South Gower Bracelet Bay to Port Eynon. Part 2.

South Gower Bracelet Bay to Port Eynon. Part 2.

Part 2.

The blog is taking longer than the walk, it took us about 7 hours including a stop or two for lemonade.

Back to it, where were we?

Looking over to Pobbles, here’s a link to the Gower Society  where you can find more walks.

We walked down through the fragmenting dunes to the beach, below the golf course, in 1933 there was a plan to develop Pobbles, the resistance got as far as Swansea County Court where Judge Rowland Rowlands presided. The trustees of Pennard Golf Club, Dr. Frank C. Thomas and Arthur Andrews sued F.W Wilks and Pobbles Bay Ltd. for damages from trespass also to get an injunction, the golf club was represented by Mr. Rowe Harding (famous Swansea name) the solicitor was C.J.C. Wilson, Mr. Rowe Harding declared the defendants wanted to turn Pobbles into a mini-Lido! After the openings the judge declared the defence had been withdrawn, he granted £5 damages and an injunction against Pobbles Bay Ltd. and Mr. Wilks. It seems people walking around going to the bay because of the publicity around the lido were annoying the members.[1] Mind you 4 years later there might have been a more pressing problem for any members fancying a dip in the sea at Pobbles, 12ft. sharks were terrorizing bathers at according to the Daily Mirror, ‘the monsters’ it was thought had followed a school of fish into the Bristol Channel. [2] I wonder if the golf club had anything to do with it.

Eva is not bothered by sharks.

We walked below the three cliffs to Three Cliffs bay, under the wathchful eye of Pennard castle, and maybe the ghosts of a De Beaumonts, De Braose, Despenser, De Mowbray or a Beauchamp all of whom had some control of the building before the shifitng dunes took the castle and the surrounding settlement.[3]

Turbulent times were witnessed by these ghosts. A snippet, “The district of Gower was wrested from the sons of Caradoc ab Iestyn, about the end of the eleventh century, by Henry Beaumont, Earl of Warwick, who established in it a colony of English and Flemish settlers…

On the death of Beaumont in 1107, he was succeeded by Robert, illegitimate son of Henry I and Nêst, daughter of Rhŷs ab Tewdwr; to whom that monarch gave in marriage Fitz-Hamon’s daughter Mabel, or Mabli. He attempted to enforce the feudal laws on the native landowners, which led to Grufydd, son of Rhŷs ab Tewdwr, late Prince of South Wales, entering Gower with a large body of native troops; and, failing in an attack on the castle of Abertawe, or Swansea, set fire to the suburbs of that place, ravaged the adjacent country, and returned into Carmarthenshire, loaded with booty. In the following year he again entered Gower in like manner”.[4]

We headed peacefully up the hill to Penmaen Burrows and Great Tor.

“PEN MAEN, in the Cwmwd of Gwyr, Cantref of Eginog (now called the Hundred of Swansea), County of GLAMORGAN, South Wales: a discharged Rectory valued in the King’s Books at £4..10..0: Patron, The Lord Chancellor: Church dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The Resident Population of this Parish, in 1801, (including the little Hamlet of Paviland) was 131. The Money raised by the Parish Rates, in 1803, was £7..7..9. It is 9 m. W. S. W. from Swansea. This Parish contains about 450 acres of inclosed Land, and about 300 acres uninclosed. The Hamlet of Paviland is six miles to the Westward of Pen Maen: and from which, one of the Church wardens and Overseers of the Poor for the Parish are chosen. Below the Church, on the Sea shore, are some very grand Rocks, particularly one called The Great Tor, which runs up to a great height, terminating in a sharp point: at 1ow water spring tides, there is a Passage under this Rock, which allows of a pleasant ride over Oxwich Sands and Pen Arth Burrows to Swansea, and is a saving of between two and three miles. The Rocks form the Eastern side of Oxwich Bay. About a quarter of a mile further is a small Pill or Rivulet, running up into Nicholaston Marsh, which divides one part of this Parish, and Oxwich, from that of Nicholaston. According to the Diocesan Report, in 1809, the yearly value of this Benefice, arising from Augmentation, Tythes, Glebe, and Surplice Fees, was £143..10..0.”[5]

Looking back, physically and historically up on the hill overlooking the bay is a large building, which was once the Gower Union workhouse, built around 1861 and housed about 50 souls.[6]

The 1881 census shows Christopher Davies 61 born Glamorganshire Master of Workhouse his wife Ruth Davies 61  born Glamorganshire Matron of Workhouse, their son Edward Francis Davies unmarried 34 born Glamorganshire a Farmer. Here are few of the unfortunates housed there, Elizabeth Phillips unmarried aged 27, a Domestic Servant and her one year old daughter Elizabeth, Thomas Walters widower aged 74 a Blacksmith, George Edwards married aged 66, born Glamorganshire , a Thatcher, Margaret Williams umarried 69 born Glamorganshire a Fisherwoman.[7] So a single mother and he child, elderly craftspeople all fits with the history of these lpaces that the elderly, infirm, unmarried mothers, mentally ill were all forced to the insitiution.

Around the headland to Nicholaston, On the 19th May 1838 in the Village of Nicholaston, Gower, John Macnamara, mariner, aged 87 was mentioned in the death notices, [8] he was buried at St. Nicholas church. [9]

St Nicholas Church, Nicholaston cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Chris Henley –

From here we headed down to the beach at Crawley woods and aimed for Oxwich, and the Penrice estate where 29 generations of the Methuen-Campbell family have lived.[10]

Some refreshments wert taken on board ready for the long haul up the steps near St. Illtyd’s church, a quiet even dank place. “The parish church of St. Illtyd’s overlooks Oxwich Bay. A place of worship has stood on this site since the 6th century, but the main tower of today was built in the 14th century. The chancel of this church is thought to be a 6th-century cell. The church bell in the tower also dates back to the 14th century, but was recast in 1892. In the churchyard there is a well, which locals believe is haunted by a ghost. Legend has it that a ghost was seen in the churchyard before vanishing into a well.”[11]

St. Illtyd’s Church. Rainer Boettchers. Public Domain.

The keepers of the Bull Inn had married at St. Illtyd’s church in 1839, Thomas Gibbs and Mary Bidder both aged 20, Mary was the publican, Thomas was a shoemaker, his father was a quarryman, her father was a mariner,[12] reflecting many of the trades practiced in early 19th century Oxwich. How did I know they were at the Bull Inn? The census, Thomas Gibbs 22, a Victualler, born Glamorgan. Mary Gibbs 22 born Glamorgan, Francis Gibbs 1, born Glamorgan (Oxwich) George Gibbs 1 month, born Oxwich.[13]

Out around Oxwich point. Marching towards Port Eynon, a slight detour after a lanslip inland to Slade, the tuthe map shows we were walking on lands owned by the Mansell family, the tenant was David Sheppard. [14] Another famous Gower name.

Tithe Maps Slade.

He is on the 1865 electoral register, living still at Slade.[15]

Onto the beach, heading past Horton, there was a Red Cross hospital here in WW1,  a few lines in The Herald Saturday December 4th 1915…Sapper C. Potts 2nd Glamorgan ATRE the husband of Mrs. Potts of Temperance Cottage Treboeth, was taken to Horton after being accidently wounded in the arm.[16]

To the finish at Port Eynon near the Salt House “It appears to have been originally built in the mid C16th as a site of salt production. The main building still visible today was used for occupation and storage whilst three large chambers on the beach were used for salt production. The sea water would enter the beach chambers at high tide where it would be stored in a reservoir. The water would be pumped into large iron pans and slowly heated and evaporated. As the salt formed it would be scooped off and stored in the northern part of the main building to dry. The first knowledge of a salt house at Port Eynon is also mentioned in a document of 1598. It would seem Welsh salt houses of the later C16th were amongst the most advanced of their day. The value if the salt is perhaps shown by the fact that the site was enlarged and fortified during the C17th, with the inclusion of musket loops within the thick walls. It appears salt production ceased around the mid C17th. Some of the structures were subsequently demolished but occupation continued in the main house. The most recent being the use of the northern end as oystermen’s cottages, which were finally abandoned c1880.”[17]

Couple of lads and Eva heading to the finish.

Thomas Richards married 31, Head born Penrice, Glamorganshire, Labourer, Jane Richards 30, Wife, born Llandewy, Glamorganshire, Charles Richards, Son bron Llandewy, Glamorganshire, Mary Richards 2, Daughter born Porteynon, Glamorganshire was one family at the cottages in the Salt House.[18]

We sat on the beach and enjoyed some well earned fish and chips, Eva had one or two also, after nearly 17 miles.

[1] Western Mail 1933. Golf Club’s Action. Western Mail. 21 July. P. 10b. Collection: British Newspapers. The British Library. : accessed 11 September 2021.

[2] Daily Mirror. 1937. SHARKS INVADE CHANNEL. Daily Mirror. 16 June. P. 21a. Collection: British Newspapers. The British Library. : accessed 11 September 2021.

[3] Castles For Battles. Pennard Castle.

[4] Samuel Lewis, ‘Gelly – Glyn’, in A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (London, 1849), pp. 358-385. British History Online :accessed 11 September 2021.

[5] Genuki. Penmaen. (From: A Topographical Dictionary of The Dominion of Wales by Nicholas Carlisle, London, 1811.)

[6] Gower, Glamorgan.

[7] Census records. Wales. The Workhouse, Penmaen, Gower, Glamorganshire. 03 April 1881. DAVIES, Christopher (head). RG11 PN:5369. Page:165. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 12 September 2021.

[8] The Cambrian. 1838. Births, Marriages, Deaths. 02 June. P. 3c. Collection: Welsh newspapers online. : accessed 12 September 2021.

[9] Burials (PR) Wales. St. Nicholas, Nicholasotn, 1838 (no date on record) Gower. MACNAMARA, John. Collection: Glamorganshire Burials. : accessed 12 September 2021.

[10] Penrice. Penrice Castle Estate. : accessed 12 September 2021.

[11] Wikipedia. Oxwich.

[12] Marriages (PR) Wales. St. Illtyd, Oxwich, Gower. 06 June 1839. GIBBS, Thomas and BIDDER, Mary. P. 3 entry No. 5. Collection:  Glamorganshire, Wales, Anglican Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1570-1994. : accessed 12 September 2021.

[13] Census records. Wales. Oxwich, Gower, Glamorgan. 06 June 1841. GIBBS, Thomas. Archive reference HO107. Piece number 1424. Book number 22. Folio number 8. Page number 9. Collection: 1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census. : accessed 12 September 2021.

