The following information has been gleaned from a wide variety of sources, but particularly the Welsh newspapers online held by the National Library of Wales. A brief history of Cae’r Blaidd is on another page if you do not wish to wade through the details below. The items that follow are recorded in good faith, but it is acknowledged that inaccuracies may be included unintentionally. If anyone wishes to suggest any correction or offer any additional information regarding Cae’r Blaidd we would be delighted to receive them.

WILLIAM  DAVIES  J.P. 1832 – 28th December 1903

Described in 1880 as “the poet and gentleman, the merchant and politician”

1908 Listed in “Eminent Welshmen” – A short biographical dictionary of Welshmen who have attained distinction from the earliest times to the present. By T.R.Roberts.

“Davies, William, 1832-1904, was born at Caerblaidd, Festiniog, in October 1832. He showed considerable ability as a musician when young ; he could read music with ease when only nine years of age, and in his sixteenth year he was a choir conductor. He composed several anthems and other musical pieces, and at the Festiniog Eisteddfod in 1854 won a prize for an anthem when Gwilym Gwent was among the competitors. (B. Cerddorion Cymreig ; Manchester Guardian.)”

Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard 1st January 1904

Death of William Davies, Cae’r Blaidd

One of the most able, best known and respected figures in the public life of Festiniog and indeed of Merioneth, passed away on Monday afternoon at his residence in the person of Mr Wm. Davies, J.P. of Cae’rblaidd. He suffered a protracted illness.

William Davies J.P.

Deceased, who was seventy-one, was the son of the late Mr John Davies, corn and flour merchant of Cae’rblaidd, and he was a brother to Mr David Davies of the well-known firm of Messrs D. W. Davies and Co., Liverpool, and to Dr. John Davies, a surgeon-major in the Indian Army. The late Mr Davies was a self-made man in the most literal sense. All the schooling he received was at the Llan elementary school, but by self-help, he attained a remarkable proficiency in English and his native tongue, being a most convincing and fluent speaker in both languages. His memory was simply wonderful he learnt off by heart the whole of Walker’s dictionary.

He commenced business with his father and on the latter’s demise he assumed the ownership, and when later on he added the business of coal merchant to the concern, he took into partnership the late Mr Griffith Solomon Jones, who held the office of clerk to the Festiniog Board of Guardians. They traded as Davies and Jones up to the year 1875 when they sold the business to the Cardiff and Portmadoc Trading Company. In the meantime, he had taken up a number of other business appointments. He was for some time secretary to the Rhiwbach Slate Quarry Company, also secretary to the old Festiniog and Blaenau Narrow Gauge Railway Company. He was appointed local agent to the well-known Gunpowder Company, Curtis and Harvey and sole agent for North Wales to Bass and Co. He still held the former and relinquished the latter but a few years back. He became connected with the Wrysgan Quarry in the seventies, working it for several years in partnership with the present chairman of directors, Mr Birch, and the late Mr David Roberts, of Portmadoc. He joined the Rhosydd Quarry Company at its formation in 1874, and at the death of the late Mr John Humphrey Jones, of Portmadoc, in 1886, he was elected chairman of the Board of Directors, a post which he held up to his death. Some years ago, he and Mr G. H. Ellis, J.P., of Penmount, purchased the Diphwys Casson Quarry which they worked in partnership. Deceased, with Mr Ellis, Mr E. P. Jones, Blaenyddol, and the late Mr Holland and the late Mr John Edwards, of Glanypwll, were the managing directors of the Festiniog Gas Works until the undertaking was acquired by the old Local Board.

Amongst other appointments he held was that of agent for the Pengwern Estate owned by Mr Fletcher Wynn. In 1852, he was appointed vestry clerk, an office which he held for a quarter of a century. It was in this capacity that the general public became first intimately acquainted with one of his two great gifts. He was a born financier. He revelled in figures and details; and persons competent to form an opinion assert that Merioneth has never seen a more talented statistician and expert accountant. He entered public life at an early stage in his history. He was a member of the old Sanitary Committee and the Rural Sanitary Authority and of the old Local Board from its establishment in 1887 until it became merged in the present Urban District Council. He did not seek election on the latter, but he had been a member of the County Council from its inception in 1899, and for some time he held office as chairman of the County Finance Committee. He had been a member of the Board of Guardians for some years, being one of the two members co-opted by the Board itself. In 1878, when the late Lord Mostyn was lord-lieutenant, Mr Davies was placed on the Commission of the Peace for Merioneth, Lord Harlech being created a justice for the county in the same year. He was now the third senior magistrate, Mr Osmond Williams, M.P., and Mr Oakeley being the eldest.

