Storïau Merched Chwarel Stories


Cyflwydiad

Cyn belled ag y gwyddwn, nid oedd merched yn gweithio mewn chwareli llechi mewn unrhyw fodd, yn enwedig ar ôl cyfnod cynnar chyfalafiaeth a datblygu'r diwydiant. Ychydig hefyd sydd i wybod am wraig a merch y chwarelwr…                                              Merfyn Jones, North Wales Quarrymen

Fan hyn rydym yn casglu straeon o "Merched Chwarel".

Mae diffyg cofnod merched yn gweithio yn y diwydiannau chwarel llechi ac ithfaen yn wahanol  â meysydd eraill  fel y 30,000 o "Bal Maidens" yn gweithio yng Nghernyw, neu fenywod ym mydgloddiau Sir Amwythig. Serch hyn, y mae cofnodion o ferched yn gweithio gyda'r ceffylau a mulod i gludo llechi, ac y Copr Ladis yn chwarel copr Mynydd Parys, o gwmpas y 1800au. Meddai Mair Williams o  Laneilian, "byddai tua 80 o wragedd yn gweithio mewn un sied, pawb yn eistedd ar stolion bychain o flaen y bwrdd yn curo a hynny am ddeuddeg awr ar y tro. Wrth ddefnyddio carreg guro sef morthwyl bychan o haearn oedd yn pwyso tua phedwar pwys - roedden nhw'n curo darnau o'r graig yn llai ar gyfer y ffwrneisi...Nain ddywedodd hanes y Copr Ladis wrtha' i gan fod ei mam a'i nain hi wedi gweithio yn y cytiau copr. Mi benderfynais ddysgu mwy am eu hanes gan astudio cyfrifiadau y 1800au ond does na ddim llawer o sôn amdanyn nhw yno. Doedd merched ddim mor bwysig bryd hynny a'r drefn oedd eu cyfri naill ai fel gwraig neu ferch i'r pen teulu.” 

Yn ôl straeon, dau o reolau'r chwareli oedd: 'dim merched' a 'dim chwiban' gan fod y ddau yn cael eu hystyried yn lwc ddrwg sy'n debygol o alw’r diafol ! ”  Fel y dywedodd Rhys Mwyn, yn Yr Herald Gymraeg yn dilyn ein Digwyddiad Rhannu yn 2017    "Drwy or-ramantu am y bywyd caled dynol yn y chwareli rydym wedi llwyr anwybyddu rôl y ferch.” 

Ein nod yw llenwi'r bylchau, a gwneud y straeon o ferched sy'n gysylltiedig â chwarel yn ganolog i'n profiad cyfoes o chwareli.  Y mae yna stori fwy i'w ddweud !  

Os hoffech chi gyfrannu hanes hanesyddol, cyfoes neu ddyfodol Merched Chwarel, boed yn  rhannol, bersonol, chwedlonol neu'n ddychmygol  anfonwch e-bost mewn unrhyw fformat (gan gynnwys lluniau, dolenni gwe, ffeiliau sain ayyb ) i lindsey.colbourne@me.com

Neu dewch i un o'n digwyddiadau, croeso i bawb! 

Introduction

"As far as is known, no woman worked in a slate quarry in any capacity,
certainly not after the early period of capitalisation and development of the industry ...
and little is known about the quarryman's wife and daughter"

- Merfyn Jones, North Wales Quarrymen

In this section, we are gathering stories of "Merched Chwarel". 

As Rhys Mwyn said, in his article in Yr Herald Cymraeg, "By romanticising the overly hard human life of the man in the quarries, we have completely ignored the women".  The lack of women working in the slate quarry industries stands in stark contrast to other areas, and in relation to other types of quarrying (such as copper, lead and manganese - see more here.

We are not clear at all why women were so completely absent in the slate quarries, although we have heard that two of the rules of the quarries were: ‘no women’ and ‘no whistling’ - both were considered bad luck likely to bring the devil. Was the underpinning reason that wearing white clothes, the quarrymen particularly needed women at home washing!?? Any insights are very welcome!

But what of the women in the wider communities surrounding the quarries - “women within the cultural landscape rather than quarry as a workplace” (as Dafydd Gwyn put it to us).

In this section of the website, we are trying to join the dots and fill in the gaps, exploring women's quarry-related (past, present and future) stories which could inform our contemporary relationship with the quarry/cultural landscape.

If you would like to contribute a historic, contemporary or future Merched Chwarel story, whether it epic, partial, personal, real, legendary or imaginary, please email in any format (including pictures, weblinks, sound files) to lindsey.colbourne@me.com

or come to one of our events, all welcome!


Y Storïau - The Stories

Cliciwch ar y lluniau / Click on the images to find out more

Gofalwyr: Cofio Merched y Bröydd Llechi - Carers: Remembering Merched Chwarel

Elin Tomos takes us through what she’s found out in her pioneering research, about the women of the quarry districts around Llanberis

Click on the image to read more…

Merched (Ysbyty!) Chwarel

Elin is currently researching for an MA in the History of Wales, exploring the public health provision available in the quarrying communities in the Llanberis district during the last quarter of the 19th Century. One aspect of her study focuses on the Dinorwig Quarry Hospital and she has chosen to study the hospital within a wider comunity context, arguing the importance to the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, residents who did not necessarily work in the quarry eg THE WOMEN!!

