David Williams “Alaw Goch”

David William

David William Bibliography 1821-1863
(Sometimes using his poetry as a time-line)

Mr. David Williams was the eldest of three sons who were born in a cottage called “Llwyn-y-Draen” in the parish of Ystrad Owain in the Vale of Glamorgan on the 12th July 1809. He was the son of a wheelwright who, having been seized by a press-gang had the honour of being at Nelson’s side at the Battle of the Nile in 1798.

In 1821 he accompanied his father to Aberdare and afterwards settled in the neighbourhood of Abernant. For two or three years young Williams and his father were occupied as sawyers at the works and having thrown up the saw, the former was subsequently engaged for several years as a haulier,  his wages amounted to nine shillings per week, but from being a servant to others, he soon grew to be his own master.

His first attempt at coal mining was at Ynyscynon in 1843, and this venture was not a pit, but a short drift, for purpose of intersecting the Four Feet Seam. There was some difficulty at first, and Lewis retired but Mr. Williams persevered and eventually won coal.  To how few the same remark may be applied: that the friendships he had formed in the time of his adversity he preserved in all their pristine vigour throughout the riper years of his prosperity. Many a man who had plied the mandrill, side by side with him could claim him as a close friend to the hour of his death.

Picture of Ynyscynon House

Ynyscynon House (Picture kindly donated by G. Evans)

David Williams resided at Green Fach Aberdare (near Green St Methodist Church), where his son Judge Gwilym Williams was born, before removing to Ynyscynon Farm (where the Ynyscynon Inn is now), Cwmbach and years afterwards he built Ynyscynon House.

Picture of Plan of Ynyscynon Farm and House

Plan of Ynyscynon Farm and House

His next venture was Treaman, Aberaman, and then followed the sinking of Deep Duffryn Colliery, Mountain Ash, which he subsequently sold to Mr. John Nixon, in 1852 for £42,000. Mr. Charles Wilkins, F.G.S., tells a good story illustrative of this pioneer’s shrewdness. When it was decided to sink Deep Duffryn Colliery, negotiations for the land took place between the First Lord Aberdare (Then Mr. Bruce) as agent, to his father and Mr. Williams.

The landowner offered to lease the land at £600 a year dead rent, and nine-pence per ton royalty. On the other Mr. Williams offered to pay £800 per annum dead rent if the landlord would reduce the royalty to eight-pence per ton. This was conceded after some discussion, and when the large annual output of this colliery is recalled, it will be at once seen how large a sum was gained by this arrangement.

Before he was forty years of age, David Williams, was recognised as a leading authority in mining, and was called upon to superintend the sinking and opening of deep pits in the valley. He had a fine physique and was a hard worker.

Deep Duffryn a costly operation

The sinking of Deep Duffryn Colliery was a costly one, for it must be remember that in those early days there were no diamond drills, or dynamite and other special explosives. The pumping and winding machinery also was of a very primitive character. Mr. W.S. Clarke, agent of the Bute Estate, rendered valuable service during the sinking operations by introducing rubbing in order to keep the water back. Mr. Williams vowed that some of the sinking cost him a guinea an inch, a few friends assisted him, including, among others, Mr. George Insole. At last, after great trouble, the coal was reached, and was worked at first by the old method of pillar and stall. The daily output under Mr. Williams was 130 to 150 tons, which was then considered good. As recorded in the sketch of Mr. John Nixon, this output was soon multiplied a dozen times.  Mr. Williams, however, the question of ventilating Deep Duffryn was too great a problem and as a result David Williams sold the colliery. Leaving Mountain Ash, he again tried sinking a pit in Cwmdare, which he sold to a firm including Mr. Rhys of Llwydcoed, Mr. G. Martin, Mr. Jenkin Rhys, and Mr. Richards.

This pit subsequently became the property of Messrs. Brogden, and then passed into other hands. It is now worked I believe, in connection with the Bwllfa Dare Colliery. He then opened pits in the Rhondda and had villages named after him- Williamstown and Trealaw.

Picture of Marriage certificate of August 3rd, 1837 David Williams to Anne Morgan

Marriage certificate of August 3rd, 1837 David Williams to Anne Morgan

Upon the death of Ann, wife of Titus Griffiths, Aberdare
March 17th, 1839 (shortened version)

Death came swiftly with its sword – to cut down
One who was gentle and beautiful,
I know of the calling of one of delicate character
From the face of the earth to the clay of the grave.

Without warning, one day it came – with grief
To make us all pale with sorrow,
Oh, gentle Ann, with no complaint she is enslaved,
As ailing as death, itself

The Wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg and Gotha
June 28, 1840 (Shorten Version)

Come pleasant brothers, of the exact same disposition,
Bards and Ovates, gentle and great men,
To give praise as one, with excellent words,
In heartfelt thrills, well worthy of the task,

Let us solemnly raise the teaching of the Family Head of our Land,
With the rhymes of the language of Homer, this one is exceedingly healthy,
Long may Alexandria, our gentle Victoria, live,

And the most-gentle, Albert in honours all along,
Two people of high lineage, two well-suited undoubtedly,
People of high office on thrones throughout the regions of the world,
A chosen Prince, kind, hearty and happy man,
And our dear, famous crowned maiden, have come together.

An Epitaph For Margaret, wife of Dafydd of Dyllas, in the parish of Aberdare
Who died on May 21st, 1844, at 22 years of age.

The shoot of glory, – healthy yesterday,
Today, alas! she is lifeless.
A very dear lady with a golden complexion,
To remember her by – behold her empty grave.

Picture of Swan Hotel

Swan Hotel (Picture courtesy of RCTCBC)

David Williams and Crawshay Bailey Aberaman 19th September 1846

Crawshay Bailey, Esq., after sinking his pit 126 yards deep, on last Saturday night week, struck the coal (at Aberaman,) generally termed the Four Feet Vein, which proved Jo be 5 feet 9 inches thick, and of the best quality. We understand that on the day Mr. Bailey ascertained the thickness of the coal, he presented his agent, Mr. D. Williams, Ynyscynon, with the sum of £100 for his faithfulness in superintending his works at Aberaman. On the Saturday evening following, at the Swan Inn, he gave a good supper and half a gallon of “ceffyl gwyn” to everyone connected with his Aberaman works.

The whole number that supped was 137. The entertainment was excellently made up of the best mutton and roast beef.

After the cloth was removed, Mr. D. Williams addressed the company as follows: ” My dear friends, I hope I can call you all friends, I hope that we will, of one heart, return our most sincere thanks to Mr. Bailey for his handsome treat and present of tonight. Of, course we will not thank him personally all of us; but we will thank him-firstly, by conducting ourselves well, and secondly, by being faithful in his employment. I can assure you, my friends, that I feel it a great honour to be under such a gentleman as Mr. Bailey. There are some that have wealth, but no spirit for speculation others have a sufficiency of such spirit, but no wealth but our present honourable master has Loth, and I have no hesitation in saying that he will be the life of Aberdare, and a blessing to the whole neighbourhood.

“Then Mr. D. Williams proposed the health of Mr. Bailey and his family, which was drank with “three times three” by the whole company; after which Mr. James Lewis rose and said that he was of the same opinion as Mr. Williams, that there was not such another master to be found as Mr. Bailey; and that he would assure them that Mr. Bailey would make bar iron at Aberaman in a shorter time than a great many were aware of  Mr. Lewis proceeded to propose the health of Mr. D. Williams, assuring all present that he never knew a more upright and straightforward man than Mr. Williams, that he never had a dispute with him in his life, and though he never would. Mr. Williams’s health was then, drank by the whole company after which he (Mr. Williams) rose and after thanking Mr. Lewis for his high opinion of him, addressed his Welsh friends in poetry as follows: (Shorten version)

A thousand welcomes to the great Crawshay, – our Bailey,
Vitally cheerful and celebrated,
The best leader of earth’s giants amongst men,
To a crowd, his well-being will be immense.