[14] Maps. Slade, Gower. Wales Tithe maps online. : accessed 12 September 2021

[15] Electoral Register. 1865. Slade, Oystermouth, Glamorgan. SHEPPARD, David. Collection: Glamorganshire, Wales, Electoral Registers, 1832-1978. : accessed 12 September 2021

[16] The Herald. 1915. Gower Notes. 04 December. P. 8e. Collection: Wales Newspapers Online. : accessed 12 September 2021.

[17] The National Trust. The Salt House – Port Eynon Point, South Gower Coastal Properties.

[18] Census records. Wales. 07 April 1861. RICHARDS, Thomas (head) RG9 PN:4109. Page:95. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 12 September 2021.

South Gower Bracelet Bay to Port Eynon. Part 1.

The walk from Bracelet Bay to Port Eynon. About 16 miles along a stretch of the Wales Costal path, close to where I live. A sterling effort from Eva too.

The start point was near Mumbles Lighthouse, in 1849 a Mr. Lewis wrote “The Mumbles Point, an insulated rock at high water, forms the western extremity of Swansea bay; and the trustees of the harbour have erected a lighthouse upon it, which has been productive of the greatest benefit to vessels navigating this coast, and is supported by a small toll payable by each vessel passing within a certain distance. The Mumbles Roads provide excellent shelter, with good anchorage, for ships navigating the Channel, which frequently put in here during the prevalence of westerly gales; to the number, occasionally, of 400 or 500 sail. In these roads, also, are moored the boats employed in the oyster-fishery off the Gower coast; the beds extend from near the Mumbles Point almost to Worm’s Head, at the other extremity of the peninsula of Gower, and in the height of the season about 400 men are engaged in dredging. Immense quantities of the oysters are sent, through factors at Swansea, to London, Liverpool, Bristol, and other markets.”[1]Back to modern times are oysters returning?[2] Stepping back to the history 8 years before Samuel Lewis commented on Mumbles the Lighthouse was under the care of Abraham Ace, the census is our evidence, and this is the record: Abraham Ace aged 60, born in Glamorgan, Light House Keeper, Sarah Ace 68, not born in county, Abraham Ace 21, not born in county a Mariner and Margaret Ace 20, born Scotland.[3] Before moving on, this record might make you think the family consisted of parents and children but a look at the 1851 census shows the Ace’s there still, but with a bit more information: Abraham Ace 32, married, Head of household, born Devon, Light Keeper, Margaret  Ace 27 is wife born Scotland also the Light Keeper, Elizabeth Ace 5, Daughter born Redruth, Cornwall a Scholar, John Ace 1, Son, born Oystermouth, Glamorganshire, Abraham Ace 73, Father of Abraham born Penrice, Glamorganshire a Carpenter and Margaret Heath aged 18 a Visitor a Dress Maker.[4] More on this family at an other time maybe, on with the walk.

Mumbles Lighthouse.

We walked past Fortes Ice Cream parlour, opened in 1936 synonymous with the Macari family. Here is the 1939 register entry: Giuseppe Macari born 14 Feb 1897, a Shop Keeper Ice Cream Maker his wife, Vittoria Macari born 04 Aug 1897 Unpaid Domestic Duties, Elio Macari born 18 Apr 1923, Shop Assistant Dispense Ice Cream, Olimpio Macari born 21 Jul 1925, Not permanently employed, seeking work.[5]

Around the headlands to Rotherslade, in 1859 in deaths notices; On the 1st July, aged 87 years, at Rotherslade, near Swansea, the residence of her son, John Jenkins, Esqr., F.R.A.S., Mrs. Margaret Jenkins.[6]

Tithe map Field Number 1025. Langland House.
1840 Tithe map, the Field Number 1025, Field Name Langland field and house, Land Use Arable Landowner George Hughes, Occupier William Phillips, Area 2 Acres 3 Roods, 38 Poles, Tithe Value, 8s. 11d. What on earth would it be worth now?
Price, Francis, & Price, John. (1845). Plan of Oystermouth in the County of Glamorgan. : accessed 30 August 2021.

Tithe map, the Field Number 1025, Field Name Langland field and house, Land Use Arable Landowner George Hughes, Occupier William Phillips, Area 2 Acres 3 Roods, 38 Poles, Tithe Value, 8s. 11d.[7] What on earth would it be worth now?

Caswell Bay around the coast, 1881 census around here, had two records connected. The first found a German national, John Schubert Head Married aged 51, a Gardener (domestic servant) born Germany and his wife Sarah Schubert aged 43, Cook (domestic servant) born Bodenham, Herefordshire, England. They lived at Redcliff House[8], next to them their likely employer at Caswell Bay was Caroline A. Morgan aged 38 unmarried, Head of the household, born Llanrhidian, Glamorganshire a Landowner, and Mary Edward 30 unmarried, Servant born Llanrhidian, Glamorganshire.[9]

Caswell Bay from Bishop’s Wood. Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Brandy Cove is next, what else would it be other than a smuggler’s haunt? “It’s easy to see why aptly named Brandy Cove was such a hit with Gower’s smugglers (particularly local kingpin William Hawkin Arthur and his gang). Surrounded by rocky cliffs that hide it away from prying eyes, there could be few better places on the Peninsula to unload an illicit cargo of tobacco or alcohol.”[10]

William Hawkin Arthur was active in the late 18th century, tenant of Great Highway Farm, Kittle between 1783 and 1794, being the notorious leader of a gang of smugglers.[11] He at least, had a son baptized: Transcribed by me, William Son of William and Grace Arthur, born 10th June 1787 baptized 17th June 1787 at Pennard Church.[12]

Pennard church. Gareth Lovering

William Hawkin Arthur had his main base at Pwlldu, the next bay around our walk. This is a very atmospheric place, with a few houses remaining. I’ve known or been aware there were pubs there, so searched I did. The National Trust is a good place to start… “It has been suggested that when the quarry was at its peak there were five public houses in the valley. The present Beaufort House and Ship Cottage were the ‘Beaufort Arms’ and the ‘Ship Inn’. The abandoned house may be either ‘The Bull’ or ‘The Star’ with ‘New Inn’ apparently lying some way up the valley on the Swansea side of the river (See 88611). It is not clear how long the five inns were in operation or even if they were contemporary. The Tithe Map of 1846 recorded only the ‘Ship Inn’ and the ‘Beaufort Arms’. In the latter part of the century when the limestone industry had declined the ‘Beaufort Arms’ provided tourist accommodation and it survived as a public house until the 1940’s.”[13] 1901 finds the Beaufort Arms in the stewardship of Jane Jones a Widow aged 57, the Inn keeper, born Pennard, her father David Jenkins a Widower aged 79 a Retired quarryman, born Pennard, William A. Charles Nephew of Jane aged 9, a Scholar born Pennard, Mary J. Beynon a Servant Single aged 22, a Cook, born Pennard, and Louisa Jones Single aged 13 the Housemaid born Ilston. [14] The above mentioned Tithe Map mentions the Jones’ at the Beaufort, with John Jenkins at the other, not named pub. Last note on Pwlldu. Until the beginning of the 20th Century, rights of “cliffage” were awarded to certain privileged farming tenants, who could then strip limestone from the slopes of Pwlldu Head for shipping to Devon, where it was used in making agricultural lime. Blocks were removed along deep gullies, which can still be seen quite clearly, especially from the eastern side of the beach. The stone was then piled up on the low shore and marked with posts. Ships would enter the cove at high tide, locate the posts and beach as closely to them as possible. The consignment was then loaded at low tide. The Devon shipmasters would scuttle their vessels (before the tide was fully out) by opening the sea-cocks. Once the ship was resting on the bottom, the cocks were closed, so that the hull remained full of water when the tide retreated. This water broke the impact of the first blocks as they were hurled aboard. Once laden, the cocks were opened again, the water drained off, and the vessel re-floated when the tide returned. The shingle-banks of Pwlldu are probably entirely the result of the quarrying operations there. All fine rubble was rejected, because it took too long to load. [15]

Pwlldu. Gareth Lovering. Creative Commons — Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic — CC BY-ND 2.0

We followed the coast path climbing up Pwlldu head, looking down on Graves End. Noting where a shipwreck occurred in 1760, the Caesar was the Admiralty tender with 68 pressed men, hands tied or handcuffed over their heads, in her hold.   She drove ashore Pwlldu Head, the tethered men drowned.[16] “C.D. Morgan’s 1862 “Wanderings in Gower” relates how a pressgang of twelve sailors under an officer had been thwarted in an attempt to impress John Voss of Nicholaston Hall and his neighbour John Smith before the “Caesar” sailed.  Stormy conditions in the Bristol Channel caused the vessel to turn back, though in poor visibility the pilot mistook Pwll Du Head for Mumbles Head – this was thirty years before Mumbles lighthouse was built.  The ship was holed on the rocks, now named Caesar’s Hole, and although the ship’s master, mate and some seamen escaped over the bowsprit and clambered up to High Pennard, they apparently neglected to raise the alarm.”[17]

John Voss of Nicholaston Hall was buried St. Nicholas Church there. He died 30 October 1795 and his memorial can still be seen.[18]

John Voss 1793.
Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 04 September 2021), memorial page for John Voss (unknown–30 Oct 1793), Find a Grave Memorial ID 176426922, citing St. Nicholas Churchyard, Nicholaston, Swansea, Wales ; Maintained by Lost Ancestors (contributor 48778889).

On around the path past the promontory fort, High Pennard and Hunt’s farm. But it has to be worth mentioning the caves in this area. Hunt’s Cave, identified by Rutter in Caves of Gower, but now not well identified. Bacon Hole, “The first excavations recorded in Bacon Hole were undertaken by Colonel Wood in 1850 who found remains from the following species: Brown Bear, Cave Bear, Badger, Polecat or Stoat, Fox, Wolf, Hyæna, Reindeer, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Wild Ox, Bison, Pig, Soft-nosed Rhinoceros, Straight-tusked Elephant and Water Vole.”[19] Finally, here, Minchin Hole, “The first important excavation took place circa 1851 when Col. Wood his important finds were the bones of the narrow-nosed rhinoceros and straight-tusked elephant. In 1931 Prof. T. N. George made an excavation near the mouth of this cave. This was followed in 1946 by large scale excavations under the direction of E. J. Mason and J. G. Rutter which continued until 1959. During this period the areas of four hearths of the Romano-British period and the Dark Ages were completely excavated in the upper part of the cave. Since 1972 Dr. A. J. Sutcliffe of the BM (NH) has been making a further detailed study of the Pleistocene deposits. Finds in the cave have included the remains of Reindeer, Bear, Wolf, Hyaena, Bison, Lion, Soft-nosed Rhinoceros, and Straight Tusked Elephant. Evidence of human habitation has been made with finds including over 750 pieces of pottery, spindle whorls, combs, bone spoons, bronze brooches and roman coins.”[20]

Minchkin Hole Gower. cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Cedwyn Davies –

Anyway, back to the walk. We were passing Hunt’s farm it’s there on the Tithe map occupied by John Jones, the land owner was Mrs. Margaret Edwards. The 1841 census records this John Jones, as aged 60 (he could have been up to 64, the ages were often rounded down at his census) so he was born somewhere around 1780 and likely born in the area, and another John Jones aged 15 (likewise could have been up to 19) probably born there at Hunt’s farm.[21] Should be enough information to track that family and a history of the farm.

