Notes of May 2014 Meeting with Martin Williams = History of Quakers Associated with the Pales

Local Penybont and District History Group
5th May 2014 at the Pales

Derek welcomed the group to the Pales on this Bank Holiday Monday – a very good turnout despite a number of people being away. There were three new members: Gina’s husband, Des – founder of a local Young Farmers Club, ploughing champion, and water diviner. John, Judith’s son. Freda Lacey from Llanfihangel Nant Melan. Freda works full-time for PAVO and cannot normally get to day-time meetings.
Derek introduced Martin Williams as the guest speaker. Martin with his wife Lynda are Wardens at the Pales and live in the cottage adjoining the Meeting House. The Pales is a very special place with a unique sense of spirituality that has become increasingly attractive to a wide range of community groups supported by Martin and Lynda. Derek himself had used the facilities when running mental health courses and is currently a member of the Peace choir that meets monthly at the Pales.
Martin Williams, Guest Speaker – History of Quakers at the Pales and in the Locality
Martin welcomed everyone to the Pales. He said he felt guilty that he had been unable to get to meetings of the group before. He encouraged members to stay and have a picnic and to explore the garden where there are a number of picnic spots and a meditation pond.
The Pales is the oldest Meeting House in continuous use in Wales. It was built in 1717, the second oldest Meeting House in Wales. It is stone built and, uniquely for Wales, with a thatched roof. There is only one other with a thatched roof in the UK – ‘Come to Good’ in Cornwall. The thatched roof is due to be re-thatched, with water-reed thatching, in July/August this year. The last time it was done was in 1989 when monies were tight and the thatching was not a thick as required. The thatching period in July August will be disruptive to activities at the Pales.
George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends, Quakers, came to Radnorshire in 1657 as part of his national tour to bring his teaching to Wales and also to assuage some bad publicity following an incident in Bristol where a James Nayler, a young Quaker firebrand had got into trouble for ‘impersonating Christ’ . George was born in 1624 into a devout Christian family who had expected him to become a priest. He however aligned himself with the dissenters of the period and he travelled throughout Britain as a dissenting preacher. He was often persecuted by the authorities who disapproved of his beliefs.
He made three trips to Radnorshire, in 1657, 1663 and 1667 or 8. The first of these was clearly a remarkable visit even by his own remarkable standards. Held probably on Penybont Common, it was on Fox’s request that John ap John spoke first, in Welsh, to “gather them more together”, followed by Morgan Watkins and then, for three hours, Fox himself:
“Many were turned that day to the Lord Jesus Christ and his free teaching, and all were bowed down under the power of God and parted peaceably and quietly with great satisfaction. And there was a priest and his wife sat a-horseback that day and heard patiently, but made no objection. And they said they had never heard such a divine in their lives, and the Scriptures so opened…”
This experience on a Radnorshire common contrasted sharply with his experience in nearby Brecon, a few days earlier, where “they had an intent to have murdered us”. Persecution of Quakers in Radnorshire however begins remarkably soon after this auspicious beginning – indeed, in the same year – 1657. (There has been a story circulating that Quakers met on Penybont Common in the ‘circle of trees’ so that they could flee in all directions if approached. Martin is not convinced that this was true as the circle is all that is left of a plantation of trees, the stumps of which can still be seen within the circle.)
The combination of the persecutions and the refusal by Quakers to pay tithes to the Church meant that Church graveyards were closed to Quakers. The need for a graveyard in the area became urgent quite early on. In 1673 David Powell and his son David acquired a piece of land for this purpose. It became known as the Pales as the graveyard was enclosed with chestnut paling.
The records show:
Records deposited by the Hereford and Mid Wales Monthly Meeting, among others
Accs 317, 1126, 1272, 1292 & 1771
PALES MEETING HOUSE /1
Lease for 1,000 years
1. David Powell the elder and David Powell the younger, his son and heir, both of Llandegle, co. Radnor, yeomen.
2. John Lewis of Glascomb [Glasgwm] and Robert Watkin of Llannyhangell Rhydyeython [Llanfihangel Rhydieithon]; Edward Morgan (altered to Moor) of (?Disserth) Llanbister; David James of Llandegle; and John Davies of New Church co. Radnor, yeoman Of 1 parcel of land which is a burial place “called Round about” (1/4 a.) parcel of land called y Tuey ar teer yn y south [Y Ty a’r Tir yn y Swydd] excepted by 1. in a mortgage, 4 Jul 21 Charles II (1669), between 1. and Hugh Rodd of Hereford, co. Hereford, mercer, in lordships (sic) of Koyed y south [Coed y Swydd], p. Llandegle.
Consideration: £3 – Peppercorn rent – To remain as burial place. The most recent use of the burial site was for Trevor Macpherson who was the previous Warden at the Pales prior to Martin and Lynda taking up their position.
Quaker headstones are generally the same for everyone; they are simple stones that have the name of the person, their date of birth and age, thus giving the implied message that everyone is equal in the eyes of God. The stones at the Pales uniquely follow a ‘Welsh tradition’ with associating people with the farm they come from, but some also have quotations. These quotations do however reinforce the testimony that everyone is equal in the eyes of God and people.
The oldest Quaker Meeting House in Wales was at Dolobran, near Meifod, in Montgomeryshire. This Meeting House became a cattle shed for 100 years so giving the Pales the title of the oldest Meeting House in continuous use. Dolobran has now been restored and is once again a Meeting House for Quakers. Its early history is closely associated with the Lloyd family – Gentry Quakers – but nevertheless Charles Lloyd served 12 months in prison for attending a Quaker Meeting and then upon release built the Meeting House at Dolobran. The Lloyds were highly influential in Birmingham with the development of the iron industry and then in banking.
“Charles, with several others of the gentry of Montgomeryshire, became converted to the faith of the Society of Friends, under the teaching of George Fox in 1663, and both were imprisoned in 1664 and continued, nominally at least, to be prisoners until 1672, when Charles II., by letters patent, dispensed with the laws which inflicted punishment for religious offences.”
Prior to the building of the Pales Meeting House Quakers would meet in farmhouses. For more details of the early history see: http://thepales.webs.com/historyofthepales.htm
The enthusiasm and commitment within the locality was difficult to maintain as the persecutions led to several families migrating to the new territories that were opened up in Pennsylvania by William Penn. Welsh settlers built new homes in ‘Coed Penn’ and of course there is the town of Radnor. As the nineteenth century approached the congregation had collapsed to 1 or 2 people. The inspiration of the Pales however was not lost on Quakers in the wider surrounds and in the 1860s Henry Newman and Stanley Humphrey from Leominster set about revitalising the Pales. The two rooms had been used in the past to reflect the division of duties between male and female Quakers. The women focused on pastoral duties while the men were more preoccupied with political considerations. Newman and Humphrey had developed an orphanage in Leominster and more latterly the Orphans Press, which published The Friend, the information and educational journal of the Quakers. They brought their social conscience to bear on the needs of the children in this part of Radnorshire. The levels of poverty, isolation, and the lack of educational opportunities in the area are difficult to imagine today and so they established a schoolroom within the Pales.
The school thrived under the tutelage of the first schoolmaster, William Knowles. He was known as a disciplinarian, but numbers quickly rose to 70 children. Knowles viewed the children critically and was known to have thought that the boys were ‘as wicked as could be’.
In 1872 State Education for all children became the responsibility of School Boards. William Knowles was unhappy with this new direction in education and resigned from his post. Initially the school went into decline until a visiting American Quaker, Yardley Warner, was persuaded by Henry Newman to take the position. Yardley Warner and his wife Anne were quite remarkable people
“The Quaker Evangelical Revival began in 1876 when Yardley Warner, an American Friend, was appointed schoolmaster at Pales. He began his Tent Meetings on Penybont Common which attracted many local people. After he returned to America, other Quaker Missioners continued his work and by the end of the century, Quaker Chapels had been built in Penybont, Llanyre and Llandrindod Wells. These were programmed meetings, similar to other non-conformist services, and Quakers became a major denomination in the area around Llandrindod. Few of these new members participated in the monthly or quarterly meetings of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), or accepted their liberal ideas, but their lives had been transformed.”
Yardley’s educational approach was radically different from his predecessor. He regarded the natural ‘God Given’ environment as his educational resource. He distained corporal punishment and kept order by keeping the children busy once the day started with the ‘clatter of Welsh feet’ until 4 o’clock when they went home. Yardley had come to this country to try to raise funds for his educational work with freed slaves. He saw the best in people and applied this thinking to his schoolroom and the community from which the children came. His wife Anne was a trained nurse and the couple threw themselves into supporting the school and the community around with evangelical zeal.
When Anne and Yardley came to the Pales they had to sleep on the floor initially before the cottage was built onto the Meeting House. The Warner’s approach to education was so far in advance of current educational thinking that it was almost inevitable that he would get a bad Inspector’s Report. Yardley was deeply hurt by this and returned to the USA and his educational work with freed slaves. He was a remarkable man in many ways. In North Carolina he bought a large area of land and as the freed slaves were able he sold sections of land to them. This was frowned upon by the Quaker Meeting at the time. In the end his work was recognised and Warnersville was named after him. There is a model of the Pales made as a Noah’s Ark, with a set of animals, all carved by Yardley himself, as a toy for their children that was suitable for playing with on a Sunday.
A few years after returning to USA Yardley died and Anne was invited to come back to the Pales in an Adult Educational role. It is well worth reading about Anne’s life as recorded by Lynda Williams – A Pales Love Story|: http://thepales.webs.com/docs/Anne_Elizabeth_Warner-nee_Horne.pdf
With the evangelical work the numbers of Quakers increased in the area and there were several Meeting Houses in the area in addition to the Pales. There was the Iron Room in Penybont and another Meeting House on the edge of the village just beyond the Nursery. A corrugated iron Meeting House burnt down in Llanyre in 1991 and an ancient harmonium, from a time when Quakers sang during Meetings, was lost. The Meeting House in Llandrindod Wells, dating from 1893, was sold off in 1989 and a new Meeting House was built in the garden at the rear. (The old Meeting House was for a period renamed Elim Church, but has now been converted into flats). The new Meeting House was not large enough and an extension had to be built, followed by an extension to the gardens courtesy of some land acquired from Powys CC.
The Victorian period gave us some larger than life characters within the Quaker fold.
John Owen Jenkins who enrolled at the age of 11 years as a pupil at the Pales in 1867. For his story of evangelical work on horseback see: http://a-day-in-the-life.powys.org.uk/eng/civ/ec_jojenk.php
John’s wife Florence was also a strong evangelical worker. She outlived her husband and left a substantial legacy to the Quaker’s in the area. This legacy is still responsible for supporting educational publications albeit not for ‘evangelism’ today.
Hercules Davies Philips was another character of this period, born in Knighton, he trained as a journalist . For his story see: http://a-day-in-the-life.powys.org.uk/eng/civ/ec_hdphil.php
A tradition of Religious revivalism had gained a foothold in the area with Yardley Warner and as new period sprung up in 1904 John Owens Jenkins, Hercules Philips and Bill Roundtree and others. See: http://www.quakers.hyperphp.com/Radnorshire.htm
As the 20th century began the need for a school at the Pales had ended and it became a Mission School for Adults. The Missionary zeal of the revivalist period did not last and attendance at the Pales Meeting for Worship declined.
For some years the Prince family lived in the cottage as caretakers but they themselves were not Quakers. More latterly Trevor and Sheila Macpherson became the caretakers who were Quakers. During Trevor and Sheila’s time the thatched roof was repaired and the special spirituality of the Pales began to re-emerge. Lynda and Martin have overseen a lot of improvements to the buildings, the gardens, and the facilities. The Pales is now a vibrant community resource and, with Lynda and Martin about to retire next year, it is hoped that this will see the Pales enter a new era with optimism. The last project undertaken by Lynda and Martin will be to see the thatch once again being redone tis summer.
Martin was thanked for his excellent talk by Derek, Geraint, and Mary.
The next meeting of the group will be back at the Thomas Shop on Monday 2nd June at 10.30 a.m. when Maureen Lloyd will talk about “The History of Trotting”. We hope to see you there.

