Katheryn of Berain

February 1570

Another malfunction on the dial and we landed in the middle of the countryside.

We noticed a grand house built of bricks nearby which, by the look of it, belonged to someone very important. We decided to take a closer look. We had a peek through one of the windows and saw lots of children running around a room playing and screaming and fighting. It looks like a party, said Tesni, except they don’t seem to be having much fun! She had a point! The younger ones looked irritable and some were crying. In the middle of all this sat a very harassed looking woman. Her black dress seemed to fit her mood as restless children pulled her arm, tugged her skirt and ruffled her head dress.

Kathryn of Berain / Catrin o Ferain
We decided to leave her to it and took a walk around some nearby fields to maybe get a bearing on when and where we were and who the big house belonged to. It wasn’t long before we encountered a farmer. He was busy and hardly noticed our odd clothing and so didn’t greet us with any suspicion, which made a nice change!

When he tells us that the woman in the house is in fact Katheryn of Berain. Tesni looked thoughtful and says she has heard of her. She tells me that this Katheryn of Berain would later be known as the ‘Mother of Wales’. But why? I said, more than a bit baffled. Don’t you ever listen in class, replied Tesni, all those children in the house, her children, are going to grow up to become noble descendants of Wales. Funny to think, all those naughty children were going to become key figures in the growth of Wales!

We decided we should help this special but tired mother and so returned, once again, to the future. This time we set the dial to Corwen to visit old Mrs Owain who runs the antique shop. She has always been like an auntie to me and I was sure she could help us.

She knew a thing or two about old things and when we told her we needed some old fashioned toys for a ‘project in school’ she went to fetch two boxes which she had kept under her stairs for years. When she brought them back she blew off a thick layer of dust and took off their lids. Inside were over twenty toys. Wooden dogs, dolls, whistles, hoops, spinning tops, marbles; the boxes were full! We thanked Mrs Owain and made our way back to the past.

When we returned to Bachygraig, the home of Katheryn and her family, she was still flustered and hassled by her group of noisy children. So you can imagine how surprised and relieved she was when we showed up on her doorstep with our boxes of toys.

The children scrambled over the boxes and within seconds they were empty and the children quickly became happy and quiet. The older ones asked us lots and lots of questions. I think they thought we were magic makers but they didn’t seem to mind and I think Katheryn felt so exhausted she didn’t bother asking questions at all! Another good deed done!