Friday, March 30, 2018

HARC! Research Results from Hereford

St. Mary's, Cusop, Herefordshire, with daffodils and yews.
The new Hereford Archives and Records Center (HARC) is an excellent facility! In ease of use and space, it surpasses the LDS Church History Library. And . . . they let you handle original documents! It was busy yesterday morning with a dozen or so patrons. And everything ran like clockwork in the new, suburban setting with large windows looking out into the woods.

Every archive has its own rules and style. HARC was much more efficient than any I have used to date. I have to say, though, that Powys's new facility is also very good, its staff most friendly and helpful, but it is much smaller. And Gwent Archives in Ebbw Vale still has my heart because the service there was the most personal and friendly. But that's the Valleys, it is.

The National Library in Aberystwyth is also very good and very professional. They also gave me some personalized assistance in the one task I was after. I now need to go back which I will do in August. But it is an intimidatingly formal place with its huge, stately appearance up on the hill with the fantastic view looking out over the town to the Sea.

They are all wonderful archives, even CHL. And I appreciate them all. But it was at HARC yesterday that I found Hannah again. And the Holy Yew continues to call.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Possible Discoveries: Roger Vaughan (1734-1797) and Fields of Flax

Leaving aside my Itinerary through Wales for a bit, let me explain what I have discovered so far on the possible area where Roger Vaughan grew flax in the area of Glasbury, Wales according to his petition for a bounty.

I apologize if my panic spread to my wonderful collaborators back in the States. I was frustrated that the document I long believed was in the archives actually was and did not give any field names. We have field names on the tithe maps of Wales now digitized.

So let's pause for a moment and see what this document does tell us. First off, our Roger is identified as a yeoman. That means he was a property holder and a leasehold would be adequate property at a basic value.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 IX, The Vaughans are Back in Town!

Friday was the day I left the lonely bunkhouse for the last time. It had been interesting and most convenient to be the only one there the last couple of days. I headed deeper into the homelands of ancient Brycheiniog and moved into my new place high up in the garret of the Castle Inn, Talgarth.

First, I had to go to Hay to do some laundry as the coin-op is our second home-away-from-home (the first being the Waitrose in Llanfoist.) And even before that, I'm cruising up the mountains and realize it was almost 10 a.m. and I was almost at Tretower when it was to open. I couldn't help but stop. As I have posted before on our ancient home (here and here), I will only post pics that also have daffodils in them.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 VIII, St Fagans, Tredegar House, and Newport

St. Fagans National Museum of History is the BEST living history place I have seen. This is the Place in SLC is really good, but St Fagans is free for starters. I had to go because the new main museum building is finished and they have new exhibits. Oh, and I had to buy the best bara brith my wife and I ever found. Initially disappointed that the fancy new entry building with very nice loos did not have any historical artifact exhibits, I was reconverted when I got to the new Iron Age House (well, the Iron Age isn't new). 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 VII, Glorious Ganddyrys, Tearful Tredegar Town

Even though I have been to Garnddyrys before, even been by several times, I had to go back. I needed photos of Garnddyrys Row where a 4th-Great-Grandmother had lived and died in 1861. Garnddyrys is an important part of the Blaenavon World Heritage Site because while it was abandoned in the 1860s and much of the equipment and even stonework re-used elsewhere, the footprint of the industrial forges and housing is just as it was back then.

If these stones could speak!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 VI, Parking Problems, Pontypool

The day dawn is breaking and I don't need to go out hiking in the cold again. So I'll try to catch up a little.

Two days ago, the first day of Spring, started out so beautiful! I walked up to the "main" road to scout out the snow. I wasn't going to get out any time early. I waited until 11 a.m. and all was sufficiently melted.

But the views!
The Usk Valley curves from the left to the right.
The far valley is the Rhiangoll or Cwmdu and I think the peak in the distance, right is Twmpa above Blaendigeddi Fawr.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 V, Gwent Archives and Mountains

Merthyr has a really big Tesco Superstore. Failing the directions of the nice lady on my phone, I made a stop to take pictures of St. Tydfil's old parish church. It's not really as old as St. Tydfil, but it is the current in a series of Christian Churches hopefully built on the site where she was martyred about 1500 years ago, hence "Merthyr Tydfil."

