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Henry Williams (1844-1919)

Henry Williams was a prominent member of the community in Glascoed in the second part of the 19th century. He was secretary of the chapel (Mount Zion), an assistant overseer and school attendance officer and also was the enumerator for several censuses.

Henry was born at Beech Farm in 1844, the son of Ann (nee Morgan) and Roger Williams. He was one of seven or eight children - I believe he was probably the youngest (See also Charles Williams’ bio).

He married Hannah Morgan in the June Quarter, 1878. Hannah’s parents William and Miriam farmed at Llanynant (now sadly under Llandegfedd reservoir).

They had four children:

William Henry Williams (1879-1955)

Annie Williams (1880-1920)

Martha Williams (1880-1938)

Alfred Ernest Williams.

The early Mount Zion minute books were beautifully kept by Henry - they give us a little clue as to his character.

The censuses he conducted were also clear and thorough!

I was so pleased to receive this photo from Glyndwr Williams, his grandson - as the only photo I have of the Beech Farm children -and also for the great stories he told me and preserved in his wonderful “History of Glascoed Chapel: From its origins to 1970”.

Henry and Hannah farmed at Hannah’s parents’ farm, Llanynant initially and were there at the time of the 1881 census. By 1891 however they had moved to Bryn Farm, where they farmed until their deaths. Hannah died on 7th March 1917. Henry survived her by less than two years and died on 23rd January 1919, aged 74.

“The White Black Man”

Henry was also known as the “White Black Man” probably due to his appearance although there is a story, recounted both in the family (according to Glyn Williams, John Williams, Upper House and also repeated by a Morgan family from Prescoed Cottages) that there was black ancestry in the family.

There are a couple of variations of this story and the truth may never really be known. One version is that one of the ancestors of the Beech Farm Williams’ was a sea captain, having his own vessel, who married a Zulu woman who was on board his ship for a time. According to this story, they had children together.

Two further variations are ones I heard recently from John Williams. He told me that it was actually the Arnold family that had mixed racial ancestry - apparently one of the Arnold children was dropped by his girlfriend at the time, since she was worried that if they ever got married, she risked having a black baby (scared by the stories she had heard about the Arnolds!). The other story he recounted was that people in the village had remembered tales of a “black man” who lived in Glascoed and used to ride around the village on his haycart. I wonder in fact, whether the tales John were told were from someone who remembered Henry (or possibly even one of his ancestors) riding around the village - “The White Black Man”.


1851 census - at Beech Farm, Glascoed.

1861 census - at Beech Farm, Glascoed.

1871 census - at Beech Farm, Glascoed.

1881 census - at Llanynant farm, Llanbaddock.

1891 census - at The Bryn Farm, Glascoed.

1901 census - at The Bryn Farm, Glascoed.

1911 census - at The Bryn Farm, Glascoed.

Monumental Inscriptionat Mount Zion Baptist Chapel