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 GLASCOED

 PEOPLE & PLACES

LOWER WERNHIR


was probably built in the late 16th or early 17th century. The farmhouse was on the site of the Modern day Royal Ordnance Factory, Glascoed. It appears to have been one of two farmhouses that were destroyed in the construction of the factory. Apparently they were photographed before destruction, so all is not lost!


Lower Wernhir was obviously the home of many people in its 350 year existence, and through the 19th century censuses we have been given information on a selection of them. Here are some things that I have been able to glean about the inhabitants.


The Roberts family (appeared on 1841 census).


Daniel was a Farmer and appears to have been the head of the family (Aged approx 40).


Sarah, his wife, was some 15 years his junior. Their son, Edwin, aged 10, Marian, aged 7, William aged 4 and Sarah aged 1 were the other Roberts’ in habitation at this time.


The family were linked in with Mount Zion Baptist Chapel, in Glascoed. Their son, William Roberts trained at the Baptist Academy - unfortunately with indifferent results (see link). He was one of the early deacons of the chapel and died in Abergavenny in 1837/8, having never quite becoming established as a pastor. He was apparently involved in a coal delivery business at Abergavenny.


Also living at the farm in 1841 were Henry Watkins (age approx 20), an agricultural labourer, and three servants, Henry Evans (also aged approx 20), Maria Jenkins (aged approx 15) and Ann Matthews (age 10).


It appears that love and a marriage followed involving two of those “below stairs”! Henry Watkins and Maria Jenkins appear on the 1851 census as a married couple at another Glascoed house, “Pergoed”.


By now, Henry was a farmer in his own right at Pergoed. It appears that the Henry Watkins on Lower Wernhir in 1841 married Maria Jenkins his fellow servant. A Henry Watkins appears on the Marriage indexes in Jan to March 1846 along with a Maria Jenkins (Volume 26 Page 163) at Pontypool registration district - so there must have been love in the air at Lower Wernhir! They lived long and fruitful lives - both died at the ripe old age of 87 and were buried at Mount Zion Baptist Chapel in Glascoed.


TEMPORARY STEWARDS!


The Roberts family had left Glascoed for Llanbadock by the time of the 1851 census. In their place, we find an ageing couple: Reece and Elizabeth Evans. Reece was a 55 year old labourer who hailed from “Langattock” in Carmarthenshire, according to the enumerator. This may have been Llangadog in Carmarthenshire. It is quite possible. however, that it could have been Llangattock in Monmouthshire. Elizabeth was his junior by nine years and was born in Caerleon, Monmouthshire.


THE REES FAMILY


lived at the farm by 1858. Leonard Reece’s obituary in the Usk Gleaner, in that year mentions Wernhir as his residence. In 1861 Ann Rees, a 65 year old spinster, was the Head of Household, and was in charge of three nephews and nieces. Ann was born in Llanfihangel Torymynydd, near Raglan. The eldest, Richard Rees, a 31 year old “farmer’s son” was born in Raglan. The other two, Benjamin and Mary Rees (aged 26 and 20 respectively) were born in Llanellen, near Abergavenny. Their occupations were also described as “farmer’s son/ daughter” according to the census enumerator. This may have been easier that writing “farmer’s nephew/ niece” or possibly their dad was a farmer.


Richard Rees married Eliza (maiden name not known) whilst at Lower Wernhir, and their daughter Alice Mary was baptised at Monkswood parish church on St. David’s Day 1868. Both Richard and his Aunt Ann had departed by 1871, and Lower Wernhir had been taken over by the newly married Benjamin, Ann’s nephew. Richard and Eliza had moved to the neighbouring Bryn Farm.


Benjamin was born in 1834 at Llanellen, the son of Leonard and Mary Rees (nee Morgan). He was married to Catherine, who hailed from Llangattock in Breconshire. They had several children whilst at Glascoed, including Mary Ann, William, Leonard Lewis, Tom Benjamin and Elizabeth Jane. They had their children baptised at Monkswood Parish Church. The church was also the scene of some sadder occasions in the 1870s when they buried their infant daughter Elizabeth Jane on 16/08/1876. 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.


THE CHILTON FAMILY


In residence by 1881. I know little about this family to date.


The Head of the family was William Chilton. William was born in 1830 at Nantyglo, (Aberystruth parish) in Monmouthshire, and was noted as a farmer. His wife, Mary Morris, was born in Llanelly, Breconshire c. 1836. They had two children living with them at Lower Wernhir in 1881; Mary and Solomon Chilton. Mary had been born at Llangattock, Breconshire in about 1862 and Solomon was born one year later at Aberystruth. One can assume that there may could have been some sort of connection between the Chiltons and the previous residents, the Rees family, since Catherine Rees had been born in Llangattock also. Obviously, assumptions can often be very dangerous in genealogy! Other people at Lower Wernhir at the time of the 1881 census were Mary Bush, a 46 year old friend (likely William’s sister) from Aberystruth, George Waters, a 23 year old indoor servant and a 5 year old visitor, Miney Davis. Mary Bush was living with the Chiltons having recently separated from her husband.


The Jones family


The Jones family were at the farm for the 1891 and 1901 censuses. From the birthplaces and ages of their children on the censuses, it appears that they arrived in Glascoed in about 1885 (probably taking up residence at Lower Wernhir at this point). Both Thomas and Ann Jones were born in Clodock, Herefordshire c. 1855. They had five children living with them at the time of the 1891 census; Annie Beatrice, Emily, Jane, Philip and Kate. Annie and Jane had moved on by the time of the 1901 census. A James Pitt was working as their agricultural labourer in 1891 (born in Herefordshire, c. 1866). Another Herefordshire native, Samuel Long was their Carter in 1901. Samuel was also from Clodock, born c. 1872.


LOWER WERNHIR RECORDS


Censuses: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911.