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
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 and his wife, Guto a Nellie
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
‘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