Cardigan People 24: Owen Richards, Feidrfair, sailor, cook (–1904/05)

A note in Bethania Chapel Minutes first brought Owen Roberts to my attention. Under a list of deaths for 1905 is the following:

Owen Roberts, Feidrfair. Hwyliodd o China i Vladivostock Hydref 1904. Ni chlywyd dim oddi wrthynt drachefn yn yr SS Claverdale. [He sailed from China to Vladivostock in October 1904. Nothing more was heard of them in the SS Claverdale]

A bit of Googling revealed a few interesting items.

Under the heading ‘Fate of the Claverdale’ the Evening Express published the following account on 31 January 1905:

A boat belonging to the overdue British steamer Claverdale has been picked up and taken to Fukuyajna. None of the crew was on board. The Claverdale left Barry on September 1 for Manila, with a cargo of between 5,000 and 6,000 tons of coal on Russian account. On October 29 she was reported at Sabang, and on November 23 left Hong Kong for Vladivostok. Nothing has been heard of her since, and it is presumed that in running the blockade she kept in too close to the land and struck a sunken rock. Captain Thomas, the master of the Claverdale, is a native of Cardigan, and is well known in Cardiff shipping circles.

The Claverdale was the pioneer ship of the Claverdale Steamship Company (Limited), owned by Messrs. E. Hazelhurst and Co., who claimed that this is the first vessel they had lost. She was built in 1899 by Messrs. Graig, Taylor, and Co., of Stockton-on-Tees, is 330 feet long, with a 45 feet beam, and a draught of 18 feet, while her engines registered a nominal horse-power of 278.

By 09 September 1905 the Cardiff Times reported that a Vladivostok telegram dated August 31st stated that a steamer stranded north of Olga was reported to be the missing British s.s. Claverdale, bound from Cardiff to Vladivostok via Hong Kong.

But further inquiries found that the rumour was not true and the reporter on the Cardiff Times was not happy:

This is the second time that such a report has been cabled home from Vladivostok respecting the same ship, and it is unfortunate that the authorities do not make an effort to secure the name of the stranded vessel before telegraphing to England.

The mystery of the missing ship seemed to have been solved by November 1905, according to a report in the County Echo, quoting the Daily Chronicle:

Dispatches received in London reveal for the first time the identity of the wreck which has frequently been sighted to the south of Vladivostok, near the mouth of the Tandse River. The vessel turns out to be the British steamer Claverdale, which left a Chinese port last November with a full cargo of coal for the Russian cruisers at Vladivostok, and which has not since been heard of. As the result of a visit paid to the stranded steamer, it has been ascertained that the vessel has been pillaged by the natives in the neighbourhood, and every article of value taken away. The inhabitants residing in the vicinity, who were interrogated, declared that the crew of the Claverdale’ were removed shortly after the wreck by two boats presumed to be Japanese.

But the missing crew remained missing : Neither owners nor relatives, however, have heard from any of the men. By November 1905 the headline in the Weekly Mail suggested that worse was to come.

WRECK OF THE CLAVERDALE: SUPPOSED MURDER OF MEMBERS OF THE CREW.

The crew who are supposed to have been killed on the Manchuria coast, where the ship was wrecked, included:

H. H. Thomas, Cardigan, commander;
D. Llewellyn, St. Dogmaels, mate
James Reed, Swansea, second mate
D. Jones, Cardiff, carpenter
J. S Campbell, Sunderland, steward
Owen Roberts, Cardigan, cook
Watkin Evans, second steward
John Waddle, boatswain
A. Tripolis, A.B. seaman
R. Thomas, Liverpool, A.B. seaman
G. Marromatic, A.B. seaman
Frederick Cooper, Sunderland, chief engineer
Frederick Walker, second engineer
James Beadle, Sunderland, third engineer
Cornelius Gray, Sunderland, fourth engineer
Carl Lundin (of Sweden), donkeyman
Richard McGuire, Bootle, fireman
B. Mynes, Brumiskin, fireman
W. Flagg, fireman
Gus Langer, fireman
R. J. Jones, fireman
S. Ostovski, fireman
W. Howrie, apprentice
G. B. McLaren, apprentice
Reginald Turner, North-street, Lewes, apprentice
G. A. Saunders, Kingston-road, Portsmouth, apprentice
In addition to these, two other hands, names and nationalities unknown, were taken on to Hong Kong. These were possibly Chinese.