Penybont and District Local History Group 7th April Meeting 2014 at the Thomas Shop – Rev. Geraint Hughes – The History of Llanbadarn Fawr Church

Geraint welcomed two new members:
Judith Dennison and Delia Green
Derek told of a visitor to the Thomas Shop, Percy Phillips whose family had lived on the edge of the common. He had recounted a story relating to the Home Guard in Penybont of the day they captured a German in uniform, only to find out that is was a local lad dressed up. Members of the group remembered the incident and the general view was that it was Glynn Thomas who had perpetrated the prank.
Marion re-joined the group having been arranging a house sale. She is now living in New Radnor.
Geraint reminded members that the next meeting would be at the Pales on Bank Holiday Monday, 5th May. Mary wondered if members might like to bring a picnic.
The June session will be on the History of Trotting with particular reference to Penybont with Maureen Lloyd.
In July Geraint is hoping that members will bring with them stories that they have heard from the Great War with particular reference to Penybont and District
Llanbadarn Fawr Church (St. Padarn’s)
Geraint started with a picture of the church as it is today. This church was built on the site of a much older church as a complete build in 1878/9 by the Severn family. Like many churches in the Victorian period the church was completely financed by the local landowner. The rebuilding of the church at Llandegley unusually was financed in part by parishioners.
In an earlier picture there is a chimney which has subsequently been taken down; there is no vestry or memorial. The gates are original and it shows improvements to the wall around the church. The red sandstone is a thin veneer that covers a rubble core to the walls of the church.
Geraint then showed a picture of the church before the restoration. There is a striking similarity in the two churches. The most noticeable difference is a dormer-type window which could have been to light stairs, it might have been part of a gallery, a bell tower, or even a Priest house.
There is evidence that the church had been partitioned to include a school room.
The only part of the early church that remains is the medieval door that dates to 1136 or earlier when Ralph Mortimer was at the castle at Alpine Bridge and who had responsibility for the church at this time. Though there have been different views about the arch way over the door Geraint’s view is that it is an early Norman Tympanum (only one of two in Wales, the other being in Penmon Priory, on Anglesey; there is another at Kilpeck in Herefordshire which had previously been part of Wales) built and carved by French stonemasons who brought stone chevrons with them. It may have links with the Dymock school of Romanesque architecture that was characterised by semi-circular arches. There are a set of three carvings around the arch – a lion, as the symbol of victory and salvation; a tree of life, representing everlasting life and vital energy; and a face of possibly of Jesus, representing hope. Underneath this set of three carvings is the Sun, representing the Light of the World.
Also within the Tympanum is an ouroboros, the serpent, snake or dragon eating its own tail as a symbol of the cycles within life and regeneration.
There is another cluster of three figures depicting Adam and Eve with the devil being driven out.
Geraint wondered if the ancient order of Young Farmers had sculpted two rather odd heads, one partly rubbed out, he thought it might have been a bit of a ‘Norman Lark’!
High up there is a figure of a girl (bumps on her chest!) with a smiling face, she is an example of Sheela na gigs, figurative carvings of naked women displaying an exaggerated vulva. They are relatively common on church building in the British Isles, particularly in Ireland. It is believed that they can ward off death or evil spirits.
High up, tucked away from general view is a Janus Carving, heads looking both ways. Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace. The doors of his temple were open in time of war, and closed to mark the peace. As a god of transitions, he was connected to gateways and harbours, and had functions pertaining to birth, and to journeys and exchange.
There is a carved stone with an inscription ‘CVAL FLAVIN’ “The Century of Valerius Flavinius built this”
The origins are uncertain but it is thought to have been taken from a Roman bridge at Castell Collen .
The church still has the old Norman Font.
In 1176 Geraldus Cambrensis, the Archdeacon of Brecon, sought sanctuary in the church by locking himself in. He had to send for his cousin to release him. Geraldus had come to Radnorshire to try an impose some Catholic order into the Radnorshire Church. He had been advised not to come into Radnorshire as the clergy had their own rules, maintaining a Celtic tradition where, for example, the Priests were allowed to marry, and he found considerable opposition and doors were closed to him.
There was another incident of note in the 16th century when a young man, Morris Gwynn, was barred from becoming the Priest at Llanbadenfawr because he was the son of a Priest and an unmarried woman. Pope Alexander, in 1503, reversed this decision and Morris Gwynn did become the Priest of the Parish.
The Font cover is dated 1678, Fonts were ordered to have covers and to be kept locked for the double purpose of cleanliness and for checking the use of the water for superstitious purposes. The Bishop of Exeter, in 1287, ordered that each parish church was to be furnished with a baptisterium lapideum bene seratum [a cover]. Archbishop Winchelsea, in his visitation of 1305, inquired whether there was a fontem cum secura [lock]. A provincial English Synod, held in 1236, provided that the water was to be changed every seven days.”
The oldest memorial in the church is to three Rectors, from the one family, of the Parish. It is to James Jones, grandfather, Sam Jones, father, and to David Jones (1733).
The Glebe Lands of the Church were quite extensive in the eighteenth century but by the time Geraint became Rector there were only 27 acres left.
The next oldest memorial in the Church is to John Price who died in 1798 and to his daughter Elizabeth who died at the age of 18 yrs in 1796. It is a marble memorial stone.
There is a brass memorial to the Severn Family who, through Cheesment Severn, married John Price’s other ‘illegitimate’ daughter Mary Anne, and inherited John’s fortune. There is a burial vault in the yard where the Severn family are buried, impressively it is quite a large room.
Geraint then switched his attention from the church and church architecture to a book written by a former Rector of the Parish in 1926. Albert Jordan, whose grand-daughter Una Phillips was present. The book, “History of Llanbadarnfawr Church”, has become quite sought after and it would be difficult to find one for less than £80. Geraint showed a picture of the choir at that time and John was able to recognise Tom Price’s father amongst the choristers. Una had given the picture and the names of all the choristers on the back.
The reason for the book being so much in demand is that it gives so much detail about the history of the church but also about the surrounding area.
All of the rectors, going back to its Norman origins, are listed. Some of the early entries refer to Rectors by their place of origin, ‘ a lieu’. E.g. Mathew de Witton, and Richard Cefnllys.
In 1611 the Rector was removed by the Commonwealth because of his loyalty to the King. In 1654 David Jones was appointed Rector as a “Good Protestant”.
The book includes sections covering people and families who contributed to the life of the church:
The Severn Family who rebuilt the church are remembered. It is perhaps worth noting that four of the ‘Squires’ of Penybont Hall became High Sheriff of the County: John Price in 1787; John Cheesement Severn in 1811; John Percy Cheesement Severn in 1873; and Major-General Robert Children Whitehead in 1908. Only Emily, Percy’s sister, who inherited between Percy and the Major General did not take on this role.
Dr. Lomax who lived at Crossgates is remembered for his caring.
There is special mention of John Rees who was a servant to Lord Ormanthwaite for 90yrs.
Thomas Thoresby who lived until 92 yrs is described as a ‘perpetual Curate of Llandrindod, near Penybont.
Many of the members remembered Marianne who was the church organist and the fact that her mother had preceded her in the role and is mentioned in the book.
In 1923 the Bridge ‘fell down’ under the weight of the Howey Stream Roller. It still not known whether this was a deliberate act or not but the steam roller was found nestling amongst the yew trees.
The sulphur spring Alpine Bridge, where Jean used live, is mentioned as a local beauty spot and place of interest.
The Book, as is mentioned earlier, contains the names of all the Rectors, but it also has the Churchwardens and Registers (early ones in Latin), and even the local Inns and other facilities, two in Crossgates (Llanbadarn Hotel and Hernog Inn) the Severn Arms at Penybont, and the Post Office, are listed.
The area, described as ‘picturesque’ also describes Penybont Hall as ‘much admired’, and located at Rhyd-y-Clyfion, the old name for Penybont.
The Rev. Jordan expands in his book to cover the ornithology of the area, a nightingale having been seen in 1894; the flora, including ‘fine’ quail grass, yellow charlock, and hemlock. He also has a section on ‘dumb animals’, and another on the meaning of place names, which is surprisingly accurate.
The good Reverend did not shy away from controversy:
He put down the decay of the old language to the rise of the Chapels. Man made the Chapels, but God made the Church. In Penybont he mentions the “ill-fated disappearance of the Village Green” when the land was given over for tennis courts. It was not lost on him that the Thomas family, who were involved in this had given the land for the erection of the Chapel in Penybont. He even described the farmers as not being as righteous as they should be.
In addition to his book the Rev. Jordan kept very detailed Work Books. Only the 1895 book has survived, according to Una he left instructions that they should all be destroyed. Geraint has a photocopy of the original, and neither he, nor Una, know the whereabouts of the original.
He mentions snow early in the year on Sunday but he read the service anyway. In the week he would generally work at home during the mornings, then go on visits on horseback. His workload was remarkable. He mentions visiting Miss Severn and then many more. His workload reflected his duties which included visiting everyone in the Parish. On one occasion he attended a ‘dramatic evening’ event with the De Winton family, another refers to going to a Tennis Party in Dolau. Every Saturday evening he had dinner with Percy Severn, both were bachelors at this time.
Gwen had been told of an incident which highlighted the tensions between Church and Chapel when the Reverend sent an envelope around the Chapel members indicating that they had not paid their ‘quota’. The divide between Church and Chapel was such that everyone knew which religion everyone else adhered to.
Geraint went on to describe a beautiful romantic cameo that emerges from the Work Book in the second half of the year. It involves the Rev. Jordan’s meeting with a Miss Jordan from Leamington Spa, subsequent courtship, and marriage all within a few months.
The Work Book mentions the initial meeting when Miss Jordan (coincidently the same surname) when clearly she made enough of an impression on him to deserve a mention. Two days later he was visiting a parishioner and had tea when Miss Jordan was present. Three days later there were no visits mentioned in his Work Book??. The following week he ‘called on Miss Jordan’. The following Sunday he visited another Rectory ‘accompanied by Miss Jordan’. Days later Miss Jordan ‘came to tea’. The following week he cancelled all his meetings and went to Leamington Spa. The marriage was announced and £19 was raised to purchase a drawing room suite for the couple. The marriage took place in Paddington in December, then silence in the Work Book until the following Friday when the couple returned home to a ‘Floral Arch’ made by the ‘good congregation’. The couple had one child, Gwendoline. Una is Gwendoline’s daughter.
The good congregation obtained brass candlesticks in memory of Rev. Jordan.
Neil felt that having had such an interesting session with Rev. Jordan’s Work Book, that Geraint should reveal the contents of his Work Books! Neil linked this session with the recent one on milestones. There are grooved notches on the milestones in Crossgates. These were as a result of the ropes that were used to drag the steam roller out of the Ithon when the Bridge collapsed as referred to above.
The next session will be held at the Pales when Martin Williams will give a presentation on the Quakers. It will be at 10.30 a.m. as usual on the 5th May 2014. It is Bank Holiday Monday and Mary has suggested, that if people want to, they might like to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful views and atmosphere of the Pales.