The agricultural influence on this land is unmissable, we walk on around the path to Southgate and the National Trust car park, in 1841 there were two farms, one used by the family of John Edwards, aged about 40, May his wife about 385 and their three children Anne, John and Mary, all locally born, they had two servants Thomas Grove and Mary Hopkin, [22] and one of  William Davies, 30 his wife Elizabeth 30 their children John and William, they also had two servants John Rowland and Anne Gibb.[23]

James Grove. Welsh Tithe Maps – Search (

The Tithe map also shows a place called James Grove, [24] John French aged 35 (see above), Farmer, probably his children John French 15, Mary French and Benjamin French 12, there were also two servants Joseph Kift 15 and Elizabeth Lewis 35, all locally born[25]. I wonder how many descendants still live around that part of South Gower.

That takes us to halfway through the walk, seems like a good place to finish this part of the piece. More next week, on to Port Eynon.

Eva and I looking over Pobbles and Three Cliffs.

[1] Samuel Lewis, ‘Overton – Oystermouth’, in A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (London, 1849), pp. 271-274. British History Online [accessed 30 August 2021].

[2] BBC. Swansea Bay oysters make a return.

[3] Census records. Wales. Oystermouth, Swansea, Glamorganshire. 06 June 1841. ACE, Abraham. HO107 PN:1424 BN:21 Page: 63. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 30 August 2021.

[4] Census records. Wales. Oystermouth, Swansea. 06 June 1841. ACE, Abraham (head). HO107 PN:2467. Page:117. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 30 August 2021.

[5] 1939 register Wales. Mumbles, Swansea. 29 September 1939. MACARI, Giuseppe. Ref: RG101/7287E/022/34 Letter Code: XIAZ. Collection: 1939 Register. ; accessed 30 August 2021.

[6] The Welshman.1859. Deaths. The Welshman.  08 July. P 5f. Collection: Welsh Newspapers. : accessed 30 August 2021.

[7] Price, Francis, & Price, John. (1845). Plan of Oystermouth in the County of Glamorgan. : accessed 30 August 2021.

[8] Census records. Wales. Bishopston, Glamorganshire.  03 April 1881. SCHUBERT, John. (head). RG11. Piece number 5368. Folio 18. Page 11. Schedule 78. Collection: 1881 England, Wales & Scotland Census. : accessed 30 August 2021.

[9] Census records. Wales. Bishopston, Glamorganshire.  03 April 1881. MORGAN, Caroline A. (head). RG11 PN:5368. Page:36 Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 30 August 2021.

[10] City and County of Swansea. Piracy and Smuggling.

[11] Glamorgan-Gwent Archeological Trust. Gower 062 Southgate. landscape/gower/english/Gower 062/

[12] Baptisms (PR) Wales. St. Mary, Pennard, Gower, Glamorganshire. 17 June 1787. ARTHUR, William. P. 13. Collection: National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth) | Pennard Parish (Deanery of West Gower) – Baptisms, marriages (1743-1753), burials, v. 1, 1743-1813 (Pennard-1) ; accessed 31 August 2021.

[13] The National Trust UK. Beaufort House and Ship Cottage – Pwll Du, Pennard & Bishopston, Gower.

[14] Census records. Wales. Beaufort Arms, Pwlldu, Pennard, Glamorganshire. 31 March 1901. JONES, Jane (head). RG13. Piece number 5084. Folio 38. Page 8. Schedule 53. Collection: 1901 England, Wales & Scotland Census. : accessed 31 August 2021.

[15] The Geological Society. GOWER FIELD GUIDE. Other sites of Geological Interest.

[16] National CoastWatch-  Worms head. Wrecks Information.

[17] Blog Post. Hidden History. 72 The Wreck of the ‘Caesar’, 1760. 22 October 2016. : accessed 01 September 2021.

[18] Burials (OPR) Wales. St. Nicholas, Nicholaston, Gower, Swansea. 30 October 1795. VOSS, John. MEMORIAL ID 176426922. : accessed 01 September 2021

[19] Caves of the South Gower Coast.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Census records. Wales. Hunt’s, Pennard, Swansea. 06 June 1841. JONES, John. HO107 PN:1424 BN:24 Page:128. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. ; accessed 03 September 2021.

[22] Census records. Wales. Southgate, Pennard, Swansea. 06 June 1841. EDWARDS, John. HO107 PN:1424 BN:24. Page:124. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. ; accessed 03 September 2021.

[23] Census records. Wales. Southgate, Pennard, Swansea. 06 June 1841. DAVIES, William. HO107 PN:1424 BN:24. Page:124. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. ; accessed 03 September 2021.

[24] Tithe map

[25] Census records. Wales. Southgate, Pennard, Swansea. 06 June 1841. FRENCH, John. HO107 PN:1424 BN:24. Page:124. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. ; accessed 03 September 2021.

Bracelands to Symonds Yat

The Forest of Dean.

It is time to write up a walk Eva, myself and a special guest did a little while ago. We were staying in the Forest of dean at a place called Bracelands. It is close enough to Symonds Yat to walk, so we did.

Bracelands to Symonds Yat walk.

Bracelands; some history and people around there first, the Gloucestershire Archive holds a lease dated 10th February in the 18th year of James I, which was 1620-21. “The Lease by BENEDICT HALL of High Meadow in Newland, esq., to WILLIAM WYNTOUR of Collford, esq., of All those his lands, pasture and wood grounds called Bracelands, with all woods and underwoods thereupon growing; Except Iron Bynders, which the said Benedict might take at his pleasure, in the forest of Deane or in Newland, Staunton and Bicknor, between the coppice wood called the Copes of Sir Wm. Thockmorton, knt. and bart., and late of Thos Baynham of Clowerwall, esq. decd, and the said forest on all parts, containing in the whole 60 acres. Term, 99 years; if William Wyntour gent, son of the said Wm. Wyntour and Richard Carpenter, son of Wm. Carpenter of Collford, gent., and William Redgyn, son of John Redgyn senr. of Collford, or one of them should so long live. Yearly rent, £8. Signature, Benedict Hall, and sea. A Memo. endorsed, 20 March, 1627 (-8) of Surrender of the Lease by Margaret Wintoure, widow, late the wife of the said Wm. Winto and sole executrix of his Will, to the said Benedict, in consideration of £50.”[1]

Thus, names of people associated with the start of our walk if we had been there in 1620 would have been: Benedict Hall, William Wyntour deceased by 1627 and his wife Margaret his executrix. Sir William Throckmorton and the deceased Thomas Bayham.

Sir William Thockmorton looks to be an interesting character, in the state papers of Charles II September 1660, he is identified as “Sir William Thockmorton, Knight Marshal, and Henry Wynn, Solicitor General to the Queen [Mother], and Steward of the Marshalsea Court. For a lease of the contingent reversion of Sutton and Cullesdon Manors, Surrey, granted to Edward, son and heir of the late Sir Rob. Darcy, and his heirs male, with reversion in the Crown.”[2]

We’ve barely set off and there are families we can find.

We waked into Mailscot woods, wherein Mailscot lodge lies, investigating this shows it is/ was part of English Bicknor:

“West of English Bicknor village the principal house in the mid-16th century was Bicknor Court. In the early 17th century, there was a ruined farmhouse nearby. A later farmhouse standing south-west of the Court was rebuilt in 1862. In the late 18th century there was an old house lower down to the north-east. To the north at Common grove, where encroachments on common land began before 1774, (fn. 143) there was a single cottage in 1792. By the 1840s six or seven dwellings had been built there, (fn. 145) some of them on Rosemary Topping, the hill to the west. Several fell into ruin and were demolished in the early 20th century and three or four remained in 1993.

In the north-west a number of scattered cottages to the east of Redinhorne, including a timber-framed dwelling of c. 1610 and several older buildings, have disappeared. In 1993 a barn was a camping centre for young people. Cottages were built on extraparochial land adjoining the Coleford-Goodrich road both at Redinhorne and, to the south, at Hillersland. Hillersland Farm, within English Bicknor, was built in the 17th century. To the south-east at Blackthorns Farm, which belonged to the Wyrall family in 1608 and became part of the Eastbach estate in 1735, a bungalow was built southwest of the farmhouse in the later 20th century. Within Mailscot cabiners resident in 1628 were expelled. A woodman’s lodge was built northwest of Hillersland before 1748.”[3]

With a bit of lateral thinking because a simple search for Mailscot Lodge didn’t work in the usual places, FindMyPast, Ancestry etc. I found it by searching for Hillersland, in 1939 at Mailscot Lodge, Hillersland was Frank Short born 20th December 1903 a Married man, a Labourer with [the] Forestry Commission, his wife Nora K. Short born 30th March 1897 and their son Gordon F. Short born 6th February 1930.[4]

Following the route, we walked on to Symonds Yat rock and the views over the Wye. 2000+ years ago the views served a defensive purpose, there is an Iron, possibly even earlier Bronze age hill or promontory fort. Triangular, with its base to the south, overall pointing north. It is nearly 150m above sea level, with steep cliffs on its north, west and east sides, with banks and ditches on the south side. It was popularly and erroneously attributed to Offa, who reigned between 784-796 AD, because archeology points to at least the Iron if not Bronze age.[5] The only name for me here for me to conjure with is Offa. So here goes…

“Offa’s ancestry is given in the Anglian collection, a set of genealogies that include lines of descent for four Mercian kings. All four lines descend from Pybba, who ruled Mercia early in the 7th century. Offa’s line descends through Pybba’s son Eowa and then through three more generations: Osmod, Eanwulf and Offa’s father, Thingfrith. Æthelbald, who ruled Mercia for most of the forty years before Offa, was also descended from Eowa according to the genealogies: Offa’s grandfather, Eanwulf, was Æthelbald’s first cousin.[16] Æthelbald granted land to Eanwulf in the territory of the Hwicce, and it is possible that Offa and Æthelbald were from the same branch of the family. In one charter Offa refers to Æthelbald as his kinsman, and Headbert, Æthelbald’s brother, continued to witness charters after Offa rose to power.Offa’s wife was Cynethryth, whose ancestry is unknown. The couple had a son, Ecgfrith, and at least three daughters: Ælfflæd, Eadburh and Æthelburh.[19] It has been speculated that Æthelburh was the abbess who was a kinswoman of King Ealdred of the Hwicce, but there are other prominent women named Æthelburh during that period.”[6]

Offa’s family tree.

