Mwy am Letys Heti / More about Lettice Hetty

Golygfa o feddau ger Capel Salem i gyfeiriad Penrhyn a’r môr - yn yr ardal lle yr oedd Letys Heti a Bili John yn byw / A view from Salem Chapel graveyard, looking towards Penrhyn and the sea, in the area in which Lettice Hetty and Billy John were brought up.

Mae tri post unigol ar y wefan hon sy’n cynnwys cerddi  a grewyd gan fardd gwlad ifanc o ardal  Pencaer – Letys Heti.

Garnglottas, Pencaer (1)

Garnglottas, Pencaer (2)

Garnglottas, Pencaer (3)

Mae tipyn o ddirgelwch o gwmpas bywyd Letys Heti. Mae yr hyn y gwyddom gydag unrhyw sicrwydd ar gael mewn cofnod o ddarllediad y BBC yn yr 1930au.  Sgwrs rhwng DJ Williams, Abergwaun, a Mr Billy John, sydd yn y darllediad radio. Billy oedd prif gofianydd Letys Heti. Adroddodd sawl un o’i cherddi oddiar ei gof yn ystod y darllediad. Cofiai chwarae gyda hi ym Mhencaer tua 1871 pan oeddent yn blant. Wrth ddarllen y sgript BBC, (sy’n cael ei gadw yn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru), daw sawl ffaith i’r amlwg  – h.y. roedd Letys yn byw hanner milltir o fwthyn North Pole ym Mhencaer. Morwyn oedd hi, yn dod o deulu cyffredin. Symudodd Letys o’i chartre’, tra roedd  Billy dal yn ifanc, ac fe gollodd e gysylltiad â hi. Dywed ei bod hi wedi symud i Forgannwg neu Sir Fynwy yn y pen draw.

Yn anffodus, nid yw’r sgript yn cynnwys gwybodaeth am gyfenw teulu Letys, ond, mae craffu ar gofnodion cyfrifiad plwyf Llanwnda a’r ardal yn adrodd ei stori.

Yn 1861, ym Mhantybeudy, ger Pwllderi, roedd Thomas a Heti Jenkins yn byw gyda’u hwyth o blant. Roedd Thomas yn lafurwr amaethyddol. Disgrifiwyd eu merch hynaf fel nyrs-forwyn. Roedd dau blentyn arall yn ddisgyblion ysgol. Roedd Letys a Martha yn efeilliaid dwy flwydd oed.

Felly, os derbyniwn y posibilrwydd i Letys gael yr enw ‘Letys Heti’ oherwydd mai Heti oedd ei mam, yr ydym wedi darganfod y teulu cywir.

Erbyn 1871, roedd y teulu wedi symud i Benymynydd. Roedd mam Letys yn 50 oed erbyn hyn, ac roedd Thomas oddi cartref yn gweithio. Roedd Letys a Martha yn 11 oed a Thomas eu brawd yn 9 mlwydd oed.

Gerllaw, yn y Gwttws, yr oedd y teulu ‘John’ yn byw. Ymhlith eu pedwar plentyn roedd ‘William John’, 4 oed. Dyma’r amser y cofiai Billy John yn y cyfweliad radio.

Erbyn 1881, roedd Letys a’i hefaill wedi hedfan y nyth ond yn dal i fyw yn lleol. Roedd y ddwy yn forynion domestig di-briod. Roedd Letys Jenkins yn byw yn Nhrefaser, a Martha yn byw ar fferm Scleddau Ganol, yn gweithio i William Phillips a’i deulu.

Erbyn 1891, roedd Letys Jenkins, a aned ym Mhencaer, yn 32 oed, yn forwyn ddomestig cyffredinol yn Fferm Rosemaryhill, Camrose, ger Hwlffordd. Roedd hi yng nghyflogaeth y ffermwr Thomas Bevans a’i frawd, John.

Nid ydym yn gwybod eto a aeth hi, wedi hynny, i Sir Forgannwg neu Sir Fynwy. Mae’r ymchwil yn parhau.

Dyma un arall o’i cherddi hi isod. Plentyn oedd hi pan aeth dafad, yn perthyn i’w rhieni, ar goll. Daeth y plant o  hyd i gorff y ddafad yn ngardd bwthyn North Pole.  Trefnwyd angladd ganddynt er cof am y ddafad gyda cherdd goffa hefyd.

There are three individual posts on this website which contain poems created by a young country poet from the Pencaer area – Lettice Hetty.

(To read the other posts, please press on 1, 2 or 3, opposite)

There is quite a mystery surrounding Lettice Hetty’s life. What we know with any certainty is available in a record of a BBC broadcast from the 1930s. The eminent Welshman DJ Williams, of Fishguard, interviewed Mr Billy John during the radio broadcast. Billy was a great admirer of Lettice Hetty’s poems. He recited several of them from memory during the broadcast. He remembered playing with her in Pencaer around 1871 when they were children. The BBC script, (which is kept in the National Library of Wales), brings to light several facts, i.e. Lettice Hetty lived half a mile from North Pole cottage in Pencaer; she became a domestic maid and was from an ordinary working class family; Lettice moved out of her home while Billy was still young and he lost contact with her. He says  that she eventually moved to Glamorgan or Monmouthshire.

Unfortunately, the script does not contain information about Lettice’s surname, but  scrutiny of census records for Llanwnda parish tells us more of her story.

In 1861, at Pantybeudy, near Pwllderi, Thomas & Hetty Jenkins lived with their eight children. Thomas was an agricultural labourer. Their eldest daughter was described as a nursemaid. Two of her siblings were scholars. Lettice and Martha were two year old twin sisters.

So, if we accept that Lettice, as a daughter of Hetty, may have become known as ‘Lettice Hetty’, we have found the right family)

By 1871, the family had moved to Penymynydd. Lettice’s mother was 50 years old by this time, and Thomas was away from home working. Lettice and Martha were 11 years old. Thomas their brother was 9 years.

Nearby, at Gwttws, the ‘John’ family lived. Among their four children was ‘William John’ aged 4 years. This was about the time that young Billy John recalled in the interview.

By 1881, Lettice and her twin had flown the nest but were still local. Both were unmarried domestic servants. Lettice Jenkins was living at Trevasser, and Martha was living at Scleddau Ganol farm, working for William Phillips and his family.

By 1891, Lettice Jenkins, born at Pencaer, aged 32 was a general domestic servant at Rosemaryhill Farm, Camrose, near Haverfordwest. She was in the employment of farmer Thomas Bevans and his brother, John.

Whether she went, thereafter, to Glamorganshire or Monmouthshire, is still unknown. The research continues.

Here, below, is a translation of another of her poems. She was a child when a sheep, belonging to her parents, went missing. The children found the sheep’s body in the garden of North Pole cottage. They organized a funeral service and burial for the deceased with a memorial poem as well.

“Dyma golled fawr ofnadw
Fod y llwdwn wedi marw;
Yng ngardd North Pole roedd dafad Heti,
A’r fan honno cas ei chladdu;
Mae’r garreg arw yn y claw
Yn farc i ddweud fod bedd gerllaw.”

[“Such a loss is found, we fear
Poor Hetty’s ewe lies dead here;
In the garden at North Pole
We must bury her in a hole.
By the rough stone, is where she’ll lie
A sign to say there’s a grave nearby”]

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