Llandovery Walk number 1. Walking with History.

Llandovery Walk number 1. Walking with History.

Next in my Genealogist walking persona, accompanied by the trusty Eva, it’s around Llandovery. We had two treks in early June using the OS app.

We set off from a spot near Velindre on the map above, if we had been there on 2 April 1911, we would have bumped into the family of Thomas Williams, he was, or said he was 63, he was a retired farmer born at Llanwrdda in Carmarthenshire he spoke both Welsh and English. He was married to Mary aged 62, they had omitted to write I  how long they had been married for (the enumerator had placed a question mark in red ink on the form to highlight this, it was required information), they did however state they had had three children, two were still living, Mary was also bilingual and was born in Cilycwm Carmarthenshire. One of their children lived with them she was Lizzie Williams their daughter aged 23 and unmarried, she reported no occupation and was also bilingual and born there in Llandovery. A 62-year-old servant Charles Baxter also lived under their roof, he was single and worked on their land and garden, he was born in Highworth, Wiltshire so was quite some distance from his roots, he unsurprising spoke only English. All in all, we have what a appears to be a reasonably well-off family for the time, reinforced by the census detail they lived in a 16 roomed house, the entry prior to this had a 6 person family living in a 2 roomed house[1].

We walked up an incline out towards the countryside away from the A40 and the roaring motorbikes. Up a hill called Crow Hill

Map around Llandovery showing Crow Hill and Velindre. www.genuki.org.uk

The residents there in 1891[2] were, Rees Lewis aged 37, Head of the family, born Llanwrda, Carmarthenshire, a General Servant. His wife Jane aged 32, born Cayo, Carmarthenshire.     Their daughters Mary Jane aged 9, Eleanor aged 8, Elizabeth aged 6, Sarah aged 5 and Margaret A. aged 2 all born in Llandovery, all except 2-year-old Margaret were at school. Finding the school will be for another time, it wasn’t on our walk. However, it is evident the family would have lived a difficult life the father a servant probably on about £16 per year equivalent to about £2200 now even adjusting for changes in inflation a meagre amount. With 5 children under 10, how mother manged is astonishing.

Onwards through the crossroads and up another climb and into Allt Llywnywormwood, a walk through the forestry on a bridle path. Wandering in the forestry often comes to my mind…

“Whose woods these are I think I know” … Robert Frost from his poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. 1923.

Well, these woods skirt the Welsh home of the Prince of Wales, no not Owain ap Gruffydd, lord of Glyndyfrdwy, but Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor[3], somehow, I’d prefer if it was the former.

Eva thought she saw someone wearing a crown.

Out of the woods and turn back towards Llandovery past Pant y Gaseg, and on to Cefn Rhuddan. Living there in 1911 were the family of Herbert R. Jones he was 33, a Farmer born Haywood Herefordshire he was bilingual, his wife Janet she was 28, they had bneen married for 11 years and had 2 children she was born in Seven Sisters, Glamorgan          and she was also bilinguial. Their children were John aged 5 who spoke only Welsh he was born in Seven Sisters Glamorgan and David G. aged 10 months he was born in Llandovery Carmarthenshire. Also there was Thomas Edwards he was unmarried aged 27 and was a Farm labourer born in Manchester he spoke only English. There were 5 rooms in the house.[4]

Eva looking towards Llandovery near Cefn Rhuddan.

Towards the end of our 10k walk was Picton Court, around the start of the Great War the family of Mr Thomas Phillips lived there, a short piece in The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser 1913 gives a social; history insight into normality before the horros of war…


The above was the title of a very interesting lecture illustrated by magic lantern views delivered at the Salem Vestry under the auspices of the Memorial Guild by Mr. W. Stuart -Scott. The chairman was Councillor T. Phillips, Picton Court. There was an excellent attendance, and during the evening some solos were very sweetly rendered by Mrs. Stuart Scott.”[5]

This house had been built since the Tithe map of 1840, it is not shown at that time nor subsequent maps until about 1903 when the address appears in local news reports. That search will be for another time too.

Because it was back to the van for a cup of tea for Eva and I.

[1] Census records. Wales. Velindre, Llandingat Within, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire. 02 April 1911. WILLIAMS, Thomas (head) RG14PN32905 RG78PN1882 RD597 SD4 ED1 SN123. Collection: 1911 Census For England & Wales. The National Archives. www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 15 June 2021.

[2] Census records. Wales. Crow Hill, Llandingat, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire. 05 April 1891. LEWIS, Rees (head). RG12 PN:4503 FN: Page:109. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. www.thegenealogist.co.uk : accessed 25 June 2021.

[3] Clarence House. Llwynywermod. https://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/gallery/llwynywermod accessed 25 June 2021.

[4] Census records. Wales. Cefnrfuddan Llandovery, Myddfai, Carmarthenshire. 02 April 1911. JONES, Herbert R. (head). RG14PN32911 RG78PN1882 RD597 SD4 ED7 SN6. Collection: 1911 Census For England & Wales. www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 25 June 2021.

[5] The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser. Llandovery. The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser. P.5f. https://newspapers.library.wales/view/3764875/3764880/52/picton%20court%20llandovery : access 25 June 2021.

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