Elisabeth ‘Betsi’ Cadwaladyr is best known for the role she played while serving in the Crimean War (1853–1856) and is regarded as a role model for fighting to improve patients’ clinical care and living conditions.
Born in 1789, Betsi Cadwaladyr was one of 16 children brought up on Pen Rhiw Farm in Llanycil, near Bala. She grew up in a strongly religious household in North Wales as the daughter of a farmer and Methodist preacher. Her mother died when she was 5 years old. In the tradition of rural communities of Wales at the time, individuals would care for sick neighbours in the hope that if they became sick, neighbours would, in turn, care for them. Nursing skills would thus be acquired among members of the rural community.