He brings the unknown into the light of day – without refusal
From the furthermost of depths,
He tears out the minerals from the deep,
Oh, fine man, and the coal unceasingly.

And his very famous machines – are built
Into his sturdy mills,
By freeing their spinning wheels,
Wild, iron flashes of lightening will be knitted.

Prosperity for the entire Cynon Valley – is Bailey,
Of bright vision and big heart,
He is an angel in the lap of God
To spread the well-being of all men.

Death of David Williams Esq. (Alaw Goch)
(Aberdare Times)

It is with deepest and unfeigned regret that we announce the death of David Williams (Alaw Goch) which took place at Bridgend on Saturday afternoon last in a lamentably sudden manner. Mr Williams had just quitted a solicitor’s office and was wending his way to the railway station when was seized with a heart affection and died almost instantaneously.

The melancholy intelligence of his death reached Aberdare on the following day and immediately after its arrival spread with lightning speed throughout the valley, exciting as it travelled the intense regrets, by Alaw Goch’s death thousands have been deprived of a generous friend; a friend whose help was never sought in vain! Through the deceased gentleman was only in his 54th year, when he died his career appears to have been a very fruitful one.

He was the son of a wheelwright who having been seized by a press-gang had the honour of being at Nelson’s side when he was shot down on board the “Victory.” Mr. David Williams was the eldest of three sons, and he was born in a cottage called “Llwyn-y-Draen” in the parish of Ystrad Owain in the Vale of Glamorgan on the 12th July 1809.

In 1821 he accompanied his father to Aberdare and afterwards settled in the neighbourhood of Abernant. For two of three years young Williams and his father were occupied as sawyers at the works and having thrown up the saw, the former was subsequently engaged for several years as a miner. At a happier moment, he discovered a rich vein of coal at Ynyscynon and from that hour his fortune was secured. Plodding on with spirit and caution Mr. Williams in a few years placed himself in a position of independence and long before his demise he was regarded as one of the richest in the county. It may be said of the deceased, and alas! To how few the same remark may be applied that the friendships he had formed in the time of his adversity he preserved in all their pristine vigour throughout the riper years of his prosperity. Many a man who had plied the mandrill, side by side with him could claim as a close friend to the hour of his death.

A Bard of Eminence

As a coal pioneer Mr. David Williams met with only ordinary success but has a great Welshman that he will best be remembered. He had a great liking for bards and preferred few things better in life than to preside at an eisteddfod. In this position, or as chairman over other matters, his facility in rhyming, in telling a good story or indulging in playful humour made him a special favourite with the multitude. He had a sunny side to his character, and he was always ready to help an eisteddfod either with his money or by his genial presence. Another good feature of his character was his homeliness. He knew every one of his workmen, and called them by name, and knew their families and their ailments. In those days there was not much distance between employers and employed. The link was a human one, of kindred sympathies, and when any trouble arose it was settled between owner and workman on the spot.  He was owner of many local papers in Aberdare such as the Cambrian Daily and “Y Gwladgarwr” a Welsh paper in which he encouraged local poets to publish their poetry in the paper. The “Cambrian Daily Leader”, was then published by the Swansea Press Ltd., Swansea. Mr. Williams and his late father expended about £12,000 in establishing the Cambrian Daily Leader, which for many years espoused Liberal principles in the Principality.

Owing to gross mismanagement the paper became defunct, after Mr. Williams had transferred it to other hands, in consequence of the serious expense it entailed on him. The Liberal party in Swansea, after the removal of the offices of the Leader from Cardiff, allowed it to expire from a fit of impecuniosity.

He excelled as a poet and Welsh litterateur, and this gave him a commanding influence over the ordinary working class, and a status amongst the gentry who owned the industries in the earlier days. He had patronage if the Bruce’s of Dyffryn, the Fothergill’s of Abernant, and his ability and character won the confidence and respect of that great industrialist Crawshay Bailey, Aberaman.
Picture of David William standing

Leading figure of Aberdare

He took a leading part in the protest against the report on conditions in Aberdare as given by the vicar in the Blue Book of 1847. He presided over most of the public meeting held in the town in those early years. He took position as a Poor Law Guardian, a member of the old Highway Board; a director of the Gas Co.; a member of the Local Board of Health; and equally ready with any other movement that contemplated the good of Aberdare.

David Williams was chairman of the first British school established in the district (1849) (the Park School) and bequeathed £100 to that school in his Will. He was elected member of the first Board of Health established in Aberdare and was chief patron of the Eisteddfodau of the Carw Coch in the 1850’s. David Williams took great interest in public schools and the education of the masses.  Besides schools in Glamorgan he contributed to schools in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, and other places, received his countenance and support.

The Welsh Language (shorten version)
Click here to read the full version

It is a chosen language, and the wisest language, – an ancient language,
A unique, most exquisite language:
From the point of view of Poetic Inspiration, one of the earliest languages,
And our language, is the language of our God.

An amiable language, which will last while the world exists, – and the treatment
Of its letters as well,
In the case of a baby in its early years,
“Mum and Dad” is what he records for a long time.

The language of measuring, and the language of customs, – and the language of number,
A wondrous language undoubtedly,
The language of nature, and the language of names,
Man, and his God – both.

It is brilliantly wise, and the language of companions, – prominently
The language of the feelings of the heart:
It sends out clear signals
Within the seat of this bosom.
(Literal translation from the original Welsh)

Picture of Miskin Manor around 1920’s

Miskin Manor around 1920’s

In 1851 Mr. Alexander Saunderson died, and a year or so later the Miskin estate (30 acres), was sold to Mr. David Williams (Alaw Goch), the father of Judge Gwilym Williams, for the sum of £12,615 3s 11d.

The list of the famous who have stayed at Miskin included the late Duke of Windsor, who, as Prince of Wales, slept there in 1923 at the time of his celebrated ‘Something must be done” visit to the South Wales mining communities.

The Wedding
Of Mr. Howell Williams, Pant Y Gerdinen, and
Miss A.M. Gilbert, Aberdare, May 2nd, 1850.

God joined these for the sake of goodness – with a ring
And the phrases of prayer,
May you have a long life as parents,
May a good life and good taste be your lot.

Iago Emlyn and Alaw Goch
In a letter of November 19, 1851, Iago Emlyn sent the following
Englyn to Alaw

Alaw Goch – on a Rail journey – of good metal
I shall come to you to receive an englyn,
To Aberdar to call with the man,
And his welcoming place, Emlyn will not go.


To Emlyn there is a welcome to come – often.
For Dafydd it is an honour
To have him, what greater succour
Can there be beneath the shade of his bush?  Oh! that would be a feast

The Aberdare Garden
A Volume of the Winning Compositions
of Carw Coch’s Eisteddfod, Aberdare, 1853

I love the garden of Aberdar – on its fruit
I gorge myself generously,
This one’s abundant, with the bushes of summer,
Most appropriate and amongst the sweetest.

It is a long garden, this one reaches –the noblest
And the keenest of great men,
And its smiles are upon the meekest, – Great is its width, –
and Oh!  so cheerful.

Aberdar with enthusiastic words, – most genial
The stories about past ages,
Complete and true, and all weaving
Music through all the branches.

And a poet who is chief gardener. – concerning Gwilym
Mai, see, champion of champions,
Yes, a truly beloved printer,
The man of song – that’s the man

The Death of Margaret, wife of Mr. William Williams, Ynyslwyd Cottage, Aberdare
October 24th, 1855.

My body’s temple does not feel – neither coldness,
Nor live atmosphere, nor excitement,
I’ve gone from the world, I’ve had a cradle in gravel,
You will come to me again in the future.

