Nantlle Valley History



Remembering Kate Roberts ~ April 2005

The Society which aims to create a museum to remember one of the chief writers of Wales has received a considerable boost in the form of £76,000 from the National Assembly.

Dr. Kate Roberts The Friends of Cae’r Gors are eager to develop a centre to honour Dr Kate Roberts the home where she was raised - Cae'r Gors, Rhosgadfan.

Image: Dr. Kate Roberts.

Money was released by the Assembly from a special fund to assist communities affected and influenced by the quarries.

The organisers of the Society are trying to persuade the Heritage Lottery Fund to make a substantial contribution to the venture. The sum of £75,907 which was received from the Welsh Assembly Government is substantial contribution towards turning of the ruin of Cae’r Gors into a museum, some 20 years after the author’s death.

Dr Kate wrote novels and short stories which were based on the quarrying area of Rhostryfan and Rhosgadfan near Caernarfon. 'Tê yn y Grug', 'Traed Mewn Cyffion' and 'Lôn Wen' feature prominently among her works.

The Aim

“The aim is to restore Cae’r Gors cottage, to renovate and furnish it as it was in Kate Robert’s time – that someone might be able to step back some 100 years and experience the way of life in that period.” said Sharon Owen, Development Officer for Cae’r Gors.

“There will be an additional room, not only to interpret Kate Roberts’ literary works, but also to interpret the historical and environmental wealth of the surrounding area.

Cae'r Gors - The home of Kate Roberts in Rhosgadfan Image: Cae'r Gors cottage as it is today.

The Friends of Cae’r Gors hope to open next year and attract 3,000 visitors a year to the Centre including schools, literary societies and historical societies,” Said Sharon Owen.

“ It’s also important that local people can hire the new seminar building on the site,” she added, “ and this is a part of the plan to become aware of the amazing richness of the area. During her long life, Kate Roberts succeeded, not only to write literature of the highest grade but she noted in her own peerless style comprehensive details of a way of life which is now long gone a time of great poverty but a time of neighbourliness when everyone could depend on each other in their smallholdings and quarry villages. Kate Roberts was also owner of the weekly paper “Y Faner” in Denbigh, and her penetrating observations on contemporary matters which were published in that paper are gems, even today.”

But Cae’r Gors will not be restricted to Kate Roberts: great emphasis will be on interpreting the life of the quarrymen and on the works of other authors and famous people of the area and on the environment and the natural world.

The most prominent quarryman was Griffith Davies who left the quarry at eighteen years of age to go to London to learn English. He was an excellent mathematician and soon he established a school of his own. It was he who correctly calculated the stresses for the Menai Bridge for Thomas Telford when he had failed to do so himself. But his greatest speciality for Rhosgadfan was the contribution he made during the enclosure of the common land. When the local quarrymen realised that large landowners had taken possession of the common land, Griffith Davies was contacted in London without delay. With the help of his friends in the House of Lords, a measure passed through Parliament to ensure that the smallholders retained their rights. These continue to this day.

The Chairman of The Friends of Cae’r Gors

Dewi Jones, chairman of The Friends of Cae’r Gors is very pleased to accept this contribution.

“This is contribution is both timely and acceptable since the application to the Lottery will be presented at the end of the week.”

“It’s said that £900,000 is needed and we will be seeking at least 10%, that is to say £90,000 and there is a promise of £660,000 from the Lottery.

“We are hopeful as we have received two grants from them already and their staff have been here already to see the site.

“Considering that less than half the costs will go to restoring the structure of Cae’r Gors and the rest will go to repair and maintenance and wages for five years, it’s very reasonable.

Although Dr. Kate lived longest in Denbigh, her literary works are based in the quarrying districts of Arfon.

She died in Denbigh in April 1985 at the age of 94.

With thanks to the BBC for the story in Cymru'r Byd External link: Opens in a new window
on 25t April 2005 which was used to prepare these details


Cae'r Gors has now opened as a visitor centre and is well worth a visit.

Please see External link: Opens in a new window for full details of opening times, admission costs and more...

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