Betws-y-Coed in Snowdonia, North Wales Betws-y-Coed Local History - Hanes Lleol
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Local History > Quick Guide

Quick Guide to Local History

Stone Age man lived in the area and was responsible for the Neolithic Burial Chamber at Capel Garmon. During the Bronze Age (at about 2000 BC) the Beaker Folk who originated from Spain sailed into Britain, bringing with them metal-working, although they did not penetrate into the mountainous areas which remained the preserve of the Neolithic people.

Cromlech (burial chamber) at Capel Garmon

The Celts arrived from Central Europe about 600 BC introducing the use of bronze and later iron-working. They developed tools bringing improvements in agriculture and during this period the roots of a distinctive Welsh life and culture can be detected. These Celts were known as the Britons.

The Romans invaded Britain in AD43 and by AD78 the conquest of Wales was complete. The lives of the Celtic peoples was not greatly affected in the area as the Romans were largely confined to their hill forts and roads. However the Romans left a legacy of improved agricultural practices (including the introduction of sheep) and mining technology when they left Wales in AD383, as well as introducing Christianity.

After the Romans left, much of Britain was overrun by the pagan Anglo-Saxons and others from the continent, and the Picts of Scotland and the Irish also attacked the Celtic Britons. This was the period of the Arthurian Legends, but the area around Snowdonia remained a Celtic stronghold, although the Welsh became separated from their Celtic cousins in Cornwall and Cumbria.

The area was part of the Kingdom of Gwynedd which covered north west Wales, although its borders changed depending on the fortunes of its ruler at the time. Although England was conquered by the Normans in 1066, Wales was not successfully conquered for over 200 years and it was during this period that many castles were built such as Dolwyddelan by the Welsh and Conwy by the Normans.

During this time Wales was perhaps at its strongest when Gwynedd was under the rule of Llewelyn ap Iorwerth also known as Llewelyn Fawr (Llewelyn the Great). He was born in Dolwyddelan, suceeded in uniting Wales when King John was on the English throne and had a lot of connections with this area.

With the final conquest of Wales by Edward I, and the death of Llewelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales (grandson of Llewelyn Fawr) in 1283, Wales was ruled by the English. This was the last Celtic rule until Merlin's prophecy came true and the Welsh Tudors took the throne of England.

During the Tudor period laws discriminating against the Welsh were repealed which led to the prominence of local families such as the Wynns of Gwydir.

The local economy was based on agriculture, and in the 19th century slate quarrying and woollen mills were developed. The slate quarries are now shut down, but agriculture continues to be the mainstay of the economy along with tourism which developed in Victorian times.

Hanes Lleol Mewn Chwinciad

Roedd dyn yn byw yn yr ardal yn Oes y Cerrig, ac fe oedd yn gyfrifol am y Gromlech yng Nghapel Garmon. Yn ystod yr Oes Pres (tua 2000 CC) fe hwyliodd y Bobl 'Beaker' (a oedd yn dod yn wreiddiol o Sbaen) i Brydain, yn dod a'r ddull o weithio metel hefo nhw, ond ni aethant i fewn i'r ardaloedd mynyddog, ac arhosodd yr ardaloedd hynny yn nwylo'r bobl Neolithig.

Cyrrhaeddodd y Celtiaid o Ganolbarth Ewrop tua 600 CC gan ddod a'i gwybodaeth o weithio pres hefo nhw, ac wedyn, yn ddiweddarach, fe ddechreuon nhw weithio â haearn. Fe ddatblygon arfau i wella amaethyddiaeth, ac yn y cyfnod hwn gellir canfod gwreiddiau bywyd a diwylliant wir-Gymreig. Gelwir y Celtiaid hyn yn y Brythoniaid.

Laniodd y Rhufeiniaid ym Mhrydain yn 43 OC ac erbyn 78 OC roedd eu concwest o Gymru'n gyflawn. Ni chafodd bywyd y Celtiaid yn yr ardal ei effeithio'n arw, am fod y Rhufeiniaid, am y rhan fwyaf, yn aros yn agos at eu caerau a lonydd. Sut bynnag, fe adawodd y Rhufeiniaid welliant mawr mewn dulliau amaethyddol (nhw ddechreuodd ffermio defaid), ac hefyd mewn technoleg mwyngloddio, ar eu hôl pan adawon Gymru'n 383 OC, yn ogystal a dod a Cristionogaeth i'r wlad.

Ar ôl i'r Rhufeiniaid adael, cafodd llawer o Brydain ei goresgyn gan y Saeson paganaidd ac eraill o'r cyfandir, ac fe ymosododd y Pictiaid o'r Alban a'r Gwyddelod ar y Brythoniaid Celtaidd hefyd. Hwn oedd cyfnod Chwedlau'r Brenin Arthur, ond arhosodd ardal Eryri'n amddiffynfa Celtaidd, er i'r Cymry gael eu gwahanu oddi wrth eu cefnderoedd Celtaidd yng Nghernyw ac yng Nghumbria.

Roedd yr ardal yn ran o Deyrnas Gwynedd a orweddai dros ogledd-orllewin Cymru, er fod ei ffiniau'u newid yn ôl ffawd ei rheolwr ar y pryd. Er bod Lloegr wedi ei goresgyn gan y Normaniaid yn 1066, ni chafodd Cymru ei goresgyn yn llwyddianus am dros 200 mlynedd ac yn y cyfnod hwn cafodd llawer o gestyll eu adeiladu - fel Dolwyddelan gan y Cymry a Chonwy gan y Normaniaid.

Yn ystod y cyfnod hwn roedd Cymru gryfa efallai pan roedd Gwynedd o dan reolaith Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, neu Lewelyn Fawr. Ganwyd ef yn Nolwyddelan, llwyddodd i uno Cymru pan roedd y Brenin John yn rheoli Lloegr, ac roedd ganddo lawer o gysylltiadau hefo'r ardal yma.

Gyda'r goncwest olaf o Gymru gan Edward I, a marwolaeth Llewelyn ap Gruffudd, Tywysog Cymru (wyr Llewelyn Fawr) yn 1283, rheoliwyd Cymru gan y Saeson. Hwn oedd y llywodraeth Celtaidd diwethaf hyd nes i broffwydoliaeth Myrddin ddod yn wir pan ddaeth y Tuduriaid Cymreig yn reolwyr Lloegr.

Yn ystod cyfnod y Tuduriaid cafodd cyfreithiau a oedd yn gwahaniaethu'n erbyn y Cymry eu dirymu, ac arweiniodd hyn at amlygrwydd teuluoedd lleol, fel y teulu Wynn o Wydir.

Early postcard of Betws-y-Coed

Sefydlwyd yr economi lleol ar amaethyddiaeth, ac yn y 19fed ganrif datblygiwyd chwarelu llechi ac melinau gwlan. Erbyn nawr mae'r chwareli llechi wedi cau lawr, ond mae amaethyddiaeth yn parhau i fod yn brif gynhaliaeth yr economi, ynghyd â twristiaeth, a ddatblygodd yn yr amser Victorianaidd.



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