 This would be an interesting tree to link back to.

Iron grip at a Iron Age Fort. Its a long way down.

Back to the walk, and down the defensive cliff to the river Wye. Past the Saracen’s Head. On the 2nd April 1871 it was in the care of the Goode family, they were William Goode Head of the household married aged 75 an Inn Keeper born Goodrich, Herefordshire, his wife Selina Goode aged 55 born St. Briavels, Gloucestershire, Selina Goode their Daughter, unmarried aged 19 born Monmouth she was a dressmaker, Emily Jane Goode Daughter aged 15, born Monmouth and Kate Victoria Goode the third Daughter, aged 13 also born Monmouth.[1]

Saracen’s Head. Ferry and cable through the trees.

I will close off this section of the walk story with an expansion of the Goode family, using the information in the census above. Here is the baptism record for Selina the daughter, she was baptized 21 March 1852 at the church of St. Mary in Monmouth, she was baptized Selina Louise, her parents William and Selina, William was a waterman[2]. Now Selina’s birth registration shows her mother’s maiden name was Williams.[3] Selina Goode nee Williams died 20 March 1890, her will was proved at Hereford on 16 April 1890, she was a widow, lived the Saracen’s Head, Symonds Yat. Her estate was about £190, the executrixes were her daughters, Martha Maria Jones (wife of Edward Jones) of Symonds Yat and Kate Victoria James (wife of Richard Jones James) of the Saracen’s Head.[4] This is the way of genealogy, William is dead by 1890, I can find his death record, he died in early 1877 and was registered at Ross, he was 81 when he died.[5] Modern day descendants may well be living nearby, or even in my fanciful notion reading this.

The walk took us now, along the River Wye back towards the start, not without noticing the hand-pulled ferry at the above mentioned Saracen’s head, and a little way up stream is the one from ‘Ye Olde Ferry Inn’. In 1905 the incumbent there was a Mr. Tom Moses Davies


At the previous Court, Mr. Tom Moses Davis, owner and occupier of “Ye Olde Ferrie Inne,” Symonds’ Yat, in the parish of Whitchurch, had applied for a full licence for his house in place of the beer and wine one. It had been decided to grant the application subject to terms of tenure and the fixing of the monopoly value of the licence. To obtain the particulars, the application had been adjourned to the present Court. Mr. I.C Williams (Monmouth) again appeared in support of the application. The Clerk produced the valuation made by Messrs. Meats and Meats, of Hereford, which assessed the monopoly value of the new licence at £8 Se. Bd. per annum. Continuing, the Clerk added that if the full licence was confirmed by the County Licensing Authority, the licence duty of ” Ye Olde Ferrie Inn would be increased by some £l3 per annum; and in the event of the licence being refused at any subsequent general annual licensing meeting, the applicant would lose his claim to any compensation he might now possess under the old licence. The Magistrates accepted the valuation of Messrs. Meats and Meats, and after hearing Mr. Williams, they decided that the tenure of the licence should be for one year only. Applicant would, therefore, have to pay the monopoly value of £8 6e. Bd. for each year the licence might be renewed, and pay all the expenses of the present valuation.”[6]

Ye Olde Ferry Inne, from ye new hand pulled ferry.

We hiked along the banks of the river until the next path back up to Bracelands, for a welcome drink outside the van to rest the legs.

If you would like a walk with history, your own history get in touch.


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[1] Census records. England. Saracen’s Head Inn, Goodrich, Ross, Herefordshire. 02 April 1871. GOODE, William (head). Enumeration district 18. Piece number 2687. Folio 130. Page 11. Schedule 65. Collection: 1871 England, Wales & Scotland Census. : accessed 19 August 2021.

[2] Baptisms (PR) Wales. St. Mary, Monmouth, Monmouthshire. GOODE, Selina Louise. P. 16 Entry 126. Collection: Monmouthshire, Wales, Anglican Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1551-1994. www.aNCESTRY.CO.UK : accessed 19 August 2021.

[3] Births index (CR). Wales. RD Monmouth [Monmouthshire]. 1st Q., 1852. GOODE, Selina Louise. Volume 11A. Page 40. : accessed 19 August 2021.

[4] Testamentary records. England. Hereford. 16 April 1890. GOODE, Selina. P. 422. Collection: England & Wales Government Probate Death Index 1858-2019. : accessed 19 August 2021.

[5] Deaths index (CR) England. RD Ross [Herefordshire]. 1st Q., 1877. GOODE, William. Volume 06A Page 332. : accessed 19 August 2021.

[6] Ross Gazette. 1905. Ye Olde Ferrie Inne Licence. 30 March. P3f. Collection: The British Newspaper Archive. : accessed 20 August 2021.

[1] Gloucestershire Archive. 1620-21. 10 Feb., 18 Jas.I.  Lease by BENEDICT HALL of High Meadow in Newland, esq., to WILLIAM WYNTOUR of Collford, esq. The National Archive. Discovery. D1677/GG/673. : accessed 18 August 2021.

[2] Charles II – volume 17: September 1660, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1660-1, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1860), pp. 287-303. British History Online [accessed 18 August 2021].

[3] A P Baggs and A R J Jurica, ‘English Bicknor’, in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 5, Bledisloe Hundred, St. Briavels Hundred, the Forest of Dean, ed. C R J Currie and N M Herbert (London, 1996), pp. 101-117. British History Online [accessed 18 August 2021].

[4] 1939 Register. England. 29 September 1939. SHORT, Frank. Piece 5136 Ledger Code ODZK. Collection: The 1939 Register, 1939 [database online]. 2021. : accessed 2021.

[5] Historic England. Symonds Yat Promontory Fort. : accessed 19 August 2021

[6] Wikipedia contributors, “Offa of Mercia,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, : accessed August 19, 2021.

Cycling Genealogy. The Tennant Canal

Cycling time, although I have banked a few walks, I will write them up as the weeks go by.

It’s cycling time because I need to get some training in for the CARTEN 100, a cycling jaunt of a little bit more than 100 miles from Cardiff to Tenby, here in South Wales.

I needed a 2-hour ride as part of the training regime, getting my heart rate into ‘zone 2’. But I couldn’t take my trusty friend Eva.

Part of the route I took was along the Tennant Canal, from Port Tennant out to Jersey Marine, Figure 1.

Figure 1. Tennant Canal at Jersey Marine
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © David Lewis – : accessed 25 July 2021.

As usual I would want to know something about the provenance of the places speeding (well maybe not speeding) by.

The Tennant canal was built by Mr. George Tennant Esq. it is 8 miles in length from Port Tennant, Swansea to its junction with the Neath Canal at Aberdulais through idyllic reed beds, fen and woodland where Otter, kingfisher, sedge warbler, peregrine and kestrel might be spotted.[1]

George Tennant Genealogy. A Google (or other search engine) search will often yield useful starting points. The Neath and Tennant canal Trust provides a birth year, 1765 and death year 1832 saying he was the son of a Lancashire solicitor.[2]

For records in the early to middle 19th century it is in many instances easier to work backwards in time as the earlier records are sometimes less accessible. In Mr. Tennant’s case his burial record shows he is buried at St. Catwg’s church Cadoxton juxta Neath, Figure 2.

Figure 2. St Catwg Church. © Copyright crlewis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

His burial took place on 11th March 1832[3].

The useful detail from this record aside from an approximate death date in March 1832 he was 67, is his last address was Cadoxton Lodge. Cadoxton Lodge will then open another set of record search and West Glamorgan Archive in Swansea has the following…

“Deeds of the estates of Rhydding and Cadoxton Lodge, Glamorgan, 1751-1913; estate management papers including rentals, 1814-1919; accounts, 1819-1938; tithe records, 1845-1924; correspondence, 1840-1920; records of industrial undertakings including canals, collieries, copper works and quarries, 19-20 cent.; estate notebooks, 1815-1919, including much information on the estate’s potential for industrial development; family papers and personal correspondence, including papers of the following: George Tennant (1765-1832); Gertrude Tennant (1820-1918); Jeremiah Richardson (1822-1906); George Pearce Serocold (1828-1912); Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), the famous African explorer; Alice Tennant (1848-1930); Charles Coombe-Tennant (1852-1928); Dorothy Tennant (1855-1926); Winifred Coombe-Tennant (1874-1956).

The Tennant connection with South Wales began early in the 19th century with George, third son of John Tennant, a lawyer from Wigan, Lancashire. George had established himself as a lawyer in London, but in 1816 purchased the Rhydding estate from the Earl of Jersey who had recently inherited the Briton Ferry Estate. Shortly afterwards he also bought the Cadoxton Lodge estate. His main interests were not in landowning, however, but in the construction of the Tennant Canal, which ran from Swansea to Aberdulais, and linked the rivers Tawe and Neath. It was opened in May 1824. The estate passed to George’s second son Charles (1796-1873), then to his only son Charles (1852-1928), who married Winifred Pearce-Serocold. Charles inherited an estate in Devon from his godfather, and subsequently added Coombe to his name to become Coombe-Tennant. The estate was inherited by his second son Alexander (1909-). Cadoxton Lodge was sold in 1963 and demolished in 1966.”[1]

A family tree is appearing before our eyes. The estates passed to his son Charles and the proof is in the will of George Tennant, Figure 3.

Figure 3. Will of George Tennant 1832

A codicil states (my transcription) “This is a Codicil to the last will and Testament of me George Tennant of Grays Inn Esquire. I give devise and bequeath to my son Charles Tennant all the real and personal estates whatsoever and wheresoever vested in me… “.[2]

The will also provides useful family tree information. George had a daughter Jane Pickard (her married name), another son Henry Tennant, and two daughters unmarried at the time of his will, Margaret, and Frances, he makes annuities to these using the income from estates he has including those in Glamorgan among which are his canal works and canal docks, right where I was riding my trusty Cube bike. All this information around his death makes a search for his birthday easier and quite quickly a baptism records surfaces, he was baptized 21 January 1766 at All Saints Church in Wigan[3]. Figure 4.

Figure 4. All Saints Wigan. © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. : accessed 25 July 2021.

