Pobl o’r Gorffennol

Yn gyffredinol, os bydd gwybodaeth yn cael ei rhoi gan rywun nad yw’n byw yng Nghymru, ac nad/neu yw’n siarad Cymraeg, bydd y testun yn cael ei gyflwyno yn Saesneg yn unig. However, this page is still under development and some parts will be translated into Welsh later.

Pan fo rhywun wedi’i eni mewn un ganrif a marw yn y nesaf, maen nhw’n ymddangos yn y ganrif sy’n berthnasol i’r darn o wybodaeth.


Professor Henry Harford Williams, born in Meidrim in 1931, was the Founding Director of the Open University in Wales. Buried at Bethania Chapel, 2018.


Mr Turner (sy’n dal i fyw) roddodd lawer o’r wybodaeth ar gyfer “Atgofion o Dalog”. Priododd â Mair Phillips ym 1956 a symudon nhw i fyw at ei fam-yng-nghyfraith yn Nhalog. Ganwyd tad Mair, Gomer Phillips, yn Sarnau, Talog. Roedd ei thadcu yn gowper ac yn rhedeg tafarn y Castle Inn. Roedd Gomer ac o leiaf un o’i frodyr yn llwyrymwrthodwyr.

The father of Professor Williams was Albert Owen Williams. Although not born in Talog, he was adopted by the Davies family of Tessant who provided his training as a tailor. In the First World War he was the victim of a mustard gas attack, and while recovering in a field hospital, he contracted Spanish flu. Eventually he returned to West Wales and set up a tailoring shop in in a shed in Meidrim.

John Davies, 1891 – 1965

So where did the anvil first ring for John Davies, Champion Farrier of Great Britain five times? (This information was supplied in English)

John Davies

John Davies was born in Talog on 3 November 1891 to David and Anna Davies of Ffynnon-madog. He was one of eleven children born to them, six while they were living in the parish.

David and Anna were married at the non-conformist Tabernacle Baptist Chapel by the Rev. David Roberts of Bethania Chapel, Talog, on 12 November 1885.

Life for John was carefree until he went to school and he was able to wander with other children among the farms and along the banks of the river Cywyn, but he was always attracted to the smithy with its fire and the drama of shaping metal and watching horses being shod.

Home was just a short walk away and he would spend hours at the smithy. The blacksmith was a short and stout man, and John described him as being kind man, particularly to children, and he allowed John and others to ‘play’ at knocking on the anvil.  Playing wasn’t enough for John and he soon began to learn the neccessary cadences required to succesfully shape metal.

So much so that he learnt to match the style of the smith, probably David Thomas, who took the opportunity of leaving him at the smithy while he walked across the road to the Castle Inn to ‘slake his thirst’. This earned John many pennies to spend at the shop, as it meant that David’s wife Mary would be content that work was being done. If she could not hear the sound of the anvil she would come across to the smithy and strike it, imitating a waiting customer and calling David back to work.

David told John’s father that because of his interest, unlike the other boys who came to the smithy, he might actually make a blacksmith which, even at such a young age, he had suggested as his ambition. Though he was cautioned that the trade required strength and commitment.

At age seven the family moved away to Llangain outside Carmarthen and he went to school until the age of about 12. But across the fields he could hear the sound of the two smithies at Brook village which he visited when he could. He confided there that it was his intention to be a blacksmith but was told that it was a hard trade to learn.

He spent four years working on a local farm, ‘to get his back up’ as his father said. He was then apprenticed to Henry Evans at Pantyrhin Forge just outside Llangain on the road to Carmarthen. His father put down the not inconsiderable sum at the time of £8 for the indenture, to be returned when John completed his apprenticeship.

After three “hard but happy years’’ and to the surprise and pleasure of both him and his father he received £10 back.

John then spent a year at Llanfynydd as an ‘improver’ where they also made and repaired farming tools and implements, using various grades of iron, not just cast iron which he had been used to. This experience he said was of great value to him in later years when there were fewer horses needing to be shod.

