An essay written in 1906,for The Rhiw Literary Society Competition:
"As it was, how it is and how it will be"Daniel Rowlands died aged 91 in 1966.
Hereís the little bit of the History of Rhiw that we have to hand. As far as work goes what we found mostly was manganese which has been worked constantly here for at least a hundred years or more, but it was on a small scale. They would cut shafts into the earth and then work through the levels and carry the manganese out to the surface with buckets. They worked in very confined spaces and had to discard the iron stone that at the time was worthless and heavy before reaching the manganese seam. They worked underground during the winter months and at the start of summer they would wash the manganese and break it up before taking it down to the sea shore to be taken away in ships. Small ships would bring in a cargo of coal or lime and the "mango" would be taken down by horse and cart if possible or by donkeys that had small baskets on their backs, this is how they had to do it in Porth Ysgo and Porth Cadlan, quite a lot was carried to Abersoch as well.
There wasnít much call or use for business in the area years ago as most were self sufficient living off the produce of the land and simple folk as they were their needs were very little, so there werenít any shops but some had wares for sale in their houses.
At the beginning of the 19th century there were no chapels, but prayer meetings would be held in houses, in 1814 the Independents built a chapel on the hill not far from where two others were built later by the Methodists and the Wesleyans. Neither was there any form of education for the children but a few parents who had the means sent their children to Aberdaron to school. About 50 years ago a school was held in the Independent chapel and Griffith Parry Tyn Lon Fawr (one born in the parish) kept a school in the hay loft at Tyn Lon Fawr.
Rhiw school 1916.
Within the square mile at present we have two hundred houses, three chapels, an elementary school, a pub, three grocers, two cobblers workshops, a tailors, one smithy and a coal and flour merchants. There are two English companies working the mines and one other is about to open. Manganese is worked much more extensively now, the iron stone is now worth something and exploration is taking place. About 160 men work in the mines and there are five steam engines working daily and another about to be set up, they use a steam crane to load the rocks into trucks which are on rails to be carried away to the seashore to be taken away by ship, the other works (Benallt) has a system of buckets on wire rope they can carry six hundred weight at a time, on one side the buckets are full and opposite are the empty buckets on their return journey.
Rhiw Benallt Quarry 1907.
We have a Post office with a Telephone that works, the postman comes daily except for Sunday from Sarn to Pencaerau and he delivers mail to the western side of the mountain every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, the rest of the time he does the eastern side of the mountain. Facilities for travel have also improved and we can now get to Pwllheli every Wednesday when they have four passenger vehicles and one on a Saturday (probably horse drawn).
Last year Godís Spirit visited the area as he did in many others and many more people attended chapel and since then we have a Unitarian prayer meeting every Monday in the three chapels in their turn, there is also a prayer meeting for the young people on Wednesday evening. Since about four years we also have a literary society meeting every month and it has proved to be a great success and the singing in the area is now much improved.
For a few weeks now quite a number of young men have been getting together to play the football and itís a shame that those young men that used to sing the praises of the Lord have now regressed to entertaining themselves by playing the football and swearing and cursing and using our Lords name in vain. Hopefully they will soon see the errors of their ways and return to spending their leisure time on greater and better things as the Apostle Paul said to The Ephesians "Time should be bought and not spent at the hands of fools"
I think we should have a library for the many young men who have lodgings in Rhiw and donít wish to spend their evenings in them, and the literary society should be held weekly instead of monthly, then this at least may keep the young men out of the Penboncyn pub or wandering the lanes gossiping. Our young people should be encouraged to read more and become better speakers and singers, I fear too many of them are becoming like Solomon and find reading tiresome and books useless. We should try and get together and read and study the word of God, for this must be the way for every man to abide by Godís law and keep his ways. I remember the Rev Stephen Tanymarian saying boys thought they were men if they aspired to three things smoking, growing moustaches and singing bass, but what he really meant was that to become a man in the true sense of the word the boy had to follow Godís path before he became a man.
And finally thatís our wish for the future of Rhiw that we carry on along Godís path and keep his commandments and abide by his words.
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