His parents were John and Alice Ten[n]ant. A search for George’s marriage record directed me to the History of Parliament, and the biography of George’s son Charles, in this George’s wife is named as Margaret Beetson[1], which leads to the record. They were married 20 December 1792, at St Bride Fleet Street, City of London.[2] Finally, in all senses a date for his death can be gleaned from a newspaper of the time, 1832 “Died 27 Feb. George Tennant Esq. of Russell Square and Cadoxton Lodge, Glamorgan aged 66.”[3]

A last piece of history on my ride towards the new school at Baglan Bay is a quick note on the Briton Ferry Inn or the Ferryboat Inn or Ferry Boat House in its various disguises, which I could look down on from the Briton Ferry Bridge cycle path if it was still there, it is a marina now. But in 1891 you could find the Cox family there, Joseph William the head, aged 36 the Ferry Lessee and Licensed Victualler born in Hackney, his wife Charlotte aged 30 (even though the enumerator described her as single) born in Woolwich, their children John, Winnie and Lottie all born there in Cadoxton, and two servants, Hannah Evans 18 born Briton Ferry, Glamorganshire and Lizzie Ellen Shea aged 15 also born Briton Ferry, Glamorganshire.[1] It looked very different in the 1820’s Figure 5.

Figure 5. Thomas Hornor, 1785-1844. Briton Ferry, Glamorgan.–image–10470 There is no copyright on this image. Kindly donated for public use.

Just two places on a 25-mile ride, more to follow in the weeks to come if you have enjoyed this get in touch at:

[1] Fisher, David R. (2009). TENNANT, Charles (1796-1873), of 62 Russell Square and 2 Gray’s Inn Square, Mdx. The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1820-1832. : accessed 25 July 2021.

[2] Marriages (PR) England. St Bride, Fleet Street, City of London. 20 December 1791. TENNANT, George and BEETSON, Margaret Elizabeth. Reference Number: P69/BRI/A/01/MS 6542/2. Collection: London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936. : accessed 25 July 2021.

[3] Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser (1832). Died. 01 March. Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser. P.4d. Collection: British Newspapers Online. : accessed 25 July 2021.

[4] Jisc. Archives Hub. Tennant Estate Papers. : accessed 23 July 2021.

[5] Testamentary Records. England. TENNANT, George. The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 1799. : accessed 23 July 2021.

[6] Baptisms (PR) England. All Saints, Wigan, Lancashire. 21 January 1766. TENNANT, Geo. Bishops Transcripts. Reference Number: Drl 2/492. Collection: Lancashire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812. : accessed 25 July 2021.

[7] Swansea City Council. Tennant Canal. Accessed 23 July 2021.

[8] Neath and Tennant Canals Trust. Tennant Canal History. : accessed 23 July 2021.

[9] Burials (PR) Wales. St. Catwg, Cadoxton-Juxta-Neath, Glamorganshire. 11 March 1832. TENNANT, George. Page number: 152. Collection: Glamorganshire, Wales, Anglican Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1570-1994. : accessed 23 July 2021.

[10] Census records. Wales. Ferry Boat House, Coedffranc, Neath. 05 April 1891. COX, Joseph William (head). RG12 PN:4465 FN: Page:15. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 25 July 2021.

Llandovery Walk No. 2

This walk started after a Roman Camp caught my eye on the OS map below.

A walk along lanes and some more history, wondering what the locals and the Romans would have made of each other. Some locals may well have been of the Deise. It was also not lost on me I am about 1/4 Deise via my Arrigan’s and Holohan’s.  So, I was wandering around the Kingdom of Dyfed or Demetia as it was before about the 8th century.  The Deisi tribe from Co. Waterford were used by the Romans as protectors from other Irish pirates plundering the coastline of West Wales. Also close enough to Dolaucothi gold mines to make paying some lads and lasses from Waterford.

Eva and I walked up the incline of Heol Gwernfelen, expecting some yellow Alder (Gwern felen) somewhere around.

First bit of history I will note is of Troedrhiw felen, in the tithe map data base from the National Library of Wales there was a field on the right as we walked up which I identified (later) as part of land owned by Thomas William Rogers, the occupier of Troedrhiw felen farm was Ebenezer Thomas, near where I walked were ‘Cots and Gardens’ of less than half an acre and fields up to about 4 acres[1]. See below.

In the 1841 census the occupier was Ann Evans (age given 35 this was usually rounded down so she could have been up to 39) she was a farmer, also there was Daniel Evans aged 12 probably her son (these details weren’t specified on the 1841 census) and Ann Williams aged 4.[2]

Up the hill again and the place next I’ll mention is Pant Telych. Newspapers as I have mentioned before, are invaluable sources for family history if you can find any mentions.

As an example

“Trecastle Notes and News…

We regret to chronicle the sad death and burial of Mrs Elizabeth Jones, Cae’rathraw Farm, near Carnarvon, North Wales, and youngest daughter of Mr G. George and the late Mrs George, of Trawsllwyndu Farm, Cwmwysg, the deceased was a faithful member of Saron Congregational Chapel. Cwmwysg, before she married and left for Carnarvon, and was greatly respected. Her mortal remains were conveyed from Carnarvon to Cwmwysg burial ground. A large number of relatives and friends were present. Letters of sympathy were read by the pastor of Cwmwysg Chapel from Rev, and Mrs Stanley Jones, pastor of Salem Congregational Chapel, Carnarvon; also a letter from Salem Church members and congregation. The officiating minister was the Rev. J. C. Jones, pastor of Cwmwysg Congregational Chapel. The coffin bore the following inscription, Elizabeth Jones, died August 12nd, 1919, aged 42 years. The chief mourners were her husband Mr W. R. Jones, Cae’rathraw, and his brother from Carnarvon Messrs. W. and P. George, Trawsllwyndu, brothers Mr G. George, father, who is over 84 years of age was unable to be present Messrs. T. and W. George, Castelldu, uncles. Miss A. G. George, Castelldu Mr and Mrs Watkins, Brynmain Messrs. Tom and George George. Gellfau Mr and Mrs Jones, Pant Telych, Llandovery Mr and Mrs Davies, Heol-y-dwr, Cray Miss Jones, I Blaenau Mr and Mrs Morgan, Maesyreglwys, Glyntawe, cousins. As well as the following relatives, Messrs. George I and William Mathias, Cwmdwr Mr and Miss Henwen Jeffreys, Briton Ferry, Mr Tom Morgan, Maeseglwys, Miss Matthias, Abercrave Mr and Mrs Evans, Tirmawr, Trallong Mr and Mrs Evans, Stange. Llanddeusant Miss Thomas, Portis, etc. Refreshments were provided at the Vestry Room close by the Chapel for all those that attended the funeral from a distance.”[3]

You can put together a fairly detailed family tree for the George family of Cwmwysg, about 9 miles from Llandovery.

Dagfa, next on our route, possibly ‘tagfa’ a bottleneck, choke, jam, it’s near the Roman Road, local knowledge has it as a place where Roman soldiers were strangled, that might be true… or maybe not…

In 1824 The Cambrian reported.

“AUCTION, to be sold At the King’s-Head Inn, in LLANDOVERY, in the said county [[Carmarthenshire], on SATURDAY, the 20th day of MARCH next, between the hours of three and five of the clock in the afternoon, subject to conditions of sale to be then produced, or in the meantime by Private Contract, By RICHARD JONES, Auctioneer, ALL that FREEHOLD MESSUAGE, FARM, & LANDS, with the APPURTENANCES, called DAGFA, containing, by admeasurement, 110 Acres (and whereof 35 Acres, or thereabouts, is Woodland), and situate in the parish of Mothvey, in the said county [Carmarthenshire]. The dwelling house is lately erected at a considerable expense. and the other buildings are in good repair. The premises have a Right of Common attached to them, on the Mothvey Mountain and Black Mountain, and are capable of considerable improvements, and lie near the turnpike-road leading from Llandovery to Trecastle and within three miles of the former place, and six miles of the latter place. For further particulars apply to the Auctioneer, or at the Office of Mr. Edward Jones, in Llandovery.”[4]

About 25 years later years later it was the home of Elizabeth Jones a widow aged 41, Head of the household, born Llandingad, Carmarthenshire a Farmer of 112 Acres, her son Rees Jones unmarried aged 28, born Llandingad, Carmarthenshire an Agricultural Labourer, daughter Gwen Jones unmarried 24, born Llandingad, Carmarthenshire a General Servant, William Williams unmarried aged 45, born Llandingad, Carmarthenshire an Agricultural Labourer and David Williams unmarried 42, born Llandingad, Carmarthenshire an Agricultural Labourer.[5]

Way back into time and about 6km into our walk Eva and I arrived at the Roman camp, the field where the Roman camp was looks like this now.

I wonder if it was as quiet 1700 years ago.

Looking at the present-day OS map, some internet research and with thanks to CADW. It is described…

“The monument comprises a well-preserved Roman practice camp that primarily survives as an extant earthen bank with well-defined central entrances and associated tutuli, or entrance shielding ditches. The camp was constructed as part of a military training exercise by auxillary soldiers from the camp’s probable ‘parent’ fort at Llandovery, which was occupied between c. AD 74 – 130. The camp demonstrates particular attention to the corners and entrances, which were the most difficult elements to build. The camp is roughly square in shape on plan with rounded corners aligned to the cardinal points of the compass. The visible earthworks measure c. 37m square and are best preserved on the NW and SW sides. The bank has spread to a width of c. 6m and is a maximum of 0.4 – 0.5m high. The tutuli are located c. 6m in front of the entrances. They are shallow linear depressions and measure c. 4m in length.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of Roman military organisation. The monument forms an important element within the wider context of the Roman occupation of Wales and the structure itself may be expected to contain archaeological information concerning chronology and building techniques, together with a strong probability of environmental evidence. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by its group value with the adjacent fortlet (SAM no. CM194) and marching camps (SAM no. BR003) that make up the Y Pigwn Roman complex.”[6]

How exciting would it be to discover a descendant of the Roman Soldiers?

Their DNA I’m sure has made its way through the generations, but I haven’t found a study yet which has verified this. But, considering that the extent of the later invasions impacted less further west in these isles, I would like to think there are. A study in Nature identified that parts of West Wales remained genetically distinct from more eastern parts of Britain, especially England. The authors saw no evidence of a general “Celtic” population in non-Saxon parts of the UK. Instead, there were many distinct genetic clusters in these regions and the data suggested that the Welsh clusters represented populations that are more similar to the early post-ice-age settlers of Britain than those from elsewhere in the UK.[7]

After contemplating the Romans and what they’d done for us, I turned back towards the circular walk through the country lanes.

