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Description

Ann Hughes was born in Criccieth and baptized in Llanystumdwy church on Aug 19th 1827. Her father Griffith Hughes was from that parish and her mother was Rebecca Roberts from Aberdaron. They had moved to Criccieth sometime after 1813. In the censuses Griffith was described as an agricultural labourer and later, while living at Pencei, a common carrier.
In 1849 Ann married Emanuel Jones, a mariner, and lived at several cottages around the town. By 1881 she was living at Abermarchnad. In those days widows or wives of seafarers away at sea often mended nets or sold fish to make a living and this is probably how she became to be known as NansiPenwaig.
Ann and Emmanuel had five children; Rebecca (1849), William (1852), Elen (1855), Ann (1855) and Elizabeth (Lizzie) in 1866. Rebecca married a foundry worker and moved to Porthmadog, William became a sea Captain, Elen died as a child, Ann was to stay at home and Lizzie married John Lloyd Williams, the headmaster of Garn Dolbenmaen primary school.
The family soon moved to a bigger house on Castle Street named Tŷ Mawr. This became a fishmonger’s shop and is later identified as 5 Castle Street. This is confusing as there is a cottage of the same name across the road. They were a musical family and the home became very popular as a gathering place for musical evenings. Lizzie was very talented and became a well known singer all over North Wales. She was admired by the young David Lloyd George who was a member of the same congregation at Capel Berea.
At these musical evenings traditional Welsh folk songs and airs were sung, many handed down orally from one generation to the next. One of the regular attendees was John Lloyd Williams, the teacher from Garn who married Lizzie in 1892. In 1897 they moved to Bangor where he was a lecturer of Botany at the university and wrote several scientific papers. He was also well known for his keen interest in Welsh folk music and transcribed and published many traditional songs. One was the well known song “Tra bo dau” (While there are two) which Lizzie and Ann had learnt from their father Emanuel. In 1906 John Lloyd Williams was one of the founders of the Welsh Folk Song Society.

Emanuel died at sea in 1891 and Nansi died 16th of April 1895 and is buried at Capel Pen y Maes Criccieth. John Lloyd Williams and Lizzie are buried at MynyddEdnyfed cemetery.
5 Castle Street continued to be fishmongers, under different owners, to living memory and has been a fish and chip shop for many years.

Sources.
Journal of the Welsh Folk Song Society: 'Caneuon traddodiadol y Cymry' selected and edited by W. S. Gwynn Williams, published 1961 by The Gwynn Publishing Co. Llangollen, N Wales (G.P.C. 8403).
The Welsh Dictionary of Biography NLW.
Old Welsh Newspapers NLW
Tom David - Dating Old Welsh Houses - The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales

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