I have been following with interest the daily tweets from St Fagan’s from the diary of Kate Rowlands who lived at Ty Hen a hundred years ago.
The history of our house, the farm buildings we are converting and the land around is very important to us. We feel incredibly lucky to live here and be part of a Welsh community that is so rooted in history. To be able to find out something about the people who lived here a century ago is not only fascinating but helps us to understand something about where we live. Our aim has always been to restore some of the original character to the main house and to convert the barns as sympathetically as possible. Helping us to do this is, is Eilir Rowlands. Kate’s grandson.
The diary tweets can be a little dry. Endless visits to the chapel and prayer meetings and constant talk about “big weather” or “tywydd mawr”. The obsession with the weather is still very much in evidence today and understandably so.
There is a blog on the St Fagan’s website which summarises the diary entries and also provides historical context and background information. This is a far more interesting read. It is in Cymraeg so provides good practise for me and with a little help from google translate I can usually understand it.
The blog entry from 13 January is particularly interesting. ‘Pwy ‘di pwy’, or ‘Who’s Who’ tells us that Kate, with her mother and step father, moved to Ty Hen in the 1890’s. Kate’s mother was from Hendre, Cefnddwysarn where Eilir now lives.
Kate was an only child and left school early aged 14 to work on the farm.
Here’s a picture of Kate as a child:
That’s not outside Ty Hen.
As well as updates on building works, I will also from time to time update on the trials and travails of Kate Rowlands.