It was claimed that the ship had been boarded by Manchurian pirates and the crew thrown overboard.

In March 1906 the Cardiff Times reported on the proceedings of the Probate Court where the captain named as Edward Evan Thomas, Llangoedmore was presumed dead:

The vessel was found 450 miles north of Vladivostok ashore in the Gull of Tartary deserted, with her decks dismantled. In February, 1905, a boat belonging to the ship was found, and in May the ship was posted at Lloyd’s as a total loss. Eventually the vessel was discovered a total wreck, and only about 300 or 400 tons of cargo remained. The master and crew had disappeared. Captain Thomas left about £1,400. His Lordship granted leave to presume the death of Mr Thomas accordingly.

After all this we’re none the wiser, I’m afraid, as to what actually happened but suffice to say these brave local sailors probably came to a watery end: H. H. Thomas, Cardigan, D. Llewellyn, St. Dogmaels, and Owen Roberts, Cardigan, the cook from Feidrfair.

If a photograph exists of any of these gentlemen I would be pleased to add a copy here.

25 December (1176, 1888, 1889, 2103) Merry Christmas to all who were born within the sound of the bells of St Mary’s

  • 25 December (Wed.) 1176 The first Eisteddfod

And then the Lord Rhys held a special feast at Cardigan, and he set two kinds of contests: one between the bards and the poets, and another between the harpists and the crowders and the pipers and various classes of string-music. And he set two chairs for the visitors in the contests. And those he enriched with great gifts. And then a young man from his own court won the victory for string-music. And the men of Gwynedd won the victory for poetry. And all the other minstrels received from the Lord Rhys as much as they asked, so that no one was refused. And that feast was proclaimed a year before it was held throughout Wales and England and Scotland and Ireland and many other lands.

1176 Brut y Tywysogyon

  • 25 (Tues.) 1888

CAPEL MAIR

A very successful concert was given in Capel Mair, in this town, on Christmas night, under the presidency of the Rev. W. Jones (Mayor). The building was well-filled, and excellent order was maintained throughout by the conductor, the Rev. T. J. Morris, which was certainly not the least pleasing feature of the gathering. The programme was contributed to by a number of local amateurs, assisted by Eos Myrnach, and a male party from Llanfyrnach, and it will not be considered invidious to say that it was in a great measure owing to their valuable assistance that the concert was one of the best that has been given in the town for some time.

Eos Myrnach possesses a capital voice, and sang several high-class songs with excellent taste and feeling. His rendering of “Alone on the raft” was particularly deserving of mention.

The Llanfyrnach male party, too, proved a great acquisition, and gave evidence of close and careful training, and their rendering of the choruses allotted to them was admirable. “Comrades Song of Hope,” and “Martyrs of the Arena” — the latter including a splendidly rendered quartet- fairly delighted the audience, and were deservedly encored. Mr. Davies led the Llanfyrnach party in the first chorus, and Eos Myrnach afterwards.

Among the locals, the Capel Mair party, led by Mr. Reynolds; Mr. W. Thomas and party, Mr. D. Charles and friends, and Mr. D. Davies and friends, were deserving of commendation, as were also Misses Lowther and Letitia Evans, and Mrs. Jones, and Messrs. W. Thomas, D. Thomas (Tyrhos), and T. Lewis. Miss Daniel and Miss Edith Daniel accompanied with much taste throughout the evening.

The following is the programme:

