Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fred Melenydd Roberts

This young fellow doesn't look particularly happy about things, although he was an heir to a great musical tradition - y delyn deir-res or triple harp. It's well known that the triple harp tradition was kept alive by members of the Romany clan, the Woods, at a time when a combination of Methodism and the fashion for pedal harps had all but driven the instrument out of the cultural mainstream.

Llandrindod Wells with its thousands of visitors was a lucrative market for the triple harp players and young Fred - a great great great grandson of Abram Wood, the clan patriarch - was the son of the harp player John Lewis Roberts (1853-1928), himself a son of the leading player of the nineteenth century, John Roberts, Alaw Elwy (1816-1894). Fred's uncles also played in the town, you can read about the Roberts family here.

At the time of the 1901 Census young Fred and family were living at Bank Cottage in Builth moving to Oak Cottage, Llanyre in 1902. Fred's mother Eliza Davies was from Llanbister and his grandmother Eleanor, who was born in Rhayader, was the daughter of another famous harpist Jerri Bach Gogerddan (1778-1867).

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