The Death of Mr. Henry Thomas, who fell down a part of Cwmdare Mine
October 2, 1856

Oh! cold of complexion, he came to his end, – an end
Which was painful, alas! Sorrowful,
Falling, without complaining, to the captive
Bed of sudden death.

My Father’s Death
Mr. David Williams senior died in Ynys Cynon,
March 14th, 1857, 82 years of age (Shortened version)

Oh! my Father, loyal of heart
Rich and honest of heart,
Entertaining was his tongue,
Not particularly brave and well renowned,
Yet his ready reply
I would say, was second to none.
A gentle father, pleasant and ready to help
He was, and has been, it is difficult to exist

And live after him without grief,
(Short was his journey) in Aberdar
Oh! the memory of those limited days
In his appearance, and his piercing agony.
Pain constantly following him –

Great Meeting of Welsh Bards at Aberdare 18th July 1857
(Edited version)

On Tuesday, the 7th instant, a grand Eisteddfod was held at the above-named place. About ten o’clock, a.m., a vast multitude, together with the Aberaman amateur choir, met in the great square between the Gwron office and the Boot Hotel, with the intention of meeting the Chairman, the Rev David James, Rector of Panteg, near Pontypool, but were disappointed.

On Tuesday, the 7th instant, a grand Eisteddfod was held at the above-named place. About ten o’clock, a.m., a vast multitude, together with the Aberaman amateur choir, met in the great square between the Gwron office and the Boot Hotel, with the intention of meeting the Chairman, the Rev David James, Rector of Panteg, near Pontypool, but were disappointed.

Mr. L. W. Lewis, Llew Llwyfo, delivered an appropriate speech on the occasion, after which a procession was formed, and preceded by the band they walked to the tent, which had been prepared in a field at Heol y Felin, belonging to Mr. William Williams, Stag Inn (Y Carw Coch).

Picture of the Gate to the Ornamental Garden

(Picture courtesy of RCTCBC)

The audience wore an exceedingly dull aspect for more than an hour, and everyone thought it would be a very flat affair; however, the worthy and respected chairman was at last announced, and entered amidst the most rapturous applause, in the meantime the meeting was kept alive by another speech in Llew Llwyfo’s usually excellent style and a few tunes on the Welsh harp; after which David Williams, Esq Ynys Cynon, (Alaw Goch), proposed that the Rev. D. James, take the chair, was seconded by Thomas Joseph, Esq.

Picture of the Stag Hotel

Stag Hotel (Picture courtesy of RCTCBC)

An address to the Chairman was then read by the Secretary and was responded to in a most eloquent style.  The Chairman’s speech drew forth the most enthusiastic applause, at the conclusion of which the following bards addressed the meeting and recited Welsh stanzas, viz., Gwilym Teilo, Eiddil Glan Cynon, Cynonwyson, Alaw Goch, G. ab Ioan, Ieuan Wyn, Dewi Wyn o Essyllt.

The two o’clock meeting

Bardd Clydach recited a story between the Idler’s Wife and the Hawker in a most humorous manner; Llwyfo sung with the harp, and Mr. Thomas Llewelyn played a Welsh air on the triple harp. Then the adjudication of the prizes was resumed.

The six o’clock meeting

John Roberts, Esq., opened the proceedings in a pithy and appropriate speech after which the Chairman proceeded to award the remainder of the numerous prizes.


In conclusion, the Chairman said that the object of such meetings was to cultivate the Welsh language by offering prizes for the best essays, odes, stanzas, &e., upon certain subjects previously announced and published in the Welsh periodicals, by which a spirit of emulation was promoted among the literati of Wales. He was happy to tell them that their efforts upon this occasion had not been in vain, as the adjudicators said that many of the compositions received from the competitors were of a very high character, manifestly evincing that a great amount of labour, time, and talent had been employed upon the different productions.

The meeting then terminated. On the following day a great many were admitted to the orders of bards and Ivorites by Mr. Jonathan Reynolds, (Nathan Dyfed), Mr. David Evans, auctioneer, (Dewi Haran), and the veteran Mr. Thomas Williams, (Cilfynydd), boll  yn feirdd yn ôl braint a defod Gwent a Morganwg. (were poets according to the privilege and custom of Gwent and Morganwg).

The Reverend J. Emlyn Jones (Ioan Emlyn)
After listening to him deliver a Lecture on Oliver Cromwell in Cwmbach, Aberdare,
November 8th, 1858 (shortened version)

Oh, Emlyn, come far more often,
Bearing, always your gems to Cwmbach,
Speak that we may watch
As a public, the excellent hero-
The history of a remarkable Leader,
Lively and brave, who deserves praise,
The protector of the disaffected ones,
And the man who was a friend of the weak:
A reformer, a man devoid of vanity,
And a brave man when he bore his sword.

John Bunyan
The following englynion were read by the Author after listening to a lecture by the Reverend O. Jones, in Mountain Ash, October 25th, 1858

Bunyan was a weak man, but a little man – who was prominent,
Full of feeling with no one purer,
Compared to any bishop of famous lineage,
He was a better man twice over.

A sentinel, not a poor wretch, – who was taken
Into prison, what next?
With his good sense, the man surprises
His guardian – aeth yn gwdyn.

He rightly drew mankind’s passion to his attention, – his loss,
And the faulty thoughts
And sorted them out just as on journeys
Beneath his pack and not as a false man

Picture of Lord Aberdare

Lord Aberdare H. A. Bruce
Picture courtesy of Albert & Victoria Museum, London

An Address to the President; H. A. Bruce, Esq., M.P.
On September 21st and 22nd, 1859.
(Later Lord Aberdare) (Shortened version)

The soul of the feast, no flannel of a man, – Iestyn
Sitting there on his own,
A man whose purse patronises music,
This man is a cell, a cage of temperament.

And a man of noble lineage, – seriously wise,
Not lightweight as a breeze,
And a man who has an edge who brings forth honey,
A dignity to which all can give recognition.

He is a man of wisdom, with his journey ahead of him, – one whose furrow
Is amazingly constant,
Great is his talent, and above the meadow,
High up into the hills he is an honoured man.

Picture of Main Entrance to Miskin manor

(Picture courtesy of RCTCBC)

The Eisteddfod Committee in Shrewsbury, 14th November 1860

Eleven members met; and I know that the whole country will be delighted to know that each and every one of them desired success.  But as true as my word, if that be true on reflection, I have never been in a place like Shrewsbury before.  In the first instance, there was a fair there during those days. Next, there were horse races there. Thirdly, it was raining.  Fourthly, there was no accommodation, nor bed, nor beer, nor food to be had for any money!  Therefore, Gwilym Tawe, Gwilym Mai and I had to reside on the main road from half past twelve until three in the morning, in the company of the men in blue.

Although we were leaving at half past three, by train, and could see a magnificent fire inside the Station, the good man refused to let us inside.  We were therefore allowed to choose whether we wished to freeze or not.  Some of us asked the boys in blue (police) for lodging; but they could not accede to our request unless we committed some crime.  However, we were not brought down to that on this occasion.  But behold, the clock was striking three, and in a while, we had room to approach the great unused fire in the Station.

Therefore, off went Gwilym Mai and I with the train and we had the pleasure of leaving our kind Gwilym Tawe behind at the mercy of the boys in blue until the morning.  I therefore arrived home before three o’clock (in the afternoon) and I was more or less doubting myself.  I left Gwilym Mai in Merthyr.  I have not heard whether he is dead or alive; but I heard, through Aneurin Fardd, that he saw Gwilym Tawe alive, in Shrewsbury, the following morning.  Good lad.  That is what it is to be ‘weatherproof’, isn’t it?

But now for a few verses of poetry-unless the inspiration has been completely chilled.

Oh! I sing the praises of Ynys Cynon- ever more so,
For comforting things,
There were brought to me aplenty
Of the graces of peace of this age.