  • Pianoforte duet, The Little Sailor, Misses Daniel and Lowther;
  • glee, Croeso’r Boreu, Capel Mair Party;
  • solo, Gitana, Miss Lowther;
  • glee, “Beautiful Rain,” (encored and repeated) Mr. W. Thomas and party;
  • solo, “Llwybr yr Wyddfa,” (encored and sang Bwthyn bach melyn fy Nhad”)
  • Eos Myrnach quartet, “Geiriau Mam,”
  • Mr. D. Charles and friends solo,
  • Mr. D. Davies solo, Baban diwrnod oed,” (encored)
  • Mr. D. Thomas, Tyrhos .Song, Darby and Joan,”
  • Miss Letitia Evans chorus, “Comrades Song of Hope,” (encored)
  • Llanfyrnach Party solo, Jerusalem,”
  • Mr. T. Lewis; duet, “As it fell upon a day,”
  • Misses Lowther and Evans. Part 2-Glee, Yr Haf,”
  • Capel Mair Party duet, O Gartref yr Eryr,” (encored and sang a duet from Blodwen “)
  • Eos Myrnach and Mrs Jones solo, Hen Ffon fy Nain,” (encored)
  • Mr. D. Thomas, Tyrhos; solo, Alone on the Raft,” (encored)
  • Eos Myrnach; chorus, “Y Gof,”
  • Llanfyrnach Party; solo, Pleser-fad Niagara,”
  • Mr. W. Thomas;
  • trio, Tri Chymro,” (encored)
  • Mr. D. Davies and friends; chorus, “The Martyrs of the Arena,” (encored)
  • Llafyrnach Party
  • finale, Hen Wlad fy Nhadau,” air by Eos Myrnach and chorus by the audience.

Votes of thanks to the Chairman and those who took part concluded the proceedings (probably early Boxing Day!)

  • 25 (Wed.) 1889

BETHANIA CONCERT

A grand evening concert was given in Bethania Chapel on Christmas night, and there was a crowded audience. A letter was read from Mr. Morgan-Richardson, Noyadd-Wilym, who had been announced to preside, regretting his inability to attend, and inclosing £2 towards the funds. In the absence of the chairman, Mr. W. Lewis, Brecon Old Bank, was unanimously voted to the chair. The Rev. T. J. Morris acted as conductor.

The following was the programme :

  • Pianoforte solo, Miss Gwynne, R.A.M. solo, “Baner ein Gwlad,”Gwyn Alaw” (encored, and responded with “My Pretty Jane”);
  • solo, “Remember me,” Miss S. A. Esau;
  • solo, Death of Nelson,” Mr. Wm. Thomas (encored, and responded with a Welsh song);
  • solo, The Blind Girl to her harp,” Miss S. A. Jenkins (encored, and responded with “Trip, Trip”);
  • solo, “I had a dream,” Mrs. S. A. Owen;
  • solo, The White Squall,” Mr. W. Jones
  • solo, “O dywed im’, awel y Nefoedd,” Llinos Gwent;
  • solo competition, “Mair Magdalen,” ten competed, three singing on the stage, the best being Miss Lizzie Jenkins, Greenfield-square
  • duet, Martial Spirit,” Gwyn Alaw and Mr. William Thomas;
  • juvenile choir competition, Y Galwadau,” three choirs, namely, Bethania (led by Mr. William Jenkins), Tabernacle (led by Mr. John James), and Mount Zion (led by Mr. D. Ivor Evans), and the prize was divided between Bethania and Mount Zion
  • choirs quartet, Mount Zion Party duet, “Howel, Howet, Llinos Gwent and Gwyn Alaw (encored, and repeated);
  • solo, Pleserfad Niagara,” Mr. William Thomas;
  • solo, Good Shepherd,” Gwyn Alaw
  • solo competition, Y Morwr Lion,” five entries, prize awarded to Mr. William Jones
  • choral competition, Cwynfan Prydain,” two choirs competed, namely, Tabernacle (led by Mr. E. Ceredig Evans), and Bethania (led by Mr. William Jenkins), and the prize was awarded to Bethania Choir
  • song, Aunty,” Llinos Gwent (encored, and responded with The Donkey Cart”)
  • finale, Hen Wlad fy Nhadau.”

It is but fair to say that the singing of Miss S. A. Jenkins (Llinos Gwent) was much admired she possesses a beautiful soprano voice of great power and compass, and should have a great future if she becomes a professional singer. Votes of thanks to the Chairman, Mr. Morgan-Richardson, the Conductor, Miss Gwynne (the accompanyist), and the singers, concluded the proceedings.

  • 25 1888 (Tues.)

THE WORKHOUSE.

On Christmas Day the inmates of the Workhouse were, as usual, through the generosity of Mr. Brigstoike, the much respected chairman of the Board of Guardians, treated to a splendid dinner, composed of roast beef, plum pudding, and beer, with two ounces of tobacco to those who smoked, and oranges to those who did not, and to the women and children.

