Wednesday, September 02, 2015

A tale of sorrow while walking up Moel Famau - the "Hill of Mothers"

Two weeks ago, I went on a holiday walk from the North Wales market town of Ruthin to the top of the nearby Clwydian hill range, Moel Famau, and then back down to Ruthin. At the summit is the remains of a monument to the 50th Jubilee of King George the Third, which was destroyed by lightening shortly after it was built.

This is a beautiful walk in good weather and while demanding is not that difficult.  I did not have a map which was stupid but I had spent a good part of my youth walking up and down the range and was fairly confident that I could find my way.

On the way up I came across by chance the ruined medieval Church of Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd or “the church St Peter in the Vale of Clwyd”. It is an amazing place away from the main village and the new 19th Century church of St Peter. The first mention of it in historical records was 1254.

This is a romantic ruin with a wooden bench sited in front overlooking the lovely Clwyd vale with the wonderful inscription on it "To the last of the summer wine" but in the abandoned graveyard, there is also a stone (see bottom right of collage) with the inscription "In memory of Seven Children of H & G Evans, Cae Nant" and then the initials of each child. There is no date nor further information but the old church has not been used for burials since 1905.

How unspeakably horrible to lose 7 children.  Its a reminder how people often romanticise the past and forget what a struggle it was to live and bring up a family during those times.

Despite this melancholy sight I would still recommend you walk up the abandoned footpath to this ancient church and then onto the glorious and windswept views at the top of the "Hill of Mothers", Moel Famau.  Then walk down amongst heather, ferns and sheep along the bottom ridge paths back to Llanbedr then Ruthin.
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