Twm o’r Nant's former home, Denbigh
The renowned Welsh-language poet and dramatist Twm o’r Nant lived here in the 18th century. The building, Alafowlia House, is now home to Con Amici restaurant but was previously a farmhouse.
Alafowlia comes from “ale fowlio”, a Welsh translation of “bowling alley”. It’s likely that parishioners used to gather in the vicinity to play ninepins (skittles). They called the game “Chwarae Ceilys”.
In his autobiography, Twm o’r Nant wrote that he and his family went to live in 1765 in a place below Denbigh called the “Ale Fowlio”. A legal document from 1824 confirms the location of “the old bowling green” as being “bounded on the north by the high road to St Asaph and Mold”.
Thomas Edwards (1739-1810), who used the pen name Twm o’r Nant, was born at Llanefydd and brought up in Nantglyn, near Denbigh. His pen name means “Tom of Nant(glyn)”. In 1763 he married Elizabeth Hughes of Llanfair Talhaearn and they made their home in Denbigh. He worked as a haulier of timber until he ran up debts, when he turned to writing and acting in interludes.
An interlude was a satirical play in verse, performed by a men on an improvised stage such as a cart. The audience would pay a penny to watch. Copies of popular interludes would be printed and sold.
Whereas many writers in history had other jobs to pay the bills, Twm o’r Nant worked at various times as a haulier, farmer, innkeeper and a stone mason whenever his finances were stable and turned to interludes in hard times. Eight of his interludes have survived and are regarded as the finest of the genre. About 350 of his poems survive. Many of his verses were quoted from memory by Welsh speakers for generations.
Daniel Owen (1836-1895), the first major Welsh-language novelist, was related to Twm o’r Nant through his mother.
With thanks to Bobi Owen
Postcode: LL16 3DS