Rhoddri’s IDEA

Llangollen Museum’s Junior History Club

Rhoddri’s Investigation Agencycropped-llangollen-rhodri.jpg

Rhoddri was very pleased with himself because he had had an IDEA. He was so pleased that he had nearly breathed out a big puff of smoke. Just in time he had remembered that things are taken to a museum to be looked after and not to have smoke blown all over them.

“Thornton” he said “I have had a good idea” Thornton had heard lots of GOOD ideas from Rhoddri and so he said very warily “Is it really a GOOD idea.

Thornton in pack

Rhoddri interrupted him,   “Of course it’s a good idea. Listen! Can you make up a totally new story for the children?”

“Of course I can, that’s what all teddies can do” answered Thornton with a very big smile, and seizing the chance, he started the story straight away.

Once upon a time he said, a long time ago there were two dogs, called Molly and Jolly, who lived in Llangollen and who loved to go for walks together with their owners. They especially liked to walk along the canal to see all the other dogs who were visiting the town, to jump into the canal for a swim and then to climb out and shake water all over anyone who happened to be near. “Bad dogs” their owners would say every time.

Sophie and Sky Pups ed

One particular day there was a great commotion along the canal bank. There was music, children shrieking with laughter in little boats,  Llangollen band playing marches, ,horses pulling boats, people playing tennis, others eating ice cream or running  races. What excitement!  The two dogs watched as prizes were give out.  Then a man with a big voice shouted. “ Now for the last event of the day. TUG OF WAR.  Go to your team please-one team on each side of the canal’’.

What Fun!   Molly quickly ran over the bridge and grabbed hold of the very end of the rope. Jolly stayed by the tennis courts and got hold of the end of the rope there.  There were so many people trying to pull on the rope. There must have been twenty people and one small dog in each team.

The man shouted ONE TWO THREE and then there was a shot from the starting pistol …. Everyone started to pull.  How they pulled. Nearer and nearer to the edge of the canal came one team, then the other and then the first team again.

Everyone was pulling as hard as they could and now more people kept joining the teams all shouting  “ PULL, PULL, PULL. “Down to the edge and back, to the edge and back. It was so exciting that Jock wanted to bark and bark. He opened his mouth and the rope slipped out. The other team gave a big pull and that was it. Into the canal went the losing team amongst great cheers from the winners. Then everyone in both teams jumped in including Molly and Jolly.   Molly and Jolly saw their photos in the local paper. Hurrah for Molly and Jolly.

“It was such fun,” concluded Thornton with a sigh, “They don’t have Tug of Wars over the canal nowadays.”

Rhoddri enjoyed the story but felt he had to remind children that the canal is too deep and that they must not jump in.

“What can we ask the children to investigate this month” Thornton said

Here is what Rhoddri suggested:

They could find out when Llangollen Band was started and who started it.

They could ask their families what races would have been run on a sports day and even hold a small sports day with their friends with sweets or apples as prizes.

We could ask them to find out why it is important for children to keep well away from water.


Rhodri’s Christmas Adventure

Christmas-tree-fairy 1

Llangollen Museum’s junior History Club

Rhodri’s Investigation Agency

“ Isn’t Christmas exciting”  shouted Thornton as he ran into the Museum and saw the Christmas tree. “Look at the windows” he said, ‘They tell us about what a small Welsh boy thought about Christmas about 100 years ago. “Yes” said Rhodri, who knew lots of important things about the past, “Yes’, he said again “I remember a man from near Llangollen telling me that all he got for Christmas when he as a little boy was a single 1d piece-it was a shiny one though.

“ I like books”, said Thornton, “with lots of bedtime stories”

“I like books as well” said Rhodri “stories about dragons, giants, witches and fairies.

