Washi Bach in Llanddeusant

by Hugh Edwards

Hi Wil

What a Read! I just stumbled on this site.

I was born and raised in Llanddeusant and I would guess that it was in the late '50s that I remember Washi.

As has been told elsewhere, he used to visit the village with his heavy ex-army coat on, sack on his back and 'swishing' his stick.

He used to call into my Nain's house (Rose Cottage) for a panad but would never stay long, seemed to always have somewhere else to go to.

From what I can remember he used to always come into the village from the Llanfachraeth direction. He might have had a route that he stuck to.

Frightened the life out of us boys once when we went into a disused 'ty bach' in the bottom of a garden in 'Lon Gefn' only to find him fast asleep in the corner.

I can also remember another tramp - taller with a black overcoat - very intimidating. We would scurry away at the sight of him.

It's really nice to recall the old characters from one's childhood - I can now think of many others thanks to this thread.

For example, I vaguely remember the French onion sellers, the American tourists that asked us for directions one summer (America where's that then?). I'm getting carried away, must stop now.

Da iawn

Keep it up.


Hi Hugh

I reckon nostalgia kicks in when your knees start to Crick!

I heard that there was a Washi Fawr and y Tramp Coch. The person who knows the old stories is not in the best of health and the memory has faded from the sharpness of colour and noise it once described.

We share these stories with each other because we don't want them lost forever.

Nadolig Llawen iti Hugh a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.

(trans Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year).

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Nov 09, 2020
Roberts Cornhelyg and the Price family
by: Richard Rowlands

I have the Roberts family from Cornhelyg, Mrs Elizabeth Roberts nee Rowlands and the Price family in my family tree. I have traced around 200 descendants of the Roberts Cornhelyg family to Wisconsin and Nebraska and would love to speak with any members of that family and the Price family that may be interested in this line.

Richard Rowlands richard rowlands99@gmail.com

Sep 19, 2020
Washi bach
by: Edward Lloyd-Hughes

As a minor supplement to my senior brother Huw, I remember our father, the Rector, telling me he was approach by Washi Bach who showed him an Irish ten shilling note. Was it any good he inquired? Assured that it was he went on his way confident that the word of 'Y Person' guaranteed the veracity of my father's assurance.

Jul 24, 2018
Polly Ivy House & Thomas’ brother Robert Hugh
by: Sarah

Ed & Wil - absolutely delighted to chance upon your stories! I wonder if you have any recollection of Thomas Roberts’ elder brother Robert Hugh Roberts? I can see him in 1901 at Medora House with his mother Ellen and brother Thomas but then I lose track of him.

I’d seen Thomas in 1939 as a ‘haulage contractor’ which probably amounts to the amazing taxi you describe.

Dymuniadau gorau a chan obeithio bydd gennych atgof arall am Robert!


Oct 28, 2017
Richard Coil
by: Bet

Richard Coil use to call at my late parent in laws farm Tremoelgoch Llanfachraeth.

My husband Devlin always speaks highly of him , always polite and he remembers his grandfather giving him half a crown as well as his sandwiches and a pitcher of tea but a couple of days later his dad found the half crown on the gate post.


Jan 21, 2017
Llanfachraeth to Nebraska
by: Richard

Llanfachraeth to Nebraska.

Robin, I am related to your Price family who went from Llanfachraeth to Nebraska in 1904, if you would like to drop me your e mail I can give you your family tree (and mine) going back to early 1700's



Aug 27, 2014

If I remember correctly the tall one,s name was Doyle.

We always called him Mr Doyle.

Aug 25, 2014
cofio wasi bach ar hen gymeriadau
by: emyr williams

Well amser a ddengys heb neb yn ei erlid huw rectory ehhhhh a huw garreg fawr o yesssss we do remember wasi bach,mr coil,bishop,polly Roberts and elin grace,twm Roberts,Well huw garreg fawr mention bishop yes he was character one day he went to the black lion walking as his eye sight was very short,had a skinfull and started to walk home only got as far as fferam wyllt.He landed on his back lifeless. Who came in his car was parchedig William Lloyd hughes great man he must have been the parish vicar for more than twenty years very highly educated and a fantastic musician,he stopped and carried bishop to the car and took him home.Would one of us do that, no way.O yesss there are a lot of old character in every parish. I am nearly seventy years old and reading Wills pages about Anglesey brings back sweet memories