Cae'r Blaidd
                    Cae’r Blaidd

In politics, he was a Liberal until the Home Rule split when he turned Unionist. In late years he became a strong Unionist and his name was frequently mentioned at general election time as a likely Conservative candidate for Merioneth. In fact, overtures were made to him to stand as such, but he resolutely declined. Had he entered the House of Commons, he would without doubt have made a name as a parliamentarian. His fluency of speech, his sound judgement, his native gift for details and figures, and his great business capacity would of necessity conduce to this end.

He was a member of the Church of England, holding in conjunction with Mr G. H. Ellis, the office of churchwarden for several years. In the days of his youth, he was a Nonconformist. being a member with the Calvinistic Methodists. Mention has been made of his great gift as a financier. He was also a talented musician. Unquestionably, he understood music perfectly. When quite a boy he displayed a remarkable taste for music and at the age of sixteen he was leading a choir. He and the Rev. Edward Steven, Tanymarian, the composer of “Storm Tiberias,” who was also a native of Festiniog, received their early training in music at the hands of a miller named Mr Angell, employed with Mr Davies’ father. At the age of twenty, he beat the late Gwilym Gwent, the well-known composer, for a prize for the composition of an anthem at an eisteddfod. Mr Davies composed a large number of hymn tunes and anthems, several of which appeared in old numbers of the “Dysgedydd.” Very many of his hymn tunes are included in the hymnal of the Anglican Church. Amongst his best known compositions is the anthem “Y Meirw ni Jolianant yr Arglwydd,” which was adopted as the test piece in the second choral competition at the Festiniog National Eisteddfod in 1898. Concerning this, Mr Emlyn Evans, the eminent critic, wrote at the time that the anthem held a “foremost place as one of the best of the kind we have in Wales.” Soon after the Rev. Edward Steven had completed “Storm Tiberias,” Mr Davies trained a choir to perform the work. Sol-fa not being known in those days and but a few understanding old notation, Mr Davies learnt off every note of the oratorio in the four voices to enable him to teach the choir by ear. When a second performance of the oratorio was later on given at the home of the composer at Dwygyfylchi, Penmaenmawr, Mr Davies attended regularly at the weekly rehearsal. Present with him at these rehearsals was his intimate friend, the late Mr William Owen timber merchant, of Tremadoc, the author of “Wrth Afonydd Babylon,” and several other well known hymn tunes. His many business engagements forced Mr Davies for a time to give over practical work in music, but in recent years he once more gave way to the delight of his youth and of his early manhood. He was also extremely fond of Welsh poetry. Although he did not do much in the way of composing, he understood the “cynghaneddion” thoroughly.

Bryn Llewelyn Cottage

He was of a strong, determined nature, yet genial and humorous. He hated hypocrisy and did not mince matters with those whom he believed to be guilty of sham and hypocritical tricks, but to his true and tried friends he was kind and faithful. He was a great believer in the district nurse system, and was a warm supporter of the local association. Education also found in him a staunch champion and he rendered valuable service to the county when in 1891 the Privy Council plotted him on the Joint Committee under the Welsh Intermediate Education Act.

He was a Freemason, being initiated at the Aberystwyth Lodge.

He was twice married. In 1858, he married Miss Robinson, a relative of Messrs George and John Casson, of Blaenyddol, and there were four children to the marriage, two of whom survive, viz., Mr R. Walker Davies, solicitor, and Mr Wm. Davies, of Tynycoed, Bettwsycoed. He had been a widower six years, when in 1897 he married Miss Chambers, daughter of Mr John Chambers, of Castellior, Menai Bridge. There was one child to this marriage, Master Dd Chambers Davies, who is still surviving and whose mother died soon after his birth. The funeral took place yesterday (Thursday), being public from outside the Caerblaidd gate to the Llan Churchyard. The relatives have received expressions of sympathy all over North Wales.