Penybont and District Local History Group – March 2014 at the Thomas Shop – Richard Davies – Banking in Penybont

Geraint welcomed a full house to the March meeting. There were two new members: Alwyn Batley, Vice-President of the Radnorshire Society, from Llandrindood; and Mrs Williams from Crossgates.
Geraint introduced Richard Davies who, as well as marrying into the Thomas family is a retired Barclays Bank Manager, to take this session on:
Banking in Penybont
When the Bank in Penybont closed in 1988 it brought to an end a banking tradition going back to 1770 and a banking service founded on the principles:
“Security, Stability, Honesty, and Fairness”
The Bank building was built and opened in 1934. It was initially a Sub-Branch of Llandrindod Wells where Mr Moseley was the Manager, but elevated to the status of Branch in 1936 when Huw Glyn Thomas. Mr. Thomas lived at Haulfyn, by coincidence where Richard and Mary now reside.
Mr Thomas was assisted by Mr Fred Colley and lunchtime security guards (2 on duty at a time) Jim Humphreys, Stan Davies, Percy Lane, Vic Morgan (Grandfather of Richard Morgan, now of Penybont Hall), Bill Miles, and Morley Harper. Also working at the Bank were Judith Davies, Helen Cochrane, and Mike Price. Managers who followed on from Mr Thomas were: 1945 Mr Daniels; 1955 Mr Bembow; and 1960 Mr Hughes. The Bank cleaners were Mrs Violet Edwards and Mrs Doris Powell.
The Bank was central within an active commercial sector in, and around, Penybont, including the farming community, Severn Arms Hotel, the Market (Smithfield), a number of other businesses, and including the needs of families in the local community.
6 or 7 of the members present had had accounts at the Bank. A wide range of services were provided, including:
Money in and Money out, using cash, cheque accounts, and change; Current accounts, Deposit accounts, Insurance (Managers had Agencies with different Insurance Companies and some earned more for their commission than they did from their salary.); loans and Over Draft facilities; Safe Deposit Boxes; Foreign Currency; Investment Advice; Wills. Gwen remembered having a savings box, Richard wondered if it had been an ‘elephant box’, but Gwen did not remember.
Richard remembered a much more personal service where there were no security screens but there were however no toilets, kitchen or rest room.
Pre-dating this newly built bank, it was previously located at Green Fields. There is some mystery about when it came to Greenfields as it is thought it came in 1875 but it is not mentioned in Worral’s Directory (The Directory describes a village of 1000 inhabitants with a Post Office, first class hotel, Radnorshire Coal Company, Blacksmith, Grocer, Tailor, Saddler, Ironmonger, Watchmaker, as well as many Farms) of that date. James Hamer was resident at Greenfields and is referred to as the Agent for the Estate at Penybont Hall with John Cheesement Severn. There is a suggestion that James Hamer had connections with the County Bank at Kington which John Price had been involved in founding. In bringing the Bank back to Penybont this re-established the connection with John Price and Penybont and a continuity of Banking from around 1772 when it is thought John Price established the Radnorshire Bank and became involved in the development of the Kington, later to become County Bank and eventually the Midland Bank.
John Price was an entrepreneur whose importance to Banking in Mid Wales, and indeed Wales as a whole, cannot be overstated. John’s father, Edward, a Burger of Cefnllys, moved to Penybont in 1730 to establish a shop. This predated the village of Penybont, the area was then known as Rhyd-y-Cleifion with its association to a ‘leper colony’. We can speculate that his intention was to trade with the Drovers who were on route from Strata Florida, through Abbey-cym-hyr, to Hereford, and beyond. Edward died in 1734 and John, who was his second son, took over his estate from the age of 11 years.
By 1755 John was doing sufficiently well to build Penybont Hall as his residence, appoint a Manager for the shop, and build a new Inn in the village, which became known as the Fleece. It is well known that the Drovers carried out some banking as part of their duties and it is not difficult to speculate that John learnt skills from them and began lending money through the shop. Careful not to over extend himself he began to build an extensive estate across the area based upon prudent lending in an area where it was difficult farm due to the altitude and vagaries of the weather.
John was ready to put the shop and Inn out to managers in 1772 and to start, or to have already established his Bank, the Radnorshire Bank. John did not pass down records of his business and so we do have to speculate. We do know however that he was successful and left an Estate of £100,000 to his illegitimate daughter MaryAnne. The Radnorshire Bank did not survive John and seems to have been wound up a year before John’s death in 1798. John, who had been High Sheriff in 1787 and a Trustee of the Radnorshire Turnpike, got involved in a complicated deal for £20,000 with Charles Gore. John had £4000 in cash but needed to borrow the £16000 at an interest payment of 5%. John died just before he needed to make the final payment. This resulted in more complications when it came to settling John’s estate. The estate was sold when MaryAnne reached the age of 18 years, thus settling the debt and providing her with a healthy dowry for her union with John Cheesment Severn, High Sheriff of Radnorshire.
As a ‘pioneer’ banker John led the way in Mid Wales and was one of the earliest Bankers in Wales. There is reference to a Bank in Aberystwyth as early as 1765 and one in Brecon from 1770. More generally Banks did start to appear in the early part of the 19th century. There was a bank in Montgomery from 1794 but this failed by 1816. Llanidloes Bank was established in 1800, Newtown 1822, Knighton 1850. Small banks had difficulty raising large sums and subject to the fluctuations of the market and they were particularly vulnerable at times of war. As a result many failed or were taken over by the London Banks.
Legislation protecting Banks was already established by the early 19th Century. In one case Sarah Chandler (34 years and mother of 6 children) was convicted of having altered a £1 note to a £5 note. She was sentenced to death. Some friends managed to help her escape on recapture 3 years later she was sent to Australia.
The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all had Banking systems, but it was the Jews who first developed banking in the UK. A Germanic tribe, Longobardi, who previously settled in Lombardy, came to London in the reign of Edward I, and settled in and around Lombardy Street. Banking the reign of Elizabeth 1 was closely aligned with the Goldsmiths. Seventy six resided in Chepe and twenty one in Lumberde Streete. By 1677 thirty seven goldsmiths were running ‘cashes’ at Lombard Street, twenty five of the banks were ‘private and ten were joint stock banks. These Lombard Bankers introduced systems that we know today such as creditor, debtor, ledger, journal, and librae (pounds), solidi (shillings) and denarii (pence) LSD. These German traders were called ‘Easterlings’ and their money was ‘pounds easterling’ – giving rise to pounds sterling.
Banking developed in the cities through the practice of depositing valuable items with goldsmiths during the seventeenth century, and licenced Drovers were increasingly used to to take valuable stock to markets while at the same time these ‘trusted’ individuals could be manage business transactions in different parts of the country.
Two similar but different problems with money management led to the development of banking systems that gave rise to the banks that we know today. In the cities the pubs needed a way of managing their cash takings and to avoid being susceptible to robbers, and in the countryside the Drovers became increasingly a target for highwaymen.
It was most probably the Drovers that gave rise to the initial success of the Shop in Penybont and the subsequent Banking history that is associated with John Price. Many small private banks opened up around the country during the early part of the nineteenth century. Some succeeded, but many failed, and they became under increasing pressure as the Industrial Revolution gained pace. The small banks could not cope with the financial demands and they began to merge.
In Mid Wales the Bank at Brecon was probably the first bank in Wales. It metamorphosed into the Black Sheep and then the Black Horse that is synonymous with Lloyds Bank today. Around the beginning of the nineteenth century banks emerged in Aberystwyth and Tregaron Montgomery, Llanidloes, Welshpool, and Newtown. The early banks, including the John Price Bank, issued promissory notes which acted as currency. Richard had a number of early examples to show the group including a ten shilling note issued by the Machynlleth Bank.
John Price’s involvement wit h the County Bank at Kington, mentioned above, provides a very good example of the way in which Banks evolved over the years, as well as giving us a fascinating insight into how Banking has changed in the village.
Prior to 1770 John Price lent money against surety of land and property and thus acquiring considerable wealth
1770 – 1772 Set up the Radnorshire Bank and issued promissory notes
1770 – 1798 John Price involved in the development of the County Bank which seemed to be based at Kington
1789 Establishment of Bank in Kington by Davies, Banks and Co.
1797 John Price’s Banks were wound up a year prior to his death. We are still uncertain about what link there may have been between John Price and the Banks family of Hergest Croft but it seems reasonable to assume that there was some link between these two Banks that were at that time based in Kington.
1875 Davies, Banks and Co was taken over or merged into the Kington and Radnorshire Bank . Mr. James Hamer had the Agency and he operated the Bank from Bank House in Penybont. (James Hamer is the father of RP Hamer who subsequently established the Market in Penybont) This seems to establish that Bank House was so named because of its connection with Banking and not because it was near the bank of the River Ithon. The Bank however moved at an unrecorded date to Greenfield.
1910 The Kington and Radnorshire Bank became the Metropolitan Bank of England and Wales.