I shall not exist on mercy – the luxuries
Of the cold outlook of Shrewsbury,
A long time with nowhere to lie down,
Here is an old land – no feast at all!

As for the cold, bare, grey-looking place, – Oh I remember
Everything, it wasn’t a dream,
With no house or fire to shelter from the cold,
Over a long night, without beer or food.

By stamping one’s cold feet, – I shook
My soaking wet shoes,
And aching in the presence of the men in blue
I froze if there is any point in mentioning it.

Again, if ever I go to them, – for good reason
I shan’t stay around in a gale
Oh! I shall travel in better circumstances,
And my woe is that I didn’t do so previously.

I shall drive some Caravan, – I’ll take a Stove
And a sparkling clean little room:
A door which can be locked, a roof and a fire –
There shall I sleep on my own.

Alaw Goch in London 10/11/1860

Last Monday the above named liberal gentleman expressed a wish to meet with a few of the friends of the Eisteddfod in London; and a meeting was immediately arranged for the Tuesday evening, where the excellent gentleman received a warm welcome and enthusiasm was expressed for the Aberdare Eisteddfod.

The meeting was held in the ‘Cambrian Society’ room.  Gwrgant presided bravely over the meeting and as time passed Alaw Goch’s liberalism and zeal, Hugh Owen Esquire’s seriousness and gentlemanliness, the prudence of the wise Cadvan, the equanimity of the comic author Mr. John Morgan and the active enthusiasm of Mr. John Griffith, (Eisteddfod member for London) were displayed.

Gwrgant spoke of the paper war between the poets of the past, and said he was glad to see that things were better at present, that there was a hope that Wales would agree on the matter, and that this was a great joy to the organisation, and that he was determined to support it vigorously.

Alaw Goch gave a short history of the reformed organisation and showed the need for general unity among the different Welsh counties in the new Senedd.

Mr. John Griffith read the resolution of Llangollen and Denbigh’s committees, and commented appropriately on them. Hugh Owen, Esq, rose to say that he was very concerned about the organisation in its new form; in as far as it reached, to the degree that he intended to visit Aberdare during the Eisteddfod with the aim of presenting a scheme to extend the cycle of its operation.

Comments were made by Mr. John Morgan, and then they proceeded to make resolutions.  After friendly discussions it was decided unanimously:

“That this meeting approves and promises to support Aberdare Eisteddfod.”

“That we wish to see more attention given to the subject of our country’s history!”

“That procedure is established to this end and to give the unsuccessful subjects another, try by the following Eisteddfod.”

“That more prizes are offered for the Historical Essays, to ensure that the works are truly deserving.”

“To establish a society here in London connected to the Eisteddfod, with a Committee to include a President, Treasurer and Secretary.”

They then went on to elect officers and Gwrgant was appointed President; Hugh Owen, Esquire was appointed Treasurer; Mr. J. H. Mills, Secretary; Committee, Messrs’ John Griffith, Walworth; John Morgan, New College; Hugh Williams, (Cadvan) William Davies, Sculptor; R. B. Jones, (Berwyn); David Griffiths, formerly of Aberdare; D. S. Jones, (Aaron); W. Roberts, (Boderan); William Griffith, Gray’s Inn Road; J. Hughes, (Gelert); Isaac Williams, (Gwilym Ilar) and various others, with the possibility of adding to them.  I would like to be able to give more than a sketch of this important meeting, because there was such a strong Welsh emotion which electrified the whole evening, which may be attributed mainly to the fact that each one spoke in the old Welsh tongue?  It is obvious that the prevailing wish of each one in the meeting was:

“Tra môr yn fur i’r bur hoff bau,
Y bo i’r hen iaith barhau.”


While a sea wall to the pure favourite land,
That the old language may continue

A few poetic lines were thrown in which; was brought to mind other verses and warmed the heart of each one there.   Alaw Goch was thanked for his princely generosity towards the Eisteddfod, and Gwrgant received thanks for his dextrous work as chair and Mr. John Griffith for his diligence in calling the meeting.


The Death

December 22nd, 1860, at 31 years of age, of the dear wife of the Rev. E. Lewis, Vicar of Aberdar.  Also, Miss Jennet Wayne, on the 24th, aged 16 years.  She was the daughter of T. Wayne, Esq., Y Gadlys, Aberdare

In a grave, lying captive, – sleep
Dear ones, more’s the pity,
And all, despite every nourishment,
In the cold bed of death.

The National Eisteddfod July 27th, 1861

The time will soon arrive when this much- looked for gathering will take place. Hirwain Wrgant will be visited in August next by men who have never-before put foot on Aberdare soil, and by men also of whom Gwalia may well be proud. The Eisteddfod is a very ancient Welsh Institution and had, fallen, down to us in a vastly different state to what it was some centuries ago.

Although, as first held, it was a credit to its originators or founders, yet we can look back to a period when Eisteddfod gatherings were a disgrace to the then civilized state of society. The games that were carried on in connection with it, and the drunkenness they gave rise to, exercised a very demoralizing influence upon the literati and their admirers. We have, however, a better state of things in our days. The standard of Eisteddfodau has been and is being raised, and we hope their generous supporters will ever continue to work in this direction.

The friends at Aberdare have worked admirably and are coming out in their preparations for the Eisteddfod in a manner worthy of Welshmen even. Everybody knows what a Welshman can do in his country’s cause, and we are glad that we are going to have another proof of his ability in this way in the month of August next. We are informed by Mr. D. Williams, Esq, (Alaw Goch,) that purses of every description, and of very costly material, have been forwarded by ladies of high standing in England and Wales.

A purse from London has been the subject of special remark, and we hope to have the pleasure of a glance at it when suspended from the neck of the winner of the chair in our next National Eisteddfod. We trust our friends will now go ahead with their preparations against the influx of Bards and Philosophers, amongst whom we hope to see Gwilym Hiraethog, Eben Fardd, Emrys, Caledfryn, Islwyn, and hundreds more.

To the Ladies
Who made Prize-Purses for The Aberdare National Eisteddfod of 1861
(Shortened version)

May the ladies have a lifetime of blessing – good,
And diligent ones, for the purses,
And authentically carved images
And scenes and portraits in their style of knitting.

And it was exceptional, to observe in old age, – an over-eagerness
Truly genuine to match,
All our kindred are as one choir,
And their role to be angels and saints.

Mr. W. Williams (Y Carw Coch)
On the occasion of breaking his leg, May 1861

Behold, a stroke of bad luck for William – on the parting
Of his bones whilst in a hurry,
As for a fine servant – his leg, Oh why
Was such a faultless man blighted?

What hero is there more willing? – from his room
He plans the Eisteddfod:
It is a matter of woe to me, the subject of a frown that he is
On his bed with an injured member.

From the white spot on its forehead stupid is the foal, – the dragon of the age,
The worst of its kind – that’s the enemy,
It took fright, he threw the man –
Y Carw, just as if he were a spider

The opening of Nazareth Chapel, Aberdare July 7th, and 8th, 1861

Picture of Nazareth Chapel

Nazareth Chapel Aberdare

From Nazareth, without fail – it is good that you look
Homewards for success
In your midst, so that you bring your children
To sing in glory.

And be on your watch as you look across at the enemy, – this forever
Beseech full of hope,
The God who saves mankind,
Oh! that in you may his fire kindle.

Let the world be informed – that there is here
A fine, famous temple,
And may you live for the sake of the Lamb, without the chaff,
And do so in peace.

