Amgueddfa Cymru


Back in February, I blogged about Brinley Rhys Edmunds – a teenager from Barry who was killed in action during the First World War. If you recall, he signed-up when he was under the legal recruitment age, re-enlisted soon after his 18th birthday, but lost his life in battle on 5 September 1918.

In recent weeks – thanks to a well-known genealogy website – I have been corresponding with two of Brinley’s descendants in the United States – one in Seattle, the other in Pennsylvania. As a curator, it’s always a thrill to reunite families with objects once owned by their ancestors. Better still if they in turn provide additional information for our records.

I was so pleased to receive from Brinley’s American relatives a scanned copy of this beautiful photograph of the Edmunds family in about 1905. The photograph shows six year old Brinley (seated) with his elder brother, William, in matching sailor suits, together with their parents, Evan and Christine. I’ve been researching Brinley and his family on-and-off for a number of years. It’s amazing to finally put faces to their names.

Here at St Fagans, we have several objects in the collection associated with Brinley’s wartime experiences, some of which will be on display in our redeveloped galleries in 2017. In addition to the pincushionnext of kin plaque and postcard I mentioned last time, we also have his campaign medals in the collection. The British War Medal and Victory Medal were awarded to him posthumously and sent in an envelope marked ‘On His Majesty’s Service’ to his father in about 1919-20.

He is wearing the medals in the portrait shown here which is currently being prepared for photography by Ruth James, Social History Conservator. The portrait was commissioned by Brinley’s parents after his death and was bequeathed to the Museum in 1989 by Eunice Edmunds, his younger sister. We will be using this image, along with the newly-discovered family photograph in America, in the new displays. Contemporary military voices and experiences will also be included in the gallery interpretation. I’ll be focussing on our exciting co-curation programme with the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme in the next instalment of this blog.




The days before Friday 20th March, had staff in the Department of Natural Sciences watching the weather forecast with great attention.  Friday 20th March 2015 was a really special day as we had the opportunity in Cardiff, weather permitting, to see a partial eclipse of the Sun. This does not happen very often, the next one won’t be until 12th August 2026. 

On the Thursday we had a great start to the celebration by hosting an evening of talks on eclipses at the Museum. These were given by Dr Chris North, Dr Rhodri Evans, Dr Mark Hannam, astronomers and physicists from Cardiff University; and we all felt much better informed as to what we knew about the sun, why an eclipse was occurring, and what eclipses tell us about gravity. Equally important was a talk by Jenni Millard, an undergraduate student but experienced astronomer, on how to view the sun safely. Having listened intently the audience were issued with free solar eclipse viewing glasses.

Friday morning and we were in luck, a perfect sunny morning and all that worry about the weather had paid off!  By 8.00 a few people had already arrived outside the Museum, by 8.20 there were many more. At 8.22 we saw the first contact of the eclipse. For a short while the sun was almost obscured by the trees in the Gorsedd Gardens, but not for long. With colleagues from Cardiff University and the Institute of Physics we provided a range of methods to view the eclipse safely. These included a solar telescope that provided the greatest detail of the sun’s surface, pinhole viewers, ranging from boxes and tubes to simple card and paper, solar viewing boxes, colanders and eclipse glasses. Most visitors had noted the warnings about safe eye protection, only a few needed reminding that two pairs of sunglasses wouldn’t do the job!

Over the 126 minutes of the eclipse from first contact of the moon until we saw the entire sun once again, over 1000 people viewed the eclipse on the Museum steps with the viewing glasses provided. In total we estimate that over this period nearly 2000 people joined the event. At one point the queue disappeared round the corner of the Museum into Park Place almost to the University! However this was a great event with a fantastic atmosphere of participation and patient queuing.

For more astronomy linked events please see Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales What’s On pages, next one is on 18th April, and for education resources check out the Museum’s partnership Down2Earth Project web site

For more information on our Eclipse 2015 activities see our Storify Story.

Rwyf newydd gychwyn fy mhedwaredd wythnos fel Prif Guradur Adeialdau Hanesyddol yma yn Sain Ffagan, a dyma fy mlog cyntaf. Archaeoleg yw fy nghefndir, ac yn bennodol, archaeoleg arbrofol.

Mae’r math yma o ymchwil archaeolegol yn arbrofi’r syniadau sydd wedi tyfu fel canlyniad o waith cloddio archaeolegol. Yn y bôn rydym yn trio codi rhywbeth a fyddai yn gadael yr un tystiolaeth a ddarganfyddwyd, os cloddiwyd yn y dyfodol. Mae hwn yn herio ein syniadau a codi mwy o gwestiynau.

