Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Census wanderings updated
Either this cottage above or the footings below belonged to Troedyrhiw, home to generations of Sieve Makers or Clog Makers, depending on the demand for either. In 1841 it houses James Thomas, a 40 year old Sievemaker, his wife Ann, also 40, their daughters Elizabeth (20), Mary (20), Ann (15), Margaret (14), and Hannah (7); and their sons David (10), William (5) and Thomas (6 mths). This is by no means a large cottage - whichever ruin you look at. 10 people would have been a tight fit in here.
In 1861, it housed Sarah Bowen, who was unmarried and earning her keep as a "netting woman"; James James, 70 years of age, was still at work as a sieve maker, and his wife Ann was 63.
In 1891, William Williams, 40, Clogmaker; his wife Maria, 41, and daughters Margaretta (12), Elizabeth (9) and Sarah (4), lived here.
Below, the Butcher's Broom in the hedgerow by a triangle of land that probably house Brechfai and its occupants. Butcher's Broom was cut and used for sweeping, and the leaves are hard and quite prickly.
I "think" this is where Brechfai was. There is no other reason for a little triangle of land remaining like this, and as there is some Butcher's Broom growing in the hedgerow in the above photo (although no box, which is the usual cottage plot indicator), I would be fairly sure that a cottage once stood there. Anyway, it stood in 1891, and here lived farmer David Thomas, aged 40, his wife Mary who was 34, and their children Joshua (9), Rachel (7), Margaret (5), John (4), Henry Thomas (1) and a farm servant, Albert Bray. Children were often about 2 years apart in age, as breastfeeding delayed the return of the menses, which was about the only form of contraception amongst poor people. (Though perhaps D H Lawrence would suggest another, hence the controversy over the publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover . . .) The term "farmer" applied, whether it was 2 acres or 200 . . .
This sagging gateway led to the Factory, used for processing wool. Its "proper" name was Nantybaste Factory, in 1841. John Jones, 50, woolcarder (not born in the county), and his sons William and David, both 15, lived here then. In 1861, it was run by Wool Spinner Thomas Thomas, 41, who was born reasonably locally in Llandybier. He was married to Rachel (32) and they had children David (14), John (7), William (6), Anne (3) and James (1). By 1891, it housed John and Margaret Haines and their 7 children. He was a wool spinner from Evesham, Worcs.
I will continue with this tomorrow, on the other side of the river.
This is my current project on the domestic front. Over the past year my eldest daughter and I (in spare moments) knitted some simple squares to be made up into a bedspread for her bed up in Uni. However, she is now in more urgent need of a lap quilt, so I am going to line and back this today, and put some ties through to hold it in place, and get it quickly away in the post, as the rented house is absolutely freezing, even with the heating on . . . I am also knitting dishclothes. Watch this space.