1914 The Bank became the London City and Midland Bank and the Bank at Greenfield became known as the Midland Bank at Greenfield.
1934 The Bank moved to its final resting place in the centre of the village as Midland Bank
1988 The Midland Bank in Penybont, that had already changed to HSBC, was closed. In an interesting aside Richard regaled us from a time when he was working for Barclays Bank in London and how he had become involved in the changes within Banking that led to the closure of many sub-branches and mergers of full branches with sub-branches. He lamented this policy change at the time which he saw as a move away from providing a ‘service’ (Security, Stability, Honesty, and Fairness) to a more hard headed and ruthless business approach.
The building, which is now a private residence, still retains some features of the Bank and a screen from the Bank is held within the Thomas Shop.
Geraint reminded us the the next session would be on William Lewis of Esgairwy by Julian Lovell on Monday 7th April 2014 at 10.30 a.m.
(Unfortunately we have subsequently learnt that Julian is away at present and Geriant will himself be leading on a session: “A History of Llanbadarn Fawr Church” )

Penybont and District Local History Group Meeting Notes – 3rd February 2014 – 1. Milestones – Chris Carpenter ; 2. The Home Guard – Nigel Topley

Geraint welcomed members, with a particular reference to Susan from Bank House as a new member. We were once again a goodly number with extra chairs needed.
Geraint reminded us that we had two presentations this morning. He welcomed Chris Carpenter who was going to talk about ‘Milestones’, and then Nigel would be giving the second part of his previously prepared presentation on: ‘The Home Guard’.
We were also reminded that Richard Davies would lead a session on the 3rd March on Banking in Penybont.
Geraint thanked Jenny for the excellent work she has done on transcribing the Admission Records from School. Names that feature strongly in the record are those that we expect: Abberley; Bufton; Duggan; Evans; Hughes; Jones; Lloyd; Owens; Price; Powell; Watkins; Williams. In one section there is beautiful ‘copperplate’ writing and details giving date of birth; parent, residence, and including occupation; and standards achieved by the young person. A copy of the transcription is located with the other History Group items in the café at the Thomas Shop.

1. Milestones – Chris Carpenter
Chris has been a member of the Milestones Society since shortly after it was formed in 2001. The Society, which publishes regular Newsletters and has an excellent website, (http://www.milestonesociety.co.uk/index.html) ,
aims to:
“Established in May 2001, we aim to “identify, record, research, conserve and interpret for public benefit the milestones and other waymarkers of the British Isles”.
“‘Milestone’ is a generic term, including mileposts made of cast iron. Such waymarkers are fast disappearing; around 9000 are thought to survive in the UK. Most were removed or defaced in World War II to baffle potential German invaders and not all were replaced afterwards. Many have been demolished as roads have been widened, or have been victims of collision damage, or have been smashed by hedge-cutters or flails.”
The objects of the Society include: the protection of milestones and to publicise their continued importance as it relates to the enjoyment they give, and for the historical information that to which they are connected. The Society runs local and national projects and is constantly looking for people to help with the preservation of the known milestones and to locate and record new finds. Chris is one of a small group who take responsibility for local (Crossgates to the Herefordshire border) milestones.
It was the Romans who introduced milestones and the concept of a ‘mile’ (about 1617 yds) – 1000 running paces or double-step. 117 of these early Roman milestones still exist. After the Romans the milestones and ‘boundary markers’ became increasing important until railroads became the dominant mode of transport. In 1555 local Parishes became responsible for boundary markers by Act of Parliament. In 1697 Justices were required by statute to erect ‘guideposts’ at crossroads. As Turnpike Roads became increasing important in the 18th Century the need for better signage was recognised and in 1767 it became compulsory for all Turnpike Roads to have mileposts and to indicate both direction and mileage. This was a great help to traveller and to the coach operators.
The ‘mile’ has had an interesting history. During the reign of Elizabeth1 (1592) the statute mile became 1760 yards in England, but it was not until 1959 that this became a national standard. The Scots mile was longer than a English mile and though there were variations it was most generally 1976 yards. The Irish mile was longer still 2240 yds. Derek wondered if the mile in Ireland was more of a cultural phenomenon. It has become synonymous with the advice given to travellers when they ask for directions. It being impolite not to be seen to be helping the advice is most often: “Sure it is only a mile down the road.”

The ‘stone’ was generally made from local stone, about 5 ft to 6 ft in height and cylindrical. Some early stones were wooden, in North Wales they used slate, and more latterly metal plates were used.
The importance of the stones was reflected in the punishment that could be meted out to anyone tampering with stones – between 10 shillings and £5 or 1 month in jail.
The oldest milestones, the Roman ones always had a dedication to the Emperor. Most of them are now in museums. The old road from Chester to Cardiff and went through Upper and Lower Chapel was a Roman Road and two of these early Roman milestones canbe seen in Brecon Museum.
A brief history of the requirements laid down in statute included:
1773 All crossroads were to be marked with a fingerpost
1781 Parish boundaries were to be marked
1830 Turnpike Trusts were set up in all regions
1880 Turnpike Trusts were abolished
1941 Government decreed that all milestones were to be removed or hidden in case of invasion
More latterly the responsibility was devolved to Highway Departments within the County Councils and many of the ancient waymarkers became Grade II listed.
There are 11,000 stones or markers listed on the national database. Volunteer groups take on responsibilities through the Milestone Society for stretches of road linked to the old County boundaries.
Local Interest
There are only 2 members in Radnorshire and Chris has responsibility for the A44 between Crossgates and the Herefordshire border. Chris’s responsibilities include;
• Measuring the dimensions of stones/waymarkers
• Recording any inscriptions
• Noting any names on the reverse side of the stone/waymarker
• Taking the grid reference number
• Trim grass and keep the site in good order
Aim is to try to ensure the dreaded ‘verge slayer’ does not destroy any stones. In 2012 a car at Cornhill flattened one of the stones. Others can be stolen and some turn up at antique auctions.
Milestone Society Newsletter 5 extract 2003
“Radnorshire – Tony Boyce reports that seven members attended the group’s January meeting at Penybont. Good progress on the recording of this old county’s milestones was reported. Although some are missing and a few badly damaged, generally the situation is quite encouraging. During the course of one Rhayader member’s survey a milestone was smashed into by a lorry and so the photograph recording its existence is of the damaged and dislodged stone.
Gwyneth Guy, who previously has carried out milestone listing work in
Radnorshire for Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments, is the group’s new coordinator. Now that the society has arranged for insurance cover, Powys County Council is happy for members to paint or carry out minor repairs on milestones, as long as these are not close to the carriageway and provided a work schedule is drawn up beforehand. Any conservation work by the group will be held in abeyance, however, until a milestone database for Radnorshire has been completed.”