Tai Crwn o'r Oes Haearn

Dros y blynyddoedd rwyf wedi adeiladu pedwar tŷ crwn wedi seilio ar archaeoleg cartrefi Oes yr Hearn. Gan bod yr archaeoleg yma yn gallu bod yn fâs iawn (ond rhyw 30cm o drwch), mae pob elfen o ail-greuad uwchben y ddaear wedi’i seilio ar waith dyfalu – ei hun wedi seilio ar y dystioilaeth sydd wedi goroesi. Fel allech ddychmygu, mae gweithio allan strwythur adeilad sydd heb yw weld mewn 2,000 o flynyddoedd yn eitha sialens, ond un boddhaol. Felly, mae gen i bleser mawr i fod yn rhan o gyweithiau arbrofol newydd yr Amgueddfa - ailgreuad o ffermdy o Oes yr Haearn, wedi ei seilio ar dystiolaeth o Fryn Eryr yn Ynys Môn, a neuadd ganoloesol Llys llywelyn, wedi ei seilio ar dystiolaeth o Llys Rhosyr, eto yn Ynys Môn.

Mae tô y ffermdy yn cael ei doi gyda gwellt ar y funud, ag yn fuan mi fydd y tŷ yn ddiddos. Mi fydd hwn yn rhyddhâd mawr gan bod glaw trwn dros y Gaeaf wedi atal y waliau clai, 1.8m o drwch i sychu mor gyflym a gobeithio. Mae waliau o glai yn gymharol anarferol gan taw waliau gwial a dŵb neu cerrig sydd wedi eu darganfod gan amlaf. Hwn fydd yr ail-greuad cyntaf o dŷ crwn o’i fath.

Llys Rhosyr - Llys Canoloesol

Mae waliau y ddau adeilad sydd o’r Llys mor uchel a fy mrest, ac mae’r saer maen yn barod i gychwyn y fframau ffenestri. Fe ddarganfyddwyd y Llys yn Ynys Môn, ac fe’i gloddiwyd rhwng 1992 ag 1996. Mae’r waliau cerrig ond yn sefyll ryw fetr o daldra. Felly, yn yr un modd a’r ffermdy, ail-greuad wedi seilio ar dystiolaeth archaeolegol yw hwn.

Mae hanes ysgrifennedig o’r cyfnod, fel ‘Brut y Tywysogion’ yn awgrymmu fod neuadd frenhinol yma, a fu yn un o Lysoedd Llywelyn ap Iorwerth yn ystod hanner cyntaf y drydedd ganrif ar ddeg. Y peth dydyn ni ddim yn gwybod gyda sicrwydd yw pa olwg oedd ar y neuadd. Mae’r wybodaeth yma wedi ei seilio ar gymhariaethau gyda neuaddau Brenhinol eraill, ag adeialdwyd yn yr un cyfnod, fel a welid yng Nghastell Conwy a Phalas yr Esgob yn Nhŷ Ddewi.

Gan fy mod yn bwriadu ysgrifennu blogiau cyson ynglyn a’r datblygiadau diweddaraf, fe wnaf anelu hefyd I amlinellu y gwaith sydd wedi digwydd hyd yn hyn, felly fydd genych fwy o syniad ô’r adeilad hynod yma, ac ein ymgeision i ddod ar Llys yn fyw unwaith eto.

Another successful lambing season at St Fagans is drawing to a close. We hope you’ve enjoyed watching all the action live on Lambcam along the way. There are still a few ewes left to deliver, as I write this the lamb-o-meter has clocked up 144. We’re on course to beat our target of 150 lambs, and hope to pass 160. That figure includes:

  • 5 sets of triplets
  • One set of quads (our first ever).

There’s been some losses along the way:

  • One set of twins - early miscarriage.
  • One set of twins – stillborn.
  • Four lambs accidentally smothered by their mothers
  • One triplet failed to thrive – died at 2 days old.

We are expecting to finish with two lambs being bottle fed – that’s Herbert, the smallest of the quads, and another lamb whose mother's milk dried up due to mastitis. So until next year, here is a picture of Herbert enthusiastically tucking into his lunch yesterday.


Herbert yr oen yn bwyta ei ginio - a hanner ohono fo drost ei wyneb

See you in 2016 Lambcam-ers!

Helo na Sgrinwynis - dyma'r ateb i'r cwestiwn fwya poblogaidd o'r sied wyna eleni.

'Sut allwch chi ddweud bod dafad ar fin rhoi genedigaeth?'

Dyma rai o’r prif arwyddion:

  • Cuddio yn y gornel - yn y gwyllt, byddai hyn er mwyn osgoi ysglyfaethwyr
  • Llyfu gweflau – paratoi i lanhau’r oen wedi iddo gael ei eni
  • Aflonydd – codi a gorwedd bob yn ail
  • Pawennu’r llawr – creu ‘nyth’ i’r oen gael ei eni ynddo
  • Corff i’w weld yn tynhau yn rheolaidd
  • Llysnafedd, bag dŵr neu bâr o draed i’w gweld yn dod allan o’r ddafad!

A gan bod fi mor hael - dyma llun o'r cwads cyntaf erioed Sain Ffagan. Ganwyd neithiwr...

Bugail Sain Ffagan gyda'r cwads cyntaf erioed yr amgueddfa

Ffrwd byw o’r sied Ŵyna