“ I can tell you a story about a lady giant” interrupted Thornton, getting all excited “and it’s about Llangollen as well”

To tell you the truth, this was a story that Rhodri had heard many times and knew off by heart, but he had liked hearing Thornton’s first story so much that all he said was “Will you tell this story to the children of Rhodri’s Investigation Agency”

So Thornton began

“ Many years ago in the 7th century AD in the hills above Llangollen there lived a lady giant”

giantess 1

“That’s a giantess ‘” interrupted Rhodri

“Yes” said Thornton, “ there was a giantess, and the people who wanted to live by the river and catch fish, or to keep sheep on the hills or even grow some food in the valley were very frightened. They did not know what to do. There was however a man who was strong enough and brave enough to go up to the hills, find the giantess and kill her. The man’s name was Collen. He was a good and religious man and soon decided to throw away his sword and set up a little dwelling for himself in what is now the churchyard.  Little dwellings like this were called a Llan.”

What happened then “asked Rhodri.

“Well” said Thornton, going on with the story,

“Collen became quite famous because he had killed the giantess, so when people wanted to find their way they would be told “ Go by the llan of Collen.” Eventually they started to say Go by Llan Collen and that is how Llangollen got its name.  After it was built, our church became known as St Collen’s Church”


“What can the Children investigate?” asked Rhodri.  “this all happened years and years and years ago”

This is what Thornton suggested

After St Collen had killed the giantess he washed his hands in a spring- What is the spring called?

Can you count the carved angels on the church ceiling?  There is a special mirror in the church to help you look at the roof.

green man st collens church 1

How many are there?

Can you draw an angel and bring your picture to the museum?


medieval christmas angels 1

What do you think St Collen may have had as a Christmas present?

What would he have eaten for his Christmas dinner?

What did your mum or dad or Nain and Taid have as Christmas presents?





Rhodri’s investigation Agency

Llangollen Museum’s junior History Club

Rhoddri’s Investigation Agency

It was on a sunny morning in autumn when Thornton, the bear, went into the little Museum in Llangollen, and this was the first time he had ever seen a DRAGON.

He looked at it for a few minutes and then plucking up courage he said in a rather squeaky voice. “ Hello”.

“Bore da” replied the dragon, because it was a good morning and because, of course, he was a Welsh dragon. “Oh” said Thornton, “what’s your name?” “ I have a special name”, said the dragon, “chosen by a little girl called Grace who came from New Zealand to visit her Nain, and my name is RHODRI.

Well the little bear and the DRAIG (that’s welsh for dragon) chatted about all sorts of things and they discovered that Thornton who, of course, had heard lots of bedtime stories was a great story teller himself and that Rhoddri, who lived in the museum, knew lots of stories about Llangollen.

They decided that they would get together and retell some of the old stories for children.

Here is their first story as told by Thornton.

“ Do you remember, children” he said “the fireworks you saw on Bonfire night this year? Well, long long ago, when, perhaps your Mummies and Daddies, but especially your Nain and Taid were young people they too used to have fireworks, but they cost only a few old pennies and children would save up their pocket money to buy some. There were little Catherine Wheels and Roman candles at 3d and 6d, but remembered most of all were the warnings not to run too close to the fire and those naughty boys who used to throw 1d bangers or jumping jacks, which leapt around the ground around your feet.

Families would gather wood and build a small bonfire in one of their back gardens, and each would bring along parkin, bonfire toffee and toffee apples. The best bit of the evening was the chestnuts crackling and jumping from the embers and the potatoes coming from the fire, burnt ,but roasting hot and dripping with butter . Whole families- whole streets of families would celebrate Bonfire night together in friendship.”

Rhoddri was quite excited about this story because it talked about fire. “ What” he said, “What can the children INVESTIGATE?

This is what Thornton suggested

Ask your family about their memories of Bonfire night.

How much pocket money did they get when they were young? What was  1d, 3d and 6d

What fireworks did they buy?

What did they have to eat on Bonfire night?

Why do you think now-a days that it is much better to go to an official firework display?

Why not draw a picture of a bonfire night and bring it into the museum?

We would love to see you there.