The turning point in his career was when he went to Carmarthen and worked at the Cambrian Forge in the centre of town near the cattle market. Owned by John Issaac, John desribed him as being not only a clever craftsman but also  a good business man who taught him the way to run a forge.

It was here that John Isaac, noticing his skill and commitment, encouraged John to enter competitions. Taking part not only provided the challenge to develop skills but also confirm skills and attract business, promoting the forge as a centre of excellence.

John qualified first as a Registered Shoeing Smith [RSS] and later as an Associate of the Worshipful Company of Farriers, their highest award by examination, recognising him as a master farrier.

That John continued at Cambrian Forge is a credit to John Isaac owner of the forge. But it also shows that they got on well – evidenced that John was later able to purchase the business – and that he was recognised as being an asset to the business. Competent and well-liked.

His skills were widely recognised and it was later said of him that he ‘could make a lame horse trot.’

It brought him a very comfortable living and in the agricultural community ‘position and influence’. He was elected Secretary and later President of the Carmarthenshire Master Farriers Association.

John won over 100 competitions throughout England and Wales, including the prestigious Capewell Challenge Shield three times and in 1923 he brought the Champion Farrier of Great Britain Shield to Wales for the first time. Eventually five times.

He was always in demand as a judge, not only the ‘grand’ agricultural shows but also happy to support smaller shows and encourage those willing to learn ‘the arts and mysteries of the craft’.

John’s quiet demeanour hid a kind and generous personality who when encouraged in later years by his many grandchildren would often include funny stories of the happy, carefree times he spent as young boy in Talog, where he first heard the ring of the anvil.

John Davies, AFCL, Master Farrier, died at Glangwili Hospital on 27 August 1965. Enw da yw’r trysor gorau

In an extract from “How I became a Blacksmith”, some notes written by John Davies, he recalled an incident involving “Dafi Gof”, the Talog blacksmith.

Contributed in 2021 by Jeff and James John Herschel, David-Miles James and Johanna Kerslake. Four of his grandchildren.


Thomas Richard Thomas shopkeeper, Talog Stores. In 1914 he lent the Eisteddfod Committee £40 to purchase and store a marquee(approximately equivalent to £11,614.73 in 2021). There were 36 signatories to the agreement – click here to see the names and addresses. In 1920 TR Thomas organised transport from Cynwyl Elfed station of the ex-army hut which became YMCA Hall in Talog.

Mair Davies lived as a child at Pantdwrgwns, Talog. Baptist missionary in India from 1927 to 1967

Gwilym Wilkins: Chapel Deacon, and conductor of the Bethania Chapel choir

Gwynfor Phillips: Chapel Deacon and Secretary


  • Talog shop was established in 1836, and in 1851 was run by Thomas Thomas. Several of the Thomas family died in an epidemic in 1854, and the family was nearly wiped out.
  • The Rebecca Riots were a series of protests between 1839 and 1843 by local farmers and workers in response to perceived unfair taxation. Three men from Talog: Thomas Thomas; John Harries, of Talog Mill; and Samuel Brown a farmer from Brynmeini Farm; refused to pay the tolls and were fined £2 each with 8s 6d costs (about £2.42p), at a time when a farm worker earned £2.10s.0d (£2.50p) a year, a hefty penalty!
  • In 1839 Jacob Jones of Rhydgarregddu agreed to rent land for Bethania Chapel to be built. The Indenture lists 22 signatories.


John Howell, 1781 – 1819. Llawfeddyg yng Nghwmni India’r Dwyrain

Mae Jeni Molyneux yn byw yn Lloegr ond sylweddolodd fod ganddi lawer o hynafiaid o Abernant, Trelech a’r Betws, a Thalog. Datgelu papurau a llythyrau teulu Howell a Thomas, yn gyntaf yn Swyddfa Cofnodion Sir Benfro, yna yn y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol, ac yna yn Swyddfa Cofnodion Swydd Northampton, sydd wedi gwneud yr ymchwil sylfaenol hwn yn bosibl. Casglwyd y papurau i gyd gan y Parch Thomas Thomas, a oedd yn hynafiaethydd amatur, yn ogystal â chlerigwr. Yn 2019 rhoddodd sgwrs yn Eglwys Sant Lucia, Abernant, am ei hynafiad, John Howell. Ganwyd ef yn 1781 yn Rhydygarregddu, Talog, ac aeth i India i weithio fel llawfeddyg. Mae’r trawsgrifiad hwn o’i sgwrs ddiddorol yn sôn am berthnasau eraill o’r ardal hefyd. Mae wedi ei atgynhyrchu yma gyda chaniatâd caredig Jeni Molyneux sy’n cadw hawlfraint yr erthygl hon.

