Dawswyr Talog

Dawnswyr Talog yw un o grwpiau dawns traddodiadol amlycaf Cymru, ac ers 1979 maent yn sicr wedi rhoi pentref bychan Talog, sydd nepell o Gaerfyrddin, ar y map!

Mae’r dawnswyr a’r cerddorion yn cyfarfod yn Neuadd Talog ond mae dylanwad Dawnswyr Talog yn ymestyn dipyn pellach na hyn. Mae cyfeillgarwch gyda thimau dawns led-led Ewrop, ac ymweliadau â gwyliau gwerinol amrywiol wedi rhoi llwyfan rhyngwladol i Dawnswyr Talog.

Yn ogystal â hybu dawnsio gwerin Cymreig, prif amcan Dawnswyr Talog yw diddanu a chael hwyl, oherwydd dyma sy’n mynd i sicrhau bod cyfoeth ein traddodiad dawns yn parhau.

We’re pleased to announce that traditional folk dance group Dawnswyr Talog will be performing at the finale of the Creagen Beca Parade on Sunday 1 May 2022, the parade starts at 2pm outside Oriel Myrddin Gallery.

Dawnswyr Talog dancers are one of Wales’s most prominent traditional dance groups, and since 1979 they have certainly put the small West Wales village of Talog, close to Carmarthen, on the map!

The dancers and musicians meet at Talog Community Hall but the influence of Dawnswyr Talog extends far beyond this. Friendships with dance teams throughout Europe, and visits to various folk festivals have given Welsh traditional dance an international platform.

As well as promoting Welsh folk dancing, Dawnswyr Talog’s main aim is to entertain and have fun, as this is the best way to ensure that the richness of our dance tradition continues.

Cragen Beca a Talog

Rhoddwyd Cregyn Rebeca i Amgueddfa Sir Gaerfyrddin, gan ddisgynnydd y perchennog gwreiddiol, Gwynfor Phillips yn yr 1980au ac roedd hanes y gragen hon yn rhan o’r ddogfen a’i gwasanaeth.

Cragen Beca – Hanes byr

Pan oeddwn yn blentyn cadwyd “Cragen Beca” o dan glo mewn cwpwrdd pren bychan, wedi’i guddio y tu ôl i soffa ym mharlwr fy mam-gu yn Nhalog. Ar un adeg bu ei chartref yn dafarn y “Castle Inn”, lle y bu ei thad a’i thad-cu yn dafarnwyr, ac ymhen amser etifeddodd hi y cartref.

Yn ystod Terfysgoedd Beca (1839-46) rhoddwyd y gragen hon (Cragen Beca) i’r tafarnwr, sef fy hen hen dad-cu, ac fe’i defnyddiwyd ganddo i alw’r dilynwyr i gyfarfodydd cudd ac ati. Ef oedd y cynullydd swyddogol. O’r herwydd roedd ganddo ran bwysig iawn yn y Terfysgoedd oedd yn ei roi mewn sefyllfa o berygl sifil mawr. Pan ddaeth Terfysgoedd Beca i ben aeth yr awdurdodau ati i gorlannu pawb fu’n gysylltiedig â’r terfysgoedd. Cafodd llawer eu dal, carcharwyd rhai, trawsgludwyd eraill, ac aeth llawer o ddynion o Dalog i guddio mewn llofftydd ffermydd a hyd yn oed yn y coed a amgylchynai’r pentref. Mae’n amlwg y bu’r tafarnwr yn ofalus iawn trwy gydol y cyfan gan na chafodd ei amau hyd yn oed!

Dim rhyfedd felly y cafodd y Gragen ei chuddio mor ofalus – am ganrif gyfan cafodd ei chyfrinachau eu cadw mor dawel fel na fyddai fy mam-gu ond yn ei dangos ar adegau prin, ac ni fyddai ond yn sibrwd amdani hyd yn oed! Unwaith yn unig y’i clywais yn cael ei chwythu’n gyhoeddus, a hynny’n ddiarwybod iddi hi. Yr achlysur oedd llwyddiant ymgeisydd Rhyddfrydol mewn etholiad seneddol. Roedd fy ewythr wedi mynd â’r gragen o’i chuddfan a chwythu ei lawenydd o ben y bryn, gweithred ffôl ac annisgybledig a barodd iddo gael ei gosbi’n eiriol a chorfforol gan ei fam!

