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Love in the Archives

Rebus text

This hand-drawn coded letter, was found within the Bryn Diogel Lodge minute book, 1879-1890. It is not known exactly how old the letter is or why it was written in the Bryn Diogel Lodge minute book, but it is a truly remarkable discovery nonetheless.

The minute book is of a temperance society, and includes minutes and poems. Temperance societies promoted abstention from alcohol, and members took a pledge of teetotalism. This society held its meetings at Rhiwlas Chapel, Caernarfonshire.

The letter was written by William Weightman to his ‘dearest’ Fanny and he declares his undying love and devotion to her, as well as his intentions to horsewhip Bill Robirson, a possible rival for her affections.

The love letter is made up of symbols, numbers and letters; not unlike the language used in modern day text messaging.  Amongst others, William used drawings of eyes to represent ‘I’, a sketch of a fan followed by the letter E for ‘Fanny’, the letter W followed by a picture of a hen to stand for ‘when’ and the letter H followed by the figure 8 for ‘hate’.