Yr Ysgwrn is a traditional Welsh farmhouse and Grade II* listed building, dating from the 1830s, which came to international recognition in 1917, as the home of the poet Ellis Humphrey Evans, better known by his bardic name, Hedd Wyn (‘Blessed Peace’).
Hedd Wyn was killed at the Battle of Pilkem Ridge on 31st July, 1917 and was posthumously awarded the 1917 National Eisteddfod Chair at Birkenhead, the highest accolade awarded to Welsh language poets. To the great sorrow of the audience at the chairing ceremony, it was announced that Hedd Wyn had indeed been killed in battle and in the absence of the rightful owner of the chair, it was draped in a black cloth and has been known ever since as ‘the black chair’, representing a generation of Welsh youth lost at the First World War.
Since 1917, Yr Ysgwrn has been kept in the Evans family, most recently by Hedd Wyn’s elderly nephew, Gerald Williams. Since Hedd Wyn’s death, the family have welcomed visitors to Yr Ysgwrn, observing a promise made to Hedd Wyn’s mother, “to keep the door open”, to visitors from across Wales, Britain and beyond, who are fascinated by Hedd Wyn’s story.
Yr Ysgwrn represents a period of Welsh social, cultural and agriculture and history during the early twentieth century. The life and literary contribution of Hedd Wyn also represents a generation of lost youth, who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War. The legacy of Hedd Wyn is relevant to communities across Europe, but is particularly potent in Wales, as a high number of Welshmen were killed during the First World War.
On March 1st, 2012, Snowdonia National Park Authority and its partners announced that they had secured Yr Ysgwrn for the nation. The purchase was made possible thanks to funding from the Welsh Government and the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
For further information about Hedd Wyn's history follow the links below:
• A film on 'Hedd Wyn: home of the hero' (Museum Wales website)
• Hedd Wyn's biography (National Library of Wales website)