Poster of National Eisteddfod Ffestiniog 1898
  • 1848 – Aged 16  appointed Choir Leader of Peniel (MC)
  • 1852  – “Aged 20, he beat the late Gwilym Gwent, the well-known composer, for a prize for the composition of an anthem at an eisteddfod. Mr Davies composed a large number of hymn tunes and anthems, several of which appeared in old numbers of the “Dysgedydd.” Very many of his hymn tunes are included in the hymnal of the Anglican  Church”
  • 1852 – Appointed Festiniog vestry clerk, an office he held for 25 years
  • 1854 – The North Wales Chronicle & Advertiser for the Principality  21st October 1854 Festiniog. Testimonial to Mr William Davies, Cae’r Blaidd. The members of the English Choir of the Church of Saint Michael’s Festiniog assembled in the National schoolroom on Monday evening last, to present to Mr Wm Davies of Cae’r Blaidd, with a Testimonial to mark their approbation of his valued services, long devoted to the instruction and improvement of their choir, and as well to testify their esteem and respect for him as a friend and a neighbour. The Testimonial consisted of thirteen Æolian pitch pipes, encased in a neat silver box, with the following superscription … “Presented to Mr Wm. Davies, of Cae’r Blaidd, by the English choir of St. Michael’s church, Festiniog, as a testimony of regard and in grateful acknowledgement of his valuable assistance in conducting the choir”. October 1854
  • 1857 – November. Assigned all the estates and effects of Robert Jones, Grocer and  Quarryman, Congolywal – indenture duly executed.
  • 1858 – 17th August. Marries Elizabeth Anne Robinson
  • Around this time, William & Elizabeth use Bryn Llewelyn Cottage as their home until the building of Cae’r Blaidd in 1879. He is referred to during this period, however, as William Davies, “Caerblaidd”, after his family’s estate.
  • 1860 – Nominated as Ensign for the Volunteer Rifle Corps
  • 1865 – Shareholder in the Steamer “Rebecca” – Portmadoc to Liverpool steamers. The Carnarvonshire and Merionethshire Steamship Company had been formed in 1864 and purchased the “Rebecca” to carry stores from Liverpool to supply the growing town.
  • 1866 – Recorded as one of the initial directors of the Festiniog & Blaenau Railway Co. Ltd (Gauge 1 ft 11 & three quarters). William is listed as holding 20 shares at £10 each and his address is recorded as Brynllewellyn, Festiniog. The offices of the Company were at first in Melbourne House, Llan Ffestiniog. The railway company only operated from 1862 until 1882, when William Davies of Cae’r Blaidd, the F&BR Manager, was appointed Liquidator and was able to report that his work was completed on 21st April 1884. (James I.C.Boyd. “Narrow Gauge Railways in South Snowdonia” 1988)
  • 1871 – February. One of several gentlemen encouraging development of a new Water Works for Festiniog
  • 1871 – Appointed to the School Board and described as a Churchman and Liberal
  • 1872 – Took control of father’s business as Corn & Flour Merchant after his death. Added Coal Merchants in partnership with Griffith Solomon Jones trading as Davies & Jones
  • 1870’s – Worked Wrysgan Quarry in partnership with a Mr Birch and then Mr David Roberts of Portmadoc
  • 1874 – Joined Rhosydd Quarry Company at its formation
  • 1875 – Sold Corn & Flour business to Cardiff & Porthmadoc Trading Company: “BLAENAU FFESTINIOG. To be Sold by Private Treaty, WITH IMMEDIATE POSSESSION, The Lease (54 years unexpired) of the well-known and Commodious Inn, called THE MANOD ARMS, CONTAINING 5 Sitting Rooms, 6 Bedrooms,  a well arranged Bar, convenient Attics, Store-Rooms, Kitchens, Pantries Cellar, and a W. C. For further particulars, apply to MR. WILLIAM DAVIES, Caerblaidd, FFESTINIOG.”   Baner ac Amserau Cymru  30th June 1875
  • 1875 – Appointed as local agent to Curtis & Harvey Gunpowder Company
  •  26th May 1875 – Baner Ac Amserau: New Extra Strong Mining Powder.  E. S. M.  CURTIS’S & HARVEY  ARE now manufacturing a very powerful powder, which they feel sure will bear favourable comparisons with the Nitro Glycerine Compounds. The advantages of this powder are:- 1st A much greater strength than ordinary Mining Powder. 2nd. Less smoke without injurious fumes.  Quite as safe in use as ordinary powder, and not liable to explode by exposure to sun, increased temperature, percussion, or self ignition.  3rd The cost is much less than the above mentioned explosive compounds. CURTIS’S & HARVEY in offering this New Powder to their Friends and Customers, wish it to be understood that it is not intended to supercede their ordinary kinds, but to be available for Quarrying, Pit sinking and other operations, where a great Rending Power is needed. Sold by Mr. William Davies, Cae’r blaidd, Festiniog Sole Agent for Festiniog &. Portmadoc district.
