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February 2001

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Back to Our Roots: Coed-y-Foel Isaf

Written by Patricia and Robert (Bud) Foulke and originally published in the Foulke Family Herald, November 1991

The dream of finding the very spot Edward and Eleanor Foulke left in 1698 finally came true for us.  As we drove along through the rolling, partly wooded Welsh countryside we felt as if we had lived there before.  Emigrants to America generally sought land that resembled home to settle in.  Reversing the direction, we understood better why we had always loved hills and woods.

The year was 1960.  My husband and I were living near London as he finished up his year on a Fulbright scholarship.  We drove our little Simca up the road and stopped before and immaculate stone farmhouse called Coed-y-Foel Isaf tucked into the hillside and occupied by the Tom Thomas family.  Their daughter Eirlys Thomas came out to welcome us, and we went inside to meet her mother, Morfudd.  Eirlys spoke beautiful English and translated Welsh for us so we could talk with her mother.  As we sat in the parlor, we couldn't take our eyes off her collection of lovely blue plates on the sideboard.

In 1977, we again visited Coed-y-Foel with my husband's father, Robert W. Foulke, his sister, Phebe Jane Foulke Smith, her husband, Red Smith, and our children, David and Debbie Foulke.  Robert and Bud posed for photos by the gate and Coed-y-Foel sign.  Again we were greeted warmly by Eirlys who by then felt like a member of our family.  Later we went to Eirlys' home where she made an elegant dinner for us.  David was most impressed by a potato cutter she used to make fancy french fried potatoes, so we got one to use in our house in Cambridge, and he kept us supplied all year.

In 1984, my husband and I visited Coed-y-Foel for a third time and met Thomas and Morfudd Thomas as well as their children.  We enjoyed seeing the house again and admired their beautiful black Angus cattle.  Eirlys was there also, and the three of us went out for dinner after visiting the house.

Our next visit, in 1991, was the best ever.  We picked up Eirlys at her house, went out for lunch and drove over to Coed-y-Foel.  Luckily, Thomas and Morfudd had just arrived home and welcomed us inside.  The same lovely blue plate collection rests on the sideboard and we had a chance to admire the other antique pieces they had recently purchased.  An aerial photograph of the farm hangs on one wall.

Most recently the Thomas' copied and sent us a guest book signed by many Foulkes who have visited Coed-y-Foel Isaf.  Over the years, Eirlys, Thomas and Morfudd Thomas have opened their home to countless Foulkes wishing to experience their heritage.  Each time they were gracious and hospitable, taking time to visit with each guest.  We hope to be able to show them some of the same hospitality in 1998.

Copyright © 1991 Foulke Family Association.

Section last updated February 04, 2001
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