Day 49 mile 49: Huw Tom’s House

Day 49 mile 49: Huw Tom’s House.

In the hills above Rowen sit the remains of an unassuming little building, which belies and amazing story. This run is a bit of a pilgrimage to find somewhere I’ve heard of, but never yet been.

Huw Thomas Edwards was born here in 1892. Huw Tom, as he was known, was the youngest of seven children to Huw Edwards, who was a farmer and quarry-man. Huw Tom would move from these apparently humble origins to achieve genuine greatness.

At a young age, he accompanied his father to work at the Penmaenmawr slate quarry. He used to walk four miles to work from the slopes of Tal-y-fan mountain to Pen until his father said to him that the walk was obviously wearing him out and that he would never grow if he carried on, so he became a farm hand, before turning to coal mining.

During the First World War he wrote extensively from the Western Front to a reverend in Rowen, who then transformed the letters into articles for the Weekly News. Following severe wounding he returned to work in the coal mines and slate quarries of North Wales where he set up branches of a trade union and the Labour Party.

He became an important figure in Welsh public life from the period of the Attlee government. As he was well known in both North and South Wales, and had extensive experience of the activities of Welsh local government, he was chosen as the first chairman of the Council of Wales and Monmouthshire in 1949. During the nine years which he spent in the post, among other endeavors he collaborated closely with Sir William Jones to produce important reports on devolution.

Huw was a staunch socialist and a member of the Labour Party throughout his life until 1959 when he joined Plaid Cymru, but he reverted to his former allegiance in 1965.He declined an invitation to be knighted at the Investiture of the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle in July 1969.

Huw Tom died on November 9, 1970.

He was described during this time as “the unofficial Prime Minister of Wales”.

That’s one heck of a story for a place so easily overlooked, and utterly worth the climb up here 🙂

The view from the top is astounding.

Maen y Bardd (Rock of the Bard) standing stones on the way up.


Even my car was intimidated on the way there!

Here’s something that was looping in my head while on the way up, it seems utterly appropriate!

Thanks as ever for all the support
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 2637.1 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
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