In the image of the God who is worshipped, – in His hand,
Forever in His court,
As a beautiful family remain within
As part of the truth – full of love

The Great National Eisteddfod held at Aberdare
To the editor of the Guardian.
Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian 12/10/1861

Sir, We beg to thank all our friends for the support we have received from them; we had the great disappointment of the storm having destroyed our large tent after all the expense and trouble, but we have to thank the people of Aberdare for the willing assistance they so readily gave us for putting us up in the Market-place, as well in such a short time; all the hands came out, ladies and gentlemen, poor and rich and did all they could in the matter, and indeed upon the whole  of the same. rather convenient when we think of the short space of time we had: but, moreover, for the sympathy that was shown all through the Eisteddfod, all folks seemed to be quite happy and enjoying themselves, poor and rich, high and low, young and old, far and near; they appeared like the children of old Evan David, quite united, as one happy family, and as if they were pleased by doing their part so as to comfort others.

The ladies, the gentlemen, as well as the lower classes, we humbly beg to thank them; but above all our dear presidents, three members of Parliament, Mr. Bruce, Mr. Vivian, Mr. Bailey, who gave us cheerfully their labour, their time, and their money, and we hope that the Welsh will never forget such kindness. Next, we must thank the whole of the judges, for their great and just labours in giving such satisfaction to all.

Next, we must thank the whole at large for their good conduct, not one single wrong was committed in the place, not one drunken man to be seen on any one of the streets. But some will say after all, what good can come from those Eisteddfodau. Well, we hope many; as every nation has got their amusements, why shall the Welsh not be allowed the same privilege. Now, the working classes must have something to do, and is it not better for them to practise in reading, writing and studying, than to be idle, and worse than idle, as young men must have something to do. Now, this gives them mental work, and makes them better members of society, and we believe that they ought to be supported by their superiors.

Again, you will never see nor hear anything said or written concerning religion or politics, but all denominations in a friendly spirit doing all they can on behalf of Welsh literature and poetry. We hope that our friends will see, not only that no evil can come from the Eisteddfod, but that it has a great tendency to do good to the nation at large. I hope that our influential gentlemen and ladies will see this a right step, and to go back to a much more-warmer than ever, with humble thanks to all, I beg to be, yours, &c.,

D. WILLIAMS, (Alaw Goch). Ynyscynon House.

Presentation of the Medals Awarded at the National Eisteddfod of 1861, 23rd November 1861

On Tuesday evening last, a number of gentlemen, many of whom had taken an active part in carrying out matters connected with the recent National Eisteddfod held in our town, assembled at the Stag Hotel, Mill Street, for the purpose of presenting the successful competitors with the medals won at the Eisteddfod, which, it will be recollected, were not handed over to .them at that time, but retained in order to have the names, &c., engraved upon them. This event was celebrated by a supper, which was provided in a manner that reflected the highest credit upon the host, Mr. W. Williams, (Carw Coch,) who has always taken a prominent part in the promotion of Eisteddfodau, and proved himself a true friend to “Cymru, Cymro, a Cymraeg.”

The cloth having been removed, Mr. Abel Seth Jones proposed, and Mr. T.H. Evans seconded, that Mr. D. Williams, Esq, of Ynyscynon, should take the chair, which he accordingly did amidst loud cheering. Mr. T. H. Evans was afterwards voted to the vice-chair. Mr. Williams said he felt sorry he had been called upon to preside, as he was then suffering from indisposition, but under the circumstances he expressed his readiness to do his best. He was glad to see so many presents on the occasion and thanked them for their attendance. He was sorry time would not permit him to give a history of the late Eisteddfod but would lay before them a few; particulars with reference to their financial condition.

He had distributed 97 collecting books only 40 of which had been returned, some of them without any subscriptions entered, and in some cases, owing to the senders having enclosed private notes, he had to pay the postage. The sum collected from this source amounted to £80 8s. He then alluded to the accident that befell their tent, which had cost them something like £255. Had this accident not occurred they would have been, in a position to hand over a large sum to the committee of the forthcoming Eisteddfod. The total amount paid out was £995 17s. 10d, and the amount received was £879 12s. 10d. At one time he expected they would have lost £500 through the destruction of the tent; but rather than disappoint the public he would have expended £1000 (Cheers), but after all he was glad to find that their loss was only £100 or so.

The chairman then remarked that the Prince of Wales would become of age next year, and if they were only to be unanimous they might prevail upon him to preside at one of the Eisteddfod meetings, or at least to become a patron. The president further announced that, owing to the compositions sent in on the poem on Neath Abbey having been mislaid, they were consequently not adjudicated upon at the Eisteddfod, but during the evening, Mr. Aneurin Jones, (Aneurin Fardd,) would read his adjudication upon them.

The chairman called upon Aneurin Fardd, who proceeded to give his adjudication on the contributions of the competitors for the 5 guineas offered for the best Traethawd ar Fynachlog Nedd “Essay on Neath Abbey.” Mr. Aneurin Jones stated that four compositions on this subject had been put in his hands, but he regretted that neither of them merited the prize. He therefore recommended that the matter should remain open to competition until the Eisteddfod of 1862. The adjudicator explained with some minuteness the deficiencies which characterised the productions referred to and expressed his sorrow at being obliged to disappoint the writer.

The chairman said they had received an offer from North Wales for the contributions and he should be glad to hear any suggestions as to what had better be done.

Mr. Price observed that that was a matter which had better be submitted to the Local Committee, and after some further discussion it was proposed by Mr. Philip John, and seconded by the Rev Thomas Price, “That a committee be held on the following morning, at 11 o’clock. This was subsequently carried out. At this point Mr. Price stated a few friends had determined to present D. Williams, Esq, (Alaw Goch,) with a gold medal and a suitable address, as a mark of respect for the great interest he has taken in the affairs of Yr Eisteddfod. Several influential gentlemen had intimated a desire to be present on the occasion of this presentation, and he a felt pleasure in informing them that a public meeting would be held in the Temperance Hall, early in the New Year, for the purpose of carrying out their intentions.

Mr. Williams remarked that this was quite unexpected on his part, and, he feared, quite un-deserved. (No, no.) After this the proceedings of the evening partook of a new character. The, well-known harpist Mr. Thomas Lewis, played a variety of beautiful Welsh airs, and Gwilym ab loan also delighted the company by his excellent singing. Mr. Abel S. Jones contributed his quota to the harmony of the evening, by singing with his wonted fullness of voice, “I am a Friar of orders Grey.”

The Eisteddfod Adjudicators, 1861

With hope comes our Eben, – the Poet
Of pure learning, full of inspiration,
And truth for everyone emanates from his mouth,
Chosen man, – a chief for Athens.

Emrys is conqueror of many, – Aneurin
Truly brave, and genuine,
Men of quality, the best of their genus,
It is a great gift to have three of this kind.

Without, pausing, there are three again still alive, –
Llawdden, A Prince of learning, a true Welshman,
Creuddynfab, clearly gifted is he,
And Alun under fair sail.

Giving honour to essays will be – the Adjudicators
With no diversion, pure gifts,
To the utmost end of knowledge,
Each one magnificent not a false rascal.

Presentation to David Williams, Esq., Ynyscynon House, 18th January 1862 Wednesday Night (shortened version)

The prominent and noble part of which Mr. Williams (Alaw Goch,) has always taken in connection with Eisteddfodau, has endeared him to his bardic countrymen. The active, energetic, and self- denying character of his labours in connection with the recent National Eisteddfod has earned for him universal praise. So impressed were his friends and countrymen with the belief that to his exertions the success of the late Eisteddfod, was mainly due, that some of the foremost supporters of Eisteddfodau passed a resolution on the last day of the Eisteddfod, to the effect that the following gentlemen should act as a committee, to determine the best manner in which his services could be recognized:-Hugh Owen, Esq., William Jones, Esq. (Gwrgant); John Griffiths, Esq., Rev. Thomas Price, and the Rev. Hugh Hughes (Tegai.)