John Howell 5 Tachwedd 1781- 28 Mehefin 1819
Llawfeddyg yng Nghwmni India’r Dwyrain – 7fed Catrawd y Troedfilwyr Brodorol
o Rhyd y Garreg Ddu, Talog, i Kissengunge, India.

Ar 30 Mehefin 2019 cynhaliwyd gwasanaeth coffa yn St Lucia’s, Abernant i gofio am fywyd y Cymro ifanc hwn o Dalog, Sir Gaerfyrddin.

Dywed Thomas Howell, ei dad, (mewn llythyr a ysgrifennwyd yn 1785 at ei frawd yng nghyfraith) fod John Howell, ei fab ieuengaf, wedi’i eni am 4pm ar brynhawn 5 Tachwedd 1781 yn fferm Rhyd y Garreg Ddu. Brawd hynaf John oedd Howell Howell, oedd bum mlynedd yn hŷn nag ef ac a anwyd yn 1776 yn Abernant. Ffermiodd Howell Howell gerllaw yng Nghwmgest hyd ei farwolaeth yn 1840. Y brawd hŷn hwn, Howell Howell, a drefnodd ac a ddewisodd y geiriau ar gyfer y gofeb uchod yn eglwys St. Lucia i’w chodi er cof am ei frawd.

Bu’n rhaid i John, fel y brawd ieuengaf heb unrhyw etifeddiaeth ddisgwyliedig, ennill ei fywoliaeth mewn ffordd arall. Ymddengys ei fod wedi derbyn cefnogaeth ariannol ac mae’n debyg iddo gael ei addysgu gan ei ‘Annwyl Ewythr’ y Parch Thomas Thomas a oedd yn gurad yn Isham a Farndon yn Swydd Gaerlŷr. Ar droad y ganrif yn 1800 mae John Howell yn 19 oed ac mae eisoes yn Aelod o Goleg Brenhinol y Llawfeddygon. Bedair blynedd yn ddiweddarach, yn 1804 ac yn 23 oed, mae’n cyflawni ei MD ac yn dod yn llawfeddyg yn Llundain.

Y flwyddyn ganlynol, mae’r Parch Thomas Thomas yn derbyn llythyr dyddiedig 6 Chwefror 1805 gan rieni John Howell, Rosamond a Thomas Howell, yn gofyn ei gyngor ynglŷn â ‘sut i godi £150 am offer India’ Fodd bynnag, mae ffawd yn garedig ac ychydig fisoedd yn ddiweddarach, yn 1805, penodir John Howell yn Llawfeddyg Cynorthwyol ar gyfer Bengal, India, yng Nghwmni India’r Dwyrain. Hwyliodd John Howell i Calcutta ar y llong Britannia fel 3ydd is-gapten gan gyrraedd Bengal ym mis Rhagfyr 1805 i gymryd ei swydd.

