In memory of Ronnie Rees, y glo who passed away on 20 May 2021.
A loyal supporter of the Cardigan Carnival for many years.
Edward Wollstonecraft was buried in Cardigan cemetery on 17 February 1848 [B 2]
Browsing through the Burial Records it was the surname that first drew my attention to this particular entry. Was he related to Mary Wollstonecraft, best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)? [Spoiler alert – yes he was.]
Edward Wollstonecraft was born in 1768 and spent much of his adult life as a merchant in Gibraltar. His wife’s name was Mary. He retired to live in Carmarthen. How he ended up in Cardigan cemetery I’m not sure.
Here is a short description of the gentleman by his great nephew Godfrey Wordsworth Turner:
He was in England when I was a child of very tender years, and stayed in our house till I was nearly seven; and again he visited my father, his nephew, when I had reached the age of fifteen or sixteen; after which time he retired to a small estate in Carmarthenshire, where he died.
One of his excellent traits was the love of educating children and grown persons less informed than are most children. It was a much commoner thing in those days than it now is for servants to be wholly illiterate; and wherever, and whenever, the grandly simple benevolence of this venerable man led him to detect a case of that kind, he instantly set himself to work, in his own direct and efficient way, to remedy the defect.
My father’s household owed much to his labour. A serving-woman who, when not young, and not comely, was unable to tell one letter from another, learned to read well and to write a very neat hand from his tuition; and could draw up the bill of fare for dinner, not in bad French but good English.Art Studies of Home Life by Godfrey Wordsworth Turner (daphnejohnson.co.uk)
And his relation to the famous Mary? Well Edward’s father Edward Bland Wollstoncraft (1735/6—85) was a half-cousin to Mary (1759—97).
A level Craft, Design and Technology Project (1990): A vision of what Cardigan Castle could look like in the future …
Entrance to the castle
Children’s play area on the centre lawn
The castle walls
Gorsedd stones (Eisteddfod 1976) (bottom left)
Welsh Tea shop and Craft centre (centre)
Geler Jones’ Agricultural Museum (top right)
Staff car park (bottom right)
On 4 December 1823 John Lloyd, the curate of St Mary’s Church baptised Helen, the child of Ramo and Helen Samee.
Does the name ring a bell? Ramo Samee (1791-1850), her father was a famous Indian juggler and magician.
He and his wife came over to Europe around 1810, and he made a tour of the United States in 1819. He was quite a showman:
Samee performed a trick he called “stringing beads with the mouth”, in which he “swallowed” a handful of beads and a piece of string, then pulled the beads out of his mouth, one by one, tied to the string. Samee was also a sword-swallower (swallowing 2 foot long swords!) and a fire-eater. In his fire act, he would light a piece of rope, place it on a plate, and proceed to “eat” it as a meal. He called it his “light dinner”.
William Hazlitt’s essay The Indian Jugglers (Table Talk, 1828) provides an interesting account although Ramo is not named.
In July 1823 he performed in Swansea as this advert in The Cambrian shows:
He died in 1850, so poor that his wife had to advertise for financial help to bury him.
The big question, of course, is what was his connection with Cardigan? Did he live here or was the family just passing through?
In the 1881 Census return for London (West Hackney) Helen (or Ellen by then) Samee’s birthplace is given as Cardigan, and the records of St Mary’s Church show that she was baptised here.
She and her mother are described as Needlewomen but life was hard and they both spent periods in the Workhouse during the second half of the nineteenth century (discharged on 26 Apr 1850 and again on 2 June 1882). Ellen Samee died in 1884.
If the Tivy-side had been published in 1823 I wonder what their headline would have been:
Daughter of famous Indian juggler baptised at St Mary’s, perhaps. Perhaps not.
Thanks to Keith Ladd
1 The Market in its heyday in the 1880s
2 The Tivy-side reports on plans for a multi storey square block in the middle of town instead of the Guildhall (1960s).
3 The old Market Yard
4 Cardigan and Brioude Town Twinning Meeting with the mayor and mayoress Mr and Mrs Berwyn Williams, and the local MP Elystan Morgan.
5 The Guildhall as a Polling Station.
Thanks to Keith Ladd
Thanks once again to Keith Ladd
from William St. to Llandaf Cathedral;
from a baker’s son to Archbishop of Wales
Derek Greenslade Childs (14 January 1918 – 18 March 1987)
According to ‘Wikipedia’ Childs grew up in Laugharne. No mention is made of his birthplace.
He has not reached the Dictionary of Welsh Biography yet.
But Derek Greensalde Childs was baptised on 10 March 1918 at St Mary’s Church, Cardigan by B. J. Jones, the curate. His parents were Alfred John and Florence Theodosa. The address given was 17 William St., Cardigan
Alfred came originally from Laugharne, and Florence (Jones) lived in 17 William St. They were married on 17 March 1916 at St Mary’s Church. Presumably Alfred came to live in Cardigan at that time. His occupation is given as baker.