The result of these gentlemen’s labours was this evening placed before the public, at a densely crowded meeting at the Temperance Hall. Shortly before eight o’clock a procession of bards and other friends of Mr. Williams marched from the Black Lion Hotel, headed by the Aberdare Rifle Corps band. In the rear of the procession were Mr. Williams and the Rev. John Griffiths, rector of Neath, who, upon arrival at the hall, marched between the divided ranks of the former. The arrival of Messrs. Griffiths and Williams was the signal for a hearty outburst of applause on the part of the people, who had by this time nearly filled the hall.

Picture of Black Lion Hotel

Black Lion Hotel (Picture courtesy of RCTCBC)

The galleries on the right and left of the platform were soon occupied by the Aberdare Rifle Corps band, under the talented leadership of Mr. Woodcock, and the Aberdare Musical Association under the clever conductorship of Mr. F. Helmore. At eight o’clock the hall presented a most animated appearance, being crowded in every corner. On the platform were several bards from different parts of the principality, as well as a number of Welsh literati from the locality, together with ministers and influential laymen.

Upon the motion of the Rev. Thomas Price, seconded by Mr. William Williams (Carw Coch), the Rev. John Griffiths, rector of Neath, was called to the chair. After the performance of a waltz by the band, the chairman opened the proceedings in a good practical speech. He thought that, considering the facts that they had met in a Welsh town, and to do honour to a thorough Welsh-man, it would be more prudent to conduct the proceedings in English than Welsh. Indeed, only in the morning he had received a letter from the “Gohebydd y Faner,” giving him positive instructions on that point!
He also knew that complaints loud and frequent had been made that too much English was spoken at the recent Eisteddfod, and too much English and Welsh They had met to night to do honour to a patriot who was a hearty supporter of “Cymru, Cymry, a Cymraeg.”

He and other friends had come there from a distance not so much to speak of him as a man, but as a patriot. They had also come to thank him for what he had done towards the Eisteddfodau. He thought if a man were not a patriot, he could not be a good man at all. As they were speaking of Mr. Williams in connection with Eisteddfodau and bardic literature, he thought it would be better to drop the “Mr. Williams” for the evening, and call him, “Alaw Goch.”

The chairman then went on to speak of Eisteddfodau, their antiquity, and benefits. Some had said that Eisteddfodau had been in existence long before Noah knocked the first nail in the ark, but as all these matters were much disputed he would content himself by simply mentioning them, and would restrain from committing himself to an opinion. No doubt Eisteddfodau had done much good and were destined to do more-good. Some time ago, at the Llangollen Eisteddfod, a committee was formed for the purpose of working out certain reformations, but although the committee had been in existence twelve months, nothing was done until the Denbigh Eisteddfod, when the whole matter was taken well in hand. Upon that occasion no one entered the good work with more spirit than their esteemed friend, whom they had met to honour – Alaw Goch. To him-his energetic perseverance and intellectual suggestions much was due.

Let all, therefore, unite and render honour to him for what he had done. After a few farther remarks, the chairman sat down amidst much cheering. He afterwards read a whole batch of letters of apology received from bards and others who could not attend. The following were among the writers whose letters were read: Gwrgant, Owain Alaw, Ioan Emlyn, Ceiriog, Nicander, Glan Alun, Caledfryn Creuddynfab, and Mr. Roberts, Blaina. The following letter from Gwrgant was also read.

Having been called upon, the Rev. J. Davies, Aberaman, moved the following resolution: “That this meeting cheerfully recognizes, David Williams, Esq., (Alaw Goch) as a neighbour, master, patriot, and bard, and especially as a liberal supporter of the national institutions of his country,” Mr. Davies spoke in very eulogistic terms of Mr. Williams under the several heads enumerated in the resolution. His remarks were frequently cheered, and at the conclusion of his address he recited a few appropriate verses. (Just about this stage of the proceedings some scores of people, who had been waiting on the hall stairs were invited to take their seats on the platform galleries, and a few minutes’ interruption occurred.)

The chairman next called upon Mr. Morris (Gwilym Tawe), to second the resolution. In a brief English speech, during the course, of the speech, which he recited eight nicely written verses of poetry bearing on the occasion, Mr. Morris complied with the chairman’s request. He said that it pleased him very much to come up from Swansea to pay his respects to their esteemed friend, Alaw Goch, and he also felt a pleasure in bearing testimony to the truth of what had fallen from the previous speaker, the Rev  J. Davies.

Rev. Saunders (Bethania Chapel), in a good speech, seconded the resolution. Considering he was the minister of the chapel at which Mr. Williams and his family attended, he thought it would ill become him to say very much. He had hoped to have been excused from speaking. He fully agreed with the resolution that had been moved, and he felt much pleasure in seconding it. He referred to the progress which Mr. Williams had made in the world and illustrated his remark by relating an anecdote. A weaver’s son had just sat down, after making a speech in one of the houses of parliament, and his antagonist replying to him sneeringly remarked that he was only the son of a weaver. Whereupon the former retorted that if his (his antagonist’s) father had been only a weaver, be would have been a weaver too. Notwithstanding the many disadvantages under which Mr. Williams had laboured, he had managed to work himself into a high position in the commercial world, whilst at the same time; he enjoyed a high reputation as a bard. During the recent Eisteddfod Mr. Williams was at one time doing the duties of chairman, secretary, and treasurer, and they ought to feel very thankful to him for his great exertions. He felt great pleasure in seconding the resolution proposed.

The chairman afterwards called upon the Rev. W. Edwards, who spoke at some length to the resolution, which was subsequently carried amidst applause. At this stage of the proceedings the chairman said it was his pleasing duty to read the address, which was framed and exquisitely got up. Advancing to the front of the platform the rev. chairman then read the address, which was prefaced by the resolution referred to at the commencement of our report and was couched in the following terms.

Respected Patriot (David Williams), in accordance with the above resolution the committee chosen took the matter in hand, and they have now the honour of presenting to you this simple address, together with the gold medal that accompanies it. The committee feel conscious that they could neither do justice to the feeling of the subscribers, nor your labour, were they to attempt to represent the one worthily and acknowledge the other properly in the money value of the testimonial; while they consider your labour invaluable, they feel confident that this medal and the address will be acceptable to the respected family of Ynyscynon.

The committee desire to make it known that no one was solicited to contribute towards this testimonial, further than to give an opportunity to a few of your warm-hearted friends to show their approbation of your services in this way. The committee wish you a long and happy life, to serve your generation in every respect, but especially in cultivating and patronizing the literature of your country and they hope that an example so worthy of imitation will not be unnoticed by the gentlemen of the principality.

The committee also desire to greet most warmly your cheerful and liberal wife with their best wishes, and likewise your daughter and two kind-hearted sons, whom, they hope, will transfer the name and popularity of Ynyscynon, free from blemish, to coming generations. “The committee cannot better close their address than by desiring, with the purest motives, that the kind family of Ynyscynon may remain for ever ‘Dan nawdd Duw a’i dangnef’ (Under the favour of God and His peace).”

The Rev. Hughes (Tegai) proposed the following in a short speech: “That the thanks of this meeting be given to the Musical Association and the Rifle Corps Band, especially to Messrs Woodcock, Helmore, and Griffiths, for their services at the meeting.”  This was seconded by the Rev Griffiths, brother of the chairman. The Rector of Neath also spoke to the resolution in English and made a few appropriate remarks on the Welsh language. He thought that as undoubtedly three-fourths of the meeting were Welsh, he need not apologise for the proceedings having been carried on in that language; he did not despise the Saxon language; on the contrary he acknowledged its usefulness in a commercial sense, &c. His ministrations were chiefly carried on in English and had so much practice in that language that it had almost driven the Welsh off his tongue. However, if that had been done, he was quite sure it would net drive it out of his heart.

“Lives there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own—my native land?”

The death of The Rev. J. Williams (Ab Ithel)

Let us raise a stone, mark his grave, – Ab Ithel
One who created greatness,
Angels white of appearance
Unite to watch over his residence.