On to Bwlch-y-Rhiw Welsh Independent Chapel (SN8012731976 is the map reference) built in 1871, quite a well kept graveyard around it. Transcribing the graves will be for another time but if you are interested in a bit of research on this place then a good place to start is the National Library of Wales (when we can all get going again). For instance, you could see the accounts for the years 1884-1904.[8]  A  visit online to Genuki will point you to local knowledge… with many thanks to Mr. David B. James…”The chapel at Bwlchyrhiw was built in 1871. It was erected on land owned by George Jones of Ystrad, Llandovery who granted a 999 year lease at a shilling per annum. The chapel deed states that the building was to be used as a ‘Meeting House for the celebration of DIVINE WORSHIP and in the offering of prayers and supplications to the SUPREME FATHER and GOD of the UNIVERSE’. The chapel was officially opened in June 1872 coinciding with the induction of the Rev Patagonia Humphreys but the first communion service took place in August 1876. Extensive repair and renovations to the chapel were carried out in 1899 – 1900.”[9]

Twny y Fan is the next named hillock on the map, and the homestead we next came upon is Fan Farm. This proved an interesting exercise in searching for records or sources. I searched newspapers, the censuses, chapel records, and maps. ‘FindmyPast’ now has an address search, as does ‘The Genealogist’, with some lateral thinking and comparing records for the surrounding countryside. I have found the Jones family in 1911, Howell aged 34 a farmer and employer, he was born in Trecastle not far from the Roman Camp, Jane his wife was 37 they had been married for 13 years and had 8 children one of whom had died, Jane was born in Caoi (near the Dolaucothi gold mines – back to the Romans), the children were David, Margaret, Howell, Jane, Johnnie and Thomas, all except Thomas were born in Caoi, Johnnie was 3, Thomas was 2 months I can surmise they had moved to the farm sometime between 1908 and 1911. They lived in quite a big house of seven rooms.[10] The Jones family are still there in1939, the register of that year will give dates of birth, and possible married names of any daughters still living with them. The name of the place varies from Fan Farm, Fan Fach, Vanfach, to just Van.

At about 10.5 km into our walk and we next saw Pentwyngarthen, in 1865 they were selling timber from there…


To Timber Merchants, Ship Builders, Contractors and others.


at the RED LION INN, LLANGADOCK, at 2 o’ Clock in the afternoon (Subject to such Conditions of Sale as shall be then and there produced), the following valuable OAK and other TIMBER, viz.:

LOT 1. All that valuable OAK and other Timber Trees marked with White Paint, standing and growing on the Farm of PENTWYNGARTHEN, near Llwynwormwood, in the Parish of Mothvey, in the said county.

LOT 2—All that valuable OAK and other Timber Trees marked with Red Paint, standing and growing on the above Farm of Pentwyngarthen.

The above Two Lots are conveniently situated within 4 Miles of the Llangadock Railway Station, having a good Road thereto.

Mr Davies of Ty’n llwyn or Mr. Price, Glasallt, or the Tenant, will shew the respective Lots, and for futher particulars apply to Mr. Thomas Williams, Bridge-Street, Llandilo. Talley.

 February 20th, 1865.”[11]

About 1km along on the road we were walking, 120 years ago there was a fierce debate over it…

“Cefn Cerrig Road Again.

The chief business transacted was the discussion as to taking over the new road from the Trustees of the Llwynwormwood Estate.

Mr. John Williams moved that inasmuch as the District Council refused to take over a new road in the parish of Llansadwrn until it had been made at the expense of the ratepayers of the parish, that this Council have nothing to do with the contemplated new road near Cefncerrig, Mothvey until the same had been made at the expense of that parish, and approved by this Council.

Mr. Thomas Williams seconded the motion.

A long debate took place during which Mr. David Davies said that this was a different road to that at Llansadwrn, that being a parish one, whilst this was one which was kept at the expense of the Highway Board, subsequently by the District Council and, if this Authority neglected it, they could apply to the County Council.

Mr. John Williams held that before they could legally take any road over that! it must be dedicated to the public by an Order of the Court of Quarter Sessions.

In this view Judge Bishop, the Clerk and Mr. Evans of Glassalt concurred.

The Chairman said that several roads had been taken over in Breconshire without going to the Quarter Sessions.

Mr. John Davies added that it had been done in many other Counties as well-

Mr. John Williams sharply retorted that that wasn’t proof that they could do things which were illegal.

Judge Bishop thought it would be a very ungracious act on their part, having gone so far, not to take the road over; he was of the opinion that they should do so and go to the Quarter Sessions.

The Chairman stated that when he and Mr. John Williams went up to this place in connection with the first Committee, that then Mr. Williams raised no objections.

Mr. John Williams, however, flatly contradicted this, the Chairman still holding that it was so.

Mr. W. Tudor Lewis moved that the District Council sign the agreement of the solicitors to the Trustees of the Llwynwormwood Estate, to take over the new road, and then go to the quarter sessions.

Mr. John Williams: At whose expense.

Mr. W. T. Lewis (warmly) At the expense of the District Council, of course. At whose do you think?

On the matter being put to the vote, the motion was defeated by 9 votes to 4.”[12]

There are few names to check or add to a family tree in the report.

At about 12 km into our walk and just before we joined the first walk (Llandovery Number 1) route is Rock farm, a check of the Tithe maps shows below[13] a farmstead and fields named Rhoc.

Move on to the 1841 census with some creative searching and there at Rhoc is the Morgan family, David aged 29 born locally, Anne his wife probably, aged 28 not born in the county, and two children, Eleanor aged 4 and David aged 2 both born in Carmarthenshire, Myddfai at an enlightened guess.

Now we were back to the route we had followed the day before on the way to Llwynywormwood and royalty.

[1] Map of the parish of Llandingat in the County of Carmarthen 1840. Davies, David; Morgan, William

[2] Census records. Wales. Troedrhiwfelen, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire. 06 June 1841. EVANS, Ann.  HO107 PN:1386 BN:8 FN: Page:239. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 29 June 1841.

[3] The Brecon County Times Neath Gazette and General Advertiser for the Counties of Brecon Carmarthen Radnor Monmouth Glamorgan Cardigan Montgomery Hereford (1919). Trecastle Notes and News. 04 September. The Brecon County Times Neath Gazette and General Advertiser for the Counties of Brecon Carmarthen Radnor Monmouth Glamorgan Cardigan Montgomery Hereford P.3b. : accessed 29 June 2021.

[4] The Cambrian (1824). Carmarthenshire to be sold at Auction 28 February.The Cambrian. P. 2e. : accessed 29 June 2021.

[5] Census records. Wales.  Dagfa, Mydffai, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire. 30 March 1851. JONES, Elizabeth (head).  HO107 PN:2470 FN: Page:98 to 99. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 29 June 2021.

[6] Ancient Monuments UK. Hafod Fawr Roman Camp. A Scheduled Monument in Myddfai, Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyrddin). : accessed 12 July 2021

[7] Leslie S, Winney B, Hellenthal G, et al. The fine-scale genetic structure of the British population. Nature. 2015;519(7543):309-314. doi:10.1038/nature14230 : accessed 15 July 2021.

[8] Papurau’r Parch. W. Rhys Watkin: Cyfrifon Eglwys Y Bedyddwyr Bwlch-y-rhiw, Sir Gaerfyrddin. = Accounts, Bwlchyrhiw (co. Carm.) Baptist Church. Cymraeg/Welsh (1884): Papurau’r Parch. W. Rhys Watkin. Web. : accessed 15 July 2021.

[9] Myddfai: Its Land and Peoples. (1991) James, David B. Publish by the author. P. 2 : accessed 15 July 2021.

[10] Census records. Wales.  Vanfach, Mydffai, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire. 02 April 1911. JONES, Howell (head).  RG14PN32912 RG78PN1882 RD597 SD4 ED8 SN6. Collection: 1911 Census For England & Wales. : accessed 05 July 2021.

[11] The Welshman (1865). Carmarthenshire. 03 March .The Welshman. P. 4a. : accessed 15 July 2021.

[12] The Cambrian (1902). Cefn Carreg Road Again. 28 March . The Cambrian. P. 7d. : accessed 15 July 2021.

[13] Welsh Tithe Maps. Myddfai. Rhoc. : accessed 15 July 2021.

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.,-3.779029&COUNTRY=5&PLACE=Pont%20Velindre

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. : 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. : accessed 25 June 2021.

[3] Clarence House. 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. : accessed 25 June 2021.

[5] The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser. Llandovery. The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser. P.5f. : access 25 June 2021.

Genealogist Walking.

Onwards for my self-styling Genealogist walking with all due respect to Derek Brockway the ‘Weatherman Walking’.

After last time’s stroll along through Blackpill. Eva and I another day, set off following the aforementioned Mumbles Railway back towards Swansea in front of the Ashleigh Road playing fields also known as George V fields. In light of my blogs so far the 1831 map I’ve used previously shows a few dwellings along the way which I will have a look at the first being ‘Lower Sketty’[1] which admittedly stands a bit back from our walk, but I am a fully paid up member of the poetic licence society. In 1831 the property was available for lease…

              “A desirable Residence for a small Family. All that very desirable farm and lands called Lower Sketty. The Farm consists of a neat Cottage, lately repaired, with an excellent Garden in front; also, of a Stable, Beasthouse, and Barn, contiguous thereto, and 56 Acres of excellent Arable, Meadow, and Pasture Land, in high state of cultivation. The Lands are delightfully situated within the distance of three miles of Swansea, commanding a fine view of Swansea Bay and the Bristol Channel. If desirable the proprietor will have no objection to divide the Lands into two lots. For particulars apply at the Office of Messrs. James and Collins, Solicitors, Swansea…”[2]

This land, impinges I’m sure on the present-day playing fields[3]. In 1841 William Hughes a farmer aged 50 was living in Lower Sketty[4] it would appear he had taken the lease on. In 1851 the family at Lower Sketty were still that of William Hughes aged 62, he was married, Head of the household, a freehold farmer born in the  Parish of Swansea, his wife Mary Hughes aged 55, born also Parish of Swansea, his niece Emmy Rosser aged 18, born Parish of Swansea, William Jones aged 2, Visitor (it would be interesting to work out this child’s relationship to William) born Parish of Swansea, Isaac William aged 24 unmarried, a Servant, born Parish of Swansea, Elizabeth Davies 28, unmarried, a Servant, born in the Parish of Llangyfelach, Glamorganshire and Mary Harry 20 unmarried, a Servant, born Narberth, Pembroke, it seems the land was freehold now[5]. This family is eminently traceable, contact me if you would like to know more.

Lower Sketty in there somewhere.

Back to the walk, along the path on the old railway line. Past the Footgolf course! Then on the left as we head towards Swansea sits the Boating Pool Lodge listed in CADW[6] or alternatively Ty Harry Lodge an…

“Early C19 lodge. Said to be a design of P F Robinson (1776-1858), which appears in his `Designs for Lodges and Park Entrances’ 1833, but [the] lodge appears on OS 25 1st Edition map with different plan to present, and is probably extended to N.”[7].