  • 1875 July – Sued Festiniog Railway Company for damage to property and trespass when building a bridge at Dolgarregddu. Awarded £210.00 and costs
  • 1877 – “BANGOR. TO BE LET OR SOLD, WITH immediate possession, the valuable Freehold House and Premises, known as THE ALBION HOTEL. For particulars, apply to MR. WILLIAM DAVIES, CAE’R BLAIDD, FESTINIOG”
  • 1877 – “In 1877, William Davies of Caerblaidd , Ffestiniog, paid the North and South Wales Bank £5,250 to take possession of the Cynfal Fawr estate from the Cassons.”
  • 1878 – Appointed a Justice of the Peace for the county of Merioneth
  • Sold the Estate in 1877
  • 28th March 1879 – Cambrian News: A NEW MAGISTRATE FOR MERIONETHSHIRE. The Lord-Lieutenant for the county of Merioneth has placed Mr. William Davies, Cae’rblaidd, Festiniog, upon the commission of the peace for Merionethshire. For more than a quarter of a century Mr. Davies has taken a leading part in public matters in the district of the Festiniog Slate Quarries, and much of the success of many public, social, and sanitary movements which have been carried on in that district was due to his practical and strenuous support. The ratepayers of the parish of Festiniog, at their annual vestry held on the 15th March, passed the following vote of congratulation upon the appointment of Mr. William Davies, of Cae’rblaidd : ” Considering the valuable services rendered in different capacities to the parish by Mr. William Davies, of Cae’rblaidd, during the past twenty-seven years, the parishioners take this first opportunity.on assembling in vestry to congratulate him on his promotion to the magistracy of the county of Merioneth, and wish him long life and every happiness in the enjoyment of this well-merited honour.”
  • 1883 – January 12th. Daughter, “Lillie” dies aged 14
  • 1883 – January. Water. Mr W. Davies, Cae’rblaidd, asked the Board if they would construct a supply of water to his house on condition that he would pay half the expense, and also pay five per cent interest on the other half to the Board. It was agreed to do so
  • 1883 – September. Buys Hafod Mawr for £1,629
  • 1884 – Sold shares in Wrysgan slate quarry for £5,000
  • 1885 – Bought Victoria Inn premises in Penrhyndeudraeth transferring it to Robert (his son) in 1890
  • 1885 10th Nov – Mother (Elizabeth dies aged 89)
  • 1886 – Elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rhosydd Quarry Company
  • 1886 – North Wales Chronicler & Advertiser 10th April 1886: BANGOR BANKRUPTCY COURT. THURSDAY. Before Mr Registrar Glynne Jones. Re William Jones, Builder, Portmadoc. This debtor’s statement of affairs showed liabilities amounting to £1009 4s, assets, £197 16s 6d; deficiency £811 7s 6d. He attributed his failure to losses incurred on building contracts. Mr D. L. George (Criccieth), appeared for the debtor. The debtor said he commenced business in 1873. He had no capital when he started. He lost £200 in building a Methodist Chapel in 1874, and he lost £200 in building Cae’rblaidd, Festiniog, and several other sums of money in building chapels. He had also lost £254 5s 5d through the failure of persons he had been surety for. The examination was adjourned in order that the debtor might file some further accounts.
  • 1887 – Member of the old Sanitary Committee and the Rural Sanitary Authority and of the old Local Board from its establishment until it became merged in the present Urban District Council
  • 1889 – Elected as a Conservative member of the Merioneth County Council
  • 1889 – Appointed the same year chairman of the Finance Committee of the County Council
  • 1891 – Appointed a member of the Joint Committee under the Welsh Intermediate Education Act
  • 3rd July 1891 – The North Wales Express: MERIONETH JOINT EDUCATION COMMITTEE –  It is rumoured that the vacant seat on the above committee occasioned by the resignation of Capt. Massie Taylor, through illness, has been offered by Lord Cranbrook to Mr W. Davies, J.P., Cae’r Blaidd, Festiniog. Mr Davies is already fulfilling the duties of important offices of honour in the town and county, and his ability, as well as his devotion to educational matters, cannot fail to recommend him as one of the most qualified gentlemen in the county to fulfil the duties of the Appointment.
  • 1892 January – Brother – Dr John Davies dies in London, aged 56. Surgeon Major in Indian Army for  20 years
