"Recollections"

by 

Rowland Willlams

Bryn Golau, Rhiw.

Written in April 1946

When he was 72 years old.

           (Photo circa 1920)

Local Traditions

There were many old traditions among the old people, and some of them pretty interesting. They dressed differently from what we do today Trowsus Rhiciog (type of corduroy trousers?) and a cap and sometimes a pair of clogs were worn by the men to go to Chapel. The women went there wearing a small shawl about their shoulders and a bonnet or silk hat on their head. They were quite happy with their own simple way of dressing and indeed they looked quite tidy.
I remember how the old people used to eat out of wooden bowls. They used to make wooden bowls with a brass ring around them and a wooden spoon as well to eat with. That was the way in the old days especially on the farms the wooden bowl full of Tatws Llaeth (potatoes and buttermilk) for midday meal with the wooden spoon to carry it to the mouth, and another fill of porridge for supper. I know of places even today where they still have the wooden bowl and the wooden spoons as well.

Crock of Gold
There used to be many stories of the Tylwyth Teg (Fair people = Fairies) in the old days. But of course these were completely groundless traditions. I remember Nain (grandmother) saying many times when we were children about how the Tylwyth Teg used to come for a loaf, complaining how things were scarce, and bringing 2 or 3 loaves back for having borrowed, and the Tylwyth Teg used to ask with what eye did you see them? And after that person had told them they would touch that eye lightly with a rush, after which they could not be seen anymore. I know of a place in Creigiau Gwineu in Mynydd Graig Rhiw where it is said there is a house of the Tylwyth Teg. These are to be had in the rocks and the big rock, which is said to be the table of the Tylwyth Teg and is so smooth and like a table as is possible, and the house also is a fair reproduction of a house of today. The old people used to believe also in diggings for a golden pot. They believed that somebody had buried this crochan aur (Crock of Gold) in the ground and they dug hard for it. I know of big deep hole dug in Mynydd Graig where our ancestors have been digging for it and long levels in the earth. They believed that this was a good way to make a fortune. They were absolutely honest in their attempts, but in their whole attempts I never heard of anybody succeeding although there are plenty of signs of their work still visible today. They believed in the impossible. Another place in Mynydd Rhiw was called Cytiau'r Guwyddelod where it is said that the Romans once camped. Cytiau'r Gwuddelod is to be found on the common land of Llanfaelrhys and the late Mr John Griffith, one time school master of Dolgellau used to visit the place every time he comes to Rhiw on his holidays, to see if he could find something, urns or something else left there.

Thieves of Maelrhys

Hundreds of years ago they used to keep the Collection money in the Church. One time, thieves broke into Llanfaelrhys Church to steal the money. Somehow, while at their work they were seen by passers by, who went into the church. When the thieves saw this they fled for their lives and they were followed by their pursuers until they came to the top of Rhiw, there the thieves were caught, on the road by a place called Terfyn. After catching the thieves they killed them on the spot, that was the punishment in those days for thieving. The two were buried in Four Crosses Field, Rhiw, and to show where they were buried big stones mere placed on their graves and till today these stones are called Lladron Maelrhys, but few people know of them today. It's a pity that old things become lost.

(To be continued !!!!)

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