A dyma droi at darddiad Cragen. Byddai’r rhan fwyaf o haneswyr yn cytuno mai’r trefnydd athrylithgar y tu ôl i Derfysgoedd Beca yng ngorllewin Cymru oedd cyfreithiwr o Gaerfyrddin, Mr. Hugh Williams, brodor o Fachynlleth a briododd wraig o Sanclêr, gan weithio’n gyfreithiwr yng Nghaerfyrddin ond byw yng Nghydweli. Derbynnir fod ganddo dueddiadau radical a bod ganddo gydymdeimlad â’r Siartwyr. Ffermwyr a gweithwyr fferm oedd Merched Beca yn bennaf, y rhan fwyaf ohonynt yn anllythrennog, ac ni fyddai gan y rhan fwyaf ohonynt y gallu i drefnu ymgyrch guddiedig ond disgybledig iawn o’r fath. Roedd yn galw am feddwl craff, deallus i gynnull cymunedau gwasgaredig o ffermwyr rhwystredig iawn yn rym effeithiol, a phwy well na’r cyfreithiwr pragmataidd o Gaerfyrddin?

Mae’n ymddangos fod gan Hugh Williams frawd a wasanaethai yn gonswl neu’n Was Sifil yn Sierra Leone, a’i fod wedi’i leoli yn Freetown, a sefydlwyd yn wreiddiol yn Granville yn 1788 yn gartref i gaethweision o Affrica a ryddhawyd. Roeddent wedi dod o ynysoedd y Caribî a thir mawr America.

Yn ystod rhyfel 1939 – 45 gwasanaethais yn y Llynges Frenhinol, ac yn ystod un o fy ymweliadau â Freetown gwelais angladd brodor. Arweinydd y cynhebrwng oedd dyn a chwythai’r gragen dro, gan gyfeirio’r sain tuag at y môr. Roedd y sain yn ddigamsyniol, yr un sain “hwtian” adleisiol ag a glywais yn Nhalog flynyddoedd ynghynt! Buom yn siarad â’r dyn hwn a esboniodd mai’r traddodiad oedd hysbysu’r ysbrydion oedd yn byw yn y môr pryd bynnag y byddai enaid morwr yn dychwelyd i’w orffwysfan terfynol. Fe’m hatgoffwyd yn syth o dduw Triton yn chwedloniaeth Roeg a reolai’r tonnau trwy chwythu ei gragen dro.

A yw’n rhy annhebygol i dybio y cafodd Hugh Williams y gragen, a ddaeth yn “Gragen Beca”, gan ei frawd, a bod yntau yn ei dro wedi’i rhoi i dafarnwr y Castle Inn Talog i’w defnyddio gan y “cynullydd” i alw’r dilynwyr?

(A chan nad yw’r gragen yn gynhenid i Orllewin Affrica, a yw y tu hwnt i ffiniau posibilrwydd y daethpwyd â hi i Sierra Leone gan un o’r caethweision a ryddhawyd?

*Dyfalu yw hyn, wrth gwrs.

Cragen Beca and Talog

Cragen Beca was given to Carmarthenshire Museum in the 1980s by descendant of the original owner, Gwynfor Phillips. This evocative account of the shell was part of the accession documentation.

Cragen Beca – A brief account

When I was a child “Cragen Beca” was kept under lock and key in a small wooden cabinet, hidden away behind a settee in my grandmother’s parlour in Talog. Her home had once been the “Castle Inn” public house, where her father and grandfather had been inn-keepers and which she inherited in due course.

During the Rebecca Risings (1839-46) this conch shell (Cragen Beca) had been given to the inn-keeper, who was my great great grandfather, and was used by him to muster the rioters to clandestine meetings etc. He was the official ‘whipper-up”. His involvement in the Riots was therefore most significant and put him in great civil danger. When the Rebecca Riots ceased there was a general round-up of all who were connected with the risings. Many were apprehended, some were imprisoned, others were transported, and many Talog men went into hiding in farm lofts and even in the woods which surrounded the village. It is obvious that the inn-keeper had kept a very low profile throughout because he was not even suspected!

