A PIECE of Welsh history will go under the hammer to help raise funds for the Nevern church tower and bells appeal.

An auction and charity ball is being held at Llwyngwair Manor on Saturday, July 6 as part of the £250,000 appeal to get the bells ringing again at St Brynach Church.

And one of the items being auctioned off is the tall black hat worn by Welsh heroine Jemima Nicholas.

She is famous for leading a band of Welsh ladies who repelled the French invasion of Fishguard in 1797 with their pitchforks.

The French believed that the tall black hats and red skirts were the uniforms of British soldiers who had been forewarned of the invasion.

Armed with only a pitchfork, she rounded up 12 French soldiers when they were drunk; they surrendered shortly afterwards at the Royal Oak.

She died at the age of 82, and her gravestone can be seen at St Mary’s Church, in Fishguard.

The hat she wore has been passed on over the years and is currently owned by Lt Col Hywel Davies and he has decided to donate it to the appeal.

Other items to be auctioned off include a signed seascape painting by Dame Judy Dench; several other paintings by well-known artists; rare whiskies; a week’s stay in a beachfront villa near Alicante; a day’s shooting; a stay in a London with theatre tickets and three days’ fishing on the River Tay in Scotland.

Items up for auction can be viewed at fundraising-auctions.bid/auction/restorationappeal/restoration-appeal and bids must be lodged by 6pm on Wednesday July 3.

The artwork will be on display at Newport gallery from July 1.

Bids are welcome through the Facebook page Nevern Church Tower and Bells project; contact Maggie on 07741 242893 or email elsiemargaret@btinternet.com or contact Jo Bowen on 07790 556986 or email jobowen53@gmail.com

More than 100 people are expected at the Bowen Bell Ball at Llwyngwair Manor, which is being staged by Jo Bowen, whose family has had connections to Nevern Church going back hundreds of years.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to all the local businesses and people who have donated to the auction and also the raffle we will be staging,” said appeal secretary Maggie Campbell.