Tracing your family tree

-is a recent obsession for you.

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-What prompted you to start?

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-I was giving a lift home

-to someone...

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-..who'd been tracing

-her family tree...

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-..and though I'm ashamed to say it,

-I thought, oh, no, not another one!

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-She told me her great-grandfather

-lived in the Liverpool Arms...

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-..in Menai Bridge, which is where

-my grandfather was raised.

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-I said to her,

-"Don't tell me any more.

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-"Let me go home

-and check my facts first."

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-But I could find nothing about him.

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-Was your search proving difficult?

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-William Williams

-was my great-grandfather.

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-There are a number of those

-in this area...

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-..when you consider the hundreds

-of quarrymen who lived here.

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-Williams is a popular surname

-and William Williams even more so.

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-Are there specific questions

-you'd like to ask...

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-..and facts you'd like to find out?

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-I've heard that my family

-on my grandfather's side...

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-..ran a quarry above Llanllechid

-called Bryn Hafod-y-Wern.

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-They say that Lord Penrhyn

-made such a misery of their lives...

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-..that they gave it up.

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-I'd like to know if that's true.

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-I'd also like to know

-a little about them...

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-..their way of life

-and if they're still in the area.

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-Haf returns to Church Island

-in the Menai Strait...

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-..to visit a family grave.

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-When I started tracing

-the family's history...

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-..I was both shocked and ashamed

-to discover how little I knew.

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-The only thing I knew

-about my grandfather...

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-..was that he was raised

-in the Liverpool Arms...

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-..and his parents were buried

-on Church Island near Menai Bridge.

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-My grandfather always wore a sprig

-of southernwood in his buttonhole.

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-As a little girl, I'd ask him,

-"Why are you wearing that?"

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-He'd say, "All quarrymen wear them."

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-He also had three spots

-like a tattoo on his hand.

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-I asked him the same question again,

-"Why, Taid?"

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-He wasn't the type to have a tattoo.

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-But he told me

-that all quarrymen had them.

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-As a little girl,

-I didn't ask any more about it.

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-Here on Church Island is where

-my great-grandparents are buried.

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-William Williams,

-my great-grandfather...

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-..ran the Liverpool Arms

-just around the corner.

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-As you can see...

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-..it's a very peaceful place

-and I'm fond of coming here.

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-Before running the Liverpool Arms,

-he had many jobs in Menai Bridge...

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-..before dying of TB

-at the age of 34 years.

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-He left three sons,

-one of whom was Haf's grandfather.

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-I knew my grandfather,

-Evan Williams...

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-..was brought up in

-the Liverpool Arms in Menai Bridge.

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-He was raised by his mother

-and his stepfather.

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-After his mother died,

-his stepfather remarried.

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-But my grandfather

-always emphasized...

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-..that he'd had

-a happy upbringing.

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-It was my grandfather's story that

-inspired me to begin this journey...

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-..but there are complexities

-and gaps in the family tree.

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-I've reached a point

-where I can't go any further.

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-One of the mysteries

-is how William Williams...

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-..came to be a publican

-in Menai Bridge.

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-And what truth

-is in the family tale...

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-..that Haf's family ran Bryn

-Hafod-y-Wern Quarry near Bethesda?

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-She hopes to fill in the gaps

-at the National Library.

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-Perthyn has found a link between her

-family and Bryn Hafod-y-Wern Farm...

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-..a stone's throw from the quarry.

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-What else has come to light?

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-We know you've already started

-researching your family history...

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-..but can't go back further

-than your great-grandfather.

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-But by checking parish records...

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-..we've found that the first

-of your relatives...

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-..to live at Bryn Hafod-y-Wern

-was William Philip...

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-..a miller from Llanbeblig.

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-In 1761, he married

-Mary Pritchard from Llanllechid.

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-They moved in to Bryn Hafod-y-Wern.

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-Very interesting.

-That's going back many years.

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-So you didn't know that.

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-So you didn't know that.

-

-No, I knew nothing about that.

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-Perthyn has managed to trace

-Haf's family tree back 300 years...

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-..and six generations

-to Bryn Hafod-y-Wern Farm...

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-..where William Philip

-and Mary Pritchard farmed.

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-Usually,

-poor families such as yours...