Aug 25, 2014
Earlier sightings
by: Huw Rectory

Wil; I had completely forgotten Washi Bach until coming across this.
I can remember him coming round to The Rectory, my mother would give him food and tea , this would be in the late 1940s. He still called in the 1950s until he asked for money and was annoyed with the refusal, he never called again.
Thank you Emyr ( Tangraig ? ) for the reminder of Polly too. She was know in local parlance as Polly Robbaich , her husband Twm Robbaich , always in leggings, had the huge 4 litre Buick taxi , operating at the Port of Holyhead . Polly was known to even polish the pebbles on her drive, she was a compulsive polisher , the Buick always gleamed with Simonize wax !
There was another " tramp" , I remember from the late 40s , always with a can ( piser) , he listened to the buzzing telegraph poles , Germans, he said. Anyone remember him ? Or was he someone who had shellshock ? I don't remember seeing him in the 50s at all.
Huw Lloyd-Hughes

Jul 08, 2014
Washi bach
by: Drewi bach..

Great to read recent comment on and about sleeping Washi Bach ! ha ha ha ! The 'French' onion men on bicycles These would the Bretons our Celtic cousins from across the channel..with a language that more than parallels Welsh language. Bretons also have kilts and bagpipes and are an amazing culture with and of whom, we are very very closely related.. even historically.

Jul 08, 2014
Washi Bach
by: Bob aka Robin Hughes

Hugh, from Llandeusant, memories. The onion sellers were not French, they were our Breton cousins. Did you not speak to them? I well remember speaking in Cymraeg and being responded to in Breton. Understanding most of what they said. American visitors. My nain emigrated to Nebraska, with her brother, sponsored by their uncle, who was born in Cornhelig, Llanfachraeth. Nain came back, her cousin, from Nebraska, visited our family a couple of times. Prior to first visit expected a swish lady straight from American TV. Dissapointed, she was just like Nain, but interjected, her fluent Cymreag, with the odd mid west english word. However, Joyce, Penrhosedd, had Californian/ American visitors over and they were swish! Women wore Dame Edna type glasses, perhaps, they were the American visitors, who asked for directions?

Dec 11, 2013
Washi Bach thread leads to --
by: H Edwards

Annwyl Wil

The tall chap that EM Williams refers to could well be the person I can vaguely remember.

EM you mentioned Polly Roberts; another character in the village together with Nel her daughter. Mrs Roberts (we were never allowed to call our elders by their first name in those days) would be cleaning from dawn to dusk and the house always smelled clean.

I remember when she used to clean the front upstairs windows she would slide the lower sash up, clamber out in reverse and sit on the window ledge holding herself on with one hand while she polished the window with the other.

Mrs Roberts had stone flags between the front door and the gate which again were cleaned and polished on a regular basis (I think she used to use paraffin or meths).

I vaguely remember her husband Tom Roberts who used to run a taxi which was a large black American car.

EM do you remember Mr Bishop?

Seasons greeting to you all


Dec 10, 2013
Recalling "Washi Bach'.
by: Drewi Bach.

Oncer again, Wil

It is quite amazing, even compassionate, to reflect upon the roving homeless "tramps" that made an impact and an impression to the extent that we have never forgotten these characters.

It says a great deal about our values, especially when hearing of kith and kin acting generously with food and tea for these Wondrous Characters that were in 'our' time. "Washi Bach......."

There were two brothers who got the label "What A Boys" or singularly "Whatta Boy!" Drunk, often, they would try to board the old Crossville green bus bringing us kids home from the Corn Hir secondary school.

The Conductor would thwart the boarding of the "Whatta Boy duo (well believed to be actual brothers).

Sometimes a third man would be with the "Whatta Boys." I know they once took refuge in that derelict cottage on the peak of the hill on Penmynydd Rd.

Tell tale booze bottles collected within the site. Beer is pretty strong on Anglesey too..heed that warning !

Drewi Bach

Dec 10, 2013
wasi bach
by: em williams

Well Huw,

There was another tramp around Llanddeusant at that time. Will this rekindle your memory? I hope it does.

He was a tall man wearing a flat cap with long dark overcoat and carried everything in a newspaper. He was irish, great singer and we as children use to call him Mr Coil.

His main port-of-call was right across the road from your Nain in Ivy House. And, yes - you guessed it - it was a dear old lady called Polly Roberts where he use to stand in the garage.

Polly would scrub his chipped mug and fill it with tea. She played hell with him the state of his mug.

Before he carried on, on his travels he used to sing to her, 'Galway Bay'.

Oh yes, Huw! Some sixty odd years of memories coming back here.


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