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Roger Williams, Beech Farm.

Roger, who always appeared as a farmer while at Glascoed, was actually born in the Crickhowell area of Breconshire. His date of birth is unclear, but was in approx 1791. The 1861 census states that he was from Cwmbychan, near Crickhowell. There are differing theories as to where this was. Glyn Williams informed me that Roger’s parents were Philip Williams (c.1752-1st March 1830) and Elizabeth (c1767-26/11/1836). Philip had farmed Beech Farm prior to 1830 and Roger took this over, to be succeeded by his widow, Ann in 1872 and son Philip on Ann’s death in 1884.

What we do know of him is that he married a Glascoed girl, Ann Morgan, at Usk Parish Church on 4th October 1830. They had at least eight children together and both Roger and Ann lived to a ripe old age.

He appears to have been a regular chapel-goer, and we learn something of his character from the following story which appears in the History of Mount Zion Baptist Chapel:

“Some came to chapel in frock coats (a kind of gown coat). One Roger Williams, of Beech Farm, always stood in the coat vestry for the whole service, he never sat down”

His children were JamesMary AnnJohnElizabethPhilipWilliamHenry and Charles. I’m not actually sure whether Charles was actually Roger and Ann’s son - I believe he was more likely to be a Grandson. See Charles’ bio page for more detail.

Elizabeth gave birth to her first child out of wedlock - the father was not named on the birth certificate - and even though Elizabeth married Richard Arnold one month later, Mary Ann always appeared on censuses at Beech Farm (not with her parents). In the 1861 census she was noted as “Relationship to Head: Visitor”. Was this to try to keep the family looking “respectable” to outsiders? I am probably just reading too much into this!

Roger was prosperous enough to be registered as a voter in the earliest electoral registers I found (from 1832 onwards).

In the Apportionment of rent charge in lieu of tithes of 1840, Roger owned a dwelling house and 1 acre, 2 roods and 1 pole and was tenant of approx 63 or 64 acres at Beech Farm. Roger rented his land out to one Richard Morgan. Since his wife Ann had been a Morgan, I had assumed that Richard was probably a relative by marriage (possibly his father in law?). On further reflection, the only Richard Morgan in the censuses was born in English Bicknor, in the Forest of Dean, so that may be a wrong assumption on my part. Roger’s acreage in 1851 was “65 acres”. In 1861 he was a “farmer of 85 acres”.

He was appointed “Surveyor” for Glascoed in 1856, according to this report in the Usk Observer.

He died on 11th March 1872 at Glascoed, aged approx 81. I don’t know where Roger was buried, although suspect it was at Mount Zion Baptist Chapel graveyard, since I found a small headstone marked simply “R.W.” next to some other family graves.


1841 census

1851 census

1861 census

1871 census

Last Will and Testament of Roger Williams

Indenture re house in Abersychan with occupier, William Williams

Registers of Electors

1832 through to 1872.