  • Carnarvon & Denbigh Herald & North & South Wales Independent  22nd January 1892: DEATH OF DR J. DAVIES. The death of Dr J. Davies, brother of Mr W. Davies, Cae’r- blaidd, took place at his residence, in London, on Thursday, last week. Dr Davies, when at Cae’rblaidd, in his younger days, was very well known and much respected, as is indeed all the family. He was for many years in India where he was eminently successful in his professional career. On his return from India, he settled in London. His remains were brought by train to Festiniog on Monday last for interment at the old parish churchyard. The funeral was postponed from Saturday to Monday, owing to the great snow-drift that blocked the railway at Arenig, and the funeral escort had to return to Bala and take a much more circuitous route in order to reach Festiniog by noon on Monday. Much sympathy is felt with Mr W. Davies, who is himself not in very good health at present.
  • 1892 23rd January – Wife – Elizabeth Anne (Robinson) – dies aged 61
  • Cambrian News & Merioneth Standard   29th January 1892  Page 8: DEATH OF MRS DAVIES,CAERBLAIDD. The death of Mrs Davies, wife of Mr W. Davies, J.P., Caerblaidd took place on Saturday morning, after a brief illness. Mrs Davies was well known to all the inhabitants of the surrounding district as a kindhearted and genial lady and her death will be much regretted by a large circle of friends and especially by the poor and needy  whom she was always ready and willing to assist in their afflictions. Much sympathy is expressed at the mournful news inasmuch as Mr Davies is laid up himself with an illness, and lately lost his only surviving brother, Dr Davies. The funeral took place on Tuesday, at St. Michael’s Churchyard, when the Revs D. P. Price rector and A. Davies. curate, officiated. The funeral was private from Caerblaidd to the main road where it was joined by a large throng of work- men and others who accompanied it to the burial ground.
  • 1892 – Purchased Diphwys Casson Quarry in partnership with Mr G H Ellis JP of Pen y Mount for £3,000 and the workmens’ cottages for £430.
  • 1897 July – “The next lot offered was Bronyfrel and Tyddyn Bach estate which included a valuable slate quarry (undeveloped) and the right of pasturage for four hundred sheep. Mr William Davies, Caerblaidd, was the purchaser for the sum of £ 1,250, Hafod Fawr, situate in the parish of Maentwrog, and containing 143a. Or. 26p. with the right of pasturage for one hundred and forty sheep was also sold to Mr William Davies, Caerblaidd, for £ 1,150”
  • 1897 – Invested at Blaenau Ffestiniog Eisteddfod
  • 1897 – Had been a member of the Festiniog Local Board for twelve years
  • 1897 – 16th December – Marries 28 year old Esther Chambers
  • Cambrian News & Merioneth Standard  7th January 1898 Page 5: FESTINIOG. MARRIAGE REJOICINGS. On Thursday the town of Blaenau Festiniog and the village of Festiniog were decorated with bunting and evergreen arches to celebrate the return of Mr and Mrs Davies of Caerblaidd from their honeymoon. On the square opposite the Pengwern a Platform had been erected, from which Isallt (Dr R. Roberts) and Mr D. Hughes, chairmen of the Joint Committees, delivered speeches expressing the good feelings of the inhabitants generally towards the happy pair. Mr Davies, in the open carriage, acknowledged the kind sentiments expressed on behalf of his neighbours in suitable terms. He said that he had lived amongst them all his life and had had the honour of serving his native place in the capacities of vestry clerk, guardian, district councillor, county councillor, a member of the School Board, and a magistrate, but all the distinctions gained by him in these connections were nothing to compare with the feelings shown towards him and his wife on their return home. General rejoicings followed.
  • 1898 – Appointed Vice President of the National Eisteddfod of Wales, held that year at Blaenau Festiniog
  • 1902 – Attended the Ceremony in Blaenau Ffestiniog for the inauguration of the Electric supply, including the meal served at the Queens Hotel.
  • 30th May 1902  – Cambrian News: ELECTRICITY AT BLAENAU FESTINIOG. PUBLIC SUPPLY OPENED BY LORD NEWBOROUGHThe menu, which was excellently catered and served by Mr Griffith Owen, the licensee of the Queen’s Hotel, was as follows : Kidney. FISH. Salmon. ENTREE. Sweetbreads. JOINTS. Roast Lamb. Boiled Beef. Ducklings Spring Chickens. VEGETABLES. Asparagus. Green Peas. New Potatoes. Spring Cabbage. Turnips. SWEETS. Coronation Pudding. Trifle. Jellies. SAVOURY. Welsh Rarebit. DESSERT. Cigars. Coffee. Cigarettes
  • 1902 – Cambrian News 25th July 1902: BLAENAU FESTINIOG. THE NEW FIRE APPLIANCES. The new fire engine and appliances were tested on Thursday night, the operations being witnessed by a large crowd. Mr Moss of the firm of Messrs Shaw and Mason and Co., the makers, superintended the tests. The hose was first played on the Queen’s Hotel, large volumes of water being thrown on every part of the building and over the roof. Similar tests were carried out at Caer- blaidd Farmhouse and at Llan, and proved the engine to be quite adequate for the needs of the town.
  • 1903 – William dies
Davies Family Plot - St Michael's Churchyard
Davies Family Plot – St Michael’s Churchyard

