The Maid of Cefn Ydfa: Revisited


Ruins of Cefn Ydfa Farmhouse, 1911.


Ann Thomas was born in 1704 to William and Catherine Thomas of Cefn Ydfa. She had a younger brother named William who sadly along with her father died in 1706. The Cefn Ydfa Estate and lands were then left to Ann, the heiress. Williams will states that Catherine's brother Rev. Rice Price is to be his children’s testamentary guardian. This relationship, perhaps in some degree, will explain the causes which led up to the climax of this sad story.

Not much is known about Ann's childhood other than she learn't to write unlike her mother Catherine. 

During the 1720’s Ann Thomas was approaching adulthood when Wil Hopcyn, a local tiler and plasterer came to Cefn Ydfa to carry out some repairs. Wil was charming, friendly and a true gentleman.  It didn't take long for Ann to fall for him. Wil, as it was customary with tradesmen employed by farmhouses in the neighbourhood, would take his meals in the kitchen, and it has been said that Miss Thomas was in the habit of coming to the kitchen, just after dinner was over and order the servants to do some work outside, so as to give her the opportunity of conversing with Wil alone. 

However her mother Catherine and her Uncle Rice Price had other plans for Ann’s future. Catherine wanted her daughter to marry somebody of equal social standing. Her choice was Anthony Maddocks (jr), a solicitor of Cwm-yr-Isca Farm. At that time Cwm-yr-Isca Farm was just over the mountain, not far from Cefn Ydfa.

When Ann's 'relationship' with Wil came to light his work on the property was dismissed. 
They began to meet in the woods but again when Catherine was made aware of this it was put to a stop. Ann was still in contact with Wil without her mother’s knowledge. Catherine forbade Ann to see Wil, and she was then confined to her room.  Ann and Wil wrote letters to each other. A housemaid helped them do this, it was arranged that these letters would be put in the hollow of an old tree near Corn-kwch, a few fields below the house. Ann’s mother was tipped off about what was going on by a servant at Cefn Ydfa, she then removed the quills and ink from Ann’s room. Tradition states that Ann may have even wrote notes to Wil in her own blood.

Immense pressure was put on Ann to reject Wil and accept Anthony Maddocks (jr) Prayers threats and entreaties must have been used because she eventually consented to the marriage. Although she consented to the marriage it is recorded that Ann burst into floods of tears when she saw Wil at Bridgend on Market Day, shopping for wedding garments. It was clear that she was not happy with the arrangement. 

Ann Thomas and Anthony Maddocks (jr) married on 4th of May 1725, it seemed that their marriage wasn't filled with much happiness at all. Although Ann was now a married woman she still pined for Wil.

It is said while on trade in Bristol Wil dream t that Anthony Maddocks (jr) had died, meaning Ann was free to marry him. Wil quickly returned to Llangynwyd to find that Ann herself was on her death bed, she was suffering from a fever. Throughout her last days Ann called for Wil and because of this Anthony Maddocks (jr) wanted nothing more to do with the maid. Eventually Ann’s mother Catherine sent someone into Llangynwyd to bring Wil to her. It is said that Ann died in Wil’s arms whilst Anthony Maddocks (jr) was out hunting. 

Tradition states that Wil Hopcyn stayed unmarried until his death in 1741.

Anthony Maddocks re-married Elizabeth Thomas of Laleston within 7 and a half months of Ann’s death. Elizabeth then became the heiress of the Cefn Ydfa estate.




Below is the fact files of the main characters in episode (including the events that led up to the Maid's end and events afterwards.)


Ann Maddocks, The Maid of Cefn Ydfa

Born in 1704 (her exact birth date is unknown)
Baptised  8th of May 1704
  • Ann was baptised by her Uncle Rev. Rice Price at Cefn Ydfa

Place of residence: Cefn Ydfa

Father: William Thomas of Cefn Ydfa
  •          Descendant of Sir Edward Thomas of Cwrt y Bettws

Mother: Catherine Thomas (Nee Price) of Tynton, Llangeinor –
  •          Sister of Rev. Rice Price father of the Philosopher Richard Price.

William and Catherine married in 1703
  •          They were married for 3years – owing to the death of William (d. 1706)
  •          They had two children – Ann and William
  •          William died in infancy surviving his father by only a few days (d. 1706)
  •          Both father and son were buried together
  •          With the death of both Williams Ann is left as the heiress of the Cefn Ydfa Estate.


Williams will states that Rev. Rice Price and Richard Price (Rice's Brother) are to be his children’s testamentary guardians – not Anthony Maddocks (snr) as the story suggests!

·         Catherine Price was the sister of Rev. Rice Price and the Auntie of Richard Price.
  •          “This relationship, perhaps in some degree, will explain the causes which led up to the climax of this sad story”. (1887)


“It is very well known that the Prices had a very high notion of parental authority, and scrupled not to enforce that authority by extreme penalties: natural affections seeming to be  crushed out of them, if but by a whim were thwarted”  (1887)
  •  Rice Price disinherited his son Richard Price for his change in religious beliefs.