“The turnpike or toll road from Knighton to Penybont was built in the early 19th century with a tollgate at either end. This section of the road from Penybont SO1158764086 across Rhos Swydd to SO1346065660. It is not shown on the Original Surveyors drawings of 1817 but is on the 1″ to 1 mile map of 1833. The new road takes a route across the common that curves further to the south than of the former road, NPRN 86841, presumably to avoid the very wet, boggy area in the centre of the common. The road is still in use as the A488 and two milestones still remain, NPRN 511965 and 511967. J.J. Hall, Trysor, 23 June 2011”
http://www.coflein.gov.uk/en/site/512219/details/KNIGHTON+TO+PENYBONT+TURNPIKE+ROAD,+RHOS+SWYDD+SECTION/
“Uplands Initiative – Radnorshire Small Commons 2010-2011
Despite the proximity of some of the south eastern survey areas to the English border and the 8th century Offa’s Dyke, there are no known sites dating to the Early Medieval period in the Radnorshire Small Commons study areas.
One site of possible Roman date was encountered, which was the putative Roman Road which crosses Rhos Swydd (Area 8), near Penybont. The Penybont Roman Road (NPRN 86841) is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM RD258) and has been described in the NMR as having a prominent camber and flanking ditches. It has been proposed as the road which linked the Roman fort at Castell Collen with Mortimer’s Cross, Herefordshire. It should be pointed out, however, that there is no record of archaeological excavation being carried out on this stretch of now disused road. It may yet prove to be of later date. Whatever uncertainties exist about the presence of a Roman road beneath Rhos Swydd common, a post-medieval road is shown here on early 19th century Ordnance Survey maps. The road (NPRN 512220) was in use as the main route across Rhos Swydd until a turnpike roadwas built just to the south and it was still in use as a trackway until the late 19th century, although parts of the road line have now become very wet and boggy and it can no longer be used along its whole length. It is not impossible that this roadway predates the post-medieval period, and it may indeed overlie a Roman road, but without archaeological excavation its history remains unclear.”
http://www.rcahmw.gov.uk/media/329.pdf
“the work of the Radnorshire Turnpike Trust in improving and realigning the county’s then very poor roads, for which purpose it met regularly in Presteigne’s Shire Hall. In the Trust’s first Order Book for the years 1767-1801 the name Edward Lewis, esq. appears frequently in minutes relating to road works and the erection of toll gates to meet the costs involved. The first turnpike road to be built, and referred to as ‘The Great Road’, ran across the county from Presteigne to Rhayader via New Radnor and Penybont, so having to take in its course parts of the high Radnor Forest. One of the very early entries in the Order Book, dated 4 August 1767. listed those Trustees, all of whom were local landed gentry of some wealth, who had subscribed sums of money to the credit of the tolls at a rate of � 4 and later � 5 per cent per annum.”
http://welshjournals.llgc.org.uk/browse/viewpage/llgc-id:1191402/llgc-id:1196988/llgc-id:1197017/getText
John A knows of a stone that was by a style that is now at Baileymawr Farm – Ted Shepherd.
Between New Radnor and Penybont there are 8 stones. One of these has Penybont on the stone, the others all have Presteigne.
On the Knighton Road there are 5 stones within half a mile.
Chris looks after 7 stones and 2 boundary stones.
Last year 3 stones were found in a ditch near Knighton. Two have been restored and one is still in bits. The oldest local stone is on the road between Builth and Llandrindod (1759). There is one at Wrexham from 1752. On Angelsey there is a stone designed by Thomas Telford. The one at Craven Arms is 18 feet high There is one at Brampton Bryan that is metal and was made by the local blacksmith.
“At Tywyn St Cadfan’s Stone stands in the north west corner of the church, near a much later monolithic stone that once served as a sundial. This stone has a rounded top carved with a semi-circular sundial, and a later 17th century inscription below. It is possible that it was brought here from a nearby abbey.”

 

Unusually some stones in Denbighshire were sometimes marked in miles and furlongs.
Some modern stones have been commissioned to celebrate events such as the Queen’s Jubilee

The milestone was created by Ducklington sculptor Alec Peever and installed in Long Hanborough’s Main Road, Oxon.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was a truly remarkable event in our nation’s history. Not since the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 has a reigning monarch achieved 60 years on the throne. Such an event is widely felt to merit lasting commemoration and over the long Bank Holiday weekend 2 – 5 June 2012, with its street parties, Thames Pageant and beacons, this was shown to be true.
On 24 November 2012, at Wall in Staffordshire, a lasting monument to the event was unveiled alongside Watling Street, close to its junction with ancient Ryknild Street where once stood a milestone of the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Claudis (268-70).
This feature, a replica of an Imperial Roman milestone (effectively an ‘honorific pillar’), was the idea of The Milestone Society which aims to restore and maintain historic milestones and finger posts throughout the country. Inscribed in Latin to reflect sixty years of the Queens Reign, it is the only one of its type to be installed since the Roman period. The work was commissioned in conjunction with Wall Parish Council.”
http://www.visitlichfield.co.uk/content/letocetum-stone
Geraint thanked Chris for his most illuminating talk. Interest in the work of the Milestone Society is welcomed.

2. The Home Guard –Nigel Topley
Nigel started his talk by telling us of stories he had heard from his Granny about the antics of the Home Guard. One such story was about an encounter with a neighbour who having challenged the Home Guard about what they were doing on his land, and being told they were on manoeuvres, found them scumping apples from his trees. They had left their rifles at the bottom of the trees to climb up. He confiscated their rifles and took them home.
These stories, fuelled by ‘Dad’s Army’ are the prism/lens that most of us tend to view the Home Guard. The reality is more difficult to get hold of. School Log Books are not available. Nigel acknowledged the work that Geraint has done in the past and he has had to draw heavily on this work in putting together this talk.
By 1940 the mood in the country had become nervous and edgy. There was feeling that something was going to happen. The Germans were getting closer, there were shortages of basic commodities such as timber. There were already fears about a 5th column emerging. Evacuees were coming from the South of England. ‘Enemy Aliens’ were arrested – Italians community in Wales was badly hit by these new policies.
So when Anthony Eden called for Defence Volunteers, under the slogan “Look, Duck, and then Vanish”, people turned up at their local Police stations to register. “People answered the Call” much to the surprise of a bemused Police Force who were totallyunprepared.
By 25th May 500 people had enlisted in Radnorshire. Their equipment consisted of 70 rifles and 300 rounds of ammunition. Farmers, who were in a protected occupation, possibly had some additional armaments. Other people from protected occupations and older people made up most of the troop. Radnorshire Home Guard was 5th zone of the North Wales Group. Their badges were however from Herefordshire. An objection was lodged and members bought themselves new badges. The Penybont detachment was part of E-Company. The senior officer was Glynn Thomas the Bank Manager – Dad’s Army again! Stan Owen had been in the Great War, Jack Price, Ray’s father, was sergeant.
The Detachment in Penybont met either at the Chapel in Penybont or in the Iron Room. On Sundays duties included: polishing boots; marching; dressing up.
Radnorshire Company had more substantive duties: protection of Hobson’s Aircraft Component Factory; Railway Lines; Viaduct at Knucklas; Elan Valley Dams; enemy aircraft; suppression of a 5th column; cooperation with the Police and the Troops who were training on the Common in Penybont.
Mary told the group how members of the Home Guard would plat snooker in the Old Laundry at the Thomas Shop and how they would pop out from time to time to see if ‘Gerry was about’!
Richard spoke of Bill Bayliss, from Dolau, and of his experience in the Home Guatd at Dolau.
Dolau Home Guard had 25 members, Penybont had 35 members. It started in Croissgates, organised by Col. Philipps.
i. Three members of each troop combined to attend a training week-end with the Regular Army.
a. Penybont sent Glynn Thomas(Commander), Arthur Owen and Duggan
b. Dolau sent Bill Bayliss, Fred Evans, Percy Lewis
On S
At 28th May 1944 they reported to an army camp near Deal:
• Greeted by being given a blanket and a sack which they filled with straw
• Won a shooting match against the Army
• Enjoyed a glorious 1st June Sports Day – food and beer
• Volunteered to defend the coast of St Margaret’s Bay
• Enjoyed an Army Dance in Deal with the Regular Soldiers who left the following day to go to war!
During the period 1942 – 4
Dolau Home Guard planned an attack to take over the Severn Arms. Penybont had to defend. Bill was challenged by a sentry: “Stop who goes there!” He was then shot in the arm by a blank round and suffered a very painfull bruised arm! (Damp blank cartridges).
Another incident occurred on the aquaduct at TynDdole when a Jack Davies lost an eye having been shot in the face.
An even more serious incident occurred during training at Llanyre when Fred (Alfred Thomas) Williams 17 yrs (possibly from Penybont Home Guard, was killed in 1942 when a hand grenade went off. During the same exercise pistols were fired. A formal enquiry was held. Fred’s funeral stretched from Llandrindod to LlanbadarnFawr Church. This was organised by Major Stan Owen (Dot B’s father). Fred’s name is on the War Memorial in Penybont.
Another small group of members of the Home Guard were the evacuees who were old enough to join but not old enough to join up.
By the October of 1940 the Home Guard equipment list included battle dress, arm bands and hats. There was a growing threat of incursion and orders were given to shoot anyone in irregular uniforms.
In 1941 the Home Guard had leather belts, coats, shoulder flashes and by 1942 they had rifles, bayonets, water bottles, boots. Motor cycles and pedal cycles were not issued but some of the men had access to bicycles.
Now that the Home Guard are armed there are reports of improvised target ranges of 200 or 280 yards. Comment that the ‘scoring was not poor’. Lectures were held to give information and guidance. One comment was about ‘another gas lecture’. There was also reference to ‘embossing identity cards’.
A report from Aberystwyth mentioned someone being ‘attacked, arrested, and tied up’. The report went on to say that some members of the Home Guard were ‘taking it too seriously’. But the lens we are now beginning to see the Home Guard to is less ‘Dads Army’ but people adapting there behaviour to potentially have to deal with a real threat. Nigel has become interested in whether there were people selected into a secret group called Auxiliary Units. Information about these Units is very hard to come by. They were sworn to absolute secrecy and they had a brief to cause as much disruption after an invasion as possible. They were not expected to survive more than a couple of weeks. Nigel asked if anyone had any information but no one had.
The Home Guard had its last parade on the 19th March 1944. They were formally disbanded in December 1945, and they had a final dinner in the Iron Room in 1946 when there was a charge £1. 100 people turned out.
The National Committee carried on and in 1957 there was a national suggestion that they might be reformed but this did not happen and the the Committee was finally wound up in 1965.
Susan wondered if the gun turret at Carreg Di was connected with the Home Guard. Nigel who is a volunteer ranger at the Elan valley thought it was and he was also aware of a pill box under the road across the water.
Ray has an exercise that gives minutes of the Home Guard winding-up meeting which refers to the dinner and the disposal of equipment. This included table tennis equipment and football posts. It was only one meeting held in 1945.
Geraint thanked Nigel for once again giving a most interesting talk and stirring up lots of comments from the floor. There was a suggestion for a further session to cover the work of the Land Army.
Next Meeting: Monday 3rd March – Richard Davies – Banking in Penybont

Penybont and District Local History Group Open Meeting at Severn Arms 11th November 2013 7.30 p.m. – Photographic Memories

