Cardigan People 53: Launcelot Lowther (1825-1905)

Launcelot Lowther
(1825-17 August 1905)

On his retirement as Manager of the Cardigan Mercantile Company in 1901 the Tivy-side described Launcelot Lowther as:

one, if not the best known and most respected businessmen in the town of Cardigan…

A native of Bradford on Avon, he arrived in Cardigan in 1848 as the manager of David Davies, The Castle’s extensive timber merchandise and shipowning business.
Davies’ timber and general merchants’ business was transferred to Davies’ son and to Lowther in 1865, and was carried on under the name ‘Davies and Lowther’ until 1869.
After a short interval Lowther returned to his late partner’s employ as manager, and continued as such until 1876, when the two businesses of D. G. Davies and Thomas Davies merged as the Cardigan Mercantile Company. Thomas Davies was the Managing Director and Lowther the Secretary.

Lowther’s public career began in November 1865 when he became a member of the Town Council. His opponent John James, smith withdrew before the election.
The affair of the Corporation at this time ‘were in a most deplorable state, the accounts not having been made up or audited for over ten years.’ His business acumen led him to sort the mess out and in a Council meeting on 16th August 1867 it was declared:

This meeting considers that Mr Lowther merits the grateful acknowledgement of the inhabitants and Ratepayers of the Borough of Cardigan for undertaking and performing the herculean task of bringing the Corporation accounts out of the chaotic state in which the same have been so long allowed to remain, into such a form as to be capable of being understood and investigated, and that he should be properly remunerated for his services.

A public meeting was called and a sum of £20 offered as a recognition of his kind-heartedness. He was also offered the office of Mayor at this time but declined.
[After spending 2 years sorting the accounts out he probably though he had had enough – life was too short!] Indeed things did not go too well in the early 1870s as by 26 Jan 1872 he had been declared bankrupt and lost his seat on the Borough Council.

He had been Secretary of the Cardigan Mechanics’ Institute since 1849 and had devoted as much time and energy to sort the finances of this organisation. For his efforts he was given a watch with the inscription:

In recognition of his unswerving zeal and efficient conduct as hon. secretary.

He took a very active part in the formation of the Cardigan Steam Navigation Company, owning the ss Tivy-side, which was the first steamer to run direct between Cardigan and Bristol. Lowther was the company secretary until the company was wound up and the vessel sold.

It was due to combined efforts of Thomas Davies and Lowther that Cardigan was supplied with gas, having formed the Cardigan Gas Company in 1865, with Lowther the secretary from the start until he was obliged to resign owing to ill health in 1902.

He was able to boast that he was the actual founder of the Loyal Glantivy Lodge of Oddfellows.

During his 50 years connection with the Bridge-End business he trained at least 30 young men up to business – nearly all holding responsible positions in London, Cardiff and other large commercial centres.

For 40 years he was connected with Hope Congregational Chapel as member and deacon. During his lifetime he lived in Bridge St., mainly in St Mary St., and then Priory St.
He married Elizabeth (Morgan) at Carmarthen on 12 Oct 1854 and had 10 children before divorcing in 1878:
Helen (1855-1944); Launcelot Ethelbert (1857-); Thomas William (1858-1943); Beatrice (1860-1927); Herbert Reginald (1863-1936); Arthur (1866-); Charles Leopold (1868-1943); Francis Llewellyn (1870-1948, Headmaster at Milford Haven); Laura Sophia (1873-96, a music teacher, St Mary St.); and Eleanor J. (1879-).

Did you dance with George Child-Villiers?

Daily Mirror, 2.9.1939

Who was George Child-Villiers? According to Wikipedia:

On his father’s death at Middleton Park in December 1923, he succeeded as the 9th Earl of Jersey and inherited nearly 20,000 acres of land in England. Lord Jersey was a clerk with Glyn, Mills & Co. in 1932 and served as chairman of Wallace Brothers Sassoon Bank. He fought in World War II, gaining the rank of Major in the Royal Artillery of the Territorial Army. The 9th Earl gave Osterley Park in Hounslow to the nation in the late 1940s.
Lord Jersey was married three times and twice divorced. He married his first wife, Patricia Richards (1914–2017) of NSW, Australia on 12 January 1932.
A week after his divorce was finalized, Lord Jersey married American actress Virginia Cherrill on 30 July 1937 at the Chelsea Register Office. She was the ex-wife of actor Cary Grant. They divorced in 1946.
His third and last wife was Bianca Luciana Adriana Mottironi (d. 2005), whom he married on 16 October 1947. She was the eldest daughter of furniture maker Enrico Mottironi of Via Goffredo Casalis in Turin, Italy.

No-one from Cardigan then!

Cardigan People 52: Richard J. Jones (1956-2021)

Cardigan says farewell to Richard (14.8.2021)

People applaud as the funeral cortege passes the Guildhall
The funeral cortege makes its way through the town centre
Richard and his guitar make one last trip through his beloved town
Richard’s coffin is draped with the Wales flag
Richard makes his final trip through Cardigan

Diolch yn fawr i Stuart Ladd am y lluniau.
Thanks very much to Stuart Ladd for the photos.

