Former home of musician Dilys W Williams, Caernarfon

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Link to Welsh translationFormer home of musician Dilys W Williams, Caernarfon

This house was once the home of Dilys Wynne Williams, who achieved national recognition as a choral conductor in an era when women had fewer opportunities than men.

Dilys studied music at Aberystwyth University. Her father was from Caernarfon, and it was there that she met her husband Humphrey Williams. In 1934 they settled in the town, where they lived for over 30 years. She taught music in Caernarfon Grammar School. The couple had a son, Wyn, who became a teacher in Cheshire.

Dilys was organist of Caersalem Baptist chapel, where she was also a precentor. She formed a ladies’ choir which achieved the first of its many National Eisteddfod competition victories when the festival was held at Fishguard in 1936.

Later she formed the Caernarfon Choral Society for mixed voices (male and female). This choir was successful on stage and as a recording choir. Once a year it performed an oratorio such as Handel’s Messiah with well-known soloists at Moreia chapel. In 1953 the choir sang at Caernarfon Castle for the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth, to whom Dilys was presented.

When the National Eisteddfod was held at Caernarfon in 1959, Dilys became the first woman ever to conduct the Eisteddfod Choir. Two years later, when the Eisteddfod was at Rhos, Wrexham, she scored a remarkable hat trick: her ladies’ choir, mixed choir and newly formed youth choir all won first prize in their choral categories. She was honoured by the Gorsedd of the Bards for her contribution to music in Wales.

Dilys was the music director of the farewell concert at the Caernarfon Pavilion before it was demolished in 1961. She died in 1971, aged 65, and was buried with her husband in Llanbeblig cemetery.

With thanks to Magi Roberts, of Caernarfon Civic Society

Postcode: LL55 1EH    View Location Map