Porth Trefadog, Llanfaethlu

button-theme-crimebutton-theme-womenPorth Trefadog, Llanfaethlu

This section of coastline was the scene of many a drama, as in 1847 when a Dutch cargo ship beached here while taking rock salt from Liverpool to the Netherlands. A gale had torn the sails to shreds and the ship’s lifeboat was lost. One sailor was lost overboard, and the captain was severely injured by the tiller.

Old postcard showing Porth TrefadogFive years later a gale drove a steamer ashore. Trefadog locals rushed out in small boats to help. All passengers and crew were rescued, although the cargo of cattle and pigs was lost.

Llanfaethlu residents avoided circuitous road journeys by using the ferry route from Trefadog to Holyhead, where a pub was named the Trefadog Ferry Inn. Ferry boats continued after the Stanley Embankment improved road connections to Holyhead in 1823. In October 1854 two locals missed the boat back from Holyhead and hired a small boat with two crew. Nearing Trefadog, three were flung overboard by a sudden wave, soon followed by crewman David Hughes. All four drowned, despite Trefadog men bravely rowing out to the spot after noticing the trouble. David’s was the only body recovered.

Trefadog, the large farmhouse by the bay, was rebuilt in the 18th century, incorporating a medieval cruck-framed hall house. In 1909 its occupant, Catherine Owen, was the subject of the newspaper headline Two Thousand Love Letters. She and Dr John Thomas Price of Pen yr Orsedd, Llanfaethlu, were childhood friends and got engaged in 1902. Catherine ran the 165-acre farm while John moved away to establish his career as a doctor before marrying her.

He wrote “the most endearing letters, never failing to assure his fiancée of his love”. In October 1908 he declared he hoped to marry his “dearest Kitty” next summer, but two months later he told Catherine, aged 31: “I am afraid that, to be candid with you, I don’t love you.”

He demanded the return of her engagement ring, explaining: “We are all apt to change, and I have changed.” He soon married Jenny Evans, 19, daughter of a doctor whose practice he had purchased. Catherine took a “breach of promise” action to court, where the sheriff said her engagement lasted through her “marriageable years” and she was “not worth so much today in the matrimonial market”. Dr Price had to pay her £500 damages – over £60,000 in today’s money.

With thanks to Dr Hazel Pierce, of The History House

Postcode: LL65 4PE    View Location Map

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