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 GLASCOED

 PEOPLE & PLACES

SUNNY BANK COTTAGE

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The Meredith family are one of my favourite Glascoed family, although from newspaper reports I suspect that they were not always popular with my ancestors, the Pitt family, and others!


James (“Jemmy”) and Caroline Meredith were at Sunny Bank in 1861 for sure, and newspaper reports show Jemmy reporting that “I acquired the house and land from my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law was convicted. He gave them to me two or three years before he was convicted.” James’ brother-in-law, Phillip Lewis was at “Twyn Mary Samuel” in 1841, with James and Caroline Meredith. This seems to anchor “Twyn Mary Samuel” as being the same property as “Sunny Bank Cottage”.


You can read more about the Merediths and the Lewis in their bios: e.g. James/Jemmy Meredith, Phillip Lewis and his sister Caroline, who married Jemmy Meredith. They were also central characters in the “Glascoed Riots” which played out partly outside the Meredith’s lands (hedges, trees and enclosures were uprooted on their property, gunshots were fired and women and dogs were fighting!).


Jemmy died in February 1871, and was buried at Llanfihangel Pontymoile Church. The 1871 census sees Caroline on the census as an “Annuitant” heading the family. Genuki describes an Annuitant on a census in this way: “Annuitant ~ The term annuitant could describe someone on an annual allowance as well as someone receiving annual income from an investment. Often however, it was also used for institutionalized pensioners.”


Living with Caroline were her sons Thomas (aged 28) and Philip (aged 21), both working as Labourers at the Iron Works and recently married daughter Martha (now named Harney - although written as Harvey on the census). Martha married John Harney in 1867 at Cardiff. This marriage did not last very long. I believe that John was transported for sheep stealing in 1869 or 1870. This newspaper report gives a clue, although I’m sure I read somewhere else that John was transported (to Australia?) for this crime.


Martha married James Eddins (a Herefordshire native, who was at Panta House in 1871 and Cwm Soar in 1881) in 1891. James had previously been married too (to a Charlotte Bayton).


Merediths continued to live at Sunny Bank Cottage right the way through to the 20th century. In 1881, Caroline was there with her daughter Martha (here with the surname “Arnold” or this could possibly be Adlum?), Son Phillip and her grand-daughter Sarah (who I believe was likely to have been John Harney’s daughter).


Caroline died on 9th May 1888, according to the Probate indexes. The Executor was her son, Philip (an “Engine driver”) and it was Philip who continued living at Sunny Bank Cottage with his family.


Philip was listed on the 1889 Register of electors as qualifying through ownership.

Philip married Emily Cutler (11 years his junior, born in Malvern, Worcestershire) on 22nd April 1889. Emily was the daughter of Eliza Eddins. Interestingly, Eliza Eddins’ brother, James married Philip’s sister, Martha Meredith.


Philip and Emily had four children, Eliza (1890), Emily (1891), Caroline (1895) and Andrew James Meredith (1899). All except Philip were there in Sunny Bank Cottage at the time of the 1901 census. Sadly Philip had died in the first quarter of 1901. Emily later married a Jeremiah Smith in 1910. Jeremiah was born circa 1847 at Hopesay, Shropshire. She was living at Monkswood at the time of the 1911 census; along with Jeremiah and her youngest son, Andrew Meredith.


By 1909 (the Register of Electors), Frank Summers was the Head of Household at “Sunny Banks”. He was still at “Sunny Bank Cottage” in 1901 for the census, where we see the rest of his family: his wife of 10 years, Annie, and son Francis (aged 8). They had only had one child by this point. Frank was a general farm labourer and was born in Panteg (circa 1867/8). Both Annie and Frank were born in Glascoed. I would imagine that Francis was born in Sunny Bank Cottage (going on the death year of Philip Meredith).


Frank and Annie were occupiers rather than owners, as indicated on the 1909 (Frank only), 1922 and 1929 Registers of Electors. By 1929, Francis (junior) was also entitled to vote and still living at the property. It appears that the cottage was probably owned by a John Jeffreys of Market Street, Pontypool in 1909 from these Registers.


RECORDS


Census: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1901.


Registers of Electors. From 1841 - 1929 (selected years).

Sunny Bank Cottage was only given that name in the 1911 census. I have used this name to distinguish the property from the neighbouring Sunny Bank Farm. The names the property went under in various censuses (with their census numbers) were:

1841  - #36. Twyn Mary Samuel.

1851 - #15. Lower House.

1861 - #17. Sunny Bank.

1871 - #21. No Name given. Next door to Sunny Bank (Farm).

1881 - #34. Sunny Bank.

1891 - #36. Sunny Bank.

1901 - #23. Sunny Bank.

1911 - #36. Sunny Bank Cottage.


From 1861, an alternative property was also named Sunny Bank on the censuses, although in 1861, this was uninhabited. The 1871 census shows Daniel and Mary Jones as the residents, to 1911 and beyond presumably. The 1911 lists their property as “Sunny Bank” Description: Farm House as opposed to Sunny Bank Cottage.