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Cranogwen - female sea captain

Sarah Jane Rees (1839-1916) was a sea captain, poet and very successful Welsh woman who adopted the bardic name of 'Cranogwen'. She became the first woman to win the bardic crown at the National Eisteddfod, in 1865, beating many well known bards of the day. Cranogwen also became a popular public speaker, travelling widely including several tours in America. She also established the Women’s Temperance Movement and edited and published a Welsh language journal for women.



Cranogwen, daughter of a Llangrannog master mariner often accompanied her father on his cargo ships. Although unusual for a girl at the time, Sarah went on to study navigation at New Quay, then at Liverpool and London, eventually earning a full captain’s certificate. This would have enabled her to sail as the captain of a ship to any part of the world, but instead Sarah chose to base herself in Llangrannog and became a teacher. She taught the skills of navigation to local young men, reading and writing to children, and music. Cranogwen's grave can today be found in a prominent position at St Crannog’s church in Llangrannog.

Why not learn to sail too or have a go at another watersport? There are many activities available across Ceredigion who can help you learn and enjoy the surf and spray of Cardigan Bay. There are sailing clubs at Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, New Quay, Tresaith and Cardigan. Or if you fancy being a spectator check out our regattas and other events in our listings.