No wonder then, that the Cragen was so carefully hidden – for a whole century its secrets were so closely kept that my mamgu would only show it on rare occasions, and even spoke about it in whispers! Only once did I ever hear it being blown in public, and that was without her knowledge. The occasion was the success of a Liberal candidate in a parliamentary election. My uncle had taken the conch from its hiding place and trumpeted his joy from the hilltop, for which indiscretion and indiscipline he was verbally and physically chastised by his mother!

And now to the origin of Cragen Beca. Most historians would agree that the organising genius behind the Rebecca Riots in west Wales was a Carmarthen solicitor, Mr. Hugh Williams, a native of Machynlleth who had married a St Clears lady, practiced law in Carmarthen but resided in Cydweli. It is accepted that he had radical tendencies and was sympathetic to the Chartists. The Rebecca Rioters themselves were mostly farmers and farmworkers, most of whom were illiterate and quite unable to organise such a covert, but highly disciplined crusade. It required an astute, intelligent brain to bring scattered communities of highly charged farmers together into a viable force, and who better than the pragmatic lawyer from Carmarthen?

It transpires that Hugh Williams had a brother serving either as a consul or else a Civil Servant in Sierra Leone, and that he was stationed in Freetown, originally founded as Granville in 1788 as a home for liberated African slaves. These had come from the Caribbean islands and from the mainland of America.

During the 1939 – 45 war I served in the Royal Navy, and during one of my visits to Freetown I witnessed a native funeral. Proceeding the cortege was a man who blew a conch shell, the sound being directed towards the sea. The sound was unmistakable, it was the same reverberating “hoot” that I had heard in Talog years previously! We spoke to this man who explained that it was traditional to inform the spirits who dwelt in the sea whenever a fisherman’s soul was returning to his final resting place. I was immediately reminded of the god Triton in Greek mythology who ruled the waves by blowing his conch.

Is it too improbable to assume that Hugh Williams was given the conch, that became “Cragen Beca”, by his brother, and that he in turn gave it to the inn-keeper of Castle Inn Talog to be used by the “whipper-up” to summon the rioters?

(And since the conch is not indigenous to West Africa, is it beyond the bounds of possibility that it was brought to Sierra Leone by one of the liberated slaves? *)

*This is supposition, of course.

Ffilmio yn Nhalog

Filming in Talog

Ddoe, es i am dro i bentref Talog yn Sir Gâr gyda’r cerddor Ceri Owen-Jones a’r gwneuthurwr ffilmiau, Jacob Whittaker. Mae Ceri wedi treulio rhai misoedd yn perffeithio ei dechneg chwythu trwmped cragen dro ac fe aethon ni â’r gragen gyda ni i’w chwythu mewn gwahanol leoliadau o amgylch Talog.

Roedd y trwmped cragen dro wreiddiol, Cragen Beca, yn perthyn i landlord Tafarn y Castell yn Nhalog a chafodd ei guddio yn y dafarn am dros 100 mlynedd cyn iddo gael ei roi i Amgueddfa Caerfyrddin yn y 1980au. Nid oes hawl gennym ni i chwythu Cragen Beca. Cafodd y gragen y mae Ceri wedi bod yn ei defnyddio ei darganfod mewn siop hen bethau yn nhref Caerfyrddin yn 2020.

Dwi wedi bod yn crwydro lleoliadau yn Nhalog dros y misoedd diwethaf ac fe aethon ni fore Sadwrn i ddechrau ffilmio. Yn y diwedd, fe wnaethon ni ddefnyddio pedwar lleoliad gwahanol yn Nhalog a’r cyffiniau gan gwrdd â phobl wych yn y pentref yn ystod y dydd. Roedd Neuadd Bentref Talog ar agor am goffi a chacen ac felly fe wnaethon ni alw heibio ganol bore a chwrdd â Heather sy’n rhedeg gwefan a thudalen Facebook Talog yn ogystal â Kevin sy’n helpu i redeg neuadd y pentref.

