Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales


Un o’m hoff bleserau fel Archifydd Clyweledol yw cael eistedd mewn heddwch am awr neu ddwy gyda phaned o goffi (ac efallai ddarn neu ddau o siocled) yn gwrando ar ddetholiad o’r 12,000 o recordiadau sain sydd yn ei harchif bellach.  Â drws fy swyddfa ar gau ac â’r clustffonau yn eu lle mae modd dianc i ffermdai a ffatrïoedd, i iard yr ysgol, i sedd y diaconiaid, i waelodion y pwll glo, i uchelderau y fferm fynydd neu i ble bynnag y mynnoch i gael cip ar fywydau Cymru’r gorffennol.

Cefais gyfle i wneud hyn y diwrnod o’r blaen ac mae’n rhyfeddol weithiau fel mae clywed pwt o stori, o ddywediad neu bennill yn dod ag atgofion yn llifo nôl.  Roeddwn i yn gwrando ar ŵr yn sôn am ei blentyndod yn Llanwddyn ac am y rhigymau a glywodd ar aelwyd y cartref.  Roedd yn un o wyth o blant ac mae’n sôn am y rhigwm y byddai ei fam yn ei ddweud wrth geisio tawelu’r plant trwy enwi bysedd eu traed.

Bowden, Gwas y Fowden, Dibyl Dabal, Gwas y Stabal, Bys Bach druan gŵr, dorrodd ei ben wrth gario dŵr. 

Recordiwyd yn Llanwddyn (1971)

Mae creu rhigymau am enwau bysedd y traed neu’r llaw yn arferiad byd-eang.   Mewn rhai gwledydd, arferir dechrau gyda’r bys bach a gorffen gyda’r bys bawd, ond ymddengys mai’r traddodiad yng Nghymru yw dechrau gyda’r bawd (bawd y droed fel arfer) a gweithio eich ffordd i lawr y bysedd gan roi siglad bach i bob un nes cyrraedd y bys bach.

Pan oeddwn i yn ifanc rwy’n cofio mam (sy’n dod o Trap, ger Llandeilo) yn tynnu fy hosan ac yn enwi bysedd fy nhraed un wrth un.  Dyma’r enwau oedd ganddi hi ar y bysedd:

Bys Bowtyn, Twm Sgotyn, Lloyd Harris, Charles Dafis a Stiwart Bach y cwmni.

Mae dwsinau o fersiynau o’r rhigwm hwn i’r bysedd yn Archif Sain Amgueddfa Werin Cymru yn amrywio o ardal i ardal ac weithiau o deulu i deulu.  Mae rhai enwau fel “Modryb Bawd” yn ymddangos mewn llawer i ardal a rhai enwau yn unigryw i bentref neu i gymdeithas arbennig.  Weithiau ceir ail ddarn i’r rhigwm fel y gwelir isod.

Dyma rai o’m ffefrynnau i o gasgliad yr archif:


Bys Bwstyn, Twm Swglyn, Long Harris, Jac Dafis a Bili Bach.

Hwn yn mynd i’r farchnad; Hwn yn aros gartre; Hwn yn neud cawl; Hwn yn bwyta’r cwbwl a Bili Bach yn starfo.

Recordiwyd yn Nhal-sarn (1969)


Modryb Bawd, Bys yr Uwd, Hirfys, Pwtfys, Dingw.

Recordiwyd yn Llangoed (1967)


Hen Fawd Fawr yn mynd i’r mynydd.

“I be?” medda Bys yr Uwd

“I ladd defaid”, medda’r Hirfys

“Mi gawn ni ddrwg”, medda’r Cwtfys

“Llechwn, llechwn o dan y llechi”, medda’r peth bach.

Recordiwyd yn Nyffryn Ardudwy (1972)


Fenni Fenni, Cefnder Fenni Fenni, Fenni Dapwr, Dic y Crogwr, Bys Bach druan gŵr, dynnodd y drain trwy’r dŵr.

Recordiwyd yn Llantrisant (1976)


Modryb Bawd, Bys yr Uwd, Pen y Gogor, Bys y Pibar, Robin Gewin Bach.

Recordiwyd yn Nefyn (1968)


Roedd hi hefyd yn arfer ymysg merched i adrodd y rhigymau hyn wrth dynnu bysedd eu dwylo neu fysedd dwylo eu ffrindiau.  Byddai nifer y bysedd a fyddai’n clicio wrth eu tynnu yn darogan y nifer o blant y byddai perchennog y bysedd yn eu cael yn y dyfodol. 

