At first sight the Grade II listed quarryman’s cottage appears unremarkable – but there was nothing unremarkable about its most renowned occupant. It was in this 19th century smallholding in Rhosgadfan near Caernarfon that Welsh author Kate Roberts, born in 1891, lived from the ages 4 – 18.
The daughter of a quarryman, she was raised in the heart of Caernarfonshire’s slate-quarrying industry. She became one of the most outstanding Welsh-language authors of the 20th century, and the first woman to be recognised as a major and influential figure in the history of Welsh literature. Acknowledged as ‘Brenhines ein Llên’ (‘The Queen of our Literature’) she is known mainly for her short stories but she also wrote numerous novels.
In 1965 Kate Roberts bought Cae’r Gors and presented it to the Welsh nation, but it wasn’t until 2005 that sufficient funds were accumulated to restore the tyddyn (smallholding) to the way it would have been during her childhood. The cottage, garden and surrounding buildings are now a small museum and community centre celebrating her life.
Cae’r Gors represents one of the most remarkable chapters in the industrial history of the UK, and as Wales bids for World Heritage status for the quarrying landscapes of north Wales, the centre could become key to showcasing this unique story.