The census will always be the first port of call to find a person at an address, 1911 gives William James Luxton living there at Ty Harry, Head of the household, he was married aged 31, an Electric crane driver working at Baldwins Steel works also known as  Cwmfelin Steel works, he was born in Swansea, his wife was Jane Luxton (nee Williams) aged 27, they had been married for 6 years no children yet, she was also born in Swansea. Living there also was Jane’s mother Martha Williams a widow aged 62, she was Charwoman working on her own account born Cillgeran Cardiganshire[8]. Another family to investigate perhaps, on the winding road of family history. If you are interested Robinson’s design can be seen from the afore mentioned book ‘Designs for Lodges and Park Entrances’[9].

Robinson’s design. 1834.

Further along the walk, just before we turn up into Singleton Park is Singleton Abbey, originally known as Marino when it was built in 1784 for Edward King. Swansea Museum is a good place to kick start a search for him.  A watercolour…

“… although not signed or dated, carries its title in Thomas Baxter’s hand. It shows the unique house, ‘Marino’, built for Edward King and his wife, Jane Morris (sister to John Morris, the industrialist) in 1784. Edward King was responsible for collecting His Majesty’s Customs at Swansea. The innovative architect was William Jernegan (1750/1-1836), who enjoyed a long and successful career at Swansea.

In 1817, John Henry Vivian, owner of the Hafod Copper Works, leased ‘Marino’ and later purchased it, making only modest alterations initially before financing the major building scheme which created ‘Singleton Abbey’ around the original house.” See the image on the Museum website.[10]

This Gothic-style building began life as an octagonal marine villa sited to view Swansea Bay. Set as it is on a small hill looking over the bay. More people to reflect on during our stroll.

Singleton Abbey. Singleton Abbey – Wikipedia

Into Singleton Park, we didn’t walk past the farm, that’s for another day. My next and last note for this piece will be Sketty Hall. Built in the 1720s for Rawleigh Dawkin (later Mansel) the son of the squire of Kilvrough in Gower, and on his death passed to his brother Mansel Mansel. Refigured about 1780 by the addition of the bay windows. Then Swansea architect, William Jernegan (see above) later added the western part of the frontage for Ralph Sheldon, MP. In the 1820s the house was remodelled by Charles Baring of the London merchant banking family. He added an extra floor to Rawleigh Dawkin’s house and a parapet running the whole length of the south front. In 1831 the house was bought for £3,800 by Lewis Weston Dillwyn, owner of the Cambrian Pottery in Swansea. He commissioned the architect Edward Haycock Snr. in the early 1830s to build the present entrance hall and adjacent large room on the north side of the house. In 1881 Frank Ash Yeo, Chairman of the Swansea Harbour Trust, added the dining room to the east of Dillwyn’s entrance hall. Richard Glynn Vivian, an art lover from the Vivian family who gave the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery to Swansea, bought the Hall in 1898 as his home. He added the balconies and masks of Italian marble, laid out the ornamental gardens and installed the gazebo tower on the roof. During the Second World War, the house was requisitioned to serve as an ARP area headquarters. Later it was used by the British Iron and Steel Research Association as a major research centre for the steel industry. The Hall was completely renovated in 1993.[11] Selecting one name from the above and a quick search finds Frank Ash Yeo Esq. of Sketty Hall as an ex-officio Guardian for the Swansea and District Poor Law Union[12]. This part of our walk ended outside Sketty Hall, with a brief glimpse via the poor law record into social history, and recording enough families to fill a book.

Sketty Hall.

Genealogist walking, where next?


Contact me if you are interested in a heritage walk or tour around a locality in your ancestry.


[2] The Cambrian. (1831) Lower Sketty. The Cambrian. 19 November. p. 1e. : accessed 30 May 2021.

[3] Google Maps. (2021) Swansea.,-3.985839,1940m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-US : accessed 09 June 2021.

[4] Census records. Wales. Lower Sketty, Swansea, Glamorganshire. 06 June 1841. HUGHES, William. HO107/1424/F. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : access 30 May 2021.

[5] Census records. Wales. Lower Sketty, Swansea. 30 March 1851. HUGHES, William (head). HO107/2466/F. Collection: HO107/2466/F. : accessed 30 May 2021.

[6] CADW. Summary Description of a Listed Buildings. Boating Pool Lodge in Singleton Park  . accessed 09 June 2021.


[8] Census records. Wales. Singleton, Cockett, Swansea. 02 April 1911. LUXTON, William James (head). RG14PN32734 RG78PN1868 RD594 SD1 ED15 SN256. Collection: 1911 England & Wales Census. : accessed 09 June 2021.

[9] Robinson, P.F. (1833). Designs for Lodges and Park Entrances. London: Priestly and Weale. p. 21. : accessed 09 June 2021.

[10] Swansea Museum. Marino – Thomas Baxter. : accessed 09 June 2021.

[11] Wikipedia. Sketty Hall. : accessed 09 June 2021.

[12] Swansea and Surrounding Area, Wales, Poor Law Union Records, 1836-1916. YEO, Frank Ash. 1875-1879. Collection: Poor Law Records. West Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea, Wales. : accessed 09 June 2021.

More Genealogy as you walk, Blackpill, Swansea.

Eva and I enjoyed our walk in North Wales with the bits and pieces of genealogy thrown in so much we decided to have a stroll a bit nearer home here in Blackpill, Swansea.

The first part of the walk was past the site of the now demolished building Llwynderw, it is a gated estate now, but in 1939 it was the household of Mrs Folland, widowed born in 1878, a widow of private means[1]. This house is not noted on the ordnance Survey map first series of 1830, however a familiar name which we walk by is another place ‘Lilliput’[2] seen on the same map[3], demolished in about 1962[4] as part of the development of Mumbles Road. The1851 census taken for Lilliput on Mumbles Road will find Mr. James Strick born Cardiganshire the head of the household aged 38 an insurance agent married to Emily aged 39, she was born Devonshire, they had four children all born Swansea age 8 down to 1, also living there were an 18 year old governess Fanny Suttril born Bridport, Dorset and  Susan Davies 21 year old servant from Llandeilo[5].

“Llwynderw was here” Eva.

Then we take in a bit of the route of the Mumbles Railway, you can have a look at a BBC history blog for some insights[6], one of the initial investors in the line was Benjamin French of Morriston and latterly of Neath, here he is in the 1841 census of independent means his address being the Parade in Neath, Mr. Benjamin French aged 70, not born in the county of Glamorgan, of Independent means, his wife (implied) Ann French aged 55, not born in the county either, Elizabeth French aged 15 not born in the county and Hannah Lawrence aged 20 not born in the county a house servant[7].

(Aside from the person details for the family historian, be aware that the 1841 census more often than not noted the ages of those over 15 were rounded down to the nearest 5, so Benjamin French could have been 75 to 79 years of age this is true for this page as looking at the rest of the census page all ages over 15 are multiples of 5, I’ve also noted the relationships are implied because this census did not record a household head or the relationship to that person, you can see the delineation between households with // on the records.)

Look back towards Lilliput with the road that replaced it.

The route of the railway is now the walking and cycle path, on the left as we walked back to Blackpill from the direction of Mumbles would have been a Smithy (Blacksmith) long gone now, nearby to the Woodman pub which is still there for a pint or two. Investigating these places, old maps hold a plethora of information[8], ways to emphasize other types of research you might be able to do. For instance if you had an ancestor from Blackpill they would have known of (or been)… “BLACKPILL CORPORAL’S D.C.M. Corporal Sidney Lloyd (154309), Motor-Transport A.S.C., son of Mr. and Mrs. I D. Lloyd, 3, Brookside-terrace. Blackpill, has been mentioned in despatches and recommended for the D.C.M. for gallant conduct in Egypt. Lloyd, who joined up in October 1916, took part in the capture of the Delhia Oases, and for over 12 months acted as Q.M.S. at Karga Oases. Before joining up he worked for his father, the well-known Blackpill blacksmith, and was one of the original members of the Mumbles V.A.D., doing duty as an orderly at the local hospital. Another brother, in the Welsh Guards, is serving in France.[9]  A glance at the 1901 census will give the family viz. David Lloyd married aged 45, Head of the Household, born Bishopston, Glamorganshire a Coach Builder (employing blacksmiths) his wife Sarah aged 46, she was born Swansea, Glamorganshire and their family of five sons including the above mentioned Sydney aged 12, born Oystermouth and attending school.[10]

Along the Mumbles Railway

Nearby in the same census was the Woodman Hotel where the Licensed Victualler was Sarah Maddams a widow aged 63, Head of the household born LLandeilo, Carmarthenshire and her daughters Edith Crooke married aged 39 born Bayswater, London and Lilian Mary Fitness married aged 24 born Fulham, London.[11]

The Woodman in the trees

The path we were walking near the Woodman was reported on in 1874 for a highway robbery! The highwaymen described as two ruffians, Anthony Burke and Edward Simons living on waste ground at Blackpill. They supposedly, had accosted a Mr. Henry Edward Clasham an apprentice to a tea broker in London but living at Brunswick Street Swansea, after he had met up with a friend at the Woodman on the way back from Mumbles to Swansea on horseback. The ruffians attempted to pull him off the horse and demanded a shilling which he gave them, he rode back to Blackpill and got the policeman PC Hodges who arrested Simons, Simons claimed it wasn’t him who committed the dirty deed.[12] More names to be researched if you were of a mind to.

Beware the HIghwaymen

Back to the walk for Eva and I, into Clyne Gardens and the connection to the well documented and well heeled Vivian family. The probate record for William Graham Vivian of Clyne Castle, Glamorgan and 7 Belgrade Square Middlesex, died 21 August 1912 shows his estate value was £1,000,000[13], 19th century industrialists did not live without ostentation.

Clyne Castle

Finally, a stroll home to our house built in the 1950’s on land which was stated in 1845 on the tithe map, as arable land, being the middle field number 206, the occupier and landowner was Berrington Jenkin Davies[14].

A short walk with plenty of genealogy for me, and for Eva a vestige of Clyne Forest, an important 11th Century Norman landmark[15], but all she cares about is playing among the trees.

11th Century Forest and Eva.

[1] 1939 Register, Wales. Llwynderw, Mumbles Road, Swansea, Glamorganshire. FOLLAND, Leah N. 21 September 1939. RG101/7288B/007/32 Letter Code: XIBE. Collection: 1939 register. The National Archives. : accessed 18 May 2021.

[2] University of Portsmouth. A Vision of Britain through time. : accessed 18 May 2021.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Baker, Mark. A Complete List of Lost Welsh Country Houses. : accessed 18 May 2021.