Derek was educated at Whitland Grammar School, before reading history at University College, Cardiff. He studied theology at Salisbury Theological College, before being ordained in 1942.
Derrick Greenslade Childs was the Anglican Bishop of Monmouth (1970-86) and Archbishop of Wales (1983-86).
He died as a result of a motor accident in 1987.
Living authority: Essays in memory of Archbishop Derrick Childs was published in 1990.
Thanks to Keith Ladd
Posters from the Keith Ladd collection. Thanks to Keith
From the Keith Ladd Collection (with grateful thanks)
Bowen Brothers: 1897
Jenkins the Hairdressers: 1960s
Veteran Horse Welfare
Glans Radio: 1960s
Original Factory Shop
W. H. Smith
J. Clougher & Son: 1930s
Black Lion Hotel
Canfas Art Gallery
Morgan the Realm
D. W. Griffiths
Any memories of these places? Any questions?
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No Barley Saturday this year due to the Coronavirus epidemic. But this is how things used to be.
Many thanks to Keith Ladd for the valuable photographs.
No Fair this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. According to sources Cardigan’s Fair has an unbroken history dating back as far as 1302 – until Covid-19 put a stop to the record, but there was no Fair on 10 November 1861 either – because the 10th was a Sunday!
What was Fair day like? Well here is W. Davies, Crundale school (Goglwyd, Llangoedmor writing in the Tivy-side, November 1913 about Fair Day c. 1860s:
Finch’s Square was full, if not overcrowded, and the first that attracted my attention was the most important man in the fair – Will Bowen, the ballad singer. He was singing ‘Marchnad Abertawe’ , followed by ‘O, wel te’n wir!’. Going up ‘Street Newydd’ (now Priory Street), there was old ‘Fanny Gingerbread’ – better known as ‘Fanny hit my legs’ – shouting to draw attention to her pile of gingerbread… Next to her were two peep shows. Close by was Mrs Jackson’s sweet stall (losin rownd a loshin hir); halfpenny a try. There was a standing of nuts; these were to be shot for, half-penny a shot. Coming down from High St was old Robin selling pins.
Later in the evening you would see sitting by the fireside of the Lamb Inn the ballad singer, challenging anyone to sing the ballad ‘Morgan Bach’ correctly from beginning to end. The challenge was taken up by a young man from the Mwldan. He sang according to the adjudicators – old Tom the Trumpeter, Shemi the Hatter and Dai Gof Cilbronnau – quite correctly, better than Will himself. This verdict roused the ballad singer’s ire, and he left in disgust for the Red Lion, where he was followed by some of his admirers.
One would not leave the Fair without buying some rice pudding from an old friend at the corner…
Happy days… and the fun continues. Many thanks to Keith Ladd for the valuable photographs.
What do you remember about Fair Day?
As far as I can see there is no mention of him in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography. But according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Lawrence Hugh Jenkins was born on 22 Dec 1857 at The Priory, Cardigan. He was the younger son of Richard David Jenkins and the only child of R D Jenkins’s second marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Lewis, Machynlleth, a surgeon in the Royal Navy. His birthplace is confirmed in the 1861 census return which states that he was born in Cardigan (and not Llangoedmor!).
Lawrence Hugh Jenkins was educated at Cheltenham College (1869–77); Oxford and called to the Bar Lincoln’s Inn in 1883. The Admission Register of Lincoln’s Inn for 11/11/1879 reads: “Laurence Hugh Jenkins of Univ Coll., Oxford (21), the youngest son of Richard David J., of Cilbroan, co. Cardigan, sol. JP.” He was called to the Bar: 17/11/1883.
In 1892 Lawrence H. Jenkins married Catherine Minna Brown, daughter of sugar plantation owners, of Natal.
He then became Chief Justice of Bombay High Court for ten years (1898-1908). Jenkins was also selected as Member of the Council of India.
John Morley (Liberal secretary of state for India) described Laurence as:
one of the two or three most valuable men of my Council. He is a remarkably clear-headed man, with a copious supply of knowledge in law, as well as of political imagination … a fine fellow … of immense value to me about Reforms.
He was knighted on 17 August 1899. From 1909 to 1915 he was the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court. He also served as District Grand Master of Freemasons for Bombay and Bengal.
In his judgeship Jenkins delivered several verdicts in high profile conspiracy and bombing case including Alipore Bomb conspiracy case
Jenkins retired in 1915 and in 1921 the Right Honourable Sir Lawrence Hugh Jenkins of Cilbronnau was President of Cardigan Agricultural Show. It was held at Stepside – a successful show with over 400 entries.