Gan deimlo’n effro ac yn egnïol, fe aethon ni i’r bryniau uwchben Talog i chwilio am olygfa banoramig dros y pentref. Ar ôl tynnu i mewn i fuarth fferm Penrallt ar ben lôn serth, fe wnaethom gyfarfod â Bethan a Rhun sy’n ffermio moch maes Tamworth hardd mewn modd cynaliadwy. Fe wnaethon nhw roi caniatâd i ni ffilmio yn yr eiddo ac aeth Rhun â ni i’r caeau ymhellach i fyny’r bryn lle’r oedd yr olygfa ar draws y pentref yn berffaith.

Roedd clywed y gragen yn atseinio ar draws bryniau gogledd Sir Gâr a dychmygu’r gragen wreiddiol yn canu i alw ar ferched Beca yr ardal yn brofiad eithriadol.


Yesterday I headed off to the Carmarthenshire village of Talog with musician Ceri Owen-Jones and filmmaker Jacob Whittaker. Ceri has spent some months perfecting his conch trumpet blowing technique and we took the shell out with us to blow in various locations around Talog.

The original Cragen Beca shell trumpet belonged to the landlord of the Castle Inn in Talog and was kept hidden in the pub for over 100 years before it was donated to Carmarthen Museum in the 1980s. We are not permitted to blow Cragen Beca, the shell Ceri has been working with was found in an antique shop in Carmarthen town in 2020.

I have been scouting out locations in Talog over the last few months and we set out on Saturday morning to start filming. We ended up using four different locations in and around Talog and during the day we met some wonderful people in the village. Talog Village Hall was open for coffee and cake and we dropped in mid-morning where we met Heather who runs the Talog website and Facebook page as well as Kevin who helps run the village hall.

Feeling refreshed and energised, we wound our way up to the hills above Talog in search of a panoramic view over the village. Pulling in to Penrallt farmyard at the top of a steep lane, we met Bethan and Rhun who farm beautiful free range, sustainably farmed Tamworth pigs. They generously allowed us to film at the property and Rhun took us to the fields further up the hill from the farm where the view across the village was perfect.

Hearing the shell resonate across the north Carmarthenshire hills and imagining the original shell sounding out to muster the Rebeccaites of the area to action was an extraordinary experience.

Talog

Aeth Jacob a minnau ar daith o amgylch Sir Gaerfyrddin ddoe i edrych ar leoliadau ar gyfer y ffilmiau Cragen Beca rydym yn eu creu yn rhan o’r prosiect.

Treuliom dipyn o amser yn Nhalog yn cael golwg ar y pentref a rhai o’r mannau pwysig sy’n gysylltiedig â stori Cragen Beca. Gwnaethom gwrdd â Myrddin ym mynwent Capel Bethania a oedd yn cadw’r beddau a’r tir yn gymen. Cyflwynodd ef ni i bâr hyfryd o beunod a oedd yn treulio ychydig o amser yn ei gwmni ymysg y cerrig beddi. Mae Myrddin yn 80 mlwydd oed ac mae wedi byw yn Nhalog ar hyd ei oes. Adroddodd yr hanes am yr adeg y cafodd ei fedyddio ym mhwll y pentref pan oedd yn ei arddegau. Dywedodd wrthym hefyd am enwau rhai o’r ffermydd y gallem eu gweld ar hyd y bryniau.

Hefyd bu inni gwrdd â pherchnogion yr adeilad sydd bellach yn sefyll ar safle hen Felin Talog lle roedd John Harries, a oedd â rhan allweddol yn stori Merched Beca yng Nghaerfyrddin, yn arfer byw.


Jacob and I went on a road trip around the Carmarthenshire yesterday to look at locations for the Cragen Beca films we are making as part of the project.

We spend a while in Talog looking at the village and some of the important places that are connected to the Cragen Beca story. We met Myrddin in the graveyard of Bethania Chapel who was keeping the graves and the grounds in good order. He introduced us to a beautiful pair of peacocks who were spending some time in his company amongst the gravestones. Myrddin is 80 years old and has lived in Talog all his life, he recounted his baptism in the village pool when he was a teenager. He also told us the names of the farms we could see ranged across the hillside.

I was also delighted to chat to Neil and Sally, the owners of the building which now stands on the site of the old Talog Mill where Rebeccaite John Harries, a key player in the story of the Carmarthen Rebecca story, lived.