[5] Census records. Wales. Liliput Cottage, Oystermouth, Swansea. 30 March 1851. STRICK, James (head) HO107/2467/F. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 19 May 2021.

[6] Carradice, Phil (2011) The Mumbles Railway. Wales History [blog]. 24 March.,Construction%20was%20completed%20in%201806%20and%20services%20began. : accessed 19 May 2021.

[7] Census records. Wales. Neath, Glamorganshire. 06 June 1841. FRENCH, Benjamin. HO107/1421/F. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 18 May 2021.

[8] The National Library of Wales. Welsh Tithe Maps. : accessed 19 May 2021.

[9] South Wales Weekly Post.  (1918) Blackpill Corporal’s DCM. South Wales Weekly Post. 25 May. p.3c Collection: National Library of Wales Welsh Newspapers Online. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[10] Census records. Wales. Blackpill, Oystermouth, Glamorganshire. 31 March 1901. LLOYD, David (head). RG13/5084/F. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[11] Census records. Wales. Blackpill, Oystermouth, Glamorganshire. 31 March 1901. MADDAMS, Sarah (head) (head). RG13/5084/F. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[12] Cardiff Times. (1874). Highway Robbery at Swansea. 16 May. p. 3b. Collection: British Newspapers. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[13] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 27 September 1912. VIVIAN, William Graham. Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories p 418. Collection: Scotland National Probate Index (Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories), 1876-1936. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[14] The National Library of Wales. Welsh Tithe Maps. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[15] Swansea Council. Clyne Gardens. : accessed 20 May 2021.

Genealogy as you walk.

I’ve been quiet for a little while, with the easing of lockdown and the need to get going again we set off for a break to N. Wales in the motorhome. Eva the Jack Russell needed occupying as she was not allowed off the lead. Somehow, I had the foresight to pack my walking boots and here’s a bit of the adventure.

1st stop was Llanberis, the obvious walk was to the top of England and Wales, yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). There is a railway line to the summit, but it was closed due to the pandemic. Got me thinking, the owner of the land which the line cut through was a Mr Assheton-Smith of the Vaynol estate, he wasn’t happy (about 1870) thinking the railway would spoil the scenery[1] some genealogy on that family Charles Gordon Assheton-Smith can be found in the London Gazette[2] appointed to be deputy Lieutenant signed by the Lord Lieutenant of Caernarvonshire in 1906.

A random look in the 1911 census shows some residents of the village of Llanberis viz. John E. Davies aged 48, Head of the family Married, born Llanberis, Carnarvon, Shop Keeper, an Antiques Dealer, bilingual speaking both Welsh and English, his wife Elizabeth Davies 47, married 27 years they had had 7 children, 6 were still living, she was born Llanidan, Anglesey, bilingual also. Living there too were Margaret Clara Davies 26, their Daughter, Single, born Llanidan, Anglesey, bilingual. Buddug A. Davies 16, their Daughter, Single, born Llanberis, Carnarvon at School, bilingual. Goronwy Owain Davies 13, Son, born Llanberis, Carnarvon at School, bilingual, and Maelir Glyn Davies, 12, Son, Llanberis, Carnarvon, at School, bilingual.[3]

The area is overseen by the slate quarries, so here is a family of that industry in 1911 note the form is in Welsh. Robert Henry Jones aged 59, Penteulu (head of the family pen) Priod (married), born Tygwyn Waenfawr Plwyf Llanbeblig, Carnarvonshire, Cloddiwr Mewn Chwarel Lechi (excavator at the slate quarry) gweithiwr (worker), Cymraeg (speaks Welsh only) his wife Ellen Jones 49, Gwraig (wife) Priod 27 years, born Murmawr Llanberis, Carnarvonshire, y ddwy (bilingual), their son John Evans Jones 19, Mab (son), Sengl (single) born Murmawr Llanberis, Carnarvonshire, Myfyriwr Mewn Coleg (student at college) y ddwy (bilingual). They lived at Minynant Llanberis[4], it would be a project to find both the address now…

 2nd a quick stop at Betws y Coed, the railway had a major influence on the development of this area, again an arbitrary look found a Mr. C.E Clarke, he was a booking Clerk at Bettws y Coed, he was born 21 April 1874, joined the company 6 November 1891, his annual rate was £60 5/-, he transferred to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 1 February 1898[5].

We transferred ourselves to Gellydan near Blainau Ffestiniog a newspaper search is useful for biography in genealogy…” BLAENAU FESTINIOG. MEDICAL SUCCESS.—The son of Dr R. D. Evans, Mr Thomas John Carey Evans, has passed the primary examination for the Fellowship of the College of Surgeons, England. F.R.C.S. at an examination held from April 3rd to May 5th, at The Examination Hall, London. -The subjects were: Advanced anatomy, advanced physiology, and comparative anatomy. He is 18 years of age the average age to go in for the examination is 23…”[6] . The Motorhome site was in Gellydan, a tithe map search shows Robert Pugh [7] in the Tithe maps of Wales so if your are related to him you can see area walked.

Finally, Devil’s Bridge a walk through the farm fields, bothies along the Mynach and into the forestry all covered in snow the next day. Prompted a look at some local history which can be used for genealogy. I was walking around the former estate described in 1848 “EGLWYS-NEWYDD, or LLANVIHANGEL-Y-CREIDDYN-UCHÂV, a chapelry, in the parish of Llanvihangel-y-Creiddyn, union of Aberystwith, hundred of Ilar, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 14 miles (S. E.) from Aberystwith; containing 1131 inhabitants…This place derives the latter of these names from its relative situation in the parish, and the former from the erection of a church, in 1803, by the late Thomas Johnes, Esq., on the site of a previous edifice built here in 1620, by the Herberts of Havod, for the convenience of the family, and the accommodation of the miners employed in the adjoining district of Cwm Ystwith. Havod, the seat of the late Mr. Johnes, was originally the residence of a branch of the Herbert family, who, embarking in the mining adventures of the neighbourhood, built a house here, which, from the nature of the ground and the badness of the roads, being inaccessible except during the summer, obtained the appellation of “Havod,” signifying a summer residence.”[8] So we have the Herbert’s  Mr Thomas Johnes and later in the article Henry Hoghton Esq. all eminently searchable.

There is always plenty to keep the genealogist occupied!

If you think you would like a tour of the places your ancestors lived in Wales, get in touch, once things are opening up we can make that happen.

[1]Wikipedia.SnowdonMountainRailway. : accessed 08 May 2021

[2] Recorded in The Gazette (London Gazette), 23 February 1906 Issue:27889 Page:1356.

[3] Census records. Wales. Llanberis, Caernarvon. 02 April 1911. DAVIES, John E. (head). RG14 – PN34439 RD630 SD2 ED7 SN159. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 08 May 2021.

[4] Census records. Wales. Llanberis, Caernarvon. 02 April 1911. JONES, Robert Henry (penteulu). RG14 – PN34439 RD630 SD2 ED7 SN196. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 08 May 2021.

[5] Railway Employment Records, 1833-1956. CLARKE, C.E. Class: RAIL410; Piece: 1847. Collection: London and North Western Railway Company: Records; : accessed 09 May 2021

[6] Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent (1903).  Blaenau Festiniog.  Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent.  08 May. p. 5a : accessed 09 May 2021

[7] The National Library of Wales. Map of Maentwrog parish in the County of Merioneth. : accessed 09 may 2021.

[8] Samuel Lewis. “Edern – Eidda,” in A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, (London: S Lewis, 1849), 320-328. British History Online, accessed May 10, 2021,

Yr Wyddfa

Near Pontarfynach

Star of the show mo madadh beag Eva the Jack Russell

Nursing Genealogy. UK & Ireland, Nursing Registers, 1898-1968.

UK & Ireland, Nursing Registers, 1898-1968 digitised to  Queens Nursing Institute (QNI – district nursing) – digitised onto  The National Archives (TNA) (which I have been writing on in past weeks) – useful for military nursing records.  Royal Medico-Psychological Association (1891 – 1951) – trained and registered Mental Nurses or Attendants.  Royal British Nurse’s Association (RBNA) (1887-1966) – kept the first ‘list’ of qualified nurses. There are 10,000 nurses on this list held at King’s College London Archive – this is now available online as transcriptions of entries.  Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) – early 1900’s military nursing.  The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) – you can now search for more recent nurses registered with the NMC here.

I will look at the first one for this blog post.

The UK and Ireland nursing registers 1898 – 1968 were created to monitor those working as nurses but, as the preface to the 1898 directory states “ …the compilers of the directory do not claim for it any authority analogous to that possessed by the medical Register… Anyone possessing this Directory can ascertain the experience or training of each nurse whose name appears in it” What is noteworthy in the early days is that it was not compulsory and that all those working as nurses were not necessarily registered.

However, the genealogist is not so much interested in the fitness to practice or training of a specific nurse, but biographical details to be found in any verifiable record. The early records relied on the veracity of the returns, and the cooperation of the ‘Matrons’ which was not always forthcoming.

Nevertheless, if your ancestor was nurse, I would say this is a good place to search.

The producers of the early directories would ask nurses who wished to be included to send relevant details. For instance:

The 1898 directory asked for:

  1. Name in full and address.
  2. Present occupation and date of entry to that.
  3. Probationer at Hospital… from 18.. to 18..
  4. Staff nurse ad Hospital… from 18.. to 18..
  5. Sister at Hospital… from 18.. to 18..
  6. Matron at Hospital… from 18.. to 18..
  7. Private nurse at.. from 18.. to 18..
  8. General training certificates received at Hospital… for … years training.

Any of the following certificates:

  • Midwifery certificate Hospital and date.
  • L.O.S certificate (London Obstetrical Society) Dates of certificate:
  • Monthly Nursing Certificate Hospital and date.
  • Massage Certificate. Hospital or institution, and date.
  • Medico-psychological Certificate: Date of certificate.
  • Give list of medals and badges held if any.
  • Any other qualifications or experience beyond what is given above.

There is potential for a wealth of genealogical, family history available.

A typical entry from 1898 is:

Young, Georgina Victoria.

Shotley Bridge District Nursing Association Co. Durham.

Queen’s District Nurse since Jan. 1895.

Probationer, Addenbrooke’s Hosp. (Cert. 1 year, 3 months training), May 1891 to August 1892.

Pupil Midwife, British Lying in Hosp. (Midwifery Cert.), January to April 1893.

Queen’s District Probationer Central Home Q.V.J.I.N. Bloomsbury WC. Aug. 1893 to Feb. 1894.

[Queens Nurse July 1894].

Queen’s District Nurse Bramley Yorkshire to January 1895.

Cert. L.O.S., April 1893.

Get in touch if you would like your nursing ancestors discovered.


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