Items of interest on the 'Ysgafell' or 'Scafell' area of Newtown,
which is on the back road to Aberhafesp. 
The properties have been named and renamed over the years,
many sharing the same name.
Scafell, Upper Scafell, Middle Scafell, Lower Scafell,
Scafell Cottage, Scafell Station, Waenybricks,
being the main ones.
There are three farming articles by Mr Stan Wilson,
whose family lived at Middle Scafell and Waenybricks,
and are a record of that area in bygone days. 
They first appeared in The Newtonian magazine,
and are reproduced here by kind permission of
The Newtown History Group.




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1. A Felony at Hendidley, 21st May 1554

2. Henry Williams Ysgafell, and the Field of Blessing

3. Man of Kerry - Vavasor Powell

4. Beatrix Potter travels through Newtown by Train

5. Lower Scafell - Fire 1874

6. Focus on the many Ysgafell properties and neighbours,
over the years 1841 - 1901.

7. St Giles Newtown Golf Club Centenary
1895 - 1995
Golf Club at The Bryn

8. Distressing Suicide at Newtown., 1904

9. Man Killed at Newtown, 1905

10. Freehold Agricultural Sale, Aberhafesp
27th July 1917

11. Farming Years Ago

12. Michaelmas Fair, 28th October 1930

13. Farming During the War

14.Fresh Air and Fire - Stan Wilson's contribution

15. Rail Tragedy Averted, 21st June 1936

16. Sale of Middle Scafell 22 Agust 1961

Taken from

Bebb the Plaintiff

Stephen Jones of the Montgomeryshire Genealogical Society related some information he'd heard, describing Bebb as an English name:
"Just to explain a bit, Murray Chapman has shown that there was a "plantation" of Arwystli with Derbyshire people by the Earl of Leicester in the mid 16th century and many of the English names in Montgomeryshire (e.g. Bumford, Wilson) go back to this phenomenon. Murray has examined muster rolls and Court of Great Sessions records for the period, extracting those people with English surnames. They show clearly that, apart from in Arwystli, there was no significant level of English surnames in any other part of Montgomeryshire at the time."

I wrote to Mr. Chapman. In his reply he mentioned a reference in the Montgomeryshire Court of Great Sessions, held Monday 21 May 1554 at Pool: (File Ref: WALES 4/124-1 m.22)

INDICTMENT against Margaret Paramore a of Hendidle, spinster, that on 14 February 1554, at Hendidle, she broke and entered the barn of Thomas Bebb and feloniously stole a canvas called a 'wyno shete' (5d) and another sheet (6d) belonging to the said Thomas Bebb. (That William Paramore of Hendidle, husbandman, having knowledge of the felony, feloniously received, abetted and consorted with the said Margaret [crossed out])

a: Confessed to the felony.

Signed David Lloyd, scribe.

Marginal Note: Felony. Confessed to the felony.

Endorsed: Prosecutor: Thomas Bebb. Witnesses: Roger Perks, David ap Owen.

Second Jury. A True Bill.


Within the parish of Llanllwchaiarn, comprising of 4000 acres of enclosed land on the northern bank of the River Severn, stands a timber framed house of the fifteenth or sixteenth century. Together with nearby lands, it bears the name of YsgafellIn the time of King Charles I, that house and estate belonged to an old Welsh family which had adopted the anglicised surname of Williams. The family once had a silver seal dating from King Edward the third's time.

In September 1646, a Mr Vavasor Powell was especially authorised by the Assembly of Divines to exercise his ministry in Wales. He was 25 and hailed originally from Knucklas, Radnorshire. He moved through Wales, preaching either in houses, barns, yards, fields or on mountains "Repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ".

Among his converts was Henry Williams the younger of Ysgafell. Vavasor lived nearby and had the opportunity of securing his influence over Henry. Their confessions of faith agreed with the Church of England. Their moral code was to live in accordance to the will of God. They preferred adult baptism to that of children and objected to episcopacy, tithes and forms of prayer. They were against war, oaths and capital punishment. They felt entitled to exercise civil and religious liberty.

Vavasor Powell was arrested in London in 1653 for denouncing Oliver Cromwell for being Lord Protector and was subsequently detained for a few days.

 Oliver Cromwell


 The following year, Vavasor prepared a paper which reached Cromwell, which remonstrated against Cromwell's assumption of supreme power. A postscript reads "Some of the subscribers were threatened with imprisonment, and orders were issued out to imprison some (whereof one was secured) namely, Mr Vavasor Powell, who was taken by a company of soldiers, from a day of fasting and prayer, at Aberbechan in Montgomeryshire, where many saints were gathered together, which caused him much sadness, yea, and much heartbreakings to them all, and he remained for some time a prisoner upon that account".

In the appended list of names, that of Henry Powell occurs twice, together with those of Richard Baxter, Vavasor Powell, Thomas Tudge, Lewis Price etc.

A series of cruel persecutions against all non conformists was carried on under various pretexts, throughout the reign of Charles II pictured left, between 1660 - 1685.

On the 18th July 1660, an order in Council on a letter from Sir Matt. Price, High Sheriff of Montgomeryshire complained that Richard Price of Aberbechan, Sir Richard Saltenstall and Vavasor Powell, a most factious and dangerous minister, countenanced unlawful assemblies and seditious persons, that they be taken into safe custody and all informations etc, against them committed to the Board.

