"Hugh Jones"

Cae Crin Uwchmynydd

Elder, of five generations recalls the old days. (from ‘Y Cymro’ February 2 1956)

Nowadays few people walk anywhere, but when Hugh Jones, Penmaes was a young man there was nothing for it but to walk everywhere. Twice a week he walked from Aberdaron to Pwllheli, where he worked building the harbour some fifty years ago. He also walked to Eifionydd to work on farms, and from his home in Uwchmynydd to Tudweiliog, then on to Pwllheli and back with a cow, all in the same day, so he could plant potatoes the following morning. The back of his boots rubbed his heel until it bled, forcing him to walk with only sackcloth on his feet. ‘Yes, things are definitely easier now than they where back then’ said Hugh Jones.

Discharging timber from Norway at the quayside Pwllheli, in 1925.

Hugh Jones is the oldest of five generations and is 92 years old, but you’d hardly believe it, if you visited him at his croft, a stone’s throw from Porth Meudwy. He was born in Caernarfon, but was raised by his uncle ‘Sion Cwm Ci’ in Rhoshirwaun.

Hugh Jones never had a day's schooling. ‘I spent my days carrying sand with the cart to build Rhoshirwaun School’ he said. He started working as a farm labourer early on and apart from a stint as a stonemason’s mate and working on the harbour in Pwllheli, Hugh spent his working life on farms. Hugh must have worked on dozens of farms both in Llyn and Eifionydd. It paid to move around in order to get better wages and also to get to know the different areas’ he said. He’d go to Cricieth to the summer hiring fair in order to get work on Meirionethshire farms.

Huw Jones Huw and his wife, Guto a Nellie (grand children)

And the wage in those days? The first season he got six sovereigns in the first half year. After marrying, his wage was ten pounds a half year for him and his wife when they were expecting their seventh child. At the harbour in Pwllheli (which was worked with the tide) he worked day and night receiving about half a crown for four hours, ‘less in some parts if the tide came in quickly’ he added.

‘Even though tobacco was only 3d an oz then’ said Hugh ‘it’s a much better world today, believe you me’. ‘Imagine seven of us turning hay in a ten acre field at Plas ym Mhenllech, before breakfast and then carrying it until midnight. That was a bit much wasn’t it !!’.

Cae Crin in the distance

Even though he lived within sight of Enlli all his life, he only ever worked there once, ‘The place was too confining’ he said. When he was hired to work there, he had to wait, a month before getting there, as the weather was too stormy to cross the Sound.

Mr Jones gets out most days ‘If it weren’t for these old legs, I’d get about more, I need a stick now to get about, some days I have to use two !!’.

Four of his children are alive (1956) one of them old enough to get a pension. Forming the five generations are his daughter Mrs Jane Ellen Moore, Aberdaron, her daughter Mrs Ellen Williams, Trwasfynydd, her daughter Mrs Betty Jones, Corris and Betty’s two young children.

 

Hugh Jones lived for a time at Conion Uchaf, Rhiw, and when this article was written in 1956 he was living at Penmaes, Uwchmynydd with his grandson Griffith and his family.

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