Mr. Thomas Llewelyn and Mr. Lewis Davies superintended the distribution. A hearty vote of thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Brigstocke for their kindness, to Messrs. Llewelyn and Davies for superintending, and to the master and matron for the great trouble they had taken in preparing the good things, were unanimously passed.

Dinner being over, Mr. John James, St. Dogmells, and his choir, attended, and several pieces were sung, to the great delight of the inmates.

  • 25 1909 Bethania

Bethania Christmas Night 1909

Bethania Christmas Night 1909

  • 25 (Wed.) 2013 Tonight it’s Downton Abbey v. Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special (Progress or what?)

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL WHO HAVE READ THESE SNIPPETS OVER THE YEAR.

Next year  – more meat on these bones!

 

17 October (1880) Ten baptised in the Teifi

  • 17 1880 (Sun.) Ten persons were baptised in the river Teifi, at the Netpool, by the Rev. J. Williams, minister of Bethania Baptist Chapel, on Sunday afternoon last, in the presence of a large concourse of people. They were:

Griffith Griffith, son of Thomas Griffiths, grocer, Pendreuchaf; John Williams, son of William Williams, carpenter, Pendre isaf; David Jenkins, son of John Jenkins, waggoner, St. Mary’s St; James Thomas, sailor, Feidrfair; Anne Davies, daughter of Thomas Davies, a worker at Parcytrap; Anne Thomas, daughter to the wife of John Jenkins, stonemason, Pendre uchaf; Rachel Griffiths, daughter of John Griffiths, tinman, St Mary’s St; Frances Heyes, White Hart, St Mary’s St; Anne James, daughter of David James, Eben’s Lane and Margaret Jones, maidservant Mr Levi James, the ironmonger.

 

 

18 June (1880) Revd John Williams begins his ministry at Bethania

  • 18 1760 (Sat) 1st official meeting of the Sea Sarjants, in the Long Room, Black Lion.

Revd John Williams (1850–1929)

Revd John Williams  (1850–1929)

  • 18 1880 (Fri.) Revd John Williams begins his ministry in Bethania. He arrived in Bethania from Birkenhead. A native of Llansadwrn, he was a popular minister and a prominent individual in the political life of the town and county. He became a member of the Cardigan School Board in 1882, and a chairman of that body ten years later. In 1895 – a year before the new school opened – he became a chairman of the Board of Governers of the Secondary School and he remianed so until his resignation in 1913. He was elected again in 1929. He became a county councillor shortly after the establishment of the County Council in 1889 and he was a chairman twice, in 1894–5 and again in 1914–15. He was elected alderman in 1916.  He served on almost every committee on the County Council and he was chairman of the education committee for three consecutive years and a chairman of the police committee twice. He was also a member of the Court of Aberystwyth and Cardiff colleges for many years. In 1903 he became a member of the Board of Guardians and from 1911 onwards was the chairman. He was also chairman of the Cardigan and District Education Committee and a chairman of the local Pension committee. He served as a JP for many years.

He also climbed the ranks within the Baptists and achieved presidency of the Baptist Union of Wales in 1905. He was a staunch Liberal and when he died in 1929 the officials of Bethania received a telegram from the former Prime Minister David Lloyd George:

‘Deeply regret to hear of the death of my old friend, Rev. John Williams … It will be a real loss not only to Cardiganshire but to Liberalism throughout Wales.’

Revd John Williams was probably one of the most influential person in Cardigan during the end of the 19th century and the first decades of the 2oth century.