As for the greatness of a thinking man – he was truly one,
From his earliest days,
Of his kind there remains not one man
So knowledgeable for the whole world.

And a quiet man was he, on account of his seriousness, – from his lips
Came rivers of gentleness,
In his respect to sweet poetry,
He was a gem to the entire race of Gomer.

Picture of Medals that David Williams (Alaw Goch) won

Medals that David Williams (Alaw Goch) won

  1. The small medal won at the Aberdare Eisteddfod 1840.
  2. The trophy bearing the feathers of the Prince of Wales was presented to Alaw Goch for his efforts to bring about the Eisteddfodic revival.
  3. The large medal was awarded to David Williams for the best Awdl at the Dowlais Eisteddfod of “Unity and Knowledge” in 1851
Portrait of Lady Llanover

Lady Llanover

Gwenynen Gwent 1862
Lines composed after seeing the portrait of Lady Llanover in Llandovery College

A Lady and the picture of an acorn – coloured,
And the flowers of a gorse bush,
And then the mark of a Bee,
A poem and its stanza, a feast of honey for its tip.

A bee, from its mouth, never ceases – to give honey
To the thousands of people without stopping,
She unites her body and soul,
To the plea of the Welshman and his party.

No one knows of one of great endowment – as kinsman.
Crowning everything constantly,
As this one does regularly,
With her country’s complaint comforted in her lap.

Outstandingly cheerful – her heart
Does not cherish narrow mindedness,
A hand with strength, and all for our sake,
A gentle age of compassion.

We don’t have someone of breeding to plead for us – to compare with this one,
Without constant tiredness,
Man’s privileges on hill and meadow,
The same outlook, a part of her endowment.

And the picture of a poet full of dignity, – and an
entire world of education concerning the world of poetry,
The mark of her cheek, soul, and grace,
And the select mother of society.

A Visit to Llanover 1862

Last week I had the honour of seeing this fine place, the residence of Lord and Lady Llanover.  One would think that nature was at its best when it designed and beautified this place.  The expanse of its plain, the pattern of its roads, the frequency of its lakes, the peculiarity of its wells, together with its variety of trees of every species, reveals taste and nature as if they ran hand in hand.  In addition, all the buildings have been constructed of oak and precious stonework only, and one may appropriately call this place an ageless stronghold of a castle.  Here also we have the image of the Welsh language on everything within and without, pictures of oak leaves on the panels.

Picture of Llanover House

Llanover House

Welsh poetry in almost every room, all the servants within the house and outside speaking the ancient and famous dear old language, and it is more than likely that here exists the only Lady under the sun who can speak, write, compose poetry and adjudicate through the medium of Welsh.  I have never encountered gentility of such perfection in any part of the world: majesty, and modesty and unspeakable wealth coexisting, together with a feeling of pity and the generous hand of a truly warm heart.

But I must be silent lest I become too long-winded, with a line or two of poetry, having last one word, may Gwenynen Gwent live forever, and let all people echo, Amen.

The Birth
Of the son of Mr. and Mrs Griffiths, Miskin, January 27th, 1863

Everyone says here is a seedling – truly beloved
For Griffiths, – a beautiful child,
And one from a beloved shoot –
One who will become a giant of a man.

The Reverend D. Phillips
Composed after listening to him in Felin Newydd Chapel February 22nd, 1863

Oh, when he shall cease, there will undoubtedly be – a remembrance list
Of a tribute to Dafydd
Phillips, throughout all the lands,
He is a man of intelligence, talent, and faith.

One who’s role is to give leadership to the saints, – the advice
For every branch of the church equally,
May his fame achieve a world of privilege
And may he have rest in his old age.

The death of Eben Fardd
(1802-17th February 1863, “Alaw Goch died on the 28th Feb 1863)
Namely, Mr. Ebenezer Thomas, Clynnog Fawr, in Arfon

Oh, Our, father, deprived – is our age
Of the fair poet it has seen,
Death has placed its expansive net,
In his gateway, this man has been sacrificed.

Our tower was Eben, and our father, – and a great man
With a talent like honey, full of compassion,
And a man who was a cell of love,
And his delight was the success of his country.

A famous poet was our dear poet, – our Eben,
There is no hope any longer
To expect one to compose a complete poem, and a festival,
Of appetite in preparation for his task.

Death of David Williams Esq. (Alaw Goch)
(Aberdare Times) 1863

It is with deepest and unfeigned regret that we announce the death of David Williams (Alaw Goch) which took place at Bridgend on Saturday afternoon last in a lamentably sudden manner. Mr Williams had just quitted a solicitor’s office and was wending his way to the railway station when was seized with a heart affection and died almost instantaneously. The melancholy intelligence of his death reached Aberdare on the following day and immediately after its arrival spread with lightning speed throughout the valley, exciting as it travelled the intense regrets, by Alaw Goch’s death thousands have been deprived of a generous friend; – a friend whose help was never sought in vain! Through the deceased gentleman was only in his 54th year, when he died his career appears to have been a very fruitful one. He was the son of a wheelwright who having been seized by a press gang had the honour of being at Nelson’s side when he was shot down on board the “Victory.”

Mr. Williams was he eldest of three sons and was born in a cottage called “Llwyn-y-Draen” in the parish of Ystrad Owain in the Vale of Glamorgan on the 12th July 1809. In 1821 he accompanied his father to Aberdare and afterwards settled in the neighbourhood of Abernant. For two of three years young Williams and his father were occupied as sawyers at the works and having thrown up the saw, the former was subsequently engaged for several years as a miner. At a happier moment he discovered a rich vein of coal at Ynyscynon and from that hour his fortune was secured. Plodding on with spirit and caution Mr. Williams in a few years placed himself in a position of independence and long before his demise he was regarded as one of the richest in the county. It may be said of the deceased and alas! To how few the same remark may be applied that the friendships he had formed in the time of his adversity he preserved in all their pristine vigour throughout the riper years of his prosperity. Many a man who had plied the mandrill, side by side with him could claim as a close friend to the hour of his death.

As a bard, Alaw Goch occupied a position of considerable eminence and his generous hand will long be missed by the friends of Welsh literature. Throughout his busy live he appears to have made but few enemies whilst he was privileged to count his friends in every sphere of life by hundreds! Many of his generous deeds will be preserved in the recollection of a grateful posterity and he will long be spoken of as a man who died as rich in respect as he was in “wordly goods”.

The remains of the deeply lamented subject of these remarks will be interred in the Aberdare Cemetery this day (Friday). The funeral will be a public one and the mournful cortege will be formed in the Boot Square at half past 2 o clock.

Funeral of Mr. David Williams

On Friday last the remains of Mr. D. Williams, Esq., of Miskin Manor, in this county, were deposited in the burial-ground of Aberdare cemetery. Shortly after two o’clock the funeral cortege entered the town, and a procession, little short of a mile in length, was formed in the Boot Square. In the following order the mournful concourse afterwards moved towards the graveyard: Bards and other literati, Ministers of the Gospel, Gentlemen and tradesmen of the town and neighbourhood, workmen and bearers.

The Mourners

The bards, as we have above stated, headed the mournful procession, and were distinguished by wearing band round the left arm. We noticed the following present:  Aneurin Fardd, Nefydd, T. Stephens (Merthyr), Gwilym Tawe, Hugh Tegai, Iago ap Dewi. Carw Coch, Nathan Dyfed, Telynog, Dewi Haran, Robyn Ddu, Cymro Gwyllt, Dafydd Morganwg, Eiddil Cynog, Cynonwyson, Pencerdd y De, Gwilym Medi, and Gwyndaf Morganwg.

The ministers of all denominations numbered about forty, among whom we saw the Rev. J. Griffiths, rector of Neath; D. Rees, Swansea; the Rev. W. Williams, Swansea; R. Lumley, Cardiff; T. Price, Aberdare; J. Davies, Aberaman D. Charles, J. Thomas, Aberdare; D. Charles B.A.; W. Edwards, Aberdare, &c.

