Long lost settlement.

Long lost settlement.

During a recent stay in the stunning St. David’s Pembs. I heard about a ruined village in the hills, rumour had it had been abandoned when a local farmer poisoned a well with a dead dog causing the village to fall into ruin.

 OS Maes y Mynydd. ©Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 010/22. The licence is valid until 31 December 2022

Maes y Mynydd.

Ruins in the distance. © John Colclough 2022.

At Maes-y-Mynydd are the ruined walls of the houses or cottages, and fields of a small settlement set in a sheltered hollow between Carnedd Llethr and the sea. The placename is first recorded in 1829 and the settlement is depicted on the Tithe Map of 1840 with six or seven houses. By the time of the earlier editions of the OS County series the settlement was in decline with some of its fields tumbled down to heath and only four houses remained intact. It is likely that Maes-y-Mynydd was laid out on what had been open heath in the early nineteenth century and was a fishing community. However, local tradition has it that this was a Quaker settlement with its own burial ground.[1]

I needed to find out more:

In an 1841 census search for Maes y Mynydd I found 9 families:

1. Henry David 50, Martha David 45, Martha David 20 and Mary Nicholas 11, Mary appears to be a servant and related to anther family in Maes y Mynydd.

I discovered Henry and Martha married September 1816, the banns were read on 3rd., 10th. and 17th. of that month by John Jones the Curate of St. David’s, Martha’s maiden name was Arnold.

A bit more can be gleaned for this family looking at the 1851 census:

 Henry David 60. Head. Born Nevern, Pembrokeshire. Farmer of 8 Acres.

Martha David 57. Wife. Born St David’s, Pembrokeshire.

Martha David 33. Daughter. Born Whitechurch, Pembrokeshire.

Ebenezer Lewis 13. Servant. Born St David’s, Pembrokeshire. General Servant.

Elizabeth Price 13. Servant. Born St David’s, Pembrokeshire. General Servant. Thus Henry farmed a smallish parcel of land, and had 2 young servants, their daughter Martha had not yet married.

Taking a look at the Wales tithe maps of that time. Henry David is listed as occupier of fields at Maesymynydd, fields numbers 1366A to 1368A, 1375A, 1380A, 1381A, 1390A, 1391A on the Tithe map. Landowner was John Mortimer, Area was 8 Acres 38 Perches. Tithe Value was 15 shillings.[2]

It was about 50-50 pasture and arable.

Henry David’s Farmstead. © John Colclough 2022.

2. Rachel Luke next, she was about 35, of independent means which although it could have meant she had other income, could also means she had no means of support, Elizabeth Luke aged 7 was living with her. 1851 saw Rachel still at Maes y Mynydd, living with George her husband (he was elsewhere in 1841- where?- he was in Treleddyd Fawr a farmer, also at the address were Jane Hughes aged 40, Hannah Luke aged 15, David Luke aged 13 and Rachel Hughes aged 8.)

George Luke a widower had married Rachel Williams in St. David’s 8th. December 1834.

George is not to be found in the Tithe apportionments, so it is probable he was not a land occupier, likely he was an agricultural labourer.

3. James Jones aged 80-84 still listed as an agricultural labourer and Rachel Jones aged 25. James is buried in St. David’s, died and was buried February 1844 aged 85. Worked all his long life.

4. Thomas Robert aged 60-64 an agricultural labourer and his namesake aged 7, a son or grandson.

5. Henry Nicholas aged 60-64 an agricultural labourer, his wife Mary 50-54, John Nicholas aged 25-29 probably their son and Richard Nicholas aged 8, son or grandson.

6. John Wilcock aged 80-84, Elizabeth aged 75-79, Lettice Reynold aged 30-34 independent (see above). Lettice married John Nicholas on 26th. October 1841 the census year. Love thy neighbour.

7. Timothy Price a Slater (a Roofer) aged 35, Jane Price aged 45, Sarah Price aged 7 and Elizabeth Price aged 3. Elizabeth aged 3 would have been registered officially (probably), I found a record in Haverfordwest for late 1837 with mother’s name Pards, and a marriage 16th. June 1831 at St. David’s of Timothy Price and Jane Pards (or Pardo).

8. Sarah Jones 45-49 independent (see above) and Thomas Jones 15-19 probably her son no occupation listed.

9. Samuel Thomas, he had 3 children the youngest was 9 month old Job. 9 months old in 1841 he should be in the GRO register. He was and his mother’s maiden name was Jones, the birth was registered in Haverfordwest. So Samuel Thomas had married Elizabeth Jones, their eldest child was Sarah aged 7, I might infer the marriage was about 1833, also Elizabeth’s mother could well have been called Sarah given naming patterns. I looked for that wedding. I found the banns and  the wedding record. Samuel Thomas was from Llety (it’s a holiday destination now), Elizabeth Jones was from Maes y Mynydd they’d married 26th. September 1833 at St David’s.

 6o years later at the 1901 census there were 3 abodes but 1 was uninhabited, the other 2 were:

1. David Luke aged 78, unmarried, described as a farmer and labourer (clearly not subsisting on any land he might have leased or owned) noted as a both a worker and working on his own account. Rachel Hughes his cousin aged 70, unmarried a housekeeper, these are the same people as those in family 2 from 1841).

David Luke died and was buried at St. David’s 9th. February 1904, he was recorded as being of Maes y Mynydd. Rachel Hughes died and was buried at St. David’s the following year 22nd. March 1905, she was recorded as being of Baptist Back in St. David’s it certainly appears she had gone to live with her brother Thomas. Who was living in St. David’s at the 1901 census.

Alan Thomas / St David’s Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace / CC BY-SA 2.0

(George Luke a widower  married Rachel Williams a spinster 1834 noted above. On 31st. July 1830 Elizabeth Luke was buried aged 37 along with her infant daughter Rachel, hard to understand the grief, she as Elizabeth Jenkin had been recorded as marrying George in 1828, however if they had been non conformist such as quakers they might have been married a few years earlier.)

2. David Phillips 62 a farmer working on his own account and his wife Margaret aged 60. They had both been born around St. David’s. They had been married in St. David’s around December 1869, her maiden name had been Williams. They had retired to Haverfordwest town by the 1911 census.

By 1911 there are no households recorded at Maes-y-Mynydd.

The gate shown below is across the road to New York, someone had a sense of humour or pathos.

If you do walk there take an OS map, and it is a long trousers walk, my legs were shredded, the paths were very overgrown (July 2022).

The gate says ‘Maes y Mynydd’.
It is a footpath. Looks lovely, but mind your legs. © John Colclough 2022.

No poisoned wells, just the march of time and privation.

I haven’t found a Quaker link, yet but if there is one I will.

Now Maes-y-Mynydd is buried in ferns and looks out over the sea where the ancients would have stood.

All the reference are available for all the above details.

Returning to rocks. ©John Colclough 2022.

Get in touch if you’d like them.

Contact me at: john.colclough@genealogy-and-you.com if you are wondering about your own family history.

[1] “Maes-y-Mynydd.” Coflein, n.d. Accessed July 27, 2022. https://coflein.gov.uk/en/.

[2] “Welsh Tithe Maps – Search.” Accessed August 4, 2022. https://places.library.wales/search?alt=.

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