Geraint opened the meeting by welcoming everyone. He explained that the Local History Group meets regularly in the first Monday of each month, (except August and January), to discuss and research the history of the area. This particular session is one of the projects, led by Lynda that is attempting to compile a photographic record of the area past and present. Lynda, with the help of others has now got in the region of 900 photographs. Some of the photos tell a story but some have people in them who we do not recognise. This evening, ‘People in Penybont’, will be asking you if you can bring your local knowledge to identifying people, so if you do know please shout it out and Derek will write people’s names down.
Geraint encouraged anyone who has any pictures of the past or present in Penybont to contact Linda so that copies can be made for our records.
Thanks was conveyed to Tracey and family at the Severn Arms for making the premises available for tonight’s event.
Richard Davies drew people’s attention to the new Radnorshire Society Book, “Radnorshire from Above”, by Chris Musson, that is available tonight at a special price of £9. Subsequently it will be being sold for £12.
Photographs:
477 John Price Senior
349 There was a question as to whether the big man was Hercules Phillips who was a leading Quaker locally. One of the other people might be a member of the Watkins family
530 Picture at the Pales 1856 – no one known
524 Cadwgan Hall – Marianne James’s mother
556 Mr. Mantle, Sexton Llandegley Church
752 Archie the Drover with his dog Turk, his surname was Willis? It was said that Archie lived anywhere and everywhere, and turned up on the doorstep to ask for ‘a cup of tea and a crust of bread’. It was said that when he died his dog would not allow anyone to go near the body.
662 Owen Family – In the middle is ? dad’s mother. Tragically one son, Howard, was killed in the 1st World War and while he was away the other son died of pneumonia complications while at a training camp in Oswestry.
736 Mr David and Mrs Sue Lewis from The Ross. Arty Lewis’s father
742 Phillip Richards of Bailey Shonllwyd
517 1912 ?
098 Llandeley choir 1875 – Names are on the back
520 Llanbadarn Choir 1912 dedication of the Bells – All hats and furs!
217 Pierrettes – Names on the back including school teachers, husband and wife, meetings held at the Police Station
414 Cookery caravan that went round the local schools – 1908/10 – The girls learnt to cook and the boys learnt woodwork
255 Ted ‘Stone’ – Stonemason for Penybont Hall – Dog; Winnie They were based in the cobbler’s shop
677 Walter and Sarah Jones from the Caely – Barbara’s grandparents. Sarah was a Bufton
684 John Abberley’s father = Bill the Milk – Holy Trinity – Charabanc and milk delivery around the town. 9 in the family
723 John A’s parents golden wedding
523 Tom Scandrett an – Postman and gardener at the Hall – Batchelor of the Parish who lived with his sister Ann – He would have 2 pints at the Severn Arms at the end of the day before going home
142 Nellie Gough
082 Fred Lloyd – Carnau
081 Fred Lloyd with Miss Bowman
Fred studied the stars at night and slept during the day
Miss Bowman came to the area in 1940 from Surrey. Known for her parrot which would bite you if you got too close, and for being the Church organist
598 Miss Bowman
649 Molly Rule the Day
Employed on a casual basis to pick stone and manage gorse around the farms – She is buried at Llanbister Church
534 Tom Jones – Shady Grove, Penybont Common
535 Tom’s sister – Miss Jones from the Common, down and beyond Ludlow, Ray, who was living at Ludlow with his parents, remembers having to help them to get off the Common in bad weather
583 Richards Family from Baileyshonllwyn
Mavis Phillip Mathilda Evan
Tom Gwen Gladys Annie
Dai Davies met Evan in the newsagents a few years ago. Dai introduced himself as Evan did not seem to recognise him. Evan drew his face closer and closer to Dai’s and then in a moment of recognition he exploded: “Dai Davies, Never got on with the bugger!”
412 Harold Thomas at Crossgates Corner RAC Box. Based Fron he moved to Newbridge. His son lived there until very recently. Harold would, of course, salute all motorists he passed who displayed an RAC Badge.
552 ? Looks like Jack Evans tractor
John Thomas – Steam Roller driver
? Allan Goff
639 Jenkins Llewellyn Melyn from the Bank who lived at the Rhewl?
280 Finest publican in the UK!
416 Alfred and Sarah Thomas from the Shop – Mary and John’s Grandparents – Sarah had a 16 inch waste!
417 Alfred and Sarah’s Golden Wedding
419 Edwin Jones – Schoolmaster at Aberystwyth and Llandinam schools. He married Edith Millar and lived at Windyridge. Edwin had 11 children
Also Alfred Nehemiah Thomas from the Shop, with Mary Edwina, Tudor and Jack, and Auntie Maggie who married Rev. Eliza???
420 Auntie Maggie who was a very good horsewoman
421 Uncle Jack Thomas
424 Tennis Club
Mr Gittings in the middle – butcher
Nurse Gittings had legendary status as the local midwife. People present were delivered by Nurse Gittings. One memory was of her having to deliver two children at the same time in different parts of the village. John A remembers picking her up on a snowy morning, nurse Gittings having been out all night.
426 Penybont Chapel on the wedding day of Mary’s parents.
427 Tudor Thomas who was a Captain in the Navy. He was torpedoed twice. When he went back to sea after the first one he sent a letter home saying he would see them for his birthday, but he was lost with the Empire Jaguar.
Also in the photo Freda Thomas
428 Jack and Tudor Thomas
425 Mary’s mother
566 It is me! Sidelands. Mary pigtails, her sister and brother John.
509 Freda
235 Penybont Races – People came from far and wide and nobody was able to identify anyone in the picture
531 Radnor Show
RP Hamer; Bill Macintosh; Venables Llewellyn, Horace Hall – Mr Payne
533 Blacksmiths – shoeing competition
526 Jack Bufton – Franksbridge
527 Nellie Bufton – other side of the road
521 Llanbadarn 1912 children
525 1932 football – Jim Watson 3rd in
374 Station Worker Jack Morgan; Dolau Station
372 Sherry 2nd in
Benson 3rd in
Fred Hardwick 4th in
145 Pioneer Corp – kitchen
Mr Cox married Violet Price who was killed in the Ardennes
188 Cyril Williams
479 Tudor as above
640 Captain Miller also lost at sea
659 Home Guard
657 Gwystre Home Guard
656 Home Guard
660 ‘Hitler’ has joined the Home Guard – 2nd is
Bank Manager Glynn Thomas on the end
Stan Owens; Nicholls, Les Morris – Llanddewi
661 TO Nicholls
481 Williams’s funeral following tragedy accident when he was shot in Llanyre
343 Soldiers based on the common from the Royal Artillery
575 ? VE Day celebrations – ? Sunday School Tea
699 Glynn Thomas Bill Griffiths Tom Price
Flags suggest that this may be VE Day
557 Basil Griffiths – Major in the Commandoes
745 Bob Chandler; Wynn Edwards; David ?; Major Denny –Abbeycwmhir
576 Albert Oakley – right
577 Mary’s sister – Little Miss Moffatt
Little Bo Peep
Madam Butterfly
Aid to China
241 Roller?
555 John Thomas; Wishlade – Surveyor; Howard Thomas
578 Neil’s Father and sister / Harold Richards and Marjorie
579 Joy the donkey with Mary, sister, Maria Miles on the donkey
580 Richard and Mary
581 Freda Thomas WI
582 Awards at RWS – Tom and Dorothy / Edwina Morgan and Tom
Long Service Medals
584 Tom Richards
585 Tom Price with Bill his brother
586 Tom Griffiths – Bailey Mawr
642 ?
641 Baby – bluebells
643 Pint pulling
644 Wife?
645 William Colin
646 ?
587 Farmer Lawrence
589 Rev ?
591 Iron Room – Ray ?
592 Carnival is over
593 Bill Miles at Bank
596 Shareholder!
600 Buftons – Hector
607 WC Collard
612 County Council Workers – Tony Field; Archie Bradford
613 Football Dinner
614 Mia – Conductor
Rob Watkins; Rob Lewis; John Smith; Peter; Dai Lewis; Margaret; Dorothy; Rita; Dot Green; Libby Wallis; Gladys; Jason; Clive
667 Alan Lewis
668 Male Voices
616 Jean Brown on the right
753 Powell Family – off to Pwllhelli to Butlins
758 Evan Edwards
626 Rally in London against the dis-establishment of the Church
354 Mr Collins Dillwyn Powell Miss Bufton Clifford Worthing Ken Lawrence Teacher Miss Jenkins
263 Trip to Zoo by train
669 Mr Capp (Headmaster) and Mrs Capp
275 Mary
734 Joyce Francis at the Mill – Shoe Shop – mother of Stan Francis
675 Sister to Arty Lewis

Penybont and District Local History Group Meeting 3rd November 2013 at the Thomas Shop – Nigel Topley – Evacuees in the Penybont District

