Couple find mysterious letter from the 1960s whilst renovating former Post Office

The letter written in Welsh
A letter was discovered by the couple whilst renovating a former Post Office which was written in Welsh (Image credit: Manon Llwyd Bowen from Dysgucymraeg)

A couple who were renovating a former Post Office building have discovered a historic unsent letter under the stairs.

Richard and Tracy Ward from Devil's Bridge, Ceredigion in West Wales, found a letter in Welsh that was written more than 60 years ago while renovating a house they moved into two years ago.

The letter had been left there intentionally, clearly as a bit of fun for future generations to find, with the couple then tracking down the daughter of the writer to hand it back to her.

How couple found letter hidden under the stairs

Richard and Tracy moved to Devil's Bridge from London in 2021 and were in the process of renovating the town's former Post Office when they made the discovery.

The Post Office used to service the entire town and surrounding villages of Devils Bridge and Ceredigion with just five postmen delivered post to the village’s 426 residents. The town was named after Devil's Bridge above the River Mynach which legend claims the bridge was built by the Devil due to its complex design.

Hidden under the stairs they found a handwritten note tucked away, apparently left there intentionally for future owners to find. On pulling the note out they saw it was  dated March 1960 and written in Welsh.

What did the letter say to the new owners?

The couple were in the process of learning Welsh after moving to Devil's Bridge, which made the discovery even more intriguing for them. They took the letter to their beginner's course in Welsh at Dysgu Cymraeg Ceredigion-Powys-Sir Gâr for it to be properly translated by the class and the teacher.

Zoe Pettinger, the class teacher, translated the note, which read: “This paper was put here by Trefor Griffiths, The Post Office, Devil's Bridge on the 10 March 1960. I wonder who will find it?"

The couple then did some research and discovered that Trefor Griffiths was a writer who lived in Devil's Bridge and wrote a book in 1975 about the people of the village of Ceredigion called Hapus Dyrfa (Happy Crowd).

The writer had since died but the Welsh language class managed to track down Trefor's daughter Nerys Hughes. And she was delighted when they gave her the letter, saying: “I didn’t know he’d put the note inside the house, but it doesn’t surprise me to hear he had. It was his kind of character."

She added: "As a family, we love the story. Seeing my father's writing on the note was a very emotional and special experience."

And if you are wondering why Trefor Griffith left the letter in the Post Office... Nerys explained that his wife, her mother, was the Postmaster in Pontarfynach, who ran it from 1960 to 1967.

The welsh language learners group with the letter

The Welsh language class, Dysgu Cymraeg Ceredigion-Powys-Sir Gâr, tracked down the daughter of Trefor Griffiths. For more information on their courses go to learnwelsh.cymru (Image credit: g)

Letter is less unusual than other renovation finds

The letter adds to a number of gruesome renovation finds people have made during their house projects, including the body of a priest still hiding in a priest hole.

A number of homeowners also discovered mummified cats inside their walls which were believed to have been "foundation sacrifices" to bring good fortune to new structures. For one reason or another, these finds are left behind by previous owners, and this story is no exception.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.