She is first heard of in the Nantlle Vale, Caernarfonshire (W. R. Ambrose, Hynafiaethau Nant Nantlle, 59), as the keeper of Telyrniau tavern, Gelli, in the heyday of the Drws-y-coed copper-workings in the mid-18th century; we are told that she could make a fiddle and a harp, and play upon either while her customers danced. Afterwards she moved to Penllyn at the foot of lake Padarn (Llanberis); there, she ferried the copper-ore from the foot of Snowdon to Penllyn. Thomas Pennant visited her house in 1786, but she was not at home. Pennant (Tours in Wales, 1883 edn., ii, 320-1) recounts marvellous tales about her. She kept, says he, a dozen hounds or more, and could catch more foxes in a year than the hunts could catch in ten; she knew old airs and played them on the fiddle; she was a good carpenter and built her own boats; she was a smith, and shod her own horses; and she was a shoemaker. At 70, she could throw any other wrestler. Pennant ends with: ‘finally, she gave her hand to the most effeminate of her admirers.’ W. J. Gruffydd (Hen Atgofion, 88), on traditional evidence in his family, states that the bridegroom was one Richard Morris, and that Margaret had given him two fearful bastings — after the first, he married her, and after the second he became a Methodist, indeed, ‘one of the chief leaders of Methodism in the parish.’ But Ambrose (loc. cit.) gives this hero's name as William Richards. Ambrose says, too, that she died in 1788, aged 92. But according to the Cambrian Travellers Guide (quoted in Hobley, Hanes Meth. Arfon, iv, 22), she died in 1801, aged 105 — it will be noted that both accounts agree (and agree with Pennant) on the year of her birth.
Published date: 1959
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