Felly’r tro nesaf mae’r plant yn rhedeg fel corwynt trwy’r tŷ, yn rhoi darnau o fanana yn y peiriant DVD neu’n tynnu llun ar wal y gegin, anghofiwch am y teledu, am gemau’r tabled neu gil-dwrn o losin.  I dawelu'r cariadon bach ac i adfer heddwch, eisteddwch nhw i lawr, tynnwch eu hosannau a chyfrwch fysedd eu traed.

Included in this month's Blog post are a selection of objects added to the Industry and Transport collections in January.


This commemorative medal was issued to Bevin Boys for service underground during 1942-1948. Bevin Boys played a vital role during the Second World War working in the coal mines, and you can read more about their role in this article. The medal was produced by Bigbury Mint in 2015 in hallmarked silver, and is on a striped blue, green and black ribbon. It was purchased by the Museum this month, and has been added to a small but varied collection relating to the work on the Bevin Boys in the Second World War.


The two bricks illustrated were donated this month. The first brick is inscribed T. Williams & Co. on the front, and the second inscribed J. Williams & Co., both have the inscription Llanelly on the reverse.

T. Williams refers to Capt. Thomas Williams, grocer and ships chandler of New Dock Road, Llanelli. He owned Bigyn Brickworks from about 1871 to 1888. He also owned the adjoining Tregob Colliery from 1881 to c.1887, and owned Bryngwyn Brickworks from 1890 to at least 1897. He was born in Llanelli c.1840, and died at Barry in 1899 or 1900.

The other brick is inscribed J. Williams. John Williams was the brother of Capt. Thomas Williams. He was born in Llanelli c.1843. In 1891 he is listed on the Census as foreman of a brickworks, residing with his brother who was listed as a brick manufacturer. This suggests that he took over Bryngwyn Brickworks either when Capt. Thomas Williams moved to Barry sometime in the period 1897 to 1899, or after his brother’s death in 1899/1900. He briefly worked it until closure in 1899.

The two bricks are made from the same coarse red body, and have been pressed from dies that are identical save for the change of initial from ‘T’ to ‘J’. They were probably then, manufactured in the same brickworks and span a change of ownership from Capt. Thomas Williams to his younger brother John Williams.


These three hand coloured prints form part of a collection donated this month. The prints are by the artist David Hughes and were produced in 1989/1990. The first is a reconstruction showing how Aberystwyth might have looked in about 1835. The second shows how Haverfordwest might have looked in about 1845. Finally the third shows how Swansea might have looked in about 1852.

You can find further examples of David Hughes work on our Images of Industry online catalogue. This includes black and white versions of these three works, plus views of Butetown (Cardiff) in about 1850, Carmarthen in about 1842, and Newport in about 1840. The prints can be viewed here.


Mark Etheridge
Curator: Industry & Transport
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW

Mrs Beeton, spreading Victorian housekeeping wisdom through the medium of her 1861 classic “Book of Household Management” (still in print in 2016!), said in her introduction: “What moved me, in the first instance, to attempt a work like this, was the discomfort and suffering which I had seen brought upon men and women by household mismanagement.”

Every conservator can identify with that; how many times have we seen objects damaged by inadequate environmental controls, neglected pest management, or insufficient pollution control? Panel paintings will split when the humidity in a gallery fluctuates widely; taxidermy displays are devoured by dermestid beetles; and lead objects, even minerals, corrode to dust in the presence of airborne organic acids, a typical indoor pollutant.

For conservators, the modern version of Mrs Beeton’s book is the National Trust’s “Manual of Housekeeping”. This is a book that has grown over the years into something now requiring a good sized tree to print it on – and, according to the National Trust’s paper conservation advisor, Andrew Bush, should be the only book in your collection that is badly damaged (from frequent use for reference purposes, of course). Conservation has changed from the use of traditional remedies into a science in its own right, with many dedicated scientific journals where the latest research is published. The National Trust, as one of the largest employers of conservators in the UK, runs an in-house training programme to ensure dissemination of cutting edge research to the coal face, as it were. Last week I had the pleasure of going through this week-long training – and a pleasure it was indeed.

The course (held this year at Attingham Park, an almost 250 year old mansion in rural Shropshire) is both an introduction for new staff and a refresher for long established conservators, which is reflected in the intense programme: each day was packed with demonstrations, workshops and lectures. Shorter sessions introduce the agents of deterioration and advice on the care of carpets, rugs and paintings and their frames. Practical workshops deal with diverse topics such as the conservation of paper, ceramics, metals and natural stone – each with their own material properties, risks and preservation techniques.

