Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hiraeth from 2016, Day One, Glasbury

I just can't blog on politics these days without going stark raving loony. So, we'll try a bit of this:

It's November which is Thanksgiving month in the US of A  and I am grateful for my Welsh Heritage and the blessings I have  had to travel to my ancestral lands where the bones of my ancient fathers and mothers lie. I've been twice in recent years, 2010 and 2016. Both trips were great adventures with dear family and friends.

"Hiraeth" meaning, homesickness, longing, or in Portuguese "saudades," as we have no adequate English translation, compels me to share photos with a bit of context. I hope to convey a bit of that Hiraeth to family and friends. My wife says we can return this next summer with the compelling need to visit the replacement headstone monument our extended family put up for my 4th Great Grandfather in Llanfoist Churchyard.

But we start the first day of our 2016 trip on the banks of the River Wye in the small, ancient parish of Aberllynfi, the mouth of the Afon Llynfi into the Wye, and the surrounding parish of Glasbury.

I woke early and went out in the mist to explore the churchyard at St. Peter's just down the road:

The back of St. Peter's Churchyard, Glasbury, Powys Wales (formerly, the Breconshire side of the River Wye)
The graves of my Sixth Great Grandparents, Roger Vaughan (1734-1797) and Elizabeth Powel (1732-1803) are in this picture, three rows back from the rear of the church, but I did not know it at the time. I walked right past it. We came to it later in the day with the wonderful help of the parish treasurer who had a plot map of the churchyard.

Three Cocks Inn, Aberllynfi, Glasbury, Wales, early in the morning.
We had passed by this place numerous times on our previous trip and then a few more in 2016. It is contemporaneous to the 18th Century as a coach inn on the main road between Hereford and Brecon. It is now the A-438. We highly recommend the place with solid walls and doors (that make it difficult to get in and out early in the morning). And a very friendly family staff  and accommodations which seemed to be set  up much in the manner of John Cleese's Fawlty Towers but not nearly as eccentric. We loved it there and would stay again. The Welsh breakfast was wonderful!

Ah! Welsh Breakfast! Note the Mushrooms making it genuine Hobbit fare.
My wife chose the cheese and yogurt plate. And then we went off to explore St. Peter's fortunately arriving with the cleaning crew which then turned into a choir practice. We had just cleaned our own church the Saturday before we left so it seemed very homey and we made friendly connections with the choir, and blessedly, the Treasurer who said she had the plot map.

Me at the baptismal fount. Many Vaughans and innumerable cousins were baptized here as we try to link them all.
This is the new church on the south, or ancient Breconshire side of the Wye. Glasbury Parish was in both Radnor and Breconshire, and it varied depending on where the Wye decided to flow. The old church was flooded by the Wye in about 1660.

In the photo above, the main entrance is the door to the left. The open door on the right leads to the vestry. I love the stained glass above me which depicts a knight receiving a crown of glory from the one, true Lord.
St. Peter's and the foothills of the Black Mountains from the Glasbury Village side of the Wye.
We walked over the bridge into the Village of Glasbury. There were some cottages on the edge of the Wye -- Very tempting for retirement living -- except for that Wye flooding thing. There were people canoeing and kayaking on the river.

The 12th Century door to Hay Castle on the left. Later medieval construction on the right. 
Finding no ATM in Glasbury Village and still without coin of the realm, we took a quick trip into Hay-on-Wye where I knew there was an ATM across the street from the Castle. We'll see more of the castle later in this trip.

The Three Horseshooes, Felindre (Velindre) Village.
Squeezing through the hedgerows on one-track country roads, we found Felindre Village (still in Glasbury Parish on the Breconshire side). This public house was operated by the Price Family in the late 18th Century when Rees Price, the tailor, who we imagine had his shop adjacent to the Inn, somehow became the father of the illegitimate John Vaughan (1789-1851). The pub owner was very happy with our visit and stories. He had some of his own about ghosts, of course, but we couldn't connect them up with any of ours.

Note the red post box built into the corner of the pub. If you zoom in you can see that it is an original "V R" for "Victoria Regina" meaning  Queen Victoria who started the British postal system. (Well, Parliament probably did, but she signed off on it).

Twmpa in Welsh, or "Lord Hereford's Knob" in Saxon Oppression.
Felindre being on the edge of the Black Mountains, we passed by the Tregoyd Estate of Viscount Hereford, no longer his as it is now a very nice outdoor adventure center. The current buildings are late Victorian so they weren't of much interest in a family history sense. We tried to head up the mountains to find our old farmhouse from the Glasbury side but we only found a dead end and were happy with the view at that point.

Roger Vaughan (1734-1797) and Elizabeth Powel (1732-1803) on the left. An as yet unconnected William Vaughan on the right.
We then returned to Glasbury where the Treasurer and her husband, who was the groundskeeper, were waiting for us. We found the graves of my 6th Great Grandparents. Much more family history work needs to be done because we don't know yet where they came from and the churchyard there, along with likely many more in that valley, contain our distant cousins and closer, direct ancestors.

We ended our wonderful day with a rainbow over Llyn Syfadden or Llangorse Lake.

Llangorse Lake
It is here that if you command the birds to sing, and they do, then you are the natural born Prince of Wales (not that Saxon impostor). I yelled "Canwch!" but the birds did not grant me a crown.

The little island to which the rainbow is conveniently pointing is a man-made crannog from the 9th or 8th Centuries, CE. It was a home of the Kings of Brycheiniog, very likely ancestors of mine even if I didn't inherit a crown. The roots go deep here.

Continue to Day 2

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