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Upper Poplar Tree Cottage

This is the cottage that is furthest away from the main road through Glascoed, at the entrance to the lane which leads up towards Pantau Bushes and what was Pantau/ Panta House.

In 1841, John Jacob, a publican, lived with his wife, Margaret Jacob (nee Jones) and Maria and Jonathan Jacob, two of their children, who were in their twenties. While the cottage was the scene of a biddle/ illegal drinking house in the 1860s, I assume that from John’s occupation note in this census that it was a more legitimate drinking house in the 1840s.

By 1851, Richard Stratton’s family were living here including his wife Mary (nee Jenkins) and their first five children. The Strattons were to stay as occupants for quite some time. They moved in at some point between the births of Thomas Stratton on 12th December 1844 at Llanfrechfa Upper (Cwmbran) and Mary Stratton (c. 1848). The Strattons had married at Panteg Parish Church on 4th August 1838 and appeared to have settled at Llanfrechfa from their marriage to their move to the Poplars in the mid-1840s. Richard was a Coke burner born on 19th November 1815 from Bitton in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. Mary was born in Llanover, but knew Glascoed well since her parents Thomas Jenkins and Martha (nee Davies) were from Mamhilad and later moved to Llanbaddock.

It appears that Poplar Cottage was being used as an illegal drinking house, by the Strattons in 1865, until they were rumbled, quite likely by the ever popular Meredith family!!! While the Strattons had moved back to Llanfrechfa by the time of the 1871 census (where Richard was by now working as a coal miner) , they hadn’t severed all links with Glascoed, since in 1877, one of the boys, Charles married Sarah Ellen Pitt, who grew up at Panta House (from 1854 to the early 1860s). She would have been literally the girl next door (well separated by a 100 yard walk!)… although the Pitts moved to Rose Cottage from Panta House (around 1861/62, she was still only a short walk along Glascoed Lane to Pergoed Lane.

The Rowland family were living here by 1871, having moved from High House. They were a proper Glascoed family. Sarah (nee Williams) was born in the hamlet near the turn of 1810/11, being christened at Panteg church on 20th Jan 1811. Her parents, William and Elizabeth had at least 2 other children, William and David.

William Rowland and Sarah Williams had married on 21st October 1837 at Panteg Church. Census records show that they were living at Pentwyn in 1841 and High House in 1851 and 1861. William had been born c. 1812 at Llanishen, Mon and was a general farm labourer. I believe that he died between 1871 and 1881.

They had at least six children (all born at Glascoed) - Francis (c. 1838), William (1841), Mary Ann (c. 1843) - who later married Henry Williams of Glascoed.

By the 1881 census, Sarah was widowed and living at Poplar Trees, aged 70 with her son David (aged 30) who was a labourer. I believe that Sarah probably died between March and June 1884, since the JUN Quarter of the Death indexes shows a Sarah Rowlands aged 73 as having died in th Pontypool registrationdistrict. She alsodoes not appear on the 1891 census. This is an educated assumption! Please check before “claiming” this as a fact; it’s unproven as far as I’m concerned.

The 1891 census shows David (39, a Gardener and agricultural labourer) and his sister Elizabeth, aged 36 at the cottage, with David’s niece, Florence Rowlands (aged 6). I assume that Florence may well have been Elizabeth’s daughter, but this could be completely wide of the mark. Florence was in service by 1901 with Mr and Mrs Babbidge at Pontypool. Florence was back in Glascoed by 1911 - but to know in what capacity, keep reading to the end of the page!

David and Elizabeth were still at Upper Poplar Tree Cottage in 1901 and 1911, with David continuing to work as a Market Gardener. Neither had married.

David also appeared on the Registers of Electors after the 1884 Electoral Reform Act extended the right to vote to those who paid an annual rent of £10 or more. He therefore appeared on the Registers of Electors in 1889, 1909, 1922, 1929.

David and Elizabeth both died in the 1930s and shared a grave, as they had shared Poplar Tree Cottage for all their lives. Their headstone (at Mount Zion graveyard) reads:

In memory of David Rowlands

who died Aug 1930 Aged 79

Peace Perfect Peace


Also of Elizabeth Rowlands

Who died April 6 1937 Aged 82 yrs

See note at the end of Lower Poplar Tree Cottage entry for information on residences at the Cottages in 1939.

RECORDS (Upper Poplar Tree):

Censuses:    1841    1851    1861    1871    1881    1891    1901    1911

1939 National Register: I believe this was probably Richard M. Morgan though it could have been Alfred and Florence Price.

See 1939 Residents section for some conjecture on this!

Registers of Electors:

1889, 1909, 1922, 1929.

Poplar Tree Cottages

Poplar Tree Cottages were semi-detached cottages by the nineteenth century. I don’t know whether they were originally built as such.

