June 01, 2021 3 min read

What does Cofiwch Dryweryn mean in English?

Cofiwch Dryweryn means “Remember Tryweryn” in English and it refers to the drowning of a village near to Bala in north Wales. The village was Capel Celyn and it was drowned to provide water for Liverpool.

Background

In 1956, Liverpool City Council presented a private bill to the Parliament in Westminster, England. The aim of the Bill was to develop a water reservoir in the Tryweryn river valley. This would include the flooding of a village, Capel Celyn. Due to the Act of Parliament, Liverpool City Council would not require planning consent from the local Welsh authorities and proceeded with their plans without any Welsh consultations or approvals.

Opposition in Wales was considerable. Many considered the flooding as an attack on the Welsh language and culture, given that Capel Celyn was one of the last remaining exclusively Welsh-speaking communities in the country. All Welsh Members of Parliament (35 out of 36, the other didn’t vote) and the villagers waged an 8 year campaign to try and stop the flooding.

The opposition to the proposals was fierce but the valley was flooded in 1965 to create Llyn Celyn. The village, the post office and chapel with a cemetery were all lost underwater. Twelve houses and farms were also submerged and 48 people out of the 67 who were living in the Valley lost their homes.

It is arguably an event marked as one of the most significant in Welsh History and as a symbol of the sometimes strained Welsh-English relationship.

Llyn Celyn, the dammed reservoir, was officially opened on 21st October 1965.

Cofiwch Dryweryn Wall Memorial

The Memorial is painted on a wall just outside the village of Llanrhystud.

In 1963 a Welsh author and scholar, Meic Stephens and his friend Rodric Evans decided to paint a slogan in response to the flooding of Capel Celyn. On an disused ruined cottage, Troed y Rhiw (Bottom of the Hill) painted the words "Cofiwch Tryweryn" (sic), Welsh for "Remember Tryweryn". (Rather amazingly for such a scholar, the words are not grammatically correct!). Subsequent restorations of the wall have repainted the message correctly as Cofiwch Dryweryn, adding the appropriate mutation.

Cofiwch Dryweryn Today

These words now appear in many places in Wales and are now an ionic image in Wales. The Memorial Wall has been vandalised many times. However, it has sparked and explosion of the signs which are now to be seen all over Wales and in many parts of the world. The vandalisations have only further highlighted the shameful event of flooding and drowning a Welsh village to provide water for Liverpool.

A Mapping Project shows the apparent locations of the Cofiwch Dryweryn slogan (Click here to see the map...)

Apology from Liverpool City Council

Liverpool City Council issued an official apology in 2005 for the “hurt of 40 years ago” and the “insensitivity by our predecessor council” over the drowning of the river Tryweryn Valley and Capel Celyn. Rhodri Morgan and Elfyn Llwyd, the Labour and Plaid Cymru leaders respectively, welcomed the apology. Elfyn Llwyd also added that the apology “should be accepted in the fulsome way it is being offered.”

Nonetheless the apology was not accepted by all of Wales.

About FelinFach

Our company, FelinFach Natural Textiles is located in the heart of the Preseli area of Pembrokeshire near to Boncath. We design Welsh blankets and the iconic Welsh Tapestry blankets which are traditionally woven at Welsh mills. We also design and make natural hand dyed yarn, cotton, silk and wool scarves and other handmade products. We also offer Welsh tartansSheepskin Rugs, Gift Cards and tools and books for crafters and knitters - Cocoknits, Laine, Amirisu and Making to name a few! Lastly, workshops on hand dyeing with 100% natural dyes in the purpose designed FelinFach Dye Studio. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool, All Things Wales and Global Welsh.

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Last update 19th June 2021



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