Click on the image to read what Elin has discovered (Cymraeg/Saesneg)

Added by: Elin Tomos (Elin Nant)

Marged Ferch Ifan

1696 – January 1793. Harpist, Rower, Wrestler, Carpenter.

Click on the image to read her story

Added by: Lindsey Colbourne

Te Party Talysarn, 1875

Evocative description of a giant tea party and competition at Capel Hyfrydle, Talysarn, organised by and featuring numerous Merched Chwarel

Click on the image to read more

Mrs Probert and Margaret Ellen Willams

A street scene and allegations in Bethesda, 1902.

Click on the image to read more

Added by: Lisa Hudson

Elspeth Hughes-Davies

A school teacher in Llanberis in the mid 1800s, with spirited views about the education of girls and women. She married the famous celtic scholar and pioneer John Rhys and brought up some revolutionary daughters

Copr Ladis

Women working at Mynydd Parys Copper Mine.

Click on the image to read about them

Added by: Lindsey Colbourne

Mary King Sarah - the Welsh Nightingale

‘Famous’ soprano from Talysarn (founded the Eisteddfod’s Mary King Sarah prize), discovered by Elin Tomos while working with Elan Williams during a workshop with young people from Unloved Heritage, Talysarn. 1885 (Talysarn) - 1965 (New York). Elan has continued her research on Mary King since the workshop, and has even bought a book about her!

Click on the image to read more

Kate Roberts, “Brenhines ein Llên”

Born in Rhosgadfan, Kate Roberts has written of the lives of the quarrying communities of North Wales with the only descriptions of the lives of Merched Chwarel that chime with what we’ve found in our ‘original sources’ research, rather than the ‘official’ records… 1891 - 1985

Merched Chwarel @ Processions

Merched Chwarel joined thousands of women in Cardiff, as part of PROCESSIONS, celebrating 100 years since the first women got the vote.

Processions was based on the original suffrage movement march 110 years ago, almost to the day, when 10,000 women, including a strong North Wales contingent, marched through central London.

Click on the image for the video

Added by: Merched Chwarel

Elizabeth Mary Thompson

Dwarf, hunchback, integrationist artist of quarries.

Click on the image to see her work

Added by: Lindsey Colbourne

“Amazonian” Alice Griffith, The Butcher of Talysarn

A dramatic tale of a quarryman’s wife that refutes all stories of their ‘frivolity and laziness’! 1834 - 1907.

Click on the image to read more…

Hannah Roberts

A tale of mistaken identity and police lies against the background of The Great Strike

Click on the image to read the story

Added by : Lisa Hudson

Julie "Tigress" Graeanog

A contemporary story from Chwarel Dorothea.

Click on the image to read the story

Added by: Julie Gritten

Deborah Edwards, the Flower of Rhiw Bach Quarry

Deborah was a much loved schoolchild at Rhiwbach, who died aged just 15. This is a translation of an article in Cymru`r Plant at the beginning of the last century.

Click on the image to read her story

Added by: Aled Llewelyn Owen

Merched Chwarel yn gweithio!

We have found some stories of women working in the quarries!! Click on the image to read more…

Karen Owen, Dyffryn Nantlle

Karen sydd piau geiriau ‘Yn y dyffryn hwn’, anthem Dyffryn Nantlle – prosiect cymunedol gyda Bryn Fôn, Craig ab Iago (Pencampwr y Gymraeg, Cyngor Gwynedd), Cefin Roberts a Justin Davies (Gwibdaith Hen Frân). Dyma’r unig ardal yng Nghymru sydd â'i hanthem ei hun!

Cliciwch ar y ddelwedd i ddarllen mwy

Chwarel a chegin

Two stories from Blaenau, linking quarry and ktichen!

Click on the image to read more…

Collected at Gwyl Lechi Bro Ffestiniog

Ellen Williams & the women of Coed Gwydr

Piecing together the stories of women from one quarry house in Nantperis, from 1873 - now, inspired by the ‘domen sbwriel’ rubbish tips in the garden

Added by: Lindsey Colbourne

Ellen "The Misses" Edwards (neé Francis)

Caernarfon based Non-Conformist " most successful seamen's teacher in North Wales"

Click on the image to read all about The Misses

Added by: Glenys Davies

Kate Griffiths (neé) Hughes

Pioneering teacher at Chwarel Rhiw Bach.

Click on the image to read about her

Added by: Marged Pendrell

The (possible) tale of

Wandering Ann

Click on the image to read her story.

Added by Lisa Hudson

Elizabeth Williams

A story of civil unrest in Bethesda

Click on the image to read the story

Added by : Lisa Hudson

Merched Pen WW1 .jpg

Chwarel Pen

Merched Penmaenmawr yn gweithio yn y Chwarel yn gwneud ‘shells’ yn ystod Rhyfel Byd 1af

Local women making shells in Penmaenmawr Quarry during WW1.

gan yr hanesydd lleol/ local historian Dennis Roberts

Added by: Jwls Williams.

Fanny Jones, Talysarn

Visionary shop keeper (selling everything from tincture of rhubarb to quarry tools) and daughter, wife and mother of quarrymen (and quarry owners) turned famous preachers… another tale refuting the ‘terrible reputation’ of Merched Chwarel, with links back into the long tradition of female writers and poets in Wales. 1812 - 1877.

Canu Merched Chwarel Bethesda

Singing women out in force, raising money in London, taking to the streets of Bethesda