Amgueddfa Blog: St Fagans Archive

Ar y cyntaf o Fai, dethlir Calan Mai.  Mae'r ŵyl yn nodi dechrau’r haf a chyfnod o ffrwythlondeb a thwf.  Mae toreth o draddodiadau yn gysylltiedig â’r ŵyl – rhai yn fwy rhyfedd na’i gilydd!  Dyma ddetholiad o ambell i arfer sydd ar gof a chadw yn Archifau AWC.

Canu am Gildwrn yn Nhreuddyn

Yn ardal Treuddyn, ar ddiwrnod Calan Mai, byddai plant yn gwisgo dillad llaes a mynd o ddrws i ddrws yn canu cân a chario cangen wedi ei hardduno â charpiau yn y gobaith o dderbyn ychydig o gildwrn neu rodd fechan gan berchennog y tŷ.  Dyma eiriau Alun J. Ingman, a anwyd yn Nhreuddyn yn 1906:

Ar ddydd Calan Mai, byddai rhai wedi paentio’u hwynebau ac yn gwisgo rhyw hen sgert a dillad llaes a mi oedd ganddyn nhw gangen, a charpiau arni hi, a mynd o ddrws i ddrws. Mi fydde ’na gân debyg i hyn: “Dawns sy’n sa’, y gangen ha’, am mor fychlawn neidio. Neidia di i ben y tŷ a mi neidia inna troso’”. Fydde hynny, a cildwrn, tipyn o gocos, yn rhwbath yn debyg i Calennig ond ar ddydd Calan Mai.

Derbyn Menyn yng Ngogledd Penfro

Yng Ngogledd Penfro, arferai gwragedd a phlant deithio o amgylch ffermdai yr ardal yn derbyn talpau o fenyn yn eu basynau.  Golygai hyn y byddai ganddynt ddigon o fenyn i roi ar eu bara am wythnosau i ddod.

Penglog Ceffyl i’r Ferch a’ch Digiodd

Yng Ngogledd Cymru, byddai gwŷr ifanc yn cael gafael ar benglog ceffyl ar noswyl Calan Mai ac yn ei hongian uwchben drws morwyn neu ddrws gwraig briod a oedd wedi eu digio. Yn aml, byddai enw’r ferch anffodus wedi ei glymu i’r penglog.

Colli Gwaed ar Galan Mai

Mae Mary Davies a anwyd yn Nantyfedwen, Trefeglwys, yn 1892, yn cofio y byddai ei Nain yn mynd pob blwyddyn i gael colli tipyn bach o waed adeg Calan Mai:

Glywos i’n nhad yn dweud ei fod yn gwybod am rywun oedd yn mynd i ryw gors, ac roedd y gelod yn cydiad yn y gors, ac roedd e’n eu gwerthu nhw i’r cemist.  Fydda’r cemist yn gwerthu nhw i fobol i dynnu gwaed.  Bydda’r gelod yn cael eu defnyddio yn reit ddiweddar yn bydda nhw.  Bydda Nain, mam ’y nhad, yn mynd pob blwyddyn i golli tipyn bach o waed.  O, odd hi’n well o lawer iawn wedyn odd hi’n meddwl.

Gofyn Bendith ar Amaethwyr

Ar y dydd hwn yn ardal Llangristiolus, cynhelid gwasanaeth yn y capel i ofyn bendith Duw ar ffermwyr yr ardal.

Rhwystro’r Wrach Rhag Hudo

Ar fore Calan Mai yn Llanwennog, byddai’n arfer addurno pen y drws blaen â dail gwyrdd er mwyn atal y “witsh” rhag dod i’r tŷ a'i hatal rhag rhoi hud ar y cartref fel na allai’r teulu gorddi trwy gydol yr haf.

Godro Defaid

Arferid godro defaid yn ystod yr wythnos gyntaf ar ôl ffair Galan Mai Llanfair-ym-Muallt ac yna eu gadael yn hesb nes fis Hydref.

“Cadw Gofid Mâs o’r Tŷ”

Yn ardal Cydweli, byddai rhai yn addurno y drws blaen gyda changhennau coed ynn er mwyn “cadw gofid mâs o’r tŷ” ac i atal gwrachod ac ysbrydion, a oedd yn arbennig o ddrygionus ar ddechrau Mai yn ôl y sôn, rhag chwarae triciau ar y trigolion.

Ffeiriau Cyflogi

Cynhelid ffeiriau cyflogi mewn llawer tref yng Nghymru ar ddiwrnod Calan Mai. Byddai gweision a morwynion yn cael eu cyflogi am flwyddyn ac yna’n dychwelyd i’r ffair mewn deuddeng mis neu symud i ardal arall er mwyn ceisio gwell cyflog.  Dyma eiriau Rhys Morgan, a anwyd yn 1875 yng Nghorneli Waelod, ger Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr:

Odd May Day pryd ’ny. Dydd Cala-Ma’. A dyna’r dydd on nhw’n ych dewis chi. Os och chi’n moin jobyn, och chi’n gofyn i’r fferm a on nhw’n setlo ar arian.  Odd pob un yn Ben-bont, odd gweision ffermydd a lot o’r ffermwyr hefyd 'ny. Bydde chi’n clywed “Ma ishe gwas yn New Park, ma ishe gwas yn y Grove”.  Wel nawr, och chi nawr yn mynd i edrych, bydde’r ffarmwr ddim yn dod atoch chi.    Pedwar ucen mlynedd yn ôl - dydd mawr.  Sdim sôn amdano fe nawr.      