In addition he held the following posts (dates uncertain)

Choirmaster of St Michael’s Church

Secretary to the Rhiwbach Slate Company

Secretary to the Festiniog & Blaenau Narrow Gauge Railway Company

Sole Agent for North Wales for Bass & Co

Appointed one of the Directors of the Festiniog Gas Works

Member of the Board of Guardians

Held office of Churchwarden for several years

He was a Freemason, being initiated at the Aberystwyth Lodge.

Agent for the Pengwern Estate

3rd March 1871
3rd March 1871
Eisteddfod Programme featuring William Davies
National Eisteddfod 1898
National Eisteddfod 1898
Merioneth County Council
  Merioneth County Council
Plan of Eisteddfod Show Area in Blaenau Ffestiniog

Robert Walker Davies J.P. (son) 1862- 24th March 1927

Educated at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge BA Hons. 1884

1887   FESTINIOG. At the recent examination held by the Incorporated Law Society of the United Kingdom we find the name  of Mr R. Walker Davies of Caerblaidd, Festiniog, as having passed his final examination, educated at the Liverpool College, he graduated B. A., with classical honours at Cambridge in 1884 and was articled to Messrs Bateson Bright and Warr of Liverpool.
Cambrian News & Meirionethshire Standard   8th July 1887 Page 8

1898     18th November  Appointment. Mr R. Walker Davies, Caerblaidd, was appointed governor of the University College of North Wales

1899     Co-proprietor and manager of Diffwys Quarry

1901     Solicitor to the Council

1901-1907  Intermediate School Manager

1902   Cambrian News  14th November

COUNTY SCHOOL.-A meeting of the Managers was held last week to make arrangements for the annual distribution of prizes. The sum of £7 10s was voted. It was reported that Mr Walker Davies had presented the school library with the whole of Dickens’ works, and a vote of thanks was passed. Mr J Parry Jones, J.P., presided,
1903   The Cardigan Bay Visitor  11th July 1903
 ACCIDENT TO MR WALKER DAVIES.-News has been received of an accident to Mr R Walker Davies, solicitor, who is touring in Switzerland. Mr Davies was ascending to his bedroom at an hotel at Bonn, when the bedroom door suddenly banging to, caught him in the face, smashing his eye glasses and causing a piece of glass to pierce the eye. It is not known whether Mr Davies will lose the use of his eye. The whole district sympathise deeply with Mr Davies in his misfortune and hope that the accident will not have this dire result.
1903   Cambrian News  17th July 1903
PERSONAL. It is gratifying to learn that the accident which befell Mr Walker Davies, solicitor, in Switzerland is not as serious as was apprehended at the outset. He is returning home in the course of a few days.
Robert Walker Davies J.P.
Robert Walker Davies J.P.

THE CLERKSHlP. Mr Walker Davies, writing from Switzerland in reply to the Council’s offer of the clerkship to him, conveyed to he Council his cordial thanks for their courtesy and their confidence. He greatly appreciated their kindness and consideration, and he much regretted that he could not accept the offer. He was not inclined to take upfresh and additional work even if he had been in good health, but after the serious injury to the eye, he would have to abstain from much reading and writing for many weeks, if not months, so that he could not think of undertaking any new burden of work just now. A letter was also received from Mr Wm. Davies, Cae’rblaidd, who is in Llandudno, acknowledging the vote of sympathy passed with his son, Mr Walker Davies, in his accident, and with the writer in the receipt of the distressing news. It was stated that the clerkship had been, advertised and it was decided that a sub-committee should deal with certain details pertaining to the matter.

Cardigan Bay Visitor. 29th August 1903

1906     March. Recovering from Pneumonia

1906  Cambrian News  11th May    Church Choral Festival Barmouth
  Miss Richards presided at the organ and was ably assisted by Mr Walker Davies, Festiniog, whose organ renderings are always strikingly artistic and effective.

1906   August.  Chairman Intermediate School Managers

1907   The Aberystwith Observer   3rd October  

UNIVERSITY REPRESENTATIVES. Mr J. Maethlon James, Towyn, and Mr Walker Davies, Ffestiniog, were appointed representatives on the Court of Governors of the University College of Wales. 

1907   Cambrian News  15th November

FESTINIOG An Important Movement. A well supported movement is on foot to develop Festiniog as a holiday resort. With its pure and bracing air blended with mountain and sea breezes and with its excellent sewerage system and water supply, its sporting golf links, its capital fishing and its superb natural attractions, such development should not be difficult provided the financial problem is overcome. Among those who are warmly interesting themselves in the movement are Lord New- borough, Mr G H Ellis, Pen-y-mount, ex- high sheriff for Merioneth, Mr R Bowton, Mr R Walker Davies, and Mr Robert Roberts, Plasmeini. A committee has been formed of all the leading residents wit;) Mr Roberts, Plasmeini, as chairman. Thomas Jones, N and S Wales Bank, as treasurer, and with Mr Gwilym Evans, Pengwern villa, as an energetic and enthusiastic secretary. A considerable amount of subscriptions and many orders for advertisements have been secured for the illustrated guide which it is proposed bringing out in the next few months. A lecture is to be given shortly in support of the movement by the Rev J Gwynoro Davies of Barmouth.

1908   March.  Re-elected Vice President of Blaenau Festiniog Nursing Association

1909   Cambrian News 5th November

WANTED, on or about 13th November, Kitchenmaid. with knowledge of dairy work must  be experienced.  Apply stating experience and wages required, to Mrs Henscoe, Caerblaidd, Festiniog North Wales
Mrs Hensco the Housekeeper
Mrs Hensco the Housekeeper

1910   Cambrian News  27th May

 FOR SALE. Landau and Dog Cart (both by A Morgan and Co. and in good condition.) apply, R Walker Davies, Caerblaidd, Festiniog.

