Dr Manon Williams, Deputy Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund welcomed the decision to jointly fund the purchase.
Yr Ysgwrn will be further developed as a public memorial to the bard, who died during the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. Six weeks after his death he was posthumously awarded the chair at the Birkenhead Eisteddfod, for his work ‘Yr Arwr’ or ‘The Hero’. Famously, the Chair was draped in black cloth and has come to symbolise a generation of Welsh youth who lost their lives in the First World War.
The purchase includes the Grade II* listed farmhouse, preserved as a unique ‘time capsule’ of life around Hedd Wyn’s time, the farm itself, together with Y Gadair Ddu (Black Chair) and other eisteddfod chairs won by Hedd Wyn, original furniture and a fascinating archive of memorabilia relating to the poet and his family.
The poet’s nephew, Gerald Williams, has long welcomed visitors to the house, as a result of a family promise to preserve Hedd Wyn’s memory. The property will now be cared for and operated by Snowdonia National Park Authority. The Authority will now start a two year development programme to interpret the story of Hedd Wyn and life on an early 20th century Snowdonia hill farm. It will also be committed to ensuring public access is retained and expanded at the site, particularly for schoolchildren.
The First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said:
“As we celebrate St David’s Day, I am delighted to be able to announce that this important building and its unique collections will now be safeguarded for the entire nation. Hedd Wyn, his work and his tragic death give him a special place in both the history and culture of our nation.
“It’s wonderful that the Welsh Government has come together with both the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Snowdonia National Park to safeguard Yr Ysgwrn for future generations. It is all the more poignant as we approach the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and we remember the sacrifices made by so many.”
Dr. Manon Williams, NHMF Trustee for Wales, said:
“This is a very important project. As the centenary of the First World War approaches, the sacrifice made by Britain’s young men and women is coming into sharp focus. Like so many, Hedd Wyn paid the ultimate price and came to symbolise the loss of an entire generation. His poetry, together with other writing inspired by his death, stands as a poignant testament to the culture of his age. The National Heritage Memorial Fund was founded to help safeguard our heritage as a lasting memorial to the fallen and the home of Hedd Wyn, whose work continues to inspire today’s new generation of poets, is a powerful tribute to them all.”
On behalf of the Snowdonia National Park Authority, Chairman Cllr Caerwyn Roberts said:
“I wish to thank the Welsh Government, National Heritage Memorial Fund, the National Museum of Wales and Mr Gerald Williams for their vision, support and enthusiasm in ensuring that Yr Ysgwrn will be safeguarded. It is a privilege for us to be entrusted with the care and the protection of this important national asset and we will ensure that the site will be protected as a record of Welsh social and agricultural culture at the beginning of the 20th century, in the wake of Hedd Wyn’s life and literary contribution.’’