The Cardiff 2018 National Eisteddfod Chair is sponsored by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales to the celebrate 70th birthday of St Fagans National Museum of History.

St Fagans has championed crafts in Wales since it opened in 1948, and sponsoring the chair for the National Eisteddfod in 2018 is a fitting celebration, which continues the Museum’s tradition of supporting Welsh craft and makers.

Chris Williams had the honour of designing and making the 2018 Chair. He lives in Pentre and has a workshop and gallery in Ynyshir, Rhondda - he works as a sculptor and is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.

Elements of the chair were made at St Fagans National History Museum in a purpose built building, Gweithdy. This is a brand new sustainable building celebrating the skills of makers past and present - where visitors of all ages can experience traditional craft skills first-hand.

At Gweithdy, Chris demonstrated and shared the process of making the chair with visitors – a first in the history of making the National Eisteddfod chair.

Swipe, or tap the circles below as Chris explains the process of making the iconic Eisteddfod chair:

  • From the Hearth to the Stage

    The 2018 Eisteddfod Chair, through the eyes of its maker

  • The Inspiration

    The 2018 Eisteddfod Chair is inspired by Welsh stick chairs like this one, pictured at Cilewent Farmhouse at St Fagans.

  • Celebrating Welsh Makers

    This Welsh carthen, or blanket, was chosen for its beautiful repeating pattern - becoming the main motif for the chair

  • The rough materials - elm and ash - arriving at the workshop in Pentre

  • I designed the chair in Rhino 3D, so I could have an accurate model. This enabled me to take dimensions, to create jigs and templates for shaping the arms, spindles and legs

  • The seat and back are made from the same elm tree. Sanding the wood reveals the grain, and reveals any defects in the timber that need to be sanded away

  • I shaped the seat with a scorp and cabinet scraper at Gweithdy workshop at St Fagans. It was nice to share this experience of making the chair with the public

  • The seat and back were then engraved using a Co2 laser engraver - thank you to Caerphilly council for letting me use the engraver! The elaborate pattern was inspired by a blanket woven at Esgair Moel woollen mill in the 1960s. The mill (and the blanket) is now at St Fagans museum.

  • The clamping operation was complex and required a number of sash clamps to control the pressure

  • The text on the arms was also engraved with the laser engraver. This was done on a flat piece of ash which was laminated to the curved arms with many, many G clamps

  • Gluing the legs into place

  • Getting closer... The back is mortised into the seat

  • The arms are cut around the back to create a unique join, and glued into place. Then, the spindles are fitted with wedges, to be cleaned when the glue has dried

  • And here's the finished article - the 2018 Eisteddfod chair. Good luck to all the competitors!

The Museums Association Conference of 1948 was held at National Museum Cardiff over five days, running from July 12th to the 16th. All conference meetings were held in the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre, while an area within the Zoology Department was used as Association Office, Writing Room and Smoke Room.

We know the majority of host duties would have been carried out by Frederick J. North, who was Keeper of Geology and Archibald H. Lee, Museum Secretary, because they are listed on the programme as Honorary Local Secretaries. It is most likely we have them to thank for the ephemera held in the Library, including copies of the programme, associate and staff badges, reception invites, day trip tickets and the official group photograph, taken on the steps of the Museum.

The first day of the conference began with registration, followed by a Council meeting and visit to Cardiff Castle and a reception at the South Wales Institute of Engineers in the evening. The programme states this event as requiring Morning dress code which, during this time period would be a three piece suit for the men, and smart day dresses for the women, or general smart clothing suitable for formal social events.

The second day began with official welcomes by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Alderman R. G. Robinson, and the President of the National Museum Wales, Sir Leonard Twiston-Davies. This was followed by a number of papers read by delegates [all fully listed in the programme], gathering for the official conference photograph, and a Civic Reception at City Hall, hosted by the Lord Mayor [with refreshments, music and dancing].