16 May (1970) Roberts, newsagents closing

  • 16 1970 (Sat.) J C Roberts shop closing (High St. newsagents)
  • 16 1968 (Thurs.) Gŵyl Fawr Aberteifi: Concert: Ryan Davies and Bryn Williams; Margaret Williams; Y Pelydrau; Bois y Ferwig; Cardigan Junior School Choir.
  • 16 1900 (Wed.) New Bethania Organ opened by Dr. Roland Rogers, Bangor organist

28 April (1197) Death of Lord Rhys; (1938) Visit of Amy Johnson

  • 28 1985 (Sul) Celebrating the Centenary of local Baptists’ Cymanfa Ganu
  • 28 1951 (Sad.) Mammoth Boxing Tournament: Market Hall on Barley Saturday. Popular Cardigan boxer Haydn Gwyon, and Owen Edwards, who is due to appear at Albert hall in final of British Railways Championship.
  • 28 1938 (Thurs.) Amy Johnson passes through Cardigan as part of RAC Car Rally.
  • 28 1197 (Mon.) Death of Lord Rhys

20 April (1949) Handel’s ‘Messsiah’ at Bethania; death of Revd Eseia Williams

20 1949 (Wed.) Handel’s Messiah at Bethania. Soloists included Jennifer Vyvyan; Gwyneth Morgan; Trefor Anthony; and Hubert Hughes; Idris Griffith, Llanelli, organist; Conductor Andrew Williams. Notable especially for the collapse and death of Revd Esaia Williams, Bethania in the pulpit while addressing the congregation.

9 April (1958) Unveiling a memorial to Revd Esaia Williams, Bethania

Revd Esaia Williams (30 October 1898–30 April 1949)

Revd Esaia Williams
(30 October 1889–20 April 1949)

  • 9 1958 (Mer.) Services to unveil a memorial to the Revd Esaia Williams at 2.00. In the evening sermons by Revd Humphrey Ellis, Caernarfon and Revd John Thomas, Blaenywaun
  • 9 1949 (Sat.) Parade of Vehicles by Territorial Army. The 1584 (G.T.) County RASC (TA) – 3 ton lorries, armoured cars, breakdown vehicle, motorcycles & workshop equipment.
  • 9 1842 (Sat.) Triton set sail for Quebec

6 April (1912) Death of composer of Bryngogarth

  • 6 1988 (Wed.) Death of Wyn Jones, author
  • 6 1951 (Fri.) Cardigan Society’s First venture: ‘The Long Mirror’
  • 6 1912 (Sat.) Death of Williams Roberts, composer of Bryngogarth

William Roberts (1862–1912)

[The notes below are based on a biography written by Revd Esaia Williams, 19 April, 1935 CTA]

William Roberts (1862–1912)

William Roberts
(1862–1912)

William Roberts was born on 1 October 1862 in a house called Farmers’ Arms, Bridge St., Cardigan. [ 21 Castle St.]. His father, John, was a native of Cardigan, raised up in St Marys St. A sailor by trade he spent his life at sea. His mother Mary, was originally from Rafael, near Blaenffos. They had four children: Mary Ann, another William who died young, Sarah Lizzie and William. Their mother died young and the children were brought up by their aunt Mrs Martha Roberts.

William was of small stature, a result of a childhood accident. He received his early education at the British School held at the old Bethania Chapel (Central Café). Edward Penfelyn (Iorwerth Penfelyn) was his schoolmaster, an exceptional man.

After leaving school William Roberts was apprenticed as a furniture maker with Griffith Griffiths, Castle St. He worked some years with David Lewis, Llanifor, Penparc, opposite the Eagle Inn, but because of his frailty he had to give up work as a carpenter. He eventually opened a shop in Bridge St. and remained there for the rest of his life. The shop, opposite Quay St.  was taken down c. 1933.

William Roberts was not noted for his public skills, but ‘no-one was more faithful in church. One of the dearest, harmless and gentlest of souls, but when called upon to stand on a principle, he could be as brave as a lion, and loud in his protest against sin in all its manifestations’.

He excelled as a musician. In 1882 some of the musicians in Bethania Chapel invited Mr Benjamin Lewis, Blaenannerch to arrange a sol-fa class. William Roberts joined. By the end of the season every member of the 50 plus class was able to read any tune at the first reading. Benjamin Lewis later migrated to America. After taking an interest in music he continued to study. His first instrument was a fife, then a fiddle. A travelling Italian wandered through Cardigan one day and was playing a harp. The music reached William Roberts’ ears and he managed to strike a bargain and persuade the Italian to part with his instrument. He then began to compose. He and others used to walk to Cilgerran to learn composition with the Revd W. Cynon Evans and his wife. (They later moved to Blaencwm, Rhondda). He was a founder member of the town’s orchestra. He was a faithful member of the Cardigan Male Voice Party, under the leadership of William Thomas, Carningli.