I have named them Upper Poplar and Lower Poplar for ease of reference, but the only census they were referred to by these names is the 1851 census.

In 1841, both Poplar Tree cottages were inhabited by members of the Jacob family. After this point, different families were in the two cottages, although even in 1841, the cottages were inhabited by two separate households.

Lower Poplar Tree Cottage

The two residents, aged 60 and 20, at the time of the 1841 census, were both named Ann Jacob.

William and Mary Jacob, parents with three young children, had taken over the tenancy by 1851. Mary had a child, William Price (born about 1841) from a previous relationship/ marriage, prior to her marriage to William in 1846. Three further sons and two daughters were added to the family by 1858 (John, Keziah (Keasy), Miriam, James and Theophilus)

William was a labourer and farmer of 4 acres in 1851 and a general labourer in 1861. On the later census, William Price was working as “Tending Masons”. I assume that this would have been for John Pitt, who lived just along the lane at Panta House, the only Mason in the village - although others lived in the surrounding area.

In 1871, William was still a labourer. Mary and the two youngest children, Miriam (aged 16) and Theophilus were at home. The 12 year old Theophilus was already working, as a Labourer at the Brickyard.

William died just before Christmas, 1874. His death was reported by the County Observer on 2nd January 1875:

SUDDEN DEATH.—Mr E.D. Batt, coroner, held an inquest on Monday last, at the Horse and Jockey Inn, Llanvihangel Pontymoil, touching the death of William Jacobs, a roadman in the employ of the Panteg Local Board. On the 22nd instant, he went to work, under the instructions of Mr Joseph Goodenough, to cleanse the roads, &c., and, feeling violent pains internally, returned home. Medical aid was sent for; but Jacobs died before Dr. Williams could arrive. On examination of the body, Dr. Williams found that one of the intestines had penetrated another, and caused inflammation and death; and a verdict to that effect was returned by the jury.

Mary and Theophilus were still at the cottage in 1881, and Miriam’s son William Watkins (from her marriage to Oliver Watkins in 1876) was staying. I don’t quite know what happened between Oliver and Miriam, but in 1881, Miriam was in domestic service and I couldn’t find Oliver.

Mary died in 1882, buried at Llanfihangel Pontymoile Churchyard on 8th May 1882.

Theophilus Jacob married Harriet Williams, the daughter of John and Mary Williams of Pentwyn in 1882. Pentwyn was just down the road from Poplar Trees Cottages. They lived in Lower Poplar Trees until Harriet’s death in early 1901, and had no children to my knowledge. At the time of the 1901 census, Theophilus was a widower, although this didn’t last long! He married Rachel Griffiths in the July-September Quarter, 1901. They had two daughters (Mary Elsie born c. 1902 and Gertrude c.1904) both born at Glascoed. By the 1911 census, they had moved to 16 Old Bailey, Pontymoile, Pontypool. Theophilus was now working Picking out in the Pickling Department at the Galvanizing works. He had been working at the Steel and Galvanizing works at the time of the 1891 and 1901 censuses too - I assume with the same employer.

The Register of Electors in 1909 shows that Theophilus was still at Lower Poplar Trees.

By 1911, the Porch family had moved into the Cottage. Edward Rees Porch and Florence Rowlands had married in the Summer of 1909. Florence was actually at Upper Poplar Trees in 1891 (See above). Her Uncle David and his sister, Elizabeth (who was probably Florence’s mother) must have heard that the tenancy next door had come up so the timing was perfect. I assume that they moved in in 1909.

Edward (born around 1884) was from Beckington in Somerset and worked as a Builder’s mason.

Edward and Florence were both on the 1922 Register of Electors although had moved on by 1929, where a Henry Morgan was the registered voter at Lower Poplar Tree Cottage.

1939 Residents

There were two sets of residents at the Poplar Tree Cottages at the time of the 1939 National Register. One was a Richard M. Morgan. The other was an Alfred Price , whose wife was Florence Price. From her Date of Birth, I am almost certain that this was the Florence born Rowlands, who married Edward Rees Porch. A Florence Porch was found to have married an Alfred Price in the Pontypool Registration District in the December Quarter of 1931. This must have been Florence. I can’t prove which Poplar Tree Cottage she was living in in 1939. If asked to guess, I’d say Lower Poplar Tree Cottage, from the order they appear on the census record, although this is a guess!

RECORDS (Lower Poplar Tree):

Censuses:    1841    1851    1861    1871    1881    1891    1901    1911

1939 National Register: Either Alfred and Florence Price (nee Rowlands then Porch) or Richard M. Morgan.

See 1939 Residents section for some conjecture on this!

Registers of Electors:

1889, 1909, 1922, 1889, 1909, 1922, 1929.