Keith Foulkes & E D Parry: Owen y Fan (2011)
(Based on a conversation with Keith Foulkes, June 2011)
My grandfather, Owen James (‘Owen y Fan’), who was a carrier in Aberaeron died at about the same time as I was born and so I have no personal memory of him. I have heard what I know of him from my mother.
At first he lived in Mason’s Row and kept his horses in Castle Lane, where Emlyn Jones’s barber’s shop stood later. Afterwards he moved to Arlington, Alban Square, where I now live and kept the horse in stables behind the house.
At the time of the building of the railway his horse and cart carried materials to help with the building of the railway. Later he carried goods from the station into town, apparently including heavy items, such as cast iron baths! It was a common occurrence for children to wait for the cart to leave the station and then to jump on board for a free ride into town.
Among the items I have found in the stables behind my house are four ostrich feathers, two white and two black. Presumably the black feathers adorned the horses when Owen was carrying passengers to a wedding and the black ones would have been used for funerals.
(Based on a conversation with E D Parry, June 2011)
I remember as a child in the 1920s watching Owen y Fan takes his horses at the end of a working day to the well (pistyll) at the bottom of Water Street. After they had drunk from the well, he took them to his stables in Castle Lane. He also had two dogs which he kept on a lead and took to the stables with horses. It was said that the work of the dogs was to keep the horses safe in the stables by killing the rats which also made their home there!