William Roberts’ compositions included Bryngogarth, Blaenffos, Glanteifi, Llandudoch, Rhosgerdd, Cemaes, Bridge Street and William

For Children: Clodfori’r Gwaredwr, Dewuch ataf fi, Annwyl Iesu. The work he is best remembered for is Bryngogarth.

Bryngogarth

Bryngogarth

When the Revd John Williams, Bethania was returning from a service in Pembrokeshire late one evening he noticed a light on with William Roberts, and when he passed the window he tapped it with his whip. The following morning he went to visit William Roberts, and said: ‘What were you doing down so late at night? O! Mr Williams it was you. To tell truth I was putting the finishing touches to a tune on the words: ‘Anghrediniaeth, gad fi’n llonydd’

That tune was then called Bryngogarth after the Revd John Williams’ house in Napier Street.

William Roberts  died 6 April 1912 aged 50 years, and was buried in Blaenffos cemetery.

2 April (1832) Death of Revd John Herring, Bethania at Llwynpiod

  • 2 1949 (Sat.) 11.30 a.m. Open air meeting of the Cardiganshire Labour Party in Morgan Street. Speakers included A. G. Waite, prospective candidate for Oswestry; Dr A. W. Spencer, president of the Carmarthenshire Labour Party; Iwan Morgan, prospective candidate for Cardiganshire Labour party.
  • 2 1949 (Sat.) Funeral of William Phillips, Pendre at 93 yrs old. He retired at 87 as Head gardener with Mr Berrington Davies, Castle Green and Plas Llangoedmore. Member of Tabernacl. Buried at Llantood.
  • 2 1832 (Mon.) Death of Revd John Herring, Bethania, 43 years old, at his home in Llwynpiod. He was buried at Cilfowyr Friday 6 April. He left a wife (who died shortly afterwards on 22 April) and 7 children.

27 February (1970) Bethania Young People meet George Thomas

  • 27 1970 (Fri.) Bethania Young People visit Cardiff  to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. On the Sunday who should come and meet them in Llandaf Road Baptist Chapel but George Thomas the Welsh Secretary of State for Wales and said: ‘ I expect you finished the milking before you came down’?!
  • 27 1953 (Fri.) Concert at Tabernacl: Pontyberem Male Voice Choir and  tenor Geraint Davies.

23 February (1960) Cliff Richard visits Penri’s cafe

Penris

  • 23 1960 (Wed.) Visit of Cliff Richard. He called in at Penri’s café, Pendre (Happy City 2013), and was offered Welsh cakes for the first time, which he thought ‘scrumptious’. No record whether it was raining on that occasion so no evidence whether he sang during his visit.
  • 23 1949 (Wed.) Cardigan Choral Society – Handel’s ‘Messiah’. Bethania, conducted by Andrew William; Artistes included: Elsie Suddaby, Bruce Dargavel, Eileen Price, Rene Soames. The organist was Professor Ted Morgan.
  • 23  1928 (Thurs.) Burial of Samuel Young, 77 mayor in 1908 and 1921

12 January (1964) Fire at Bethania

  • 12 1964 (Sun.) Fire at Bethania under the chapel where the boiler was housed.
  • 12 1910 (Wed.) General election: Public meeting at the Guildhall Vaughan Davies MP; Prof Levi, Aberystwyth; D Davies, Treforgan, Revd.  J D Hughes, Blaenwaun. Chairman: Revd. John Williams, Bethania.
  • 12 1876 (Wed.) Dr. William Lane Noot, surgeon, died, aged 71.

1 January (1916) Calennig at the Pav

Happy New Year! Here we go! Gems will be revealed during the year!

  • 1 1916 (Sat.) New Mayor D Timothy James, Gwalia 1st mayor to give the town’s children a free cinema show as a New Year treat (Calennig).
  • 1 1888 (Sun.) Club for gentlemen opened at 22 St Mary’s St.
  • 1 1873 (Wed.) Presentation to Revd Evan Thomas, Bethania on his departure to Carmarthen.
  • 1 1631 (Wed.) Birth of Katherine Phillips, later of Cardigan Priory.