Even Mrs Beeton was able to tell us that “Essence of Lemon will remove grease, but will make a spot itself in a few days”, but did you know that it takes up to seven people to remove a large painting safely from a wall? Or that the corrosion on the copper kettle leaves permanent damage in the form of pits which are visible even after careful conservation treatment? That much damage is caused to floors by the sheer number (and type) of shoes walking across our heritage sites? That light causes irreversible damage to pigments and materials which even the best conservator cannot repair?

This is where preventive conservation, the pre-emptive care of collections, comes in. We know the mechanisms causing damage to objects. The challenge for heritage organisations is therefore more than simply fixing objects when things go wrong – instead, the focus now is on ensuring that as little damage as possible happens in the first place.

This means undertaking dust surveys to set up cleaning management plans; risk assessing collections for the presence of mould and managing the store/display environment accordingly; spot checking collections for pest damage and monitoring the occurrence and movements of pests around the museum; monitoring and adjusting light levels to avoid sensitive objects being over exposed.

For many years the advice was to wear cotton gloves when handling paper. But libraries and archives found that much damage was done to sensitive documents through the use of cotton gloves, which reduce manual dexterity, allow sweat and oils through from the skin and can snag on paper. So the advice now is to use either vinyl gloves or none at all – providing your hands are clean and free from grease.

Looking after the nation’s heritage takes more than locking objects in a store and hoping for the best. The proper care of collections requires much knowledge and experience; constant training to keep up to date with the latest research forms part of that.

Find out more about care of collections at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales here.

A belated happy New Year to you all! In the weeks since I posted my last co-curation update, we’ve been on the road again co-producing audio-visual content for the Making History project. Working with various community groups and individuals, we've been creating short films based on the collections selected for display. These films will form part of the interpretation in the new galleries. Here's a quick overview of what we've been up to.

First World War

In December, I was invited behind the wired walls of Maindy Barracks to interview two serving members of 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh. One of the new galleries will include a display about the First World War, focusing on voluntary action, healing and remembrance. My brief was to capture a glimpse into Army life today and to record contemporary responses to century-old collections. Inevitably, the interviews touched on difficult subjects – separation, injury and death. Hearing first-hand testimony from the soldiers was a fascinating experience. It's going to be a challenge to combine and edit the interviews into a three minute film.

Miners’ Strike

Earlier this month, we shifted our attention to the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike. Working with colleagues from Big Pit National Coal Museum, we asked a group of Youth Ambassadors from Blaenavon to interview individuals who were involved in the Strike.

After a morning learning about the ethics and techniques of oral history, the young people formulated their own questions and spent the afternoon recording the interviews. We were conscious of the need to represent a diverse range of experiences; to give the young people the opportunity to challenge their preconceptions. With this in mind, we invited an ex-police officer to join the workshop, as well as former miners and others affected by the dispute.

You’ll have to wait until the new galleries open to see the results! Needless to say, the Young Ambassadors were natural interviewers – curious, probing and balanced. When asked to reflect on the process, Owen from Blaenavon said he'd been on “an extreme historical adventure”. I'll second that.

#MakingHistory #CreuHanes

The work with 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh is supported by the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme.

Llys Llywelyn is our reconstruction of Llys Rhosyr, which is a ruinous hall complex in Anglesey dating to the 13th century, and previously a Royal seat of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, also known as Llywelyn ‘The Great’. Alongside his great hall, we are recreating a smaller building, also based on the archaeological findings from the site. This is interpreted as a kitchen, and in our recreation will be a multifunctional space where visiting schoolchildren will be able to get changed into their medieval servants’ costumes, and prepare food for their evening feast. In the few months prior to Christmas the wooden framework for this roof was raised into position, and after battening was thatched with wheat straw. Now that this building is roofed, work can begin on its interior fit-out.

It will be a while before the main hall is roofed, however. Its stone walls are over a metre in thickness, and the gables at their highest point are 9m tall. As the building work continues we have time to research its likely internal layout. Museum staff are working with respected academics from a wide range of disciplines in order to accurately reflect period furniture and decoration, as well as the overall division of space. 


Our Iron Age farmstead, Bryn Eryr, is open to the public on weekends only at present. This is because of the heavy road traffic heading to the Gweithdy building site, which when finished will be one of our new galleries. This reconstruction is also based on archaeology found in Anglesey. Although the building itself is essentially finished, we have plenty of work to do, such as planting willow along the tops of the banks and erecting hazel panels to give the site more of a sense of enclosure. Soon we will paint the internal faces of the walls with Iron Age patterns based on archaeological finds, such as decorated metalwork. As the buildings are open to pre-booked school groups during weekdays we can get a sense of how the buildings work as a museum display, and consequently do our utmost to get things looking good and running smoothly.