Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tiny Town of Trefor

The small town (village) of Trefor (Trevor) is located about 1.5 miles east of the hill fort Dinas Bran.  It is nestled in Vale of the Dee, on the north side, just down river from Llangollen. [See p. 112, A Gazetteer of Welsh Place-Names, #33/2642.]  It is here that Welsh genealogist identify the location of the birth of the "Founder of The Tribe of The Marches", Tudor... thus, Tudor of Trefor, or Tudor Trevor (Tydyr Trefor).  It is a fairly uncommon Welsh naming that identifies a child with his place of birth. There must have been some significance to this location, since its identity is forever attached to this individual.

The figure to the right tries to place the River Dee in relationship to both Maelors, since in Burke, Tudor Trevor is identified as "Lord of Both Maelors".  The Dee seems to split this area, with what was to become "Welsh Maelor" to the northwest, and "English Maelor" to the southeast.  The town of Wrexham becomes central to the Welsh side, and the town of Overton to the English side.

The second drawing shows the approximate location of the village of Trefor.  The Viking raids had begun along the north coast of Wales, and it is possible that these "Black Gentiles" had caused the small village of Trefor to become a hideout.  The geographic relationship to Oswestry, Hanmer, Bangor, Chirk, Bersham, and Llanfair, are also shown. In time, these additional towns and villages will all become part of the "Tribe of The Marches"...starting from the tiny town of Trefor!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Limestone Caves and Tums

Limestone caves and Tums...hum...what do they have in common?  Growing up in Kentucky, there were certainly a number of limestone caves to learn from.

My first experience with total darkness was given in Mammoth Cave some 105 feet under ground.  The lights were turned off, and suddenly there was darkness... darkness like no other.  I even poked myself in the eye trying to see my fingers in front of my face.  Wow, darkness like I had ever seen before. [Or not seen in before.]  How could someone live in this sort of environment? 

Limestone caves were indeed one of the earliest environments that human life experienced.  The darkness was broken when that fire came under control.  It must have seemed pretty bright at the time since I remember seeing a cigarette glowing in the darkness of Mammoth Cave that day... a flood light in the blackness.

Water and limestone must have been part of the secret.  Being a sedimentary rock, it is composed of 95% calcium carbonate.  Water, melting and freezing, would leave its trail along the way.  Lime water would result, and would give a source of water in a milky looking aqueous solution.  You could soak hides and skins in this "milk of lime" causing them to swell.  This would help the removal of hair and such from these skins making a much better style of cloths.  Lime putty could be made and ultimately lime mortar [ a mixture of hydrated lime, sand, and water].  You could then start putting things together.

In Wales, human existence started in these limestone caves.  Certainly after eating all that meat to get to those skins, you would have to digest a great deal of things.  The diet must have been pretty rough.  When that late night "heart burn" would start, you would only have to take a little extra sip of that lime water [calcium carbonate], the Tums of our day!  Seems like very little has changed.

"Tums" Ultra Strength 1000 = Calcium carbonate USP 1000mg...Antacid!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


The geography of the land will often help define the cultures that have settled upon it.  Hills, valleys, rivers, low lands and uplands will allow certain activities that give advantage to some, and a disadvantage to others. Understanding these factors will give an insight to the realities of life of the ancestors.   The drawing to the right is an outline of my families homeland.  The head waters of the rivers (Dee and the Severn) are shown, allowing a land bridge to form from the highlands to the low lands.  Cattle, sheep, goats, and those animals necessary to life would find their way along this land bridge to the summer grazing.  The seasonal movement of livestock between mountains and lowland pastures would of course be accompanied by herders or their owners who made this activity a part of life.  From the east to the west, and back again, would be the direction of this pattern.   Pathways are roughly shown on the drawing, giving an idea of  how this might have worked.  The hillforts are shown along the ridges of the high ground.   A summer home, a winter home is the idea.   Transhumance it is called. It would work reasonably well until someone put up a fence. [Shown in red.]   Perhaps this was the primary reason for such a change the culture you wished to conquer.  That Offa did not completely get his way.