In 1923 Sir Lawrence Hugh Jenkins, Lady Jenkins and Clodrydd Jenkins lived at Cilbronnau mansion. In January 1924 he was appointed Chairman of the Cardiganshire Sessions.
S. V. FitzGerald, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, sums up his character and contribution:
Jenkins’s legal equipment when he first went to India was a keen dialectical mind, a thorough grasp of English equity principles, and a power of expressing himself in clear and forcible English. He soon added a mastery of Indian law and custom astonishing in one who did not visit India until his thirty-ninth year and then served only in Presidency towns; many of his finest judgments enlightened dark questions of Hindu law. He was business-like in administration, and men he chose for high responsibility justified his choice.
A sociable man, Jenkins successfully devoted himself to breaking down the barriers then separating British and Indians, especially in the Presidency towns. He came to know the leading Indian moderate politicians, and sympathized with their aims.
He died at his home in London on 1 October 1928. A Memorial window to Sir Lawrence Hugh Jenkins was unveiled at Llangoedmor Church on 7th December 1930.
(Can anyone contribute a photograph, please?)
According to his son writing in the preface to the first edition of John Walters’s English-Welsh Dictionary), he was born in Cardigan on 10 August 1672, ‘of reputable parents’ who destined him for the church and gave him good schooling.
But according to Foster (Alumni Oxon.) he was eighteen, ‘pauper puer,’ son of William Gambold of Cardigan, when he matriculated at S. Mary Hall, Oxford, 23 May 1693. He migrated to Exeter College in 1694, but there is no record of graduation.
In 1707 he was keeping a school at Llanychaer, and on 1 December 1709 he became rector of Puncheston with Llanychaer, Pembs.
At Oxford he had been a friend of Edward Lhuyd who acknowledges help given to him by Gambold in preparing his additions in Gibson’s edition of Camden’s Britannia.
A series of letters he wrote from Cardigan to Edward Lhuyd at Oxford between 1693 and 1697 appear here:
They refer to various archaeological finds at St Dogmaels and Nevern. Unfortunately there is no indication of where in Cardigan he lived.
As early as 1707, Gambold was planning a Welsh dictionary, and this became his main occupation later on, when an accident disabled him from parochial work. It was finished in 1722, but Gambold failed to get money to publish it until 1727 as A Grammar of the Welsh Language. A second edition was published in Carmarthen in 1817, an a third in Bala in 1833.
He died 13 September 1728. His will appears here:
“To [my] eldest son, John Gambold, all that whole little Burage of mine, together with each and every stable, Outhouses, Offices, Back-sides and Gardens, unto the same belonging, situate, lying and being in the Town of Cardigan…”
William Gambold left a wife Elizabeth, four sons and one daughter.
Nineteen year-old Thomas Thomas died at 1 o’clock on 18 February 1831 suffering from the ‘Covid-19 of his time’ (TB). He was employed as a typesetter in the Cardigan offices of the Baptist journal Greal y Bedyddwyr. It is fitting then that a 29-verse moving tribute by his father George (who was a printer in the Greal offices) should appear in a later issue of the journal in 1831. George lived to see his 81st year and died on 12 Sept 1868. Thomas’s mother’s name was Ann. She died on 21 May 1853, and was 63 years old. They were all buried in St Mary’s Church cemetery.
Yr oedd yn ddyn ieuangc hardd, syml, hynaws, moesol, charedig; yn blentyn ufydd a gostyngedig i’w rhieni, ac yn was ffyddlawn a didwyll i’w feistr… Yr oedd wedi cyrhaedd i gryn wybodaeth o’r iaith Gymreig, ac o’i gelfyddyd; a phe buasai yn cael rhagor o fywyd a iechyd, buasai yn debyg o ddyfod yn ddyn dysglaer.‘He was a handsome, simple, kind, and principled young man; an obedient and humble child to his parents, and a faithful and honest servant to his master… He had attained much knowledge of the Welsh language and his craft; and if he had lived a longer, healthy life he would no doubt become a brilliant man.’
The verses mourn the loss of a young mariner. He was buried in St Mary’s Church cemetery.
Revd John Herring was the minister of Bethania Chapel from 1811 until 1832. He died after an illness that lasted some months. He left a wife and 7 small children. What else do we know about him?
The piece in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography can be read here:
Well there is a story that one fine summer’s day in July while he was on one of his preaching tours in north Wales, he met the famous Revd Christmas Evans who took one look at him and said “What a strange thing to see a herring on top of a mountain”. Quick as a flash Herring replied “ Surely not more than to see Christmas in the middle of summer?” Touche as they say.