1910   Elected President of Festiniog Nursing Association

1910    Horticultural Show   Cambrian News  2nd September 1910
Dessert apples: 1. R Walker Davies, Caerblaidd; 2. T. Roberts, Maentwrog. Cucumbers: R. W Davies, Home-grown tomatoes: R W Davies. 

1915   January 13   Letter now held by National Library of Wales

Letter from R. Walker Davies, Caerblaidd, Ffestiniog, to Jones, H. Haydn (Henry Haydn), Sir, 1863-1950. Gives permission to use his father [W. Davies]’s tune, ‘Caerblaidd’.
1919    August. President of the Blaenau YMCA

1927    Dies aged 65

1931    17th January Tamworth Herald

            The Organ is a modern one and was the property of Mr Walker Davies of Caer Blaidd Hall, Blaenau Ffestiniog, an eminent Welsh musician. It was built for his own personal use, regardless of expense.

William Davies (Junior) born 1873

1886-1891   Attended Rugby School

1895  13th July  awarded BA Hons. Oxford

1897     April. Qualified as magistrate for the County of Merioneth

1899   marries Kathleen Newman

1899   Welsh Gazette & West Wales Advertiser  17th August 1899

PRESENTATION. Mr. W. Davies (junior), Cae’r-blaidd, was the recipient of a handsome present on the occasion of his marriage from the workmen at the Diffwys Quarry the other day. The presentation consisted of a massive silver tea service. Mr. Davies, who is co-proprietor and manager of the Quarry, is very popular, and is held in high esteem by the men.

After the death of Robert Walker Davies in 1927, details of the ownership of Cae’r Blaidd are rather sketchy. Evan Tudor and sons, Timber merchants of Trawsfynydd, sold Cae’r Blaidd to Percivale Clarke, an architect, who in turn sold it in October of the same year, 1938, to the Youth Hostelling Association.

According to the YHA history, they had in fact used Bryn Llewelyn Cottage as a hostel for just a year. (This means that two of William Davies’ houses were used as Youth Hostels)

Bryn Llewelyn Cottage 1901
Bryn Llewelyn Cottage 1901
FESTINIOG [Bryn Llewelyn Cottage] 1937 to 1937 or 1938. 135 Bryn Llewelyn Cottage, Llan F(f)estiniog, Merioneth. Historic County: Merionethshire YHA Region: MER GR: SH 696419*[GD] ▲Opened 1/5/1937 (4/1937 in MERar37). The hostel was just outside the village on the Maentwrog road. It adjoined [GD] the Home of St Francis, whose warden Mr G Penrhyn Jones, would also be the warden of the new hostel [SYHCN 1937]. ✚Closed 1937 or early 1938 and replaced by Ffestiniog (Caerblaidd). Handbook 1937. Property tenure: Property profile: the Home of St Francis has been a nursing home in recent years [GD]. Closure was approved in 2009, but the home was still operating in 2011. Recollections and observations: February 9th-10th 1935: First went to see an old school at Ffestiniog belonging to ‘the Home of St Francis’. At this time a schoolmaster was living there, so we could not see over it properly and we turned it down, but later on, eventually we got it as a hostel… … 20th-21st March 1937: On Sunday we went to Ffestiniog and had a long talk with Captain Penryn Jones of the Home of St Francis. We had finally taken the cottage here and we made all the arrangements with him. We had dinner at the Home and then went sown to the cottage and had a cup of tea there whilst we talked things over. He was a very interesting man to talk to [Berta Gough diary].

A series of photos to mark the opening of Cae’r Blaidd, the new hostel, were produced in 1938.

Front of House
Front of House
View over the Moelwyn
View over the Moelwyn
House approach
House approach
Dining Room
Dining Room

Common RoomCommon Room

Over the following 57 years operating as a Youth Hostel, many thousands of adults and children stayed in Cae’r Blaidd. The following are just a small selection of visits recorded on the web.

YHA Log Book
YHA Log Book

The Ffestiniog Log. Compiled by Kathleen M Austin. Illustrated by John R S Craigie. Published by Merseyside Youth Hostels Ltd. 1947. One shilling & threepence.

