The Real Black Boy by Respected Local Historian T Meirion Hughes
Local Historain T Meirion Hughes ORIGIN OF THE
NAME “BLACK BOY”
saddened to read in the local newspaper that there are still some people in
Caernarfon who would have us believe that the “Black Boy Inn” in Northgate
Street was given the name because a black skinned person served behind the bar
at one time. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Mr. Ivor Wynne Jones, journalist, author and historian of repute, who early in
his career worked for that newspaper, has written in length about the origin of
the name “Black Boy” and the earliest reference to it can be found in the
Archives. It’s a Deed of Sale of a house
in “Street Y Black Boy” (sic) between Thomas Wynne, Glynllifon and a Henry
Robyns. The date of the document is 1717.
group who is attempting to associate the name of John Ymstumllyn, alias Jac Blac , who lies buried in the
cemetery of St. Cynhaearn, with that of the Black Boy. Now let me explain to the
uninitiated that history tells us that the landlord of an estate near Criccieth
brought the 8 year old from Africa to this country in 1742 and had him baptised
John Ystumllyn. Given that he was 8 years old in 1742 that would put his year
of birth circa 1734, which is 17 years after the date on the Deed of Sale. In
other words historical proof of the existence of the name “Black Boy” well
before Jac Blac was born.
Wynne Jones, having seen some documents which came to light when extensions
were made to the building in the mid 1950’s was able to ascertain that it was
at the Inn that supporters of the Monarchy used to meet during the Cromwellian
period. They had to be careful that
Cromwell’s spies did not suspect what they were up to and so used to drink a
toast to the exiled prince who later became Charles II “To the Black Boy or To
the Black Boy from over the water” meaning France.
mother Henrietta Maria was born in France and had some Spanish blood in her and
shortly after the birth of her first born she noticed that he had a swarthy
complexion. She therefore referred to him as “My beautiful Black Boy”.
many “Black Boy Inns and Hotels” in the UK and checking the Internet one will
find that this is the story behind the name for most of them.
Now I will
remind the people of Caernarfon that our town is a Heritage Site and this is due
to its historical importance and there is no need to dream up fantasies likely
to appeal to the tourists.
See Meirion's Did you Know website on www.Cofis-dre-ar-y-we.co.uk.