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Benjamin Rees

Benjamin was born in Llanellen, Monmouthshire, in 1834, to Leonard and Mary (nee Morgan) Rees. He had moved to Glascoed by 1861, when we find him living at Lower Wernhir with his Aunt Ann (Rees). By 1871 Benjamin had married Catherine, a Breconshire girl from Llangattock. A family bible entry indicates that they were married at Llanellen. The census of 1871 shows that they were already the proud parents of two children, Mary Ann and William.

Four more children followed while they were at Glascoed; Leonard LewisTom BenjaminElizabeth Jane and Katie. Their children were all baptised at Monkswood Parish Church, with the exception of Katie. The church was also the scene of a sadder occasion on 16th August 1876, when they buried their infant daughter Elizabeth Jane. She was aged just 4 months.

They had left Glascoed by 1879. Rees family folklore relates that the family farm “had to be sold in order to pay death duties for a family member who was in Australia”. This has not been fully verified at this point. The family settled in Bootle, having moved there via Gloucester, where another son, John, was born in 1879. They also had a daughter named Temperance, who was born in Bootle in 1883.

Benjamin opened a Blacksmiths shop in Sandy Lane, Bootle. He made “lots of the Victorian grave furniture, as well as being involved in the construction of the Laxey Wheel in the Isle of Man”, according to his descendant, Adrian Rees. Adrian also commented: “The original house where they lived, when they first went to Liverpool, is still standing, as is whats left of the Blacksmiths shop. Its in Sandy Lane, Bootle, and very close to a Welsh Chapel. Bootle and Liverpool had a large influx of migrant Welsh workers in the 1850's - 1890's, although predominantly from North Wales. I don't think Benjamin and Catherine spoke much Welsh, as the Bible is in English, as is the handwriting. Another puzzle, as South Wales at the time was a hot bed of Welsh Methodism and Chapel building”.

Benjamin had died by the time of the 1891 census, since Catherine was recorded on that census as a widow.

A multi-talented fellow!: It appears that Benjamin was a very handy ploughman - he won some competitions, as did his brother, Richard, for this skill - see the Usk Observer accounts:

27th September 1862 (Abergavenny Agricultural Association)

Usk Agricultural Show 1861 and 1862.

Related Records:

Rees family bible

1861 census

1871 census

1881 census