Sprowston Secondary Modern School

Holiday to North Wales at Ffestiniog.
Saturday July 28th – Saturday August 4th 1951.
The children met at Thorpe Station to get the train to Liverpool Street, London. Euston Station, London to Llandudno Junction. Llandudno to Blaenau Festiniog. Blaenau Festiniog was only a short distance from the Youth Hostel, Caerblaidd, Festiniog, Merioneth, North Wales.
Instructions for the trip. The children were required to take their Identity Card, Ration Book and Medical card. In their travel case, they will need complete change of clothing, and warm cardigan for the journey. Handkerchiefs, Mackintosh, good strong walking boots and sandals or gym shoes. A Bathing Costume, Two towels (1for toilet and 1 for bathing), also Toilet equipment. Nightwear, knife, fork and dessert spoon. Notebook and pencil and a small card game.
You must bring with you Friendliness, Courtesy and a desire to make this holiday a happy one for all.
Schoolchildren in the party?
Sheila Austin, M. Bellamy, P. Burrows, John Clarke, R. P Copping, Jean Cummings, Peter Dodds, Judith M. Drake, Anita Goddard, R. Groom, J. Holmes, Cyril Howard, R. D Long, J. R. Read, Janet Sands, M. Spinks, Jill S. Taylor, A. White-Miller, G. Woods. Interesting places the schoolchildren visited were:-
Ffestiniog, a famous holiday centre with fishing, walking and the beautiful scenery. Blaenau Festiniog, well known for its Slate Quarries. Beddggelert, picturesque village; the home of the legend Prince Llewellyn and his dog Gelert.
Caernarvon, old Welsh sea port on the Menei Straits, it has a famous 13th century Castle. Menei Straits, the narrow stretch of water between the Isle of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales. Bangor, a sea port on the Straits, also a famous cathedral and University town. Bettws y Coed, a famous beauty spot of North Wales, The Swallow Falls. Portmadoc, a sea port and seaside resort.
Itinerary. Saturday we travel. Sunday we go to church in the morning, Rhaiadr y Cwm Falls for lunch, and then our first walk! Monday we walk to Bla. Ffestiniog and visit the Slate Quarry – walking! Tuesday we have a bus tour – Aberglaslyn to Beddgelert – Caernarvon – Bangor – Bethesda – Bettws y Coed – Youth Hostel. Wednesday we visit a woollen Mill and mountain lake. Thursday a visit to Portmadoc- fishing and swimming. Friday a visit to Barmouth and the Rhayndreddo Falls. Saturday 4th August 1951 we return home.
Cae'r Blaidd Youth Hostel
Cae’r Blaidd Youth Hostel
Bathing in the Gorge
Bathing in the Gorge
Visit to the Woollen Mill
Visit to the Woollen Mill
With the Coach Driver
With the Coach Driver

North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways – 1964 

By Paul Plowman

Monday 6 July 1964

Train to Minffordd
Travel on Festiniog Railway
Walk to hostel
Night at Festiniog YH

Time was now getting on and I made my way on foot to Llan Ffestiniog youth hostel. After a long up hill walk all I needed was a little Hitler of a warden. This guy was not going to let me in without my membership card even though I had booked in advance with a YHA pre-paid voucher. He was adamant he was not going to accept the handwritten membership card given to me by the warden at Newtown. He was about to give me back my voucher and throw me out when I asked by chance, was there any post for me? Thank goodness the warden at Newtown had lived up to his promise and there was an envelope addressed to me with my lost membership card in it.

The Ffestiniog youth hostel was a large country house with a room set aside as a members’ lounge. On the wall in the lounge was a large Ordnance Survey map of Snowdonia covering Portmadoc right up to Carnarvon. It was while perusing this map that I first became aware of the existence of the abandoned track bed of the Welsh Highland Railway. Unfortunately my holiday was booked in advance and there was no possibility of changing my plans to explore the route. Anyway I was still to explore the Festiniog Railway.

Tuesday 7 July 1964

Wet day
Walk to Bleaneau Ffestiniog & follow route of railway to Tan-y-bwlch
Come back by bus
Night at Festiniog YH

Wednesday 8 July 1964

Walk to Tan-y-bwlch
Go down to Portmadoc by train
Return by train and bus
Night at Festiniog YH

CaerBlaidd Postcard 1965
     CaerBlaidd Postcard 1965

Youth Hostel mid 70's
          Youth Hostel mid 60’s

South Dartmoor CTC  Junior Tour August 1985

Outside Common Room
        Outside Common Room
Sunday 25 August 1985Junior tour: Snowdonia National Park Day 4 Pen-y-Pas to Ffestiniog (18 mi)Probably wet
9 present: Andrew Billington (Junior, Bovey Tracey), Chris Hall (12, Preston), Jonathan Israel (14, London), Michael Jones, David Parry (14, Wellesbourne), Stephen Parry (11, Wellesbourne), Jeremy Paul (15, London), Rebecca Small (15, London), Paul Williams (14, Wellesbourne)
Today we probably rode to Ffestiniog hostel via Capel Curig, keeping us within the Snowdonia national park. No doubt the poor weather was the reason for the total absence of photos today.

Work on the roof
Work on the roof

Bay Window
Bay Window