The University of Cardiff had asked me to track down the famous 19th century Welsh poet and cultural leader, William Williams (born 6 March 1808.) He is better known by his bardic name of Y Carw Coch (The Red Stag).
Williams was suppose to be living in the area of Aberdare. Unfortunately, Williams is a man on the go. I finally tracked him down to his establishment on Harriet Street in Trecynon. He built the Stag Inn himself in 1837. The pub serves not only as a means of income, but as a meeting place for the Cymreigyddion y Carw Coch, a society he founded in 1841 that dedicates itself to promoting Welsh literature and music. The society held it’s first eisteddfod (arts festival) at the Stag Inn that same year. The tradition continues and has helped establish Aberdare as a cultural centre in Wales.
Williams is also one of the founders of the local Welsh newspaper Y Gwladgarwr (1857-83.) He is involved in local politics and can get into heated arguments on the subject, although he does not condone violent solutions. He is a leading member of his Unitarian Church who share his peaceful views. His life seems to revolve around making a better community in Aberdare. It is men like this who are turning Aberdare from a typical dirty industrial city into a pleasant community.
I let him talk about his life. He wasn’t so much bragging as trying to get others to follow his example and get involved in the cultural and political life of Aberdare.
Fortunately for the community, William Williams has another eleven years in this world. He will live to be 64. Aberdare will sorely miss him. Some of Williams articles, prose and verse, will be collected in a volume, Carw Coch, to be published in 1908.
It was a privilege to meet the fellow, even if I did have a time running him down.