Competition Plough 2
My Great-grandfather, Robert Owen, Master Blacksmith's handbuilt competition plough - having been sold about 80 years ago it was bought back today by the family from an auction at Dolgellau Mart, North Wales. The plough was a legend in its own time and won innumerable ploughing competitions in its day. A collector unfortunately turned up forcing the price up, he'd never seen one like it and was keen to have possession - so we had to fork out the price of a new 50D to make sure we won it. Had to smile at the story I heard from the gossip in the farmers' cafe - rumour had it that "five representatives from the firm that made it had come to view it yesterday and were determined to buy it back for the company" - my Mum, Dad, Sister, the Missus and me ;-)
Competition Plough 1
My Great-grandfather, Robert Owen, Master Blacksmith's handbuilt competition plough - having been sold about 80 years ago it was bought back today by the family from an auction at Dolgellau Mart, North Wales.
Copper Table 2.JPG
Mr Trefor W. Jones of Cheltenham very kindly travelled over 140 miles to bring me this copper table that my Great-grandfather made as an apprentice blacksmith about 130 years ago. This is Trefor's short background report on the table:
"This Copper Table was bought by Daniel and Annie Jones of Moelfryn Uchaf, Trawsfynydd, later of Cefndeuddwr, Ganllwyd at the auction of the household good after the death of Evan Jones, Gwynfynydd Farm, at Tyn-y-Groes Hotel, Ganllwyd around 1920.
The table was made by a blacksmith by the name of Robert Owen of Trawsfynydd, that worked at Gwynfynydd Gold Mine at the time, on the instruction of the Gold Mine manager as a gift to his friend Evan Jones who lived at Gwynfynydd Farm nearby. This table was made to match the copper kettle that Evan Jones had at the farm.
Daniel and Annie bought the table for the sum of £1:10:0 (approx. £32 in today's value), they also bought the copper kettle for £1."
Robert Owen (1865 - 1943) - Master Blacksmith
Robert or Robin Go' (Robin the Blacksmith) as he was known was about 30 years old when this photo was taken.
The son of Humphrey and Ellen Owen, Humphrey was also a blacksmith and descended from a long line of blacksmiths.
Robin was the eldest brother of Wmffra, John, Elin, Gweno and Annie.
Robin's mother, Ellen Owen (1838 - 1915) was a renowned herbalist. The "Old Man" (Artemisia abrotanum) that she used for various remedies still grows in my grandmother's garden. Probably one of her less savory cures was to boil a certain red-spotted slug, this concoction then had to be consumed immediately, a kill or cure solution no doubt!
William and Griffith's Grave
William and Griffith were also Robin's brothers, but sadly died at an early age: William 10 weeks and Griffith at 11 years old. Note the three hoseshoes carved into the headstone.
He made quite a name for himself as a plough-maker and used to take part in ploughing competitions, as illustrated in this photo taken in Llanuwchlyn around 1920. Holding the plough is Tom "Fronoleu", 4th from the left is Gruffydd Owen (Robin's nephew), 5th is W.R. Williams, Hendre, then Robin. Holding the horses are John and Robert Hywel Edwards, Llwyn Mawr, Parc.
Ploughing Competition (Crop)
He made quite a name for himself as a plough-maker and used to take part in ploughing competitions, as illustrated in this photo taken in Llanuwchlyn around 1920. Holding the plough is Tom "Fronoleu", 4th from the left is Gruffydd Owen (Robin's nephew), 5th is W.R. Williams, Hendre, then Robin.
Thresher Plaque 1
In addition to the smithying work, Robin also owned a threshing machine that he used to hire out. This bronze plaque used to be attached to the side of the thresher and was found in the 1960's by a little girl playing in what was by then the ruins of the smithy.
Thresher Plaque 2
Robin's account books, which are kept in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, has the following entry for Mr John Iorrath of Pandy in 1911:
January 11 threshing 5.5hrs 16shillings and sixpence
September 5 threshing 5hrs 15shillings
October 16 threshing 5hrs 15shillings
All his bills were made out in Welsh.
It was usually once a year that the farmers settled their bills, invariably at the Llan Ffestiniog annual fair! And we worry about the Credit Crunch!