Ail Symudiad – Guildhall, 2010
Wyn and Richard, 29 June 2021

Ail Symudiad


Gŵyl Fawr Aberteifi

Due to Covid restrictions the eisteddfod will not be held this year again. Never mind – relive previous eisteddfodau here with a selection of programmes , posters and photographs from Keith Ladd’s collection.

Programme cover for the 1898 Eisteddfod. The chair winner was the Mr D B Jones, Co-op stores, Blaenau Festiniog but he didn’t turn up so the ceremony was not held.

The 1909 Eisteddfod was a notable event with thousands attending from all over Wales. It was held in a marquee at Parc-y-rifle. The chair winner was Thomas Evans (Tel), of Cwmamman, Aberdare, but a native of Cardigan and in fact the nephew of the town’s most famous poet Telynog. For more about Tel click here.

Cynan awards the Crown to Dic Jones in 1955
Standing back row: Terry Thomas, Morris (Borough Surveyor), Alun Tegryn Davies, ?, Borough Treasurer, Berwyn Williams, ?, Charles Williams, Revd Milton Jenkins, Lewis, David Peregrine, Richards, Revd Arthur Evans-Williams, Revd Arwyn Phillips
Sitting in the front: Williams, Gwynfi Jenkins, Parry?, Owen M. Owen, Price, ?
Ruth Pritchard, Cynwyl Elfed, the first woman to win the chair – in 1995.
Owen M. Owen (1912-1991), was appointed Secretary in 1953. Managed a shop in Maesglas. Town councillor and three times mayor of Cardigan – 1975, 1977, and 1989. District councillor and chairman in 1979. MBE in 1979.

Cardigan People 51: Wyn Lewis Jones (Wyn Fflach; 25.9.1959-24.6.2021)

Wyn and Elin Fflur.

Thanks to Keith Ladd for this photograph, taken in Cardigan market.

Keith extends his sympathy to Wyn’s family on their loss.

Cardigan People 50: David R. Edwards (1964-2021)

Datblygu’s David R Edwards: a brave, brilliant interrogator of Welsh culture, Elis James , The Guardian

Cardigan People 48: Edward Wollstonecraft (1768-1849)

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 (

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).

Cardigan Castle

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)

Cardigan People 47: Helen Samee

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.

Guildhall 2:

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

Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to Cardigan 1957

Duke of Edinburgh (1921 – 2021) opens the extensions to Cardigan Secondary School, 1957. L-R: Mrs Peggy Evans, the headmaster Mr Tom Evans. Behind Prince Phillip’s shoulder is the mayor Mr Arthur Thomas. Man with bowler hat in his hand – High Sheriff?. The man on the right blowing his cheeks out was a photographer. Thanks to Sian Davies (the headmaster’s daughter) for this photograph.
Prince Phillip and the headmaster, Thomas Evans. (Thanks to Keith Ladd for this photo and the one below)
1957: Thank you from the Palace

Cardigan People 46: Derek Greenslade Childs

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.

Cardigan shops and businesses: NOW and THEN

From the Keith Ladd Collection (with grateful thanks)


Bowen Brothers: 1897

Cardigan Antiques

Jenkins the Hairdressers: 1960s

Veteran Horse Welfare

Glans Radio: 1960s

Original Factory Shop

Gwalia Garage

W. H. Smith

J. Clougher & Son: 1930s


Ideal Foodstores

Black Lion Hotel

Cardigan Sports

Flair: 1960s

Canfas Art Gallery

Morgan the Realm

Angel Hotel

Finch’s Square

Cardigan Market

Shopping Arcade

Watts Bazaar

Copper Pot

Commercial Hotel

Happy City

D. W. Griffiths

Salon K27


Any memories of these places? Any questions?
Please get in touch:
Comments? Please leave a reply below:

Cardigan People 45: Men on the march

Men only marching, about 1900. Arthur Ross Evans (with a flat cap and moustache, near the woman holding the baby) is in the middle of the photograph looking directly at the camera. The walkers are coming up Pendre, and going passed the Junior School (where the old Health Centre is today). The headmaster’s house was in front of the school and the wall and fence can be scene (back, left of the photo).
Where were they going? Well at the top of the photo someone is holding a banner with a light coloured cross on it.
In the window of the second house up from the school you can see a ‘Fry’s Chocolate’ advert in the window. According to the 1901 Census Margaret Williams was living here between 1901 and 1914 with her children David Gwilym, Mary Elizabeth and John Huw.
I would be grateful for any additional information / suggestions. (Thanks again to S. G. King)

Barley Saturday

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.


Geler Jones, saddler
Geler Jones
Will James, Trewindsor and his daughter
Judging at Penralltddu
Clr. Ivor Radley (1913–92) and Fred Rees, auctioneer
In memory of Martin Radley (1957–2020)

It’s not fair!

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!

Fair day moved from the 10th to the 9th!

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.

1890s – before the Pav!
And here is the Electrical Picture Palace
More entertainment when the Pav was opened
The old Fairground Traction Engine
Things have changed but the Studt family have been coming to Cardigan for many generations.
Fair Day, 1990s in front of the Guildhall
Fair Day, 1990s in front of the Ship
Fair Day, 1990s and Priory Street was full of stalls
Fair Day, 1990s and stalls towards the bridge
Fair Day, 1990s in High Street where keeping to the 2m rule would have been a problem!
Fair Day, 1990s, and the Fairground is in full swing.

What do you remember about Fair Day?