1948 was the year that St Fagans National Museum of History was first opened to the public as the St Fagans Folk Museum and to mark this, a visit was arranged for the afternoon of day three. St Fagans Castle, gardens, and grounds had been given to the National Museum Wales by the Earl of Plymouth in 1946 and over the next two years extensive work had been carried out to make it suitable to open to the public. According to the 1950 St Fagans guide book, in the Castle, new central heating, electric lighting, and fire appliances had to be installed along with a tickets office, refreshment room and public amenities. By 1948 our delegates would have had access to the Castle and its newly refurbished historic interiors such as the kitchen with two 16th century fireplaces, the Hall furnished in 17th century style, 17th and 18th century bedrooms and the early 19th century Library. They would also have enjoyed walking the gardens which included a mulberry grove, herb and rose gardens, vinery, fishponds, and flower-house interspersed with bronze sculptures by Sir William Goscombe John. Onsite also were a traditional wood-turner and a basket-maker, creating and selling their wares. The handbook also describes a delightful sounding small tea room with curtains made at the Holywell Textile Mills and watercolour paintings by Sir Frank Brangwyn. However, according to a Western Mail clipping, this didn’t open to the public until some weeks later on August 24th. Presumably a room within the Castle itself was used for the delegates’ buffet tea to which they were treated after being greeted by the Curator of St Fagans, Dr Iorwerth Peate.

Interestingly the programme provides times of the train service that ran from Cardiff Central Station to St Fagans. Sadly, the station at St Fagans is no longer there, the service being withdrawn in 1962, although a signal box and level crossing on the line remain.

The Annual General Meeting, Council Meeting and Federation of Officers Meeting  were all held on the next day along with more papers, including one by Mr Duncan Guthrie [of the Arts Council], on the upcoming “Festival of Britain, 1951”. There was also an evening reception in the Museum hosted by the President, and the then Director [Sir Cyril Fox], with refreshments and music by the City of Cardiff High School for Girls Orchestra. The programme states evening dress if possible for this event so it’s a shame we don’t hold any photographs of what would have been a sea of tuxedos and evening gowns.

The final day consisted of further papers in the morning followed by escape and fresh air with visits to the Newport Corporation Museum and the Legionary Museum and Roman Amphitheatre at Caerleon during the afternoon.

The September 1948 issue of Museums Journal contains a full report on the conference, with detailed examination of all papers presented and the discussions they generated. It also lists the delegates including those from overseas. The report concludes with thanks to the National Museum Cardiff for the welcome and hospitality accorded to the 240 delegates, with special mention to North and Lee [who would certainly have earned their salaries over those five days!].

Yn ystod y 1970au cynnar aeth staff yr amgueddfa ati i recordio hen ffermwyr yn disgrifio ffermio yng Nghymru ar ddechrau’r ugeinfed ganrif cyn datblygiadau peiriannau ffermio o’r 1950au ymlaen. Mae’r recordiau yn cael ei chadw yn Archif Sain yr amgueddfa.

Yn 1975 holodd John Williams Davies y ffermwr Dan Theophilus am y profiad o ffermio defaid ar ddechrau’r ugeinfed ganrif.

Roedd Dan Theophilus yn byw ar fferm Allt Yr Erw, Rhandirmwyn, pentref yng ngogledd-ddwyrain Sir Gaerfyrddin.

Mae Dan Theophilus yn sôn am ofalu am y defaid adeg ŵyna, yr achosion mae’n meddwl sydd yn arwain at ddefaid yn cael trafferth i ddod ac ŵyn, a’r tywydd gwaethaf ar gyfer y tymor ŵyna.

Dan Theophilus, Allt Yr Erw, Rhandirmwyn

Mae’n dweud sut oedd perswadio defaid i fabwysiadu oen, y perthynas rhwng y ddafad a’r oen a pha mor ffyddlon byddai’r defaid i’r ŵyn ar ôl ŵyna wrth iddo droi’r defaid i’r mynydd.

We often get asked what happens to the lambs from Llwyn-Yr-Eos farm once the lambing season is over.

The lambs are put out to graze in the fields in and around the museum and are regularly on to fresh grass.

We will pick out the best lambs and keep them for breeding at the farm. This year we are looking to keep around 50 of the lambs born here at Llwyn-Yr-Eos farm.

Most of the female lambs go on for breeding stock, and there’s the select few rams that we sell at the pedigree sales as breeding rams.

The other lambs get sold for meat.

 

Where are the lambs sold?

We tend to support the pedigree society sales at Raglan, Llanybydder and Talybont on Usk.

There are also Hill Radnor, Llanwennog and Black Welsh Mountain rare breed sales at Raglan market.

We do sell direct to some butchers and are hoping to tie in with the Museum restaurant at St Fagans so that in the future they will be using the lamb reared here at Llwyn-Yr Eos farm.

The lamb on your plate is anything from 4-12 months old.

 

Voices from the archive - Lambing in Radnorshire

In the early 1970s Museum staff set out to record older and retired farmers describing farming in Wales in the first half of the twentieth century, before the large-scale mechanisation and expansion from the 1950s onwards.

In 1977 James Albert Price was interviewed by John Williams Davies about the lambing process at Tipton farm, Willey, Radnorshire.

The lambs were reared on the farm would be kept for 12 months and sold as yearlings the following March. The best lambs would be picked for breeding and the others sold.

James Albert Price, Tipton farm, 1977

James Price mentions the ewe auctions in Knighton each September selling 10 – 12,000 ewes a day.

The ram lambs would be sold as yearlings in auction at Craven Arms, Leominster and Hereford with three or four ram sales at Craven Arms.