Merioneth Wool and the Atlantic Slave Trade

beryl General news

7 September 2019

On a fine day at the beginning of September, an excellent audience gathered at Beudy Llwyd at yr Ysgwrn, Trawsfynydd to hear Dr Marian Gwyn lecturing, in English, authoritatively and interestingly on Welsh Wool and the Atlantic Slave Trade. This is an extremely difficult subject in general, but she suggested that it is even more difficult for Welsh people to imagine our part in slavery as we tend to see ourselves as a country which has been prominent, especially through the trade unions, in protecting the exploited. However, the reality was that this trade touched very many countries and Wales, with its part in this triangular trade, was no exception. It could be argued that the woollen industry was the biggest industry in Wales for centuries but it is unlikely that the ordinary weaver, tanner and dyer were aware or dwelt much on the fact that much of their produce went to clothe slaves and that Welsh woollens were known as ‘Welsh plains’ that was synonomous with ‘negro cloth’. The plain and horrifying facts regarding the trade at its height were indeed frightening and we can only be thankful that we live in a more enlightened and civilized period. As an authority on this subject, we hope that Marian publishes this lecture very soon. We enjoyed tea and cakes in the cafe afterwards whilst admiring the amazing landscape surrounding the building.