Communities - Sport
Non-conformists would frown upon games and
amusements. Only with the introduction of the intermediate
schools in the years following 1889 would football become
`respectable', and local teams were formed who played in local
leagues. Some quarries established their own football teams to
compete against players from other quarries.
Angling appears to have been a very popular, and acceptable,
pastime. Fishing clubs were created in the slate quarrying
areas. Indeed, angling was so popular in Blaenau Ffestiniog,
that tens of original fishing fly designs were created in the
Illegal Fishing and Game
In order to try and stop illegal fishing and poaching in
Penrhyn Park, Lord Penrhyn gave a length of the river Ogwen for
the public to fish there. Twelve trustees were responsible for
giving out permits. But it also is apparent that a similar scheme
existed on a 2.75 mile length of the river Caseg from its source
to the mountain wall above the enclosed land. This became
apparent in a court action on June 5th, 1900 and three quarrymen
from Caerllwyngrydd who were on strike.
Of the three, only William Jones was released as he had been
carrying a fishing rod, whilst the other two, William Pritchard
and Rowland Jones were found guilty of using clods of earth and
stones to divert one of the tributaries of the river itself..
They were fined 20/- with 7/6 costs.
(The defence tried to prove that the estate actually had no
rights over this stretch of river, but H.C. Vincent, lawyer to
the estate produced a deed of conveyance (albeit unstamped dated
1858 to prove the point of ownership.) Interesting! Griffith and
Richard Thomas were accused of using stones to kill salmon in the
river not for from Abergwyngregyn Station. Their action came
before the bench on August 7th, 1900. They were found guilty and
fined 10/- plus costs.
Eight months later, on April 4th, 1901 William Jones and
Griffith John Thomas were fined 2/6 each plus costs for illegal
Two counts of game trespass were heard during the same period,
one against David Parry and Owen Owens, who were accused of being
on Mynydd Bwlchyffordd at eight in the morning with a dog. The
action was held on June 6th, 1901. It was reported that there
were plenty of rabbits here, but that this land was the best land
on the Penrhyn Estate for breeding grouse. David Parry maintained
that he and his friend had not left the footpath at all and that
the dog had escaped into the heather.
However, Robert Owen the gamekeeper testified that he had seen
David Parry send the dog into the heather and had also seen Owen
Owens wandering off the footpath. However, another witness could
not specifically state that it indeed was Owen Owens in the
heather. Consequently, he was released. David Parry though was
fined to the sum of 5/- and 5/6 costs.
It is possible that William Davies, or Billie Pentraeth,
wasn’t a quarryman. He was accused on April 3rd, 1901 of being on
the mountain at ten o’clock in the morning, with bulging pockets.
These contained three nets, pegs and a ferret. His trousers and
boots were also soaking wet. He was fined 10/-, 8/6 costs,
imprisoned for 14 days and had the nets confiscated.
Only very few cases of illegal fishing and illegal hunting
appeared before the bench at Bangor during this period. There was
only one action of poaching and that was severely dealt with.
An interesting action came before the Petty Sessions at Betws
y Coed on December 8th, 1906 when two quarrymen were accused of
poaching on Penrhyn land. Ellis and Michael Thomas were accused
of poaching on December 1st.
They were both seen that evening by the gamekeeper who went
with the local constable to where Michael Thomas lived. His
trousers were wet, and in an outbuilding they saw Ellis Thomas,
with two lurchers, puppies and two ferrets.
By the date of the court action Michael was nowhere to be seen
so Ellis was in the dock alone. His defence was that the reason
why his trousers were wet was that he had been to Rhiw Bach Quarry
earlier that morning. Annie Jones his fiancee further testified
that Ellis had taken her home at quarter past nine on the night
in question. Another witness, David Davies, Bryn Ifor testified
that after taking Annie Jones home from Bryn Ifor, Ellis has
returned there by half past ten. David Davies’ daughter further
testified that she had seen Ellis asleep between half past eleven
and midnight. Ellis further stated that he has left Bryn Ifor for
the quarry at half past five the following morning, and had then come
home and that was the reason why his trousers were wet.
On a majority vote the action was thrown out.
So there is no doubt that from time to time illegal fishing
and hunting as well as poaching did occur among the