Unique old book updated and reprinted.
Over 50 years ago, in 1963, an 82 year old retired Anglican minister, David Williams, published a book, entitled Y Wladfa Fach Fynyddig which he had written. At the time it was well received in the Llanfair Clydogau and Llanddewi Brefi areas of Cardiganshire, the area it describes. The publication sold out and copies have been difficult to get since then. Now, local historians Alan and Sally Leech have revised and reprinted the book, with the support of the author's daughter. The book of 79 pages, including a large number of black and white photographs, recounts the life of people living in a remote area of the Cambrian Mountains at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, through the memories of the author. David Williams was born in 1881, and raised here, on an upland smallholding more than 1,000 feet above sea level. Farming was hard; making a living by his parents and the other scattered smallholders across the upland nearby was difficult. However, the people had land, space and independence and so the farmland was relatively well populated, with a Sunday school built and maintained by the locals and gatherings of people to share and participate in shearing and other events.
The author farmed the land, but after attending Ystrad Meurig Grammar School, at the age of 24, later managed to enrol at St David's College, Lampeter ( now Trinity St David's) where he obtained a BA degree and later, in 1912, became a priest in the Anglican Church. He went on to become a minister in several areas in north Wales, finally finishing at Llanfair, Dyffryn Clwyd in Denbighshire.
His book details the various small holdings inhabited in his youth and recounts the life of the people he remembered. He praises their industriousness as they settled on the common land, clearing the land of stones, building walls, homes and barns, as well as new roads. He describes their openness, friendliness, spirit and above all cooperation. With a note of sadness, he commented, that in 1963, as he surveyed the scene of his birth, many of the farms had been deserted, abandoned and were in ruins as the people had left, seeking a more economically rewarding life in the towns and cities of the UK.
Alan and Sally Leech have arranged for a limited edition reprint of the book of 110 copies. It is available for £5 from Llanfair Shop or direct from the authors.