Geraint opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. There were no new members for the first time but the room was packed and extra chairs needed to be found! Geraint reminded the group that this and the next meeting would be led by two retired head-teachers and so we would all need to behave!
Derek said that he had sent the Notes if the last meeting to Philippa Woodcock and that she had replied that she would like to be kept up to date with the work of the group. She also queried the date of the photo, 1922, as Cyril Moseley had died by then! Geraint will respond.
Geraint said that the Notes of the Meetings were becoming an important record documenting the History as presented and embellished at the meetings.
Announcements
• Lynda reminded the group that the Photographic Session will be next Monday at the Severn Arms. It is hoped that this will help to identify the people in many of the photographs – which now number over 700.
• Geraint, and various members of the Radnorshire Society, told the group that the AGM of the Society will be next Saturday, 9th November, in the Metropole Hotel when there will be the launch of a new book – “Radnorshire From Above” by Chris Musson. (£15 with a pre-publication offer of £9 if ordered before 31st December 2013.
Chris will be giving a talk at the meeting “Radnorshire from Above and Below”
• Hugh will lead the next session which will cover: General Education; Life for the country child; and schools in the area.
• Geriant brought with him, on their way to the County Archives, documents that were in the archives in Llandegley Church. These included the ‘Admissions Book’. Hugh said that he had been unable to obtain access to any Admissions records from the County Archives due to Data Protection rules. (Powys has interpreted the Legislation to exclude public access to records that contain the names of people over the last 100 years. It was thought that other places protected for a period of 25 years only.) Julian said that the Llandeley Church Archives were the best in the area. This was largely due to a previous Rector of the Parish, Archdeacon Elwin Griffiths.
It was suggested that the Admissions Book needed to be copied before going to the Archives. Patricia and Jenny agreed to undertake this task.
The Llandegley Archives also boasted the Accounts of the local Shoemaker – Walter Jones – better known as ‘Velvet Paws’. John explained that Walter was said to be a bit lazy, and did not like to have too much work. Geraint said that despite this he seemed to have made a vast number of shoes and that the records show that he bought skins from local farms to obtain the leather he needed to make his shoes.
Nigel – Evacuees (Nigel was due to cover the Home Guard as well but there was so much discussion that Geraint suggested he limit the session to Evacuees and that we cover the Home Guard in February)
Nigel started by explaining that he was not an ‘expert’, and that there were very limited records available to him and that he was hoping that, in the spirit of the group, stories would emerge that would give a deeper insight into the lives of evacuees.
In his work at Aberystwyth University Nigel had run a project with students in getting them to talk to children and their parents about the experiences of evacuees. These were often very emotional and the students were often ‘choked-up’ by the stories and pictures that the children brought back.
Two factors that gave rise to the widespread use of evacuation were that the war (1939 – 1945) was widely anticipated and there had been examples of bombing in other situations.
There were some bombings carried out during the 1st World War – Zepplins had been used to carry out bombing raids.
Probably more influential was the Civil War in Spain (1936 – 1939). There was a massive impact on the ‘collective psyche’ in the UK in respect of this war and the bombings in Madrid. George Orwell in his novel, “Coming up for Air”, predicted the horrors that civilian bombing raids would have on women and children.
Plans for a major evacuation of the towns and cities of Britain were in place before the war started. British Home Front Pocket Books were distributed. Plans included the use of Parks in cities such as London, Birmingham and Cardiff, for mass burials, and the need for families of children and invalids to be evacuated. There was an expectation in the country that if war was declared at 11.00 a.m. that by 11.05 a.m. the need for mass burials would have been realised.
This was not the first time that ‘refugees’ / ‘evacuees’ had come to Mid Wales for refuge. There is reference to Irish families escaping the famine in Ireland being escorted over the County boundary! In 1914 Belgian families came to the area.
In effect there were two waves of evacuees.
1st Wave came just after war was declared in 1939. Children, some with a parent, or parents, came but most did not stay long. The horrors of war were not immediate in the cities.
2nd Wave came in 1940 at the onset of the ‘Blitz’.
In the records of Llanbadarn Fawr School there is reference to:
“School did not open today due to the outbreak of war.”
In the following week, Friday 15th September 1939:
The role at the school has gone from 64children to 71 with children from Birmingham and London being taken in. These were probably ‘private’ evacuee arrangements.
In 1941 there is a report of a Radnorshire CC committee Meeting where there was reference to 2063 children having come into the area as evacuees. In the Primary Schools there were as many evacuees as children from the local community. Many of these children came from Liverpool, areas such as Boutle, Crosby, and Anfield. 312 children came as a result of private arrangements.
One of Geraint’s books – War Memories of Builth describes impressions of the local community – the shock of seeing women go into pubs, and the reaction of the people from Boutle – there is only one chippy! Perhaps sadly, and more profoundly, there is a quote to the effect:
After a few weeks in Builth Wells we are returning to Liverpool; “we would prefer to face Hitler than the wrath of Builth!”
Geriant was able to quote from the Admissions Register. There were 49 evavuees in total: 8 came in 1940 and 3 returned home
34 came in 1941 and 21 returned
7 came in 1942 and 19 returned
0 came in 1943 and by then all had returned.
The length of time people stayed in the Llandegley area varied between:
43 stayed for a year or less
5 stayed for 2 years
1 stayed for 3 years
2 of the evacuees came from Coventry and 1 from Swansea.
At a Council Committee Meeting in 1941 there was specific concerns raised about difficult children – particularly those who were unaccompanied. There was a hostel for sick and children classified as being invalid. On a more positive note gratitude was express by Canon Mason about the heart-warming response from the people of Brecon and Radnorshire.
One of the problems raised was the lack of shoes for the evacuees. It was said that there was enough work for 3 full-time cobblers to meet the requirement. The clothing depot was described as unsafe. Parents would make difficulties if children were placed in a hostel.
Lynda had a letter from a couple in South Africa, who have recently visited the village, George and Bibby. George and his sister Lotty were evacuated to Penybont from Boutle where George describes the bombing as being extensive within an 11 mile area. George remembers them as children being held closely by their mother in a cupboard under the stairs while the bombs fell all around.
Initially they were housed by Mr and Mrs Griffiths at Grove Villa in Crossgates but they were then given Dole Ithon, an end terrace building in Penybont owned by the Thomas family.
George’s memories included the Thomas Shop, Mr and Mrs Brown at the Post Office, the troops on the Common, and dances in the Iron Room.
At this time Ray was living at Ludlow on the Common as 5/6 year old. The house was only about 100 yards from the Camp Canteen. Ray remembers spending more time in the canteen than at home. His mother did washing for the troops and the Officers. They did not pay her for this but they did not go short of food. The Head Cook for the troops was Lenny Saunders, his wife was Mary who had her son Andrew while living in the village.
The Canadian troops introduced Ray to chewing Gum – the favourite expression was: “Any gum chum?” If there was none forthcoming the response would be: “Stick it up your bum chum!”
The troops were housed in tents but a few nissen huts were erected for the the canteen and other facilities. All of these were on the Knighton Road on the left after the Cattle grid.
Some of the Canadians were amongst the first black people to be seen in the village. They were notable by being so tall, all over six feet, and very polite. However there was some segregation within the camp.
Mary told us about her aunt who fell in love with a Belgian soldier and kept his photo all her life. He married in Belgium but did correspond with Mary’s aunt. Though she never married she did reveal that she had been very fond of a Canadian soldier, but of course, she could not marry him as he was a Catholic.
There were memories of D-Day, when people woke up that morning all the troops had gone!
Ray reported the story of the six geese that went missing. This was reported to Fred Brooks the Military Policeman, he later became a Policeman for Crossgates, but he had no answer to this problem. Later when the swill appeared to feed the pigs there were the six geese heads. When asked where were the rest of the geese the answer came back: “Your guess/geese is as good as mine!”
Norma told us of the troops who came with their Polar Bears. These troops had been on a tour of duty in Iceland and wore an insignia of the Polar Bear. They had been in Pontypridd but came to Penybont in May 1943 with full kit. They had Penybont Hall as their HQ, troops were under canvas and the guns were parked close to the road in the Blacksmith’s Lane. They described the worst fighting as fighting the mud on the Common.
Troop exercises were carried out over Llandegley Rocks, a raid on mock-up tanks was carried out near New Radnor, and a mock invasion was staged in Sennybridge. As winter approached these troops were moved to Abergavenny.
There were reports that the ‘old so-in-so’ at the pub, Bill Coleton, watered down the beer.
Memories included a Miss Joy at Woodside Cottage, Mr and Mrs Griffiths at nutshell with their four children, pigs and chickens. One of their children caught a salmon at a waterfall and the Nutshell was taken down and rebuilt.
There were memories of Fron Village where Mr Phillips had hot, fresh bread and Mrs Pinches ran the Post Office.
Another memory was of a Wellington Bomber killing a cow!
John was at school in Llandegley over the period of the war and so played with all of the evacuee children. They had 3 living at his home in the Ffaldau. When they arrived they had a band on their wrist to say they came from Liverpool, it was very sad.
He remembers a plane coming over the Radnor Forest and a friend saying that it would not be ‘up for long’. One person bailed out over Dole Swydd and another 3 by the Chapel in Penybont.
Jennifer was at Talcoed where her brother had become friendly with an evacuee. They were involved in a crash and the evacuee was sent back to Boutle. On the way he met a sailor who gave him a bunch of bananas.
Another memory of bananas was related. A sailor again was the person supplying them but the gift was not appreciated as the bananas were eaten skins and all.
Geraint asked if anyone in the group had experience of being an evacuee.
One person was sent from Slough to North Yorkshire and came home at the end of the war speaking a broad Yorkshire accent.
Rosemary was sent from Swansea to a kind lady in Llandeilo. It was not a happy time as the language being spoken was Welsh and she did not speak it. Her brother then caught double pneumonia and they returned to Swansea.
Richard parents were living in London and he was sent to an aunt in Aberystwyth. He became fluent in Welsh and then had difficulties when he returned to London to go to school as a non-English speaker.
Mary and her brother John came from London with their mother to stay with their Grandmother, Sarah, in Penybont. She remembers her Grandmother complaining that she would get the most difficult children as her husband, Alfred, was partly responsible for selecting the families for the children and their families. Mary had been a bit sad to leave some of the excitement in her home area. She would see horses on a daily basis and she lived near where the Handley Page Aircraft were being built.
She remembers Florence Martin in No. 3 The Terrace with her children who were evacuated from Southwick. One of Jack Thomas’s chicken houses was converted into accommodation for Reg, one of the children. Ray remembers helping to clean out the chicken house. Mary has had some contact with the family more recently. Ian became a dental technician, and Daniel a disc jockey.
When the youngest daughter was eight years old her mother died. Mary remembers the little girl following the bier as it was carried on shoulders, through the village to the cemetery. The cause of death was pulmonary embolism. The daughter, described on the death certificate as ‘the Informant’ was billeted with Colin Davies at the Swydd. Many years later the daughter visited and found the grave. A pledge was made at the time that the grave would always have flowers. More recently Mary found that to this day there are snowdrops and then daffodils on the grave. The brother teamed up with another young man from the village, Ralph Collard, and got into ‘mischief’ and was subsequently returned to London.
Norma mentioned that Ruth Jones had told her that the Elim Chapel in Llandrindod had been used as a school during the war for Jewish children. They also had their own teachers.
Hugh emphasised that he hoped people would bring as many stories to the next session on 2nd December.