Tydfil was a daughter (or granddaughter) of Brychan Brycheiniog (This all ties together).
And there's this really cool monument that I had to search to find out that it is a fancy Edwardian fountain commissioned by Lord Merthyr Sir W.T.Lewis in honor of coal barons or something. So I'm glad I didn't drink from it as it was probably frozen anyway.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 IV, Dreaming of a Merry Merthyr

The snow wasn't that deep on the road and the Merthyr Road, just down the block was pretty clear. I figured I could make it just fine.

My Fiat in front of Ty Pinc already brushed off and ready to go! The Blorenge rises to the storm.
Someday, the Heads of the Valleys divided carriage-way is going to make a very fine road. That day is not yet. The multi-year construction did not lead me on a wild detour like it did in 2016. It was easier to navigate going more slowly in the snow and with very little traffic.

It was also fortunate that I had practiced the route a bit on Google Earth. I hadn't realized until then that it goes up the Clydach Gorge as it enters the Brecon Beacons National Park. All I had to do was follow the extra roundabouts as it guided you on and off the new road and much of it was against oncoming traffic on just half of the new road. I've got the feel for the left side down pretty well. There would be pictures if I could have stopped.

The snow started to blow across the road as we got up to a sign that read, "Pwynt Uchaf," the highest point. I got that right off even if the English translation was below it. And my little Fiat kept on going, no problem at all. Avoiding all the tricky exits and roundabouts, I began to doubt after the first Merthyr exit. We came this way several times in 2016, but things do look different in the snow.

Cymru, March 2018 III, Blorenge Rhymes with Snow Range

Cold is colder in a humid climate. Oh, yeah. And the wind helps cool it down. And an old house heated by radiators too.

It only got just below freezing and there wasn't much snow except for wet little clumps. The mountains were pure and white.

The Blorenge from Abergavenny, out my back garden.
The excitement of visiting Grandma Elinor's likely baptism site on the Brecon & Monmouthshire Canal motivated me to go out in the cold. I wore my wool socks over some Nike comfort socks.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 II - Accomplishment: Abergavenny, Blaenavon, and Llanfoist

There was time for a nap this afternoon as I felt so much contentment from having achieved my main purpose. It wasn't just visiting the replacement headstone we had put up, but I cleaned it and planted daffodils too.

There remains one more thing on my to-do list in Llanfoist. We'll see if tomorrow works out. It may just be perfect! Otherwise, I would stay in bed. (Check the weather forecast.)

At four o'clock, GMT, I seemed awake enough to call my wife at home. I then went back to bed and slept two more hours arising with the dawn and discovering the key to the back garden in this little place I'm staying for the first weekend. Out in the garden (backyard), I found the postcard pic for the Blorenge, the mountain that begins the Welsh Industrial Valleys to the West.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 I - Raglan and Llanfoist

The plane wasn't bad but a good night's sleep is out of the question which helps in a way because I'm so tired I will sleep all night. It's dark here now at 2 p.m. back home. And I have to wait until at least 10 to have a chance to sleep until the sun comes up.

I wandered the streets of Avergavenny tonight and will have to go back with my camera in the daylight having found the "town house" of the Vaughan's of Tretower. It's really something, but I don't want to oversell. I had to buy another Cadbury and asked for change in coin which seemed like the right way to phrase it as the Tesco checker gave pound coins. They are a necessity here for parking in some places and many other uses. Oh yeah, I found where Tesco is in Abergavenny. It's just a small grocery one.

I had to stop at Raglan to buy my Senior Cadw (Welsh Heritage) Pass. I can't even get the Park Service's Golden Eagle yet, but I'm good here! I only have to visit three sites to break even and I can cover that. And, I'll be back in August!

So the first pics are at Raglan looking for those new angles. And they are there:

Saturday, March 10, 2018

A Knight of the Table Round

How often do dreams you didn't even know you had come true? That's the nature of Quests for the Grail. It is always just out of reach until it comes to you.

We've been on these themes before: herehere, and here, as a few examples.

Mormon Heritage Association Tours has asked me to accompany the group to Britain this August!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

trump - Zinke Vision for Utah

The Utah State Legislature is on board soon to vote on a bill to designate a "Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway" in Southern Utah.

Some state reps and senators actually think this is a good idea. The Governor may veto, but let's stop the embarrassment to the State of Utah a.s.a.p. by citizen involvement.