In another version the two were on top of the Frenni Fawr. By 1909 the story had changed a bit:
Christmas Evans and John Herring meet. When Mr Herring saw his friend, he shouted ‘Strange, strange, to come across Christmas in the middle of summer.’ ‘Yes, it is’, replied Mr Evans, ‘but stranger still to meet a live herring on top of a mountain.’
His unusual surname was an opportunity for many a story: Once, down in Llanboidy, he was preaching so eloquently that Mr. Powell, Maes-gwyn, a prominent local man asked ‘Who is that? ‘Herring, Cardigan’ was the reply from someone sitting nearby. ‘No, not a herring, he said but a Salmon.
But there is more to the Revd John Herring than an unusual surname.
In 1836, four years after his death D. Roberts, Llandiloes, published a booklet entitled: Derwen Wylofain.
The short biography included reveals a little of his background:
John was born to Thomas and Sarah Herring, Llanyspyddyd, Breconshire in 1789. His father died when John was 4 or 5 years old. His mother remarried and the family moved to the iron works at Ebbw Vale. John was employed at the local blacksmith.
His humorous character was revealed early on. ‘How many sects are there?’ he asked his employer one morning.
‘I think there are five of any use, and those five are in our house. My stepfather is Indepenent, my mother a Methodist, I will go to the Quakers and I’ll make my cat a Wesleyan and the little dog a Baptist’. Indeed he took his dog with him one Sunday morning to see a baptism in the Sirhowy river by Tredegar deciding to throw the dog in the river when the Revd Edward Davies was preaching. But it was not to be. Listening to the sermon he became a believer and it was he who was baptised and not the dog. He became a member of the Baptist Church at Tredegar in 1804. [Siloh says Revd. B. James (Edwards, Bethania, p. 30)]
The rest, as they say, is history…
He began preaching when he was 16 years old. Under the influence of the Revd John Hier, Basaleg, he was accepted as a student in the Colege at Bristol when he was 20/21 years old. He had had enough after a year. ‘What is the use of Hic, Haec, Hoc, to save souls’
On a preaching tour he was invited to Bethanis and accepted a calling in 1811. He remained there until his death in 1832.
- He was an exceptional preacher.
“he was one of the funniest and most popular preachers of his day”
“he was possessed of a prolific understanding, a multitude of words, a natural and effective eloquence, a tenacious memory, proper gestures, a melodious voice
But he wasn’t a perfect man ‘despite his excellent qualities he was not without his weaknesses’ (these are not listed).
- He was an excellent organiser. He drew up a list of rules and regulations on to how to organize a Church in a pamphlet entitled: ‘‘Penderfyniadau i’w gosod mewn gweithrediad yn Eglwys y Bedyddwyr yn Methania, Aberteifi, a fabwysiadwyd mewn Cyfarfod a gynhaliwyd Tachwedd 18fed, 1829,’ [Decisions to be undertaken at Bethania Baptist Church, Cardigan, and adopted in a Meeting held on 18th November, 1829’]. He elaborated on many issues: Covetousness–its harm; Generosity–its appeal; Ministers–their maintenance; The Poor–how they should be considered; Discipline–its rule; the neglect of assembling.
- He was a litterateur: He edited the Greal y Bedyddwyr for a year, and then for a further two years with J. M. Thomas.
He died at Llwynpiod, Cardigan on 2 April 1832, after an illness that had lasted some months. He was buried at Cilfowyr.
He married twice. First to Elizabeth, the daughter of the Revd Griffith Davies, minister of Rehoboth. She died in 1823 leaving three daughters: Mary, Elizabeth and Anne. His second wife was another Elizabeth (Lewis, Crugmor.) They had four children from this marriage.
His second wife died a fortnight after John leaving seven orphans – among them:
Ann, 12 year old (blind and of unsound mind); Dinah, 8 year old (later married James Morse, Trehowell); James, 7 year old. He is listed in 1901 as a retired mariner and living in Northgate Tce. He had married the daughter of the Revd. T. J. Morris and was a member of Capel Mair. He died in 1907; Sarah, 4 year old; Eleanor 2 yea rold. She is listed in 1851 as a housekeeper in Quay St; in 1861 as a housemaid in St Mary St (to Thomas Morgan, solicitor). She was a member at Bethania and died in 1898.
A number of prominent people from the chapel and surrounding district established a fund to help the children.
David Mathias, Cardigan
Timothy Thomas, the elder
William Richard, Penyparc
Daniel Davies (Independent minister), Cardigan
John Morgan, Blaenffos
Daniel Davies, Swansea
Awdl Bryddest Farwnadol i’r diweddar Barch. John Herring, Aberteifi: An elegy to the late Revd John Herring, Cardigan by Asaph Glyn Ebbwy (Thomas Williams, Tredegar). Please see the Welsh version for the 30 verse elegy!