 Nothing is really known about the Ann’s upbringing except that she learnt to write unlike her mother.


According to tradition in 1722, when Ann was aged 18 she met Wil Hopcyn.
  •          Wil came to Cefn Ydfa to carry out some repairs.

Wil Hopcyn (or Hopkin)

Born/Baptised on 24/11/1700
Place of residence: Gwan-y-Llan

Father: Hopkin Thomas
Mother: Diana Hopcyn (or Hopkin)

Brothers:
  •          Jenkin Hopkin : Born or Baptised: 20/4/1703
  •          Thomas Hopkin : Born or Baptised: 14/4/1706


Relation of the poet Hopkin Thomas Phillip of Gelli-fid (flourished between 1590 -1630) and the Priest Hopkin Thomas ap Einion of Llangfleach (flourished in 1400)

  • Wil came from a farming background.
  • The Hopcyn family were Yeomen known as (farmers who owned land)
  • His immediate ancestors came from Ty-talwyn farm.
  •  Occupation: Tiler and Plasterer


“Wil, as it was customary with tradesmen employed by farmhouses in the neighbourhood, would take his meals in the kitchen, and it has been said that Miss Thomas was in the habit of coming to the kitchen, just after dinner was over and order the servants to do some work outside, so as to give her the opportunity of conversing with Wil alone.” (1887)

  •          When Ann’s mother found out Wil was dismissed.
  •          The ‘couple’ had to find other means of seeing eachother.
  •          It is thought that it was during this time Wil wrote “Bugeilio‘r Gwenith Gwyn”.
  •          They met in the woods but again when Catherine was made aware of this it was put to a stop.


Ann was confined to her room.
  •          Ann had some writing materials, for some time one of the Maid’s servants was used as a go between so herself and Wil could be in contact.
  •          It was arranged that these letters would be put in the hollow of an old tree near Corn-kwch, a few fields below the house.
  •          This again was detected and Wil’s suspicion fell on the messenger herself Ann Llewellyn
  •          All writing materials were removed from Ann’s room.
  •          Tradition tells us that Ann may have then wrote notes to Wil in her own blood using a pin to draw the blood and sycamore leaf as the parchment.

Immense pressure was put on Ann to reject Wil and accept Anthony Maddocks (jr)

  •          Anthony Maddocks (jr) was the son of Anthony Maddocks (snr) of Cwm-yr-Isca Farm.
  •          At that time Cwm-yr-Isca Farm was just over the mountain, not far from Cefn Ydfa.
  •          Anthony Maddocks (snr) was a Lawyer by profession.
  •          Anthony Maddocks (snr) was the legal adviser of Mr. Thomas (Ann’s Father) and the Prices of Tynton.
  •          He served under the Sheriff of Glamorgan during 1719.
  •          Anthony Maddocks (jr) was also a Lawyer by profession.
  •         He served under the Sheriff of Glamorgan during 1743.


“Prayers threats and entreaties must have been used” (1887)
  •          Ann consented to marry Anthony Maddocks (jr)


It is said that Wil saw Ann and her mother in Bridgend on Market Day, purchasing wedding garments.
  • Ann could not contain her depth of sorrow from Wil.


Ann was married to Anthony Maddocks (jr) on the 4th of May 1725.
  •          Nothing is known about their married life.


After the marriage Wil left Llangynwyd to trade in Bristol.

Ann’s love for Wil brought her “to a state of insanity, in which state her cries were continually for Wil Hopkin.”  (1887)

It is said while on trade in Bristol Wil dreamt that Anthony Maddocks (jr) had died, meaning Ann was free to marry him.
  •          He returned to find Anthony Maddocks (jr) still alive.
  •          “Ann was in pangs of insanity and death” (1877)
  •          Catherine and Anthony sent for Wil to come to Cefn Ydfa in aid of stopping Ann’s screams.


Ann died in Wil’s arms
  •          She died in 1727 and was buried on the 6th of June.
  •          Ann is buried with her father and brother at Llangynwyd.

Grave of Ann Maddocks, Llangynwyd.


After the death of the Maid it is said that Wil , on seeing Catherine at Bridgend,  said to her “that he still has his hammer and trowel, she could not boast of a daughter or an heiress.” (1887)

Anthony Maddocks (jr) re-married Elizabeth Thomas of Laleston within 7 and a half months of Ann’s death. 
  • Elizabeth then became the heiress of the Cefn Ydfa estate.
  • Anthony then built the Mansion of Cefn Ydfa during 1728.


Wil Hopcyn never married, it is said that he fell of a ladder and never recovered.
  • He died on the 19th of August,  1741.
  • Wil was a pauper on his death, as was his mother and brother Jenkin on their deaths.
  • Wil is buried at Llangynwyd.



(1887) - History of Llangynwyd Parish by Thomas Christopher Evans

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