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-..wouldn't have left

-any documentation behind.

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-But we've found one document...

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-..from the Court of Great Sessions

-in 1773.

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-The high court dealt

-with the most serious crimes.

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-Oh, dear!

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-The document records that two girls

-- Jane Owen and Catherine Jones...

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-..were caught stealing clothes...

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-..and selling them to Mary Pritchard

-of Bryn Hafod-y-Wern.

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-This document records the testimony

-of Jane Owen...

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-..which shows that they stole...

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-..three shirts, four cravats...

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-..three pairs of stockings...

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-..one large handkerchief

-and one small one.

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-It goes on to say

-that Mary Pritchard...

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-..had encouraged them

-to steal the goods...

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-..and had pledged

-to buy them from them.

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-She supplied the bullets

-and the others fired them.

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-That's what this evidence suggests.

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-I'm sure I'll be ribbed about that.

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-During the 18th century,

-thieves were severely punished.

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-Theft was as serious a crime

-as murder.

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-With prisons overflowing,

-from 1710 onwards...

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-..the worst prisoners

-were exiled to America...

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-..and later to Australia.

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-What fate befell Mary Pritchard

-and the two girls back in 1773?

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-After hearing

-the pair's testimony...

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-..we know that one of them...

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-..was exiled for seven years.

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-What happened to Mary Pritchard?

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-Fortunately,

-we have found another document...

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-..which records Mary's verdict.

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-She's referred to here as Mary,

-wife of William Philip.

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-She was found not guilty.

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-Thank goodness for that.

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-After the death of William Philip...

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-..what happened

-to Bryn Hafod-y-Wern Farm?

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-We've found a lease which shows

-that following his death...

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-..the farm was divided

-between two of the sons.

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-The family

-didn't actually own the farm.

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-Lord Penrhyn...

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-..actually owned the farm

-and the family were tenant farmers.

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-He does come into the story then.

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-This is the first reference

-to link Bryn Hafod-y-Wern...

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-..with Lord Penrhyn.

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-Perthyn has proved that Haf's family

-farmed in the Llanllechid area...

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-..more than two centuries ago...

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-..and were tenants

-to Lord Penrhyn...

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-..who, in time, would have a major

-influence on North Wales's quarries.

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-Haf returns

-to her ancestors' birthplace.

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-It's hard to believe...

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-..but I was a pupil at Llanllechid

-primary school many years ago.

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-I always felt happy there.

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-It's strange going back...

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-..to the same area

-and having that same feeling.

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-I felt as though I belonged here...

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-..but couldn't prove the link

-until this research.

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-This is the first mention

-of Lord Penrhyn in the story.

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-He's closely associated

-with the Bethesda area.

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-Up to now, farming is the only

-occupation that's been mentioned.

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-But knowing the connection Lord

-Penrhyn had with the quarries...

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-..I wonder if my family...

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-..had a role

-to play in the quarrying industry.

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-.

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-888

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-Perthyn has traced

-Haf Madoc Wilson's family tree...

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-..back 250 years to

-Bryn Hafod-y-Wern Farm, Bethesda...

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-..a stone's throw

-from Bryn Hafod-y-Wern quarry.

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-She's been led to believe

-that her family ran it.

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-They were tenants of Lord Penrhyn.

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-Richard Pennant was the first

-in a long line of lords...

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-..who transformed

-North Wales forever.

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-But as tenant farmers...

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-..would Haf's family

-have run the quarry?

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-Haf has come to Penrhyn Castle

-to meet historian, Dr Dafydd Gwyn.

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-I understand that my family...

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-..were tenants of Lord Penrhyn's

-estate in the 18th century.

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-What sort of landlord was he?

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-Well, he was a man of his times.

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-Richard Pennant,

-the first Lord Penrhyn...

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-..was certainly an industrious man.

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-He constructed roads and railways

-and opened quarries.

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-He built villages and homes

-for farmhands and quarrymen.

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-He was a man of the new age.

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-He was more of a capitalist

-than an old-fashioned landlord.

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-Lord Penrhyn

-tried to acquire leaseholds...

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-..and extend estates

-across the valley...

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-..to create one large estate.

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-The estate was growing during your

-family's time at Bryn Hafod-y-Wern.

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-It's unlikely...

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-..that a family such as yours

-would have run a quarry.

