Te Parti Porthsychan (1)

Porthsychan 1922
Mrs B Lewis, Tresinwen
Porthsychan
Mrs B Lewis, Tresinwen
Gerllaw goleudy Strwmbwl mae ‘na fae bach o’r enw Porthsychan. Mae yno lonnydd a morloi ac odyn galch sy’n cwato yn y trash. Dyma oedd lleoliad traddodiad hyfryd ac anarferol gynt, am ddegawdau, ac efallai canrifoedd? We ‘Te Parti Porthsychan’ yn ddigwyddiad blynyddol ac we gwahoddiad i holl deuluoedd yr ardal. Ar yr ail Sadwrn ym mis Mehefin fe fyddai’r hen a’r ifanc yn casglu ac yn hala’r amser yn yfed te tra’n rhoi’r byd yn ei le.

Yn y 40au a’r 50au, byddai’r paratoadau yn nwylo Arthur Nant (o fwthyn Y Nant). Bydde fe yn torri’r gwair a’r ragwrt yn y parc nesa’r traeth ac yn rhoi cwed tân yn barod i ferwi’r tecilau at y te.

Pam fydde hyn yn digwydd, gwedwch? Wel, yn ôl y son, we pobol yr ardal wedi pererindota i Borthsychan am ganrifoedd er mwyn ymweld â Chapel Degan, ar y penrhyn i’r dde i’r traeth. Mae’r hen fapiau yn dangos lleoliad yr adeilad, ac hefyd ‘Ffynnon Degan’ gerllaw.

Yn anffodus, sdim golwg o’r adeilad erbyn hyn, a rhaid chwilota’n hir cyn canfod enw Degan mewn hen ddogfennau. Yn ôl y sôn, Degan a’i ffrind Sinwen oedd ymhlith yr ychydig o breswylwyr Cantre’r Gwaelod i jengid pan boddwyd y wlad. Ym Mhorthsychan y glanion nhw lle yr adeiladodd Degan gapel, er mwyn diolch i Dduw am Ei haelioni. Bu Sinwen yn llafurio i dyfu bwyd iddynt ar y tir. Dyma pham y mae yr enw ‘Tresinwen’ ar y fferm, a ‘Phen Capel Degan’ ar y penrhyn.

Ond, beth am Ffynnon Degan? Wel, mae yna nifer o nentydd bach yn tarddu rhwng Taibach a Phorthsychan. Yn y 1920au, y teulu Morse we’n byw yn Nhaibach. Mae disgynydd i’r teulu, sy’n byw yn Abergwaun heddi, yn cofio ei mam yn adrodd stori am Ffynnon Degan. Yn ôl traddodiad we’r dwr yn llesol ac yn iachâu, yn arbennig gwendid llyged. Byddai Mrs Morse, pan yn blentyn, yn casglu’r dwr mewn potel ac yn ei gario o Taibach, dros Garn Fawr, i fwthyn ei mamgu, er mwyn golchi ei llyged. Byddai’r hen fenyw yn credu’n gryf bod pwer iachâu gan ddwr Ffynnon Degan.

Mae cerdd o’r enw ‘Pencaer’, a gyhoeddwyd yn ddienw yn y County Echo ar 26-2-1959, yn sôn am y ffynnon – “Ceisio ffynnon Degan, Lle byddai’r hen ddeillion yn ymgasglu,A chanfod iachâd yn ei dyfroedd.”

Mae’n bosib mai yn Nhaibach we’n arfer bod crair yn perthyn i Degan.  Ers blynyddoedd maith iawn bu pererinion yn galw yn y Capel i  ofyn bendith wrth gydio mewn darn o frethyn we’n perthyn i ddillad y sant. Pan aeth y Capel a’i ben iddo, symudwyd y crair i ffermdý cyfagos a byddai  pererinion yn galw yno i’w weld. Rhyw dro, galwodd bonheddwr heibio we’n cynnig digon o arian  i brynu’ r crair  ar  gyfer ei gasgliad.  Ildiodd y ffermwr i’r demtasiwn, a diflannodd y crair o’r ardal am byth.

Ceir mwy o luniau yma / More pictures are available here

Just north along the coast from Strumble lighthouse there is a small bay called Porthsychan. This is the place for peace and quiet, seals and seagulls and a lime kiln hidden behind brambles. This was formerly the setting of a lovely and unusual tradition, for decades, or perhaps centuries?  ‘Porthsychan Tea Party’ was an annual event with an open invitation to all families in the area. On the second Saturday in June the young and old would gather and spend time drinking tea while putting the world to rights.

In the 40s and 50s, the preparations would be in the hands of a local gentleman – Arthur Nant (who lived at Nant cottage). He’d cut the hay and ragwort in the field next to the cove and put firewood ready to boil the kettles for tea.

Why would this happen? Well, rumour has it that local people saw Porthsychan as a place of pilgrimage for centuries. They  visited Degan’s Chapel, on the peninsula to the right of the beach. Old maps show the location of the building, and also, nearby, – ‘Degan’s spring’.

Unfortunately, the chapel is long gone, and Degan is only to be found in old documents. According to legend, he and his friend, Sinwen were two of the few survivors when ‘Cantre’r Gwaelod’ was lost beneath the waves. When they reached this headland, Degan built a chapel to show his gratitude for deliverance. Sinwen took to the challenge of raising crops to sustain them. These survivors are recalled in the names of ‘Tresinwen’ farm and ‘Pen Capel Degan’ promontory above Porthsychan.

But what about Degan’s spring? Well, there are many springs between Taibach and Porthsychan. In the 1920s, the Morse family lived at Taibach. A desendant, living at Fishguard today, recalls her mother’s tale about the spring. According to tradition the spring water had healing properties, particularly to cure ailments of the eye. Mrs Morse, as a child, would collect spring water and carry it from Taibach, over Garn Fawr to her grandmother’s home. There ‘mamgu’ would bathe her eyes with it. She strongly believed in the healing power of water from Degan’s Well.

A poem called ‘Pencaer’, published anonymously in the County Echo on 26-2-1959, mentions the well -“Seeking for the well of Degan, Where the blind of old would gather, Finding healing in it’s waters.”

It is possible that Taibach was once where a relic belonging to Degan was kept. For many years pilgrims had been in the habit of calling at the Chapel to ask for blessing through the power of a piece of cloth belonging to the saint’s clothes. When the Chapel fell into disrepair, the relic was moved to a nearby farmhouse and pilgrims would call there to see it. Once, a gentleman called, offering enough money to buy the relic for his collection. The farmer gave in to temptation, and the relic disappeared from the area forever.

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