Margiad Williams

Tir Glyn

Some time ago we published the recollections of a maidservant at Bodwrdda. At the time we knew little or nothing about who Mrs M Williams the author of the recollections was. But we now know that she was Margaret Williams, Tir Glyn. Margaret was born at Tai’r Efail, Pencaerau on the 2nd of October 1880 and when she was thirteen years of age she went to nearby Bodwrdda to work for Jeremiah Griffith’s family. By the time Margaret was eighteen she had risen to the position of housekeeper. She married Griffith Williams, a farm labourer and they set up home at Glanrafon, Rhydlios. Margaret and Griffith had five children, but sadly four died young, and Alice their only surviving daughter died when she was twenty-three. Margaret lived to be a hundred, out living her husband Griffith by twenty years. In her latter years she moved to Tir Glyn to live with her nephew and niece and their family.

When she celebrated her hundredth birthday, Glyn Russell Owen came to interview her, asking her about her secrets for longevity.

Maid servant at Bodwrdda

‘Her secret was to drink plenty of buttermilk and eat plenty of bacon. “Apart from that, I have to confess that hard work didn’t do anyone any harm either” Mrs Williams told me at the time. “Yes this old world has changed a lot and become a strange old place, though I might as well confess I haven’t seen much of it, but yes it’s changed and not for the better either to my mind”

Apart from the Lord’s Prayer, Mrs Williams couldn’t speak a word of English and never travelled further than Caernarfon in her life, never set foot in a hospital and to cap it all it’s only in recent years that she’s been to the doctor’s!!! Her sight was good, to the end, and she never wore glasses.

Tir Glyn

Mrs Williams was a native of Pencaerau and like most children of her time she left school at thirteen to work on local farms. At eighteen she was promoted to housekeeper at Bodwrdda – quite an achievement at the time. The pay was small, Mrs Williams couldn’t quite remember how much it was, but no more than a few pounds a year. “That’s how it was then, but through it all everyone seemed happy, or at least they tried to be,” she said. Mrs Williams got married when she was quite young to Griffith Williams, a farm labourer, who passed away twenty years before her. They had five children, but four of them died when they were very young, and their daughter Alice also died when she was twenty-three.

Mrs Williams had one rule in her life, and that was to say her prayers each night, she doesn’t think she missed saying them once during her long life. As I left she urged me to call again soon “I might have had an opportunity to do some churning by then, and I might have some buttermilk for you” she said.

Margiad on her hundredth birthday in 1980

One thing was for sure she had faith in the goodness of buttermilk ‘til the end. And Margaret Williams, Tir Glyn, Aberdaron, wasn’t the only one to have faith in the virtues of that drink.

Bodwrdda Maidservent

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