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-Quarries were run by rich men.

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-Bankers and lords

-such as Richard Pennant.

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-Local people

-were given the opportunity...

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-..to become stewards or managers

-of a quarry and ordinary quarrymen.

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-But they didn't run larger quarries.

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-It's apparent that Haf's family

-didn't run the quarry.

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-But is there any truth at all

-to the family story...

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-..linking them to the quarries?

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-The history of the North Wales slate

-quarries is very much a part of us.

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-We're surrounded by them.

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-They've scarred our landscape.

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-Haf's family farmed this land

-during a period of change.

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-The farming landscape changed

-into an industrial landscape.

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-In the mid-18th century, a high

-proportion of slate was produced.

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-A century later, the industry was

-at its peak, employing 15,000 men.

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-The quarries of Penrhyn...

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-..and Dinorwig

-were the largest in the world.

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-Remnants of those days

-can still be seen.

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-Hello, nice to meet you.

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-Welcome to the museum.

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-If Haf's family

-didn't run the quarry...

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-..was there any evidence to suggest

-they were associated with it at all?

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-At the slate museum in Llanberis,

-former quarryman, Peredur Hughes...

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-..has found information

-about Haf's family.

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-Could the mystery be solved?

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-Evidence has come to light...

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-..proving that

-your great-great-grandfather...

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-..David Williams was a quarryman.

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-It's more than likely that he worked

-at Bryn Hafod-y-Wern quarry.

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-The evidence has come about...

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-..through the censuses.

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-This census...

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-..from 1841...

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-..records that David is a quarryman.

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-He's only 15 years old,

-at such a young age.

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-There weren't many quarrymen

-working at Bryn Hafod-y-Wern.

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-Probably, he came to work there...

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-..because he lived so close

-to the quarry.

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-That's where his career began.

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-He would have learned how to split

-and chip the stone for roof tiles.

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-What kind of life

-did the quarrymen lead?

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-David Williams

-lived through hard times...

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-..due to the working conditions

-back then.

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-They were out in all weathers.

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-From what we know,

-they would have worn sacks...

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-..around their shoulders

-to keep them dry.

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-The sack would've been coated

-in goose fat or something similar...

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-..to protect them from the rain,

-the wet conditions and the wind.

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-The work of a quarryman

-such as David Williams...

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-..Haf's great-great-grandfather,

-was dangerous and physical.

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-They would hang for hours from ropes

-suspended over the rock face.

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-Working conditions were severe.

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-As well as being exposed

-to the slate dust...

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-..using dangerous tools

-led to numerous accidents.

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-Over time, there were many deaths.

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-In 1821, Lord Penrhyn

-sent more than 20 men...

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-..from his quarry in Bethesda...

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-..to start work

-at Bryn Hafod-y-Wern quarry.

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-But their time there

-was short-lived.

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-The running of Bryn Hafod-y-Wern

-quarry was costly and problematic.

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-Slate had to be extracted

-from deep within the seam.

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-Lord Penrhyn gave up on it...

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-..allowing the Bangor Slate Company

-to take it over in 1845.

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-It's most likely

-that David Williams went there...

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-..to work for this company.

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-The Bryn Hafod-y-Wern quarry...

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-..was in competition

-with Lord Penrhyn's quarries.

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-The slate and all the waste

-had to be carried up the mountain...

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-..because the land beneath

-the quarry belonged to Penrhyn.

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-He did all he could

-to make it difficult for them.

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-He cut off the water supply

-that was essential to the quarry.

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-In the 1860s,

-Bryn Hafod-y-Wern quarry closed.

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-Haf is visiting her ancestors' farm

-for the first time.

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-From their home here

-above Penrhyn Castle...

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-..they would have witnessed

-a period of great change...

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-..as well as the dispute between the

-lords of Penrhyn and the quarrymen.

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-Haf's family's connection

-with Bryn Hafod-y-Wern Farm...

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-..goes back six generations to

-William Philip and Mary Pritchard.

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-Their grandson, David Williams, was

-the first quarryman in the family.

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-Peredur

-has more information about him.

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-Here we have

-the birth certificate...

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-..of David Williams's child,

-William...

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-..in 1856.

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-As you can see...

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-..David is now a slate quarrier.

