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.


A Saucerful Of Secrets said...

Hi there,this post is so thought provoking,all those souls now gone....what a lovely thing to do, I will be back to find out more.Best Wishes from Annie x

Anonymous said...

I linked over from one of my blog friends and looking forward to reading your past posting.
Never thought about turning knitted squares into a quilt.. great idea.

thelma said...

Knitting dishcloths what with? ;)
Is'nt Wales a treasure house of long gone stories, its sad all these ruined cottages.

Rowan said...

It's so interesting reading about these people now long gone, I wonder what happened to them all, did the children marry? Emigrate? Have children of their own? Are there still descendents around I wonder? I think it would be so exciting to live in a really old house and have someone knock at the door one day and say ' my great-great grandparents lived here in the 1840s. I've been the knocker on the door once and the lady who lived there was as excited as me because she was actually researching the history of the cottage! The lap quilt is lovely, hope it arrives before the next cold spell.

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Thank you so much for this entry.

Mmmm, did I already say that? ,-)

I've been having a great time, bouncing around in your blog entries. By now, I'm not sure where I left a comment, and where I didn't! :-) But you will understand.

And as to the knitting, I'm not talented thus. But my daughter is. She knits beautifully and even spins some of her own yarn. {I have to throw this fact in, when writing to knitters, to *make up* for my lack, in those talented areas. -big smile-}

Aunt Amelia
"I wish the sky would rain down roses... They would fall as light as feathers, smelling sweet: and it would be like sleeping and yet waking all at once." ~~George Eliot

Goosey said...

Isn't it fascinating to find out what people did and how they lived, and now the 1911 census is out, although I haven't managed to get on it yet! Lovely post.

Bovey Belle said...

Amelia - I too am not a talented knitter - I can do plain, purl, and combinations, but am Easily Confused! This lap quilt started off as going to be a much bigger project for my daughter's bed, then she got involved in her dissertation research, so I took over, and standardised the squares. I also got a huge bagful of half balls and oddments of similarly coloured pinky-purple wool so the latter part of the throw is a bit samey! Should be warm though. Glad you like what I witter on about - there's a year's supply of entries.

Rowan - I am fascinated by who lived where and when and what happened to them. A few people, I know about. Descendents of John Dyer, the poet of Grongar Hill fame (in the Towy Valley) has descendents - cousinish type ones I would think - who live up our valley and the mother still spreads her washing across the bushes to dry. Kind and happy hardworking folks, but how are the mighty fallen . . .

Thelma - surprisingly, dishcloth cotton it's called! I have found a link to lots of pretty dishcloth designs and am doing some as next year's Christmas pressies! My aged Romsey aunts said they wanted useful things . . .

Hi and welcome to Annie and Posh and Trendy - hope you enjoy the archive.

Anonymous said...

Oooo - Jennie, this is so incredibly interesting! When I lived near Bodmin I used to visit a derelict house on the moor sometimes, with bits of crockery and old pans lying around that had been lived in by two sisters until they were old women; it would be interesting to see the 'family' history of that place.

Around here there is nothing of that sort!