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Richard Arnold, 1832-1916


Beginnings

Richard was born into a relatively well off farming family in 1830 at Llandenny, Monmouthshire. His mum and dad, Richard Arnold and Maria (nee Jones) had already had four children by the time Richard was born, so he wasn’t the one to inherit the family farm. Also it’s interesting to note that his parents’ first child was born before they got married - a trend that Richard followed in the 1850s, when he married Elizabeth Williams, the daughter of a neighbouring farmer (Roger Williams of Beech Farm) a month after the birth of her first child. Anyway, we are getting ahead of ourselves!

Settling in Glascoed

The Arnolds had moved to Maesmawr farm at Glascoed some time between June 1841 and November 1843 (where we find Richard’s dad on the electoral roll). It was a farm that they MAY have had some connections with before the move, since their eldest son was named John Arnold and someone of that name and his age (“15”) was already labouring at the farm for the farmer, Edward Lewis at the time of the 1841 census. The (major) weakness in my surmising here is that the Arnold family still living at Llanishen listed their son John (aged “15”) with them at Llanishen. Richard lived in Glascoed for the rest of his life.

Love, Marriage, Opportunity?

We know that Richard married Elizabeth Williams on the 9th April 1857 at Trevethin Parish Church. For the debate on who the father was see Elizabeth’s page. It must have been designed as a quiet wedding away from the parish - since Elizabeth’s first daughter, Mary Ann had been born 1 month earlier.

They moved away from Glascoed briefly, to the Bryngwyn, near Raglan at some point between 1857 and 1860 when their next children, Maria (1860) and Martha (1861) were born, but came back to Glascoed by the time of the birth of their fourth child, James in 1864.

Their other children were all born at Glascoed: Annie (1865), Sarah (1866), William (1869), Emily (1873), the twins, Elizabeth and Philip (1875), Thomas (1877) and the youngest Ellen (1880).

Elizabeth and Richard lived in several places in Glascoed. The ones I know of are: a house described as “Near Beech Farm” in 1881 (I think this is Beech Cottage/ Spider Castle) and had moved to Upper Twyn by 1891 and stayed there until their deaths. I had gone by the written records where Richard is generally listed as an agricultural labourer, but my father’s cousin, Clyde Purnell (nee Brown), who met Richard and Elizabeth as a small child told me that he was in fact a farmer in his own right, and NOT a Labourer - he had to give up the Farm after going blind. She remembers visiting him - every time he met her, he would beckon her over, feel her head, face & shoulders and say "My, how you've grown", and comment on the rate of her growth. She commented how everyone in Glascoed seemed to be related to each other!

The arrival of the Motor Car

Richard’s grandson Ernie Pitt (Mary Ann’s son) told a tale about how he had been travelling on a horse and trap with his grandfather as a very young boy (approx 1900). A new-fangled motor car rumbled past causing Richard to blurt out the immortal question - "What was that farting thing??"

Blindness

Richard went blind at the turn of the century (he was probably going blind at the time of the motor car story!) so he would likely have needed some care. Their youngest daughter, Nellie stayed at home to look after her parents. She only got married after their deaths (to Reg Perrett). Clyde Purnell told me that she remembered Richard as having a big bushy white beard. This memory of Richard’s appearance was confirmed when I saw a family photograph including Richard. He looked a fine old gentleman.

Death

Elizabeth died on 11th February 1916, and was about 80 years old. As you often find, a couple who have been married for that length of time don’t stay apart for very long. Richard died on 16th December 1916, being at least 84 years of age and was buried with his wife at Mount Zion Baptist chapel.

Records I have of Richard are:

Censuses of 1841 (at Llanishen), 1851, 1861 (at Brynwern near Raglan), 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911.

Marriage certificate to Elizabeth Williams (to be added).

Daughter’s birth certificate (to be added): Mary Ann Arnold (Her birth certificate is as Mary Ann Williams, although she always called herself Mary Ann Arnold).

Monumental inscription at Mount Zion Baptist Chapel.