"Y Werin"?

Hi everyone, I’ve recently come across the concept of Y Werin and I’d love for some people with more of a grounding in Welsh history/culture to tell me a bit about it. As far as I understand, it means “the folk”, as in, ordinary Welsh people as contrasted against the crachach - who were/are some kind of aristocracy?

I suppose my question is, what do these terms mean to you? Are they used to describe groups at particular times in history, or would they ever be used now in common parlance? Where does/did the entitlement of the crachach come from? Does either term have a particularly derogatory connotation/tone (if so, I’m sorry to use them)?

Having grown up in SE Wales I have to hold up my hands in embarrassment at not having any clue about this… but at least I’m finally learning the language of the homeland and I’d like to immerse myself in some history whilst I’m at it!

Thanks in advance for your contributions…


Yeah, you’ll hear people talk about ‘y werin bobl’ fairly often, in a similar way to how you’d hear ‘ordinary people’ in English. Crachach is in common usage too, although I’d feel that it’s more of a southern thing (we probably don’t have enough money up north to sustain a crachach… :wink: ).


I remember that my Mum (originally from Carmarthen) mentioned the crachach. She translated it for us as “the cream of society”, though she used the word because she could not find a suitable English word. She did not exactly use it in a derogatory fashion, but it was clear that we were not among them.


Yes, I think that “Cracach” is only mildly pejorative, so definitely no need to apologise for using it here, but it probably needs to be used with caution in public to avoid a raised eyebrow.

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Modern usage may be aimed at the Senedd being referred to as Y Crachach and the rest of us as Y Werin? Just a suggestion of course!

With a few exceptions, surely :wink:

I’m not sure whether it’s of any great help, but the term is of course used in Amgueddfa Werin Cymru at St Fagans, which used to be translated simply as Welsh Folk Museum, but which has now been changed (to several people’s dismay) to National Museum of History. The research I did there for my recent dissertation on Welsh harvest traditions was certainly based on ordinary Welsh people, and that’s what I’ve always understood the place to be about.

There’s a further use of the term in ‘canu gwerin’, the Welsh phrase for folk song or singing.

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We have a folk music night in Saith Seren (Wrecsam) which of course is dubbed “Gwerin yn y Seren”!!


I think I may have gone a few times to Saith Seren in the nineties as an exchange student in Wrecsam. I wish I could hang out and listen to the music (and join in if you don’t mind relatively poor banjo players).

As someone who admires anyone who plays an instrument I’m sure you’ll get a warm welcome if you decide to come along.

See also the phrase “y werin datws” which, I suppose means something like “the hardcore common folk” in a slightly humorous way.

Crach (rather than crachach) is sometimes used in the south in a slightly more derogatory fashion for the Welsh-speaking, Eisteddfod-going, media-and-public-sector-empolyed elite. Whether this elite actually exists in any real form is another question, and if it does, does it consist of any more than a couple of dozen families?


Funny too because the usage here in Cardiff is normally aimed at “the vale/Treganna Gogs”.

Yeah. See my point above. It’s always someone else, isn’t it?

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