Penybont and District Local History Group Meeting on 7thOctober 2013 at the Thomas Shop – Rev. Geraint Hughes – The Radnorshire Show and the role of Penybont in the lead up to the Royal Welsh.

Geraint welcomed everyone and in particular Ann who has been unable to attend in recent months.
Colette Gwynne from Dolau and Jenny Bowman were welcomed as new members. Colette was a lecturer in Natural History and has more recently completed a Diploma in Local History.
Derek mentioned that the Thomas Shop had had a visitor from Canada recently – Philippa Woodcock (nee Moseley). Her father Cyril Moseley was born at Bryn Thomas, 1903, and lived there until 1919 with Francis Howard and Laurie(?) Moseley. Clement Moseley lived there until he died. He was uncle to CHM Moseley. Philippa left her email address with the Thomas Shop should any information on the family come to light.
Derek also mentioned two older visits: Nurse McDermot, who worked with Nurse Davies; and another gentleman came who did not leave his name – he remembered working at the Bank as a junior under Evan Jones. He recalled the fact that the Bank was taken out to the rural farms and set up in kitchens. On one occasion he remembered a newspaper salesman bringing in a great bag of copper coins and plonking it on the table. The table tipped up and the coins were released all over the floor. Evan would consume Pints of beer at lunchtime on these outings and then sleep all afternoon.
Geraint mentioned that he had been contacted by the Hamer family via the website. He had a picture of Llanbadenfawr School in the 1920s.
Geraint mentioned that there was an opportunity to explore the attic of the old cottages at the beginning of the Blacksmith’s Lane. Suzanna Davies and Mrs Beach had kindly agreed to have an Open Session this coming Wednesday (9th October) at 11.00 a.m.
Linda has arranged a ‘picture show’ to be held at the Severn Arms on 11th November at 7.30 p.m. It is hoped to be able to identify as many people from the village as possible.
Nigel mentioned that he would be talking at our November meeting about evacuees and the Home Guard. He is hoping that people will either let him know of stories that they have heard or come to the session and tell their story.
John mentioned that Len Didman had died recently. John met him in 1950. Len married one of Mrs Bennett’s daughters and they had a hotel in Switzerland where John had stayed. Len was to be cremated ‘today’ in Switzerland and then brought home to Llandegley where he will be buried.
Geraint asked for suggestions for next year’s programme. Albeit that Marion was unable to come this month but he felt sure that she would hold a session on the Bennett family from her research.
Geraint led themain discussion for today: The Radnorshire Show and the role of Penybont in the lead up to the Royal Welsh.
The background d to the development of agricultural societies was the Agrarian Revolution in the 18th century – particularly the advances in breeding, Jethro Tull’s seed drill, and Charles Towsend’s introduction of the turnip and the four year crop rotation.
There were four attempts at setting up a Radnorshire Agricultural Society in the late 18th and early 19th Century.
1st Socirty
Formed in the coffee houses of London to promote the cultivation of the turnip:
“was formed in 1809, and was active until 1822. There was yet an earlier,started in 1790 by a group of Radnorshire agriculturalists and others who met in London, calling themselves the Radnorshire Society, with the main object of improving agriculture in the county. That Society gave special attention to the cultivation of turnips, then a new crop, which went far to overcome the difficulty of providing winter feed for farm animals. It was offering prizes for the best yields from 1791 onwards….. TheLondon Society staged a Show of rams at Presteigne in 1792, which took place on the Burgage.”
http://welshjournals.llgc.org.uk/browse/viewpage/llgc-id:1191402/llgc-id:1193932/llgc-id:1194002/getText

The first show was held in 1792 to promote rams with the last show in 1812.

2nd Society

Formed in 1809 to run half yearly shows, one in Presteigne and the other in Penybont at the Fleece Inn. The first Show in Penybont was in 1811 and the Society events were active until 1822.

3rd Society
This also ran half year Shows alternatively in either Presteigne or Clyro and Penybont and Rhayader between 1841 and 1848. The Show for farmers and yeomen was addressed by Sir John Walsh, 1st Baron Ormathwaite, and was described as having a ‘poor show of cattle’. The Show reports the inevitable ‘dinner’ and prize were awarded to Owens and Jenkins.
In the ‘Squires of Penybont Hall” there is reference to Annual Races on Mynydd Bach or Pridd before the Ddole started to be used – 17th September 1859. The Races and the Show coincided in the years when the Show was held in Penybont.
4th Society
The County Show became an annual event from 1873 – 1960 and was held in many locations. The first Show in 1873 was held in Penybont when Percy Severn was President. James Hamer who came from Bury as the Estate Agent for the Severn Estate was Secretary to the Society between 1873 and 1922.
Geraint showed a picture of the 1906 Penybont Show held on the Ddole. Another slide showed a advert for the 1914 Show (42nd Show) which was never held due to the outbreak of War. The next Show was planned in 1920 by and held in 1921 (42nd Show) with W.S. Mackintosh (County Surveyor) of Bailey Mawr and W.D. Duggan playing a key roles. At this stage the ‘County’ Show was centred around Penybont with Lord Ormathwaite still involved in giving prizes for the addition of athletic sports – people and horses. The absence of a refreshment tent was a particular feature of this year’s event as there was no licence issued.
Events also included sheep dog trials – the winning bitch brought the sheep home in 8.5 mins – this was based on a simple target of bringing sheep in with none of the obstacles that feature modern events.
Sports and Races developed on a different day to the Agricultural Shows and settled on the 1st Wednesday after Bank Holiday Monday in August – it was seen as a ‘one-up on Llandrindod Wells’! Mary referred to evidence from S4C that the sports included a 3 legged race and Egg and Spoon.
During the period after the war groups developed around the markets and football. People began to organise things for themselves.
A question was raised about the grandstand a when it was built. It is generally understood to have been built between 1906 and 1913.
A feature in a photo of 1921 was the introduction of cars.
The Penybont Sports Committee of the period included R.P. Hamer’s son , Evan Hughes, A.N. Thomas, and E.C.C. Moseley. The Annual Sports included Tug of War, in 1921 the result was a walkover for the ‘Railwaymen’ against the ‘Masters and Servants’.
In another photo, undated, R.P. Hamer, E.C.C. Moseley, and Venables Llewellyn were featured prominently.
The 1937 Show on August 21st, Secretary was Mr. W.S. Mackintosh, the events included: stock, Galloway Races, musical chairs, butter-making, dressed poultry.
The adverts for the show included:
Trotters of Crossgates – Wellies
W.E. Worthing – Sowing and mowing etc. – Fordson Tractor featuring Pneumatic tyres
Severn Arms – Good Trout fishing, Charabanc Parties
`1947 Show started at 8.00a.m. and featured:
Jumping; trotting; military display; hounds; musical chairs; foxhounds (Golden Valley); educational tent (aimed at improving farming particularly for Young Farmers); programme of music; horse work and tableau; mat-work/high horse; WI tent; NAAS agricultural service Monmouthshire; Dairy Cattle; Kerry Hill Sheep; Shire Horses; seed growers; WI -something new for something old -thrift rug; poultry.

The 59th Show in 1953 was the last Show in Penybont on August 15th. Geraint showed a map of the Showground that included:
Hunters; Ponies; Shires; Ayrshires; Guernseys; Jerseys; Herefords; Lorries; YFC; Craft; Poultry; row of ringside cars; sheep pens.

The first Royal Welsh Show was in 1963 and this ended the tradition of County Shows.
In 1932 there was a Show in Llandrindod Wells held on the Common. A feature were3 the animals arriving by train.

Penybont Races
2nd Galloway Races were held on Wednesday 9th August 1922 featuring acrobats and a silver band. There was a 1 mile handicap race; tug of war; live weight –sheep and pig. The programme included an advert for the Severn Arms with 20 miles of trout fishing.
The 4th Races in 1924 mentions people coming from as far way as: Talgarth; Leominster; Preston; and Barnsley. Advert for Thomas Price – Triumph Motor Bikes – oil engines – fill up with petrol 1 shilling a gallon! Features included: Jack Riskitt and Betty – Aerial Act.
The Poultry Shows did not stop for the 1st World War – the 1914 Show featurde ‘live’ poultry on 16th December and ‘dressed’ poultry on 21st December.
Regular markets started in Penybont, under the auspices of RP Hamer in 1919/1920.
In 1934 the Market sold 5000 wethers/rams.
During the war there were markets held 1940 and 1942.
Geraint showed photos of the market and a particularly interesting one by Liz Fleming-Williams.
Discussion:
John Abberley worked in the Market for 15 years
In the Cycle Museum is a bicycle made in Penybont in 1860
Gwen remembers bringing bread and butter the Show (Llandrindod).
William Smith Mackintosh, Bailey Mawr, was Land Agent for the Ormathwaite Estate. His wife Jane was a school-teacher in Builth. The Estate Office was at Bailey Mawr. Julian Fellows, who wrote Downton Abbey, has said that the inspiration behind the story was from his Grandmother who was a member of the Mackintosh family.
The Ormathwaites, who came from Cumbria, bought much of the Estate from the Crown. The Enclosures Act had a major impact on land ownership for the Estates and for small scale one acre plots. The Severn’s moved out of Pnybont Hall in 1906 and the Estate was broken up in various sales in 1926, 1935 and 1945. Schedules can be traced of the 1926 Enclosures Act sales when John Walsh, 3rd Earl Ormathwaite, now living in Llanddewi, sold much of the Estate. In 1935 rights were sold to Keith Parker. John Walsh became an MP for the area and the pub in Llanddewi is the Walsh Arms.
Progress on Research Projects:
Sylvia is making good progress with identifying the people involved with YFCs
There was discussion about developing a property profile similar to ones carried out for the Millennium in other Parishes. Abbeycwmhyr produced a book giving a concise history, Gladestree, Llanddewi and Erwood completed successful projects. Patricia has done the Farms in Llanbadan Fawr in 1980. Action: Derek agreed to make a template for people to use on their own properties.

Date of Next Meeting: 4th November 2013 when Nigel will lead a session on the Home Guard and Evacuees of World War 2