The Maid of Cefn Ydfa





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 written 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 dreamt 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.


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