In the procession, which comprised a large number of carriages, there were noticeable nearly all the gentry in the valley, a large gathering of tradespeople, and an immense concourse of respectably-attired workmen.

The monster procession marched with solemn decorum, and for upwards of an hour the road between the Cemetery and the town was lined with people. Every demonstration of respect that could be elicited by the death of a generous citizen and a talented bard was exhibited on the occasion by the people of Aberdare. The places of business were closed, and the town presented quite a sombre appearance. The great bell of St. Elvan’s tolled forth its mournful tale and a gloomy feeling seemed to pervade the masses of people who loitered in the streets.

Upon the arrival of the procession at the cemetery, the corpse was borne to the edge of the vault, on the sides of which were the words. ‘The wearied is sleeping’, and the Rev. David Charles, B.A., late President of Trevecca College, performed the last solemn duties of a chaplain. The rev. Gentleman preached and prayed most impressively. In speaking of the deceased, he eulogised his character, whose loss, he thought, would long be, deplored, throughout the Principality.

The weather proved very inclement, and the services were much abridged in consequence. But it needed no oratorical fervour to excite a proper feeling of regret for the departed. Many a moistened eye bespoke the mental anguish which its owner laboured under many a man, and many a Welsh bard and literati, whose long experience of Alaw Goch had mellowed into friendship, sighted forth his grief at the grave side. The service closed, and all that was mortal of a generous patriot was consigned to its earthly rest.

Picture of Alaw Goch Monument

A Monument to the late Bard
By Mr. T. C. Thomas, Llandaff 23/10/1898

Many months have elapsed since, in the renowned Radyr Quarries, a huge piece of conglomerate rock there was carefully surveyed, and, following the survey, the herculean task was undertaken of removing an immense block, weighing many tons, to the studio of Mr. William Clarke, the eminent Llandaff sculptor. The task reminded one of the wonders performed by the Egyptians of old in quarrying and transporting the gigantic blocks used for the building of their Pyramids and the erection of their unparalleled obelisks.

Month followed month, and that huge uncouth block remained a shaped piece of matter. True, a few hands with rude tools were occasionally told off to do certain execution by way of chipping and chopping the great monster, but for what ultimate purpose the uninitiated had not the remotest idea. It was, however, but repetition of an old story, the perpetuation of a memory. To repeat “Alaw’s” own words, “0 Addaf hen hyd heddyw” (from Adam of old unto this day) stones have been set up to commemorate the illustrious dead and to celebrate exceptional events in national and other histories, and here, in the person of Mr. Clarke, we find a follower of Praxiteles steadily at work. And right well has he accomplished his task, for what at one time was a huge mass of shapeless rock today stands “a thing of beauty and a joy for ever”, in the form of a magnificent monument, standing about ten feet high, weighing many tons and bearing abundant Celtic interlacing’s, surrounding a sketch of the indispensable Welsh goat.  In the course of a few days the monument will be laid with tender care and loving memory over the remains of “Alaw Goch”, resting in peace at Aberdare.

It bears the following simple inscription:

(Alaw Goch),
Ganwyd Gorph. 12. 1809
Bu farw Chwef. 28, 1863

Ganwyd Mai 10, 1811
Bu farw Hyd. 28, 1870″

Only that, “and nothing more,” as the raves of Edgar Allan Poe was made to say.

What a contrast we have here to the offensive fanfaronades too often sounded over the resting places of some of those who had their brief and uneventful day and ceased to be! The brevity of the inscription is not due in the remotest way to a scarcity of material for a lengthened obituary. Now, to perpetuate the memory of “Alaw Goch” we have, fortunately, other and more endurable means than precious and artistically-prepared stones, for though dead, “Williams Ynyscynon” yet speaketh far and wide, even beyond the fair borders of Morganwg. He was a poet of no mean order. Thus, he wrote, after hearing sermon delivered by the sweet, immortal.

“AIaw” was not a prolific writer, being busy man and the architect of his own ample fortune, but what he did write was both chaste and popular. He was the successful editor of the “Gwladgarwr,” and many time during his editorship of that once popular newspaper did I, when a boy, in the sixties, cast wistful glances towards the slopes of Parnassus then under his surveillance. I shall never forget how kindly he dealt with me in my efforts to climb those slopes.

My effusions never failed to find a place in his “Poets’ Corner,” and many a valuable hint he gave me about weaving the “cynghaneddion,” Welsh metrical verses, of the twenty-four metres, a task that would have puzzled Hercules. Some of my readers may not be aware of the fact that “Alaw Goch” was the father of the genial judge of Miskin Manor (the only surviving child), and who has not heard of him and his endless knowledge of and love for Welsh folk-lore and his deep sympathy with our nation in every forward, upward movement, qualities inherited from his excellent father, and amply improved upon by close study of the genius Cymraeg? Long may he live in our midst, to hold the balance of unswerving justice, tempered with mercy?

The Published work of Alaw Goch 1903

This is a book of 190 pages of trophy one celebrity who work in many areas. Red Song was the pseudonym Mr David Williams, Ynyscynon. Judge Gwilym Williams of Miskin, the son of David Williams, to whom we are indebted for the publication of the book. The book was edited by Dafydd Morganwg and the obvious signs that he had paid close attention to the work, and have turned out very error free, and orderly. The printer is Evans and Williams, Cardiff, and they too have done their work satisfactorily; the paper quality is good, the characters are new, and binding in all things that could be wished.

For the content of the book, we believe that it is of especial day in people of Aberdare; poetry is the simple and most frequently on topics of common life and the duty of about 80 pages on the free meter, and 100 of the strict meters. There is nothing here that is too flying; nothing is immersed in a fog. The engine still runs on wheels ‘terra firma’ on the ground hard, and in sight of the simple and beautiful, so that he who possesses a fraction of literary taste to feel enjoyment and pleasure in turning leaf reading.

We do not understand why this not for public sale, and that it therefore made it hard to come up to by. We believe that hundreds would have been bought.

A lack of feel in relationship to the volume, I could not have been here a biography of the author. It would then value which cannot be measured for people in our country. Pity would kind old friend who I had thought of editing the book borrow of Samuel Smiles for so uniform and months of time; therefore we would get a decent picture of one of the sons of labour rose to high rank in society, through effort and perseverance, through dedication to duty, and through: self-improvement. It would be fair to our young people to know the steps along those eagynir I finished school promotion and worldly success. He Alaw Goch Welsh, loved his country all his life, eisteddfodwr glowing, a kind master to his workers, sacrificing his wealth and talent to elevate his nation. He is the editor of one of papers of Aberdare for years, and he died suddenly on the road gantry Bridgend in 1863. There is a beautiful statue of him in Aberdare cemetery.

Mrs. Anne Williams of Ynyscynon 1811-1870

The uncertainty of life has been forcibly brought home to us in the demise of the estimable lady, the particulars of which we record with regret in our obituary of this week. On Sunday week Mrs Williams was present at the services at Bethania Chapel and looked in excellent health. On the following Friday she was no more. Like her late lamented husband, she was held in the highest regard by a large circle of friends, and the intelligence of her sudden death will be received with equal regret by all. Her loss will be deeply felt by the poor, to whom she had endeared-her. self by her liberality and kindness. Her remains were interred in the family vault at the Aberdare Cemetery on Wednesday.

The funeral, much to the regret of a large number of old friends and neighbours, was private, the funeral cortege consisting of a hearse and six mourning coaches. Along the route to the cemetery the streets were lined with spectators, and as a mark of the respect in which the deceased was held the principal shops of the town were partially closed during the day. The Rev D. Saunders, of Abercarn, officiated, and in the evening preached an able and impressive funeral sermon at Bethania Chapel, from Matthew xiv, 12, to a crowded congregation

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