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-But unfortunately,

-three years later...

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-..we have the death certificate...

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-..of David Williams

-who died at the age of 37 years.

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-Did he die in an accident?

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-No, he died from an illness.

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-Unfortunately, it was TB.

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-How sad.

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-How sad.

-

-Yes, very sad.

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-Phthisis is the archaic term for TB.

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-Working in the slate dust

-was damaging to the lungs.

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-By the 1920s,

-more people died from TB...

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-..in the quarrying villages

-of North Wales...

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-..than anywhere else

-in southern Britain.

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-It's interesting to think

-that the past was brought to life...

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-..150 years ago.

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-Our ancestors' way of life.

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-It takes me back.

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-What I want to know now is

-what happened to his wife, Grace...

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-..and their children.

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-Why did William Williams,

-my great-grandfather...

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-..move to the Liverpool Arms

-in Menai Bridge?

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-Will Perthyn have the answers

-for Haf back at the slate museum?

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-What I have here

-is the census of 1861.

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-It says Evan Hughes, Grace Williams.

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-This is my great-great-grandmother.

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-Therefore, it means

-that after losing her husband...

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-..Grace, in an age

-where there was no welfare state...

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-..had to go and live with her father

-and her brother and sister...

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-..and her two young sons.

0:20:520:20:54

-Evan was three years old

-and David was a year old.

0:20:550:20:59

-But the other son, William,

-was only five years old...

0:21:000:21:03

-..yet there is no mention of him

-on this.

0:21:040:21:06

-I wonder what happened to him.

0:21:070:21:09

-In this document,

-the census of 1861...

0:21:140:21:17

-..from Llanfairfechan...

0:21:170:21:19

-..there's a record of William Hughes

-living in Castle Inn.

0:21:200:21:25

-Head, married, 30 years old.

0:21:250:21:28

-Publican.

0:21:280:21:30

-And Anne, wife, 29 years old.

0:21:300:21:34

-Then there's a William Williams,

-nephew.

0:21:350:21:38

-Five years old.

0:21:380:21:40

-It's obvious my great-grandfather...

0:21:400:21:44

-..went to live

-with his mother's brother.

0:21:440:21:48

-With no means

-of supporting her family...

0:21:490:21:52

-..Grace was dependent

-on her relatives.

0:21:520:21:55

-She sent her eldest son,

-William Williams, to her brother.

0:21:550:21:59

-Did William ever go back

-to his brothers and mother, Grace?

0:22:000:22:04

-This is the death certificate...

0:22:040:22:06

-..of Grace Williams.

0:22:090:22:11

-She was 28 years old.

0:22:110:22:13

-"Widow of David Williams,

-slate quarrier.

0:22:130:22:16

-"Typhoid fever."

0:22:170:22:18

-It's very sad.

0:22:190:22:21

-Poor dab.

0:22:210:22:24

-Following the death of both parents,

-the young boys were left orphaned.

0:22:270:22:33

-The boys were separated and the link

-with the quarries was severed.

0:22:330:22:38

-William was raised by his uncle...

0:22:380:22:40

-..before running his own tavern

-in Menai Bridge...

0:22:400:22:43

-..where Haf's grandfather

-was brought up.

0:22:440:22:47

-I could never understand how my

-great-grandfather came to run a pub.

0:22:470:22:52

-It was never mentioned...

0:22:520:22:54

-..because the family

-is rather narrow-minded...

0:22:540:22:58

-..particularly my grandfather.

0:22:580:23:00

-That explains the link with The

-Liverpool Arms and Menai Bridge...

0:23:010:23:06

-..because he'd been brought up

-in the business.

0:23:060:23:09

-I feel closer to them now.

0:23:130:23:16

-This research has helped me

-bring my ancestors to life.

0:23:160:23:22

-They're not just names to me

-any more.

0:23:240:23:26

-I feel as if I know them...

0:23:270:23:29

-..and they're

-an important part of me.

0:23:300:23:32

-S4C Subtitles by Adnod Cyf.

0:23:530:23:55

-.

0:23:550:23:56

Taith emosiynol Haf Madoc Wilson sy'n ceisio datrys y dirgelion am deulu ei thaid. Haf Madoc Wilson embarks on an emotional journey to discover more about her grandfather's family.


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