Wales’ 15th Purple Plaque honours the woman who faced down the challenge of an invasion by 1,200 French troops in Fishguard on 22nd February 1797 – the last invasion of British soil by an enemy force anywhere in the United Kingdom. 

While local militia and volunteer troops awaited reinforcements from Milford Haven and Haverfordwest, 47-year-old cobbler Jemima Nicholas led a band of women into the fray on Strumble Head and rounded up a dozen French revolutionary troops armed only with a pitchfork and her sheer courage. 

Her story is based in truth, explains Professor Tony Davies, “Four ships anchored off Carreg Wastad point on Strumble Head and discharged 17 boat-loads of troops, 47 barrels of gunpowder, 50 tons of grenades and arms for the 1,200 who came ashore at night. They were not a well-disciplined fighting force as they went around ransacking farms and afterwards there were 42 claims for compensation from the British government as a result.”

“She marched up to the headland with nothing but pitchforks when there were more than a thousand troops in the area. She showed great leadership and great courage to be able to round up 12 French troops and escort them back as prisoners to be held in Fishguard,”

A few days later the invasion faltered and the French surrender document was signed on Goodwick beach on February 24th. The King, George III, commended the British commander in the area, Lord Cawdor, and gave a £5 annual pension for life to Jemima.

Television report on Heno, S4C. Credit: Heno/ Tinopolis

Mae 15fed Plac Porffor Cymru yn anrhydeddu’r fenyw ddewr a wynebodd  her goresgyniad gan 1,200 o filwyr Ffrengig yn Abergwaun ym mis Chwefror 1797 –   y goresgyniad olaf ar dir Prydain gan lu milwrol.

Tra bod y milisia lleol a milwyr gwirfoddol yn disgwyl i ragor o filwyr wrth gefn gyrraedd o  Aberdaugleddau a Hwlffordd i’w cynorthwyo, fe arweiniodd crydd 47 oed, Jemima Nicholas, griw o ferched i’r gad ar benrhyn Pen-caer gan lwyddo i ddal rhyw ddwsin o filwyr arfog o lu’r chwyldroadwyr Ffrengig heb un arf ond ei phicwarch a’i dewrder.

Mae sail hanesyddol i stori Jemima eglura’r Athro Tony Davies, “ Angorwyd pedwar llong ger Carreg Wastad, Pen-caer, gan ddadlwytho 17 cwch o filwyr, 47 casgen o bowdwr gwn, 50 tunnell o arfau a grenadau ar gyfer y llu o 1,200 a ddaeth i’r lan yn y nos. Doedden nhw ddim yn llu disgybledig oherwydd aethon nhw o gwmpas yn ysbeilio ffermydd, a gwyddom fod 42 cais am iawndal gan lywodraeth Prydain yn llwyddiannus o ganlyniad.”

“Gorymdeithiodd Jemima i’r pentir gyda dim ond picwarch, a hynny pan oedd dros fil  o filwyr yn yr ardal. Dangosodd arweinyddiaeth a dewrder arbennig i fedru crynhoi dwsin o filwyr Ffrainc a’u hebrwng yn ôl  i Abergwaun i’w dal fel carcharorion”.

Ychydig ddiwrnodau yn ddiweddarach methodd y goresgyniad ac arwyddodd y Ffrancod ddogfen yn ildio ar Draeth Gwdig ar Chwefror 24ain. Cymeradwyodd y brenin, Siôr III yr Arglwydd Cawdor, y cadlywydd Prydeinig yn yr ardal, a dyfarnwyd i pensiwn o £5 y flwyddyn am oes i Jemima.

Adroddiad teledu ar Heno, S4C. Credit: Heno/ Tinopolis