Ar 3 Mawrth 1806, ymunodd John Howell â Gwasanaeth Meddygol India fel Llawfeddyg Cynorthwyol yn Benares, India. (Yr enw arno heddiw yw Varanasi). Ni chlywir rhagor am fywyd John Howell yn India am y 9 mlynedd nesaf…

  • Yna ym mis Mai 1814, yn 33 oed mae John Howell yn ysgrifennu at ei ewythr y Parch Thomas Thomas yn sôn ei fod ‘wedi cael damwain ddrwg wrth farchogaeth a’i fod yn dioddef iechyd gwael o ganlyniad i hynny’
  • Yn 1814 cymerodd John Howell seibiant o’i waith a theithiodd adref oherwydd salwch ardystiedig.
  • Ar 16 Mehefin 1814 ymadawodd John Howell, llawfeddyg, â Calcutta ar fwrdd y llong Matilda i ddychwelyd adref i Portsmouth. Roedd dau o weithwyr Cwmni India’r Dwyrain yn dod adref o Calcutta: Mr John Howell a’r Capten S. Lutwige o’r 11eg gatrawd o droedfilwyr brodorol a oedd hefyd ar absenoldeb salwch.
  • Ar 16 Rhagfyr 1814, mae John Howell yn cyrraedd Portsmouth ac yn ysgrifennu llythyr at ei ewythr, y Parch Thomas Thomas yn Farndon, yn disgrifio mordaith boenus iawn. Mae’n amlwg bod John Howell yn wael.
  • 8 Mehefin 1815 Mae’r Parch Thomas Thomas yn ysgrifennu at ŵr ei nith Phoebe, y Parch Thomas Skeel yn Nhŷ Newydd, Sir Benfro yn gofyn iddo ddod i gasglu John Howell o “wallgofdy Mr Talbot” yn Bethnal Green.
    • “Mae’n debyg mai’r cwymp o’i geffyl yn Asia yw prif achos ei ddryswch am fod hwnnw wedi effeithio ar ei asgwrn cefn a’i ymennydd… mae’n bosibl bod symud i’w ardal leol yn ffordd lesol iddo wella. Mae mwy i’w ddweud am faterion John Howell nag y gallaf ei esbonio ar bapur. Mae Mr Talbot i gael £1.11.6 ceiniog yr wythnos, ynghyd â rhai treuliau ychwanegol bob wythnos. Fyddech chi cystal â’m hateb gynted ag y gallwch. Yn dioddef llawer o boen meddwl”

  • Yn yr haf hwnnw yn 1815 achubir John Howell o Bethnal Green, gan ŵr ei gefnder y Parch Thomas Skeel, a’i gymryd i Millbrook House, Caerfyrddin, i adfer ei bwyll.
  • Yn 1817 dychwelodd John Howell i’w waith fel Llawfeddyg Cynorthwyol gyda Chwmni India’r Dwyrain yn Bengal gyda’r 7fed gatrawd o droedfilwyr brodorol.
  • Yn 1818 enwebwyd John Howell yn Llawfeddyg gan Syr H. Inglis. Bart.

Bu farw John Howell ar 28 Mehefin 1819 yn 38 oed yn Kissengunge, Maharashtra, India. Gofynnodd i’r gofeb gael ei rhoi yn Eglwys Sant Lucia, Abernant.

John Harries of Talog Mill

Jeni Molyneux also provided information (in English) about John Harries (1793-1879) who was involved in the Rebecca Riots.

John Harries was born in nearby Newchurch on 3rd March 1793 to Solomon Harries (1762 – 1844) and his wife Elizabeth John (1755 – 1835). He married Mary James on the 18th May 1820 when he was aged 27. On the 1841 census they were living at Sarne Mill, Talog.  Mary was aged 50, John 45, and their two children, Henry 12, and Elizabeth 14 

  • Their daughter Anne was married to Jacob Jones, and they lived at the farm Rhydd-y-garreg-ddu in Talog.
  • Their daughter Sophia was married to William Davies, and was living at Posty Uchaf, the farmstead where her mother, Mary, was born.
  • Their daughter Elizabeth married John Philipps of Esgerfa

John Harries’ wife, Mary, predeceased him on 22 February 1842. John Harries himself died from ‘cancer of the lip’ aged 86 on the 16th August 1879 at Cilcrug in Abernant.  Margaret Davies, his granddaughter, was present at his death.

Probate was granted to David Davies, cooper of Talog, and John Davies. In his will 1st April 1878 John Harries leaves £150 to his eldest son Henry Harries, who was living in California, and money to his other children.

Jeni provided this interesting photograph of some descendants of John Harries who lived in America.