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together with their unrivalled skill, soon caused them to attain such celebrity that none ever possessed before them. And in order that their knowledge should not be lost, they wisely committed the same to writing, for the benefit of mankind throughout all ages.'
To the legend Mr. Rees added the following notes, which we reproduce also at full length:—
'And so ends the story of the Physicians of Mydfai, which has been handed down trom one generation to another, thus:—
Yr hen wr ifwyd o'r cornel, The grey old man in the corner
Gan ei dad a glywoS chwedel', Of his father heard a story,
A chan ei dad fe glywodyntau Which from his father he had heard,
Ac ar ei 61 migofiais innau. And after them I have remembered.
As stated in the introduction of the present work [i.e. the Physicians of Myctvai], Rhiwatton and his sons became Physicians to Rhys Gryg, Lord of ILandovery and Dynefor Castles, "who gave them rank, lands, and privileges at Mydfai for their maintenance in the practice of their art and science, and the healing and benefit of those who should seek their help," thus affording to those who could not afford to pay, the best medical advice and treatment gratuitously. Such a truly royal foundation could not fail to produce corresponding effects. So the fame of the Physicians of Mydfai was soon established over the whole country, and continued for centuries among their descendants.
'The celebrated Welsh Bard, Dafyd ap Gwilym, who flourished in the following century, and was buried at the Abbey of Tal-y-ttychau2, in Carmarthenshire, about the year 1368, says in one of his poems, as quoted in Dr. Davies' dictionary—
1 In the best Demetian Welsh this word would be hweSel, and in the Gwentian of Glamorgan it is gwcdel, mutated wedel, as may be heard in the neighbourhood of Bridgend.—J. R.
'This is not generally accepted, as some Welsh antiquarians find reasons to believe that Dafytt ap Gwilym was buried at Strata Florida.—J. R.
Mectyg ni wnai molt y gwnaeth
Mydfai, o chae ayn meS/aeth.
A Physician he would not make
As Myfffai made, if he had a mead fostered man.
Of the above lands bestowed upon the Medygon, there are two farms in Mydfai parish still called "ILwyn Ifan Fedyg," the Grove of Evan the Physician; and "ILwyn Meredyd Fedyg," the Grove.of Meredith the Physician. Esgair ILaethdy, mentioned in the foregoing legend, was formerly in the possession of the above descendants, and so was Ty newyd, near Mydfai, which was purchased by Mr. Holford, of Cilgwyn, from the Rev. Charles Lloyd, vicar of ILandefafle, Breconshire, who married a daughter of one of the Medygon, and had the living of ILandefafte from a Mr. Vaughan, who presented him to the same out of gratitude, because Mr. Lloyd's wife's father had cured him of a disease in the eye. As Mr. Lloyd succeeded to the above living in 1748, and died in 1800, it is probable that the skilful oculist was John Jones, who is mentioned in the following inscription on a tombstone at present fixed against the west end of Mydfai Church :—
Lieth the body of Mr. DAVID JONES, of Mothvey, Surgeon,
JOHN JONES, Surgeon,
Eldest son of the said David Jones, departed this life
the 25th of November, 1739, m 'ne 44tn year
of his Age, and also lyes interred hereunder.
These appear to have been the last of the Physicians who practised at Mydfai. The above John Jones resided for some time at ILandovery, and was a very eminent surgeon. One of his descendants, named
John Lewis, lived at Cwmbran, Mydfai, at which place his great-grandson, Mr. John Jones, now resides.
'Dr. Morgan Owen, Bishop of ILandaff, who died at Glasattt, parish of Mydfai, in 1645, was a descendant of the Medygon, and an inheritor of much of their landed property in that parish, the bulk ofVhich he bequeathed to his nephew, Morgan Owen, who died in 1667, and was succeeded by his son Henry Owen; and at the decease of the last of whose descendants, Robert Lewis, Esq., the estates became, through the will of one of the family, the property of the late D. A. S. Davies, Esq., M.P. for Carmarthenshire.
'Bishop Owen bequeathed to another nephew, Morgan ap Rees, son of Rees ap John, a descendant of the Medygon, the farm of Rhyblid, and some other property. Morgan ap Rees' son, Samuel Rice, resided at Loughor, in Gower, Glamorganshire, and had a son, Morgan Rice, who was a merchant in London, and became Lord of the Manor of Tooting Graveney, and High Sheriff in the year 1772, and Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Surrey, 1776. He resided at Hill House, which he built. At his death the whole of his property passed to his only child, John Rice, Esq., whose eldest son, the Rev. John Morgan Rice, inherited the greater portion of his estates. The head of the family is now the Rev. Horatio Morgan Rice, rector of South Hill with Callington, Cornwall, and J.P. for the county, who inherited, with other property, a small estate at Loughor. The above Morgan Rice had landed property in ILanmadock and ILangenith, as well as Loughor, in Gower, but whether he had any connexion with Howel the Physician (ap Rhys ap ILywelyn ap Philip the Physician, and lineal descendant from Einion ap Rhiwatton), who resided at Cilgwryd in Gower, is not known.
'Amongst other families who claim descent from the Physicians were the Bowens of Cwmydw, Mydfai; and Jones of Dollgarreg and Penrhock, in the same parish; the latter of whom are represented by Charles Bishop, of Dollgarreg, Esq., Clerk of the Peace for Carmarthenshire, and Thomas Bishop, of Brecon, Esq,
'Rees Williams of Mydfai is recorded as one of the Medygon. His great-grandson was the late Rice Williams, M.D., of Aberystwyth, who died May 16, 1842, aged 85, and appears to have been the last, although not the least eminent, of the Physicians descended from the mysterious Lady of ILyn y Fan V
This brings the legend of the Lady of the Fan Lake into connexion with a widely-spread family. There is another connexion between it and modern times, as will be seen from the following statement kindly made to me by the Rev. A. G. Edwards, Warden of the Welsh College at ILandovery, since then appointed Bishop of St. Asaph: 'An old woman from Mydfai, who is now, that is to say in January 1881, about eighty years of age, tells me that she remembers "thousands and thousands of people visiting the Lake of the Little Fan on the first Sunday or Monday in August, and when she was young she often heard old men declare that at that time a commotion took place in the lake, and that its waters boiled, which was taken to herald the approach of the Lake Lady and her Oxen."' The custom of going up to the lake on the first Sunday in August was a very well known one in years gone by, as I have learned from a good many people, and it is corroborated by Mr. Joseph Joseph of Brecon, who kindly writes as follows, in reply to some queries of mine: 'On the first Sunday in the month of August, ILyn y Fan Fach is supposed to be boiling [berwi). I have seen scores of people going up to see it (not boiling though) on that day. I do not remember that any of them expected to see the Lady of the Lake.' As to the boiling of the lake I have nothing to say, and I am not sure that there is anything in the following statement made as an explanation of the yearly visit to the lake by an old fisherwoman from ILandovery: 'The best time for eels is in August, when the north-east wind blows on the lake, and makes huge waves in it. The eels can then be seen floating on the waves.'
1 This is not quite correct, as I believe that Dr. C. Rice Williams, who lives at Aberystwyth, is one of the Medygon. That means the year 1881, when this chapter was written, excepting the portions concerning which the reader is apprised of a later date.—J. R.
Last summer I went myself to the village of Mydfai, to see if I could pick up any variants of the legend, but I was hardly successful; for though several of the farmers I questioned could repeat bits of the legend, including the Lake Lady's call to her cattle as she went away, I got nothing new, except that one of them said that the youth, when he first saw the Lake Lady at a distance, thought she was a goose—he did not even rise to the conception of a swan—but that by degrees he approached her, and discovered that she was a lady in white, and that in due time they were married, and so on. My friend, the Warden of ILandovery College, seems, however, to have found a bit of a version which may have been still more unlike the one recorded by Mr. Rees of Tonn: it was from an old man at Mydfai last year, from whom he was, nevertheless, only able to extract the statement 'that the Lake Lady got somehow entangled in a farmer's "gambo," and that ever after his farm was very fertile/ A 'gambo,' I ought to explain, is a kind of a cart without sides, used in South Wales: both the name and the thing seem to have come from England,