Today I finally visited the farmstead called Cwm Celyn. For many years it was the home of my great great grandparents Evan and Grace Evans and their family. The present owners, Ian and Abigail had kindly invited us to go up and have resided there for 4 years.
We came off the main road just after passing the Fairy Glen Hotel on the A470, which can take you to Dolwyddelen and Blaenau Ffestiniog, and found Abigail and her husband waiting for us in their landrover. It was just as well, Cwm Celyn was a further 3 miles up a track that weaved and meandered through the pine trees that formed part of the Gwydir Forest. We passed the spot where Evan rescued an American lady from the hands of her newly wed husband, beaten to an inch of her life with a boulder. We found out later that the poor lady was pregnant at the time and contributed to the husband's decision to murder her. No doubt that this event made Evan headline news in his local community, but it also reached the national attention as The Times newspaper also reported it.
When we reached the top the house looked impressive, and the extension caught my eye, possibly because the only image I had previously seen was the half finished construction Evan was in the middle of building in the 1890's photo. The inside of the house has not changed a lot and is as authentic as a 19th century farmhouse can be. It is a credit to Abigail and Ian that they have not altered it too much nor do they wish to. They clearly enjoy being in these surroundings and are also very enthusiastic about the history of the building and the previous occupants. As Abigail commented she knows more about the Evans' than her own family! The age of the house goes back to at least 1680, and they both have accumulated an impressive amount of research. Rest assured that Cwm Celyn is in good hands!
Ian showed us the work that is ongoing in converting the barn/stable which is quite roomy. I can't wait to see it when it's completed. What is also interesting that they have saved some original stones from the walls which have initials carved into it. Evan Evans built the extension originally and has engraved his on the wall that still stands. On loose stones kept by Ian, there are M.O. and J.H. engraved. The M.O. could have been marked by either Margaret Owen or her daughter Mary Owen who lived nearby at Llanerch Elsi. It depends when the marks were made but stikes me as something a child would do so my guess would be Mary Owen, who was born in 1892. Mary and her family would emigrate to the United States in January 1913 on the same ship as Mary's uncle and younger son of Evan, Owen Evans, and start their American adventure at a place called McRoberts, a small mining town in Kentucky. Mary and her sister Margaret both married while they were in Kentucky but eventually moved to Akron, Ohio. Mary married Morgan L Boone, a descendant of Samuel Boone, brother to the famous frontiersman Daniel. Owen eventually settled at Glendale, Los Angeles with his new bride, a Welsh lady named Mabel Canfield from Pontypridd. He started a thriving construction business at Glendale.
We plan to go again (hopefully when the weather will be better) as there are other places to see around Cwm Celyn. I am amazed at how far the children had to walk to school every day and Evan used to work in the slate mines of Blaenau Ffestiniog. They just had to do it, no other choice, and I doubt that they ever complained about it.