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Nantlle Vale Royal Silver Band
Brass bands which sprang up in the villages that grew around the quarries of Caernarvonshire, played a prominent part in the social life of the area during the latter part of last century and the beginning of this one.
Usually a family of bandsmen formed the nucleus of the quarry village hand, and the various members were known by names such as 'Twm Trombone', 'Now Cornet', 'Joe Dwbwl B' or 'Die Drymar'. Of these hands, the most tamous was the Nantlle Vale Band which was formed in 1865. (There was, of course, the other prominent quarrymen's band in Merioneth, the Royal Oakeley Band. Ffestiniog, which was formed about the same time, and known as the 'Gwaenydd Brass Band'.)
The instruments of the first Nantlle band were presented by Mr. Darbyshire, the owner of Penyrorsedd Quarry, and consequently it was given the name Penyrorsedd Brass Band. When Prince Edward visited the Caernarvon Eisteddfod in 1894 the band was playing on a small ship in the Menai Straits. On their way to the Royal Yacht the prince and princess waved in acknowledgement and bowed to show their appreciation of the band's music. From that day the band became known as the Royal Nantlle Vale Silver Prize Band.
One family in Nantlle noted for its long connection with the band was that of William Jones who was always known as William Jones 'Corn Mawr' because of his outstanding ability as a Double B player. When he was 27 William Jones was on his way home from the hand practice one night, accompanied by his friend, Watkin Roberts, who played the solo horn. It was very dark, and the road was dangerous because there were many quarry pits in the area. William took a piece of candle from his pocket and lit it. but it soon went out and suddenly he took a false step and disappeared over the edge of a deep pit known as Cloddfa'r Lon. The Double B. was lied on his back and it was caught by a projecting piece of rock a few feet from the top. 1 here. hanging precariously over the great depth. William had to stay until Watkin Roberts returned with help to lift him to safety. After that William thought more highly than ever of his Double B.