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Two sunny days and a light breeze please

In the 1700s if you wanted to be sure of some good weather for the weekend, there were people from whom you could buy it! And according to some new research, Barry was full of them.

Most people back then, sailors and sea farers in particular, were extremely superstitious. This played into the hands of a small group of people who you might either call ‘enterprising’ or ‘unscrupulous’ depending on your own moral compass.

They would ‘sell’ weather and I have found records of three such people who operated in the Barry and eastern Vale area in the eighteenth century. 

The first was called ‘Modryb Sina’ (which means Aunty Sina). She lived somewhere in the parish of Cadoxton. If you sailed out of Lavernock or Sully, for a fee, she would sell you ‘a fair wind’. Enough to fill your sails and give your vessel speed on the waves, but not enough to put you in danger. It seems that she peddled her wares for over 20 years so she must have been good.

But she obviously was not quite as good as another chap who lived on Barry Island called ‘Ewythr Dewi’ (or Uncle David). He not only sold weather to local sailors but was known to travel as far a field as Swansea as his ‘fair weather’ was in such demand. His reputation for doing a good line in weather was impeccable amongst the superstitious sailors of the Welsh ports on the Bristol Channel. 

Both of these people lived and worked in Welsh speaking parts of the Vale, and therefore catered for Welsh speaking sailors. But what if you were an English speaking sailor? Have no fear, you were catered for by another local man going by the name of ‘Bill O’Breaksea’ who offered a similar service in Aberthaw (which was an English speaking part of the Vale). However, we cannot be sure when he operated as records of him are more sketchy. Chances are it was around the same point in history or slightly earlier, when Aberthaw was having its boom years, trading with the merchants of Minehead and providing the people of Bristol with their supply of butter.

There is also folklore of wives who had grown weary of drunken, slothful or abusive husbands going to these people to pay for a good storm the next time they put to sea. To rid themselves of them once and for all. Probably cheaper than a divorce. Like I said, depending on your moral compass.

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400 years before Gavin & Stacey

What was Barry like in the 1500s and 1600s?

A must watch for history buffs in Barry and surrounding areas in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

I gave this talk to the children of Romilly Primary School in Barry on 3rd February. They are learning about the Tudor period in history so I thought I would bring it home to Barry for them.

I cover:

▶️What Barry was like in the Tudor period

▶️What was so different back then

▶️What it was like being a child growing up in the sixteenth and seventeenth century

▶️What children did for fun, 

▶️where they lived, 

▶️what they ate

▶️I use John Speeds ‘Map of Glamorganshire’ and John Leland’s ‘Itinerary in Wales’ as sources

▶️I discuss the mystery of the disappearing castle at Porthkerry

And they asked lots of questions!

Great to share this video with your kids if they are local and learning about this era in history. 

Sound quality isn’t the best as it was recorded in an echoy classroom. If you struggle with it, click the CC button for subtitles.

Click this link to watch the video on YouTube: