These songs were first printed in 1803 in a publication entitled Yr Eos, comprising all Edward Richard’s poetic work [4]. There were several, later editions ; the second release or version contained a note testifying that the bridge was still standing in 1811 and that it was, as Edward Richard had described – a pretty coarse and clumsy building [5] :


 . . . continues to stand, with some occasional repairs, to this day (1811), yet it must be confessed that it is a coarse and clumsy piece of building

Around this time (1811), J.G. Wood (a well known travel-writer and artist) passed through Rhydfendigaid and drew a picture of the bridge [6].

Just a casual look at Wood’s drawing (adjacent, right) suggests that what is standing today is much the same as what he saw in 1811. Admittedly, the bridge is narrow and humpbacked, but it would have been more than adequate for 18th century traffic.   

The difference between what Wood saw (and sketched) and what Edward Richard wrote is difficult to explain. These two versions are poles apart, and either Edward Richard is guilty of gross exaggeration or the postscript in Yr Eos (above) is incorrect. For a possible explanation, turn to the next page [page 2]

Edward Richard of Ystrad Meurig [1] wrote two historic songs about pont Rhydfendigaid (the Rhydfendigaid bridge). His first was written towards the end of 1759 when the bridge was being built [2]. At the time, he was full of anticipation and optimism and he was looking forward to something rather special — a fine, well-dseigned bridge worthy of crossing a ‘blessed ford’. He was also sure that it would bring with it material wealth and make the village tros fyth yn gyfoethog (prosper and flourish over time) :

A year later, however, he saw things very differently ; he was totally disillusioned and his second song reflected his bitter disappointment – neither the design nor the execution pleased him [3] The bridge was woefully narrow, humpbacked and, all in all, a big ‘bwbach erchyll’ (a big hideous monstrosity) :  

. . . Gwna’r pentre’ mwyn serchog, tros fyth yn gyfoethog

Introduction

Notes

J.G. Wood’s drawing of the Rhydfendigaid bridge (1811)

Edward Richard

Artist Impression

www.hanesybont.co.uk

[1]

For the life of Edward Richard see Edward Richard of Ystrad Meurig by D.G. Osborne Jones, Carmarthen, 1934

[2]

T. Williams, Ceredigion, Volume XV, Number 2, page 1.

[3]

Publications bearing the title Yr Eos, comprising of Edward Richard’s poetic works were printed in 1803, 1811, 1813, 1851, 1856  and in Cyfres y Fil, 1912.

[4]

Yr Eos: sef gwaith prydyddawl Mr Edward Richard o Ystrad-meurig yn Sir Aberteifi, London, 1811, p. 70.

[5]

Ibid pp. 69-73.

[6]

J.G.Woods, Principal Rivers in Wales, London, 1813, p 145.

Page 1

Rhydfendigaid bridge today (2011)

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Pont Rhydfendigaid

The Bridge of the Blessed Ford

Edward Richard’s enigmatic depiction of ‘Pont Rhydfendigaid’ in his second bridge song

Mae’n fingul, mae’n fongam, mae’n wargul, mae’n ŵyrgam,

Mae llwybr di-adlam anhylam yn hon,

Ni welwyd un ellyll, na bwbach mor erchyll,

Erioed yn traws sefyll tros afon.

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