Village history People Records Houses Newspapers Updates


Home About Links Contact

Upper House, Glascoed

Upper House is situated off Glascoed Lane, near the entrance to Pergoed Lane. At first, I got quite confused, since there is another Upper House just off the centre of the village (off Cwm Road). Since this actually falls within the Parish of Llanbaddock, that house is referred to as “Upper House, Llanbaddock”.

Upper House, Glascoed, only really appears on the 1871 census. Although there is a “Upper House” on the 1851 census, I believe that this was a name given to the house enumerated due to its location (my theory is that it was “Bush Cottage” and that the present day “Upper House” was only named as such on the census from 1871 onwards.

Catherine Harris who was resident at the time of the 1871 census, was formerly Catherine Lewis, wife of Job Lewis.

Catherine and Job were married on February 24th, 1859 at Usk Church by the Rev. Wm. Evans. Notice of the marriage was published in the Usk Observer. Prior to this, in 1851 both Job and Catherine were living at Trostra Lower with John and Elizabeth Lewis. The census shows that Job Lewis was their nephew and Catherine Williams, aged 19, was a servant. In 1861 Job and Catherine were living at Lower Cwm, with Job, an uncle William Lewis and a one year old son, also called William Lewis. Job was a leading figure in the “Glascoed Riots”. Read the stories to get a real flavour of his character. He could be fiery if the stories are to be believed and a bit of a leader in the Riots. Job sadly died when he fell from a haywagon in 1865 and broke his back. He’s one of those characters I’d have loved to have met.

1869 was an interesting year for Catherine. The farm was put up for auction on 11th March 1869. Then in June, there was a significant fire at the property. A child set fire to a shed by accident, it appears. This spread to an empty adjacent barn, which was also burned down and set fire to the pine end of the main house.

Catherine married John Harris (a number of years her senior) on 2nd July 1869 at Goytre.

The 1871 census gives us more detail on John and Catherine. He was a 66 year old Carpenter who had been born at Raglan. Catherine was by now aged 42 and was born in Panteg. Their children were all Catherine and Job’s children and born at Glascoed: William aged 11, Mary Ann aged 8 and John aged 6. Catherine’s mother was also living with them - a 69 year old Annuitant born in Goytre.

The 1881 Census has Catherine as aged 49 (she must have forgotten a few birthdays ;) ) and while she was listed as married, her husband was not at home. Her two elder children were

 Catharine Harris Wife Married  49  Monmouthshire Panteg

 William Lewis Son Unmarried 21  Labourer Monmouthshire Glascoed

 Maryann Lewis Daughter Unmarried  18  Monmouthshire Glascoed

 Mary Williams Mother Unmarried  78  Monmouthshire Goitrey

John Harris must have died in between these censuses, although since he is not listed as being at home in 1881, there’s a possibility that he had died earlier than this. While Catherine was listed as “Married” in 1881, it’s unusual that John was not home. Catherine’s son John Lewis was also not at home; he was listed at one of the largest farms in the neighbourhood, Trostrey, with the Jenkins family. He was working as an agricultural labourer. Catharine’s mother was still living at Upper House on this census.

The 1891 Census shows Catherine named as “Kitty Lewis” interestingly, rather than Harris. She was a widow being supported by her sons on the farm, William and John. Again, it’s interesting to note that against William’s name, his occupation is down as Farmer (for Squire Leigh) although the reference to Squire Leigh was later deleted. Mary Ann was still there with her brothers, altho0ugh there is no sign of Kitty’s mother. I assume she must have died in the previous ten years.

Catherine died in May 1896, aged 62. She was buried at Monkswood churchyard on 31st May 1896.

In 1892 William Lewis married Mary Williams of Cross Farm, and was listed as living there on the 1901 census. A family story says that Mary Williams was engaged to marry John Lewis, William’s brother, however this engagement was broken and she married his older brother William. William and Mary had 4 sons and 1 daughter whilst John and Martha settled at Upper House and had 3 daughters. This caused much resentment between the two brothers.

The 1911 census shows John and Martha continuing to live at Upper House, although sadly only with Kate and Elizabeth at home since Rachel had died just a month prior to the census, aged just sixteen. What tragic news. Daniel Jones a married Waggoner was also on the farm.

My Uncle Arnold Pitt, tells me that his father Ernie recalled:

John Lewis farmed at Upper House and bred pit ponies, which he sold on to local mine owners. There was one particular mine owner who used to buy John's ponies. The business was apparently very profitable.

Ernie recalled seeing the mine owner in question at Upper House, and described him as having his ‘feet under the table’”.

John sadly died in May 1938, leaving Martha (also known as Pattie) a widow.

The 1939 National Register lists Martha as the Head of the Household. Her date of birth is confirmed as 3rd December 1863, and she is a widow.  Harry Williams (born 27th June 1898) had married Elizabeth Lewis and was now the farmer. Elizabeth’s 9th January 1901. There was also a Bertha Williams (DOB 8th July 1881), who I assume may have been Harry’s mother. I can’t prove this yet though! John A. Evans was a 31 year old General Farm Servant. One other resident lived there, although their “record is officially closed” due to UK Data Protection Law.

Mount Zion transcriptions

8.  In loving memory of John the beloved husband of Martha Lewis of Upper House Glascoed who died May 10th 1938 aged 72 years. Also of Martha Lewis wife of the above who died Jan 10th 1942 aged 81. To be with Christ which is far better.

9. In loving memory of Rachel the beloved daughter of John and Martha Lewis of Upper House, Glascoed, who departed this life March 3rd 1911. Aged 16 yrs. To be with Christ which is far better.

In loving memory of Kate beloved wife of Oliver Thomas Harris Croesllanfro, Rogerstone, and dearest daughter of John and Martha Lewis Upper House, Glascoed died 9th August 1949 aged 50 years. Also the above Oliver Thomas Harris died 25th Jan 1975 aged 79 years.