John Ystumllyn’s Rose
A Rose has been bred by Harkness Roses and named after John, in honour of him and gardeners everywhere. This coincides with Black History Month.
John’s story was recently featured in BBC News, and The Guardian – The Black Boy Inn is named for this gentleman. As an 8-year-old child, John was taken from his home in West Africa and brought by Sailors to Wales. He recalls running on the banks of a woodland stream to catch a bird when western men arrived and captured him. They took him with them on the ship and he never saw his home again. Of course, this is a very traumatic experience and he talked of the pain of being ‘ripped from his mother’s arm’.
A Welsh Success Story
Despite this initially unhappy departure from his home, he embraced his new life and worked his way up in society.
He married a maid who worked at the Ystumllyn household and sired seven children. One of his sons went on to be a huntsman of the Glynllifon estate near Caernarfon.
John was not a slave, but very much a free man, and was able to find employment. He had a natural talent and flair for gardening which meant he was never short of work.
Towards the end of his life, his wife and he were provided with a house and a garden by the Wynne family. They were very close with this family, who first had him as a servant when he was snatched from Africa originally.
As a horticulturist, a rose named after John Is one of the highest honours he could have wanted. Gardening is a great way to connect with nature and is an important part of human culture. It’s also a great way to look after your mental health, which has been an important factor throughout the pandemic.
The Plaid Cymru Leader brought the subject matter of the Rose up in the House of Commons on Thursday, 21st of October 2021.
Liz Saville Roberts said “I knew the story locally, but what this does, we suddenly we wake up to how this story that we kept and cherished – that this story is really of national importance.”
Jacob Rhys-Mogg replied “If the Ystumllyn rose could be the rose of friendship across political parties, I think that’s something we could plant with pride.”