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.”

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.
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


2 thoughts on “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.

  1. Is it possible to purchase a copy of “A History of Llandegley Church School, by Geraint Hughes, M A Vicar of Llandegley ?

    1. Hello Mrs Price

      I am sorry to say that Geraint;s book is out of print. Copies are hard to come by. If you look at the Notes of our meeting in February 2017 you will get some information vased on the book.

      Derek Turner

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