On the 24th July, Sir Matthew Price wrote to Secretary Nicholas that the fanatics hold frequent meetings, notwithstanding repeated warnings, and use threatening language. Before the late plot they gave each other bread  on a rapier's point and demanded back the arms taken from them, with threats of compelling their restoration. They have many concealed arms and long knives, prepared for Lambert's late insurrection, to cut the throats of all the Cavallier's in these parts. They intended the same now had Argyle's plot taken effect. Sent to their meeting of Aberbechan last Sunday, and ordered them to cease such meetings. They said they would not while they lived and cared not who forbade it. Committed some of the ringleaders to prison, among them Lewis Price and Vavasor Powell, who forwarded a petition for execution of the late King and have been promoters of sedition. No justice but himself dares interfere with them.

On the 30th July, a letter from Vavasor Powell to Henry Williams, Captain L. Price and Thomas Tudge at Pool, was 'secured' by Sir Matthew Price. The letter assures hid three friends that he is importunate, at the hazards of his own liberty, to secure theirs, that the sheriff refused it, but says they can be released tomorrow on bail for their appearance. They must prepare for more sufferings or expect strange deliverace shortly.

From this period the Welsh Baptists of Montgomeryshire, under the peaceful guidance of Henry Williams, appear to have given up all connection with politics. Nevertheless, they suffered merciless persecution under an Act of Parliament which received the royal assent in May 1664, and assumed that all the religious meetings of non-conformists were mere pretext for sedition.

Henry Williams was in prison from time to time for about nine years.

He had his house burnt to the ground by persecutors one time. One instance was when he was in prison. Mrs Williams was near her confinement - she took one child in her arms and another in her hand, thinking to go over the Severn to a friend's house to save her own life and the lives of her children, and leave her goods to be demolished as they thought proper.

One would have thought her situation was enough to melt any heart, but for all this, one of the soldiers with uncommon cruelly and dreadful oaths, cocked his pistol at her and said "Where are you going?". But with that, his officer saw and heard him, and instantly knocked him down, saying, "You villain, she was trouble enough without you insulting her". So the officer very humanely, sent a guard with her and gave strict orders to see her safely across the river, and guard her to her friend's house, without any molestation.

Henry Williams was ordained as pastor for the Montgomeryshire Nonconformists on the 28th August, 1672.

Another time, when Mr Williams was preaching, the enemies rushed in upon him, insulted, beat and much abused him, then dragged him out and were to kill him.

These are just a few examples of how he was persecuted.

One year, around September or October, he was again plundered, his cattle taken from him and so on, which was the custom in those days. About that time, he had a piece of wheat sown, the crop the next summer of which was so wonderful, that possibly there never was seen such a thing before in any part of the world. There were two or three very good and full ears upon each of the stalks which grew from the root, called 'double triple'. This crop more than double made up the loss by the plunder the previous year. It astonished all the country.

Another instance saw some soldiers beset the house suddenly, in order to plunder as he was a minister, and did not come to church. This greatly alarmed the family. Mr Williams's father then lived with him. The old gentleman stood at the top of the stairs with a design to prevent the plunderers coming up the stairs, but the bloody men, with halberts (a wepon of the 1400s and 1500s having an axelike blade and a steel spike mounted on the end of a long shaft) and other weapons of cruelty, killed the good man on the spot. The minister had run out to hide some property, else he too would have been killed. There was no remedy then for innocent blood shed in that way.

There were two justices in the neighbourhood that had a particular hand in his persecutions, and one of them died suddenly at dinner, and the other coming home drunk from Newtown, fell in the Severn and drowned. Also the sheriff, or his deputy who plundered Mr Williams of his stock, fell off his horse in sight of Mr Williams's house and broke his neck and drowned at the same time. It was a small brook , it seems, and breaking his neck by the fall, it is likely his body pounded up the water and so gave rise to the report that he died double death at once.


The Ysgafell property was sold about the year 1784, by Mr Williams of Evenjobb, Radnorshire, to Mr Athelstan Hamer of Newtown. The late lineal representatives of the Williamses of Ysgafell, Mr Henry David Williams, afterwards of her Majesty's 54th and 26nd regiments, who visited the place in the year 1829, was informed of all circumstances of Mr Williams' life (from an Elegy written about him), by Mr Owen, the tenant farmer, who pointed out the field which produced the extraordinary crop of wheat, and the ford by which Mrs Williams had crossed the Severn. He spoke of the burning of the house and mentioned the tradition that two members of the family were buried in the garden, which then, in 1829, formed part of an orchard and more no signs of their interment.

Cae Bendith, or the Field of Blessing, was an object of interest to Welshmen and sometimes, a place of pilgrimage. 

An account of Henry Williams of Ysgafell. summarised below, was sent about 1778 to Mr Williams of Evenjobb, Radnorshire, by H. Jones of Black Hall, Kerry.   

Mr Vavasor Powell, Baptist minister died in 1670 and as he was in prison for about 9 years before he died, the congregation had no minister. They preached amongst themselves. Mr Henry Williams was one of these, and he was a very pious man. He made notes from sermons, and used them himself to preach when no one was available. He was well educated and a good man, and was encouraged to engage in the ministry. He undertook the task although times were very unfavourable.

In 1713, the following was written of Henry Williams. He is an itinerant preacher, disabled from his ministry in 1662, but continued to preach privately in several places across the county. He suffered much for the sake of a good conscience, both by imprisonment and the spoiling of his goods. He endured all patiently and continued with the work of the Lord. He died about 1685, aged 60.

Man of Kerry

Article reproduced here courtesy of the Kerry News Magazine 
August 2005

VAVASOR POWELL (1617-1670), a notable Nonconformist preacher, was a native of Radnorshire. His mother, Penelope Vavasor, was a native of Newtown. In his early days, having spent a short time at Oxford, he became curate and schoolmaster at Clun. Here he came under the influence of the Puritan preacher, Walter Craddock. He himself began to preach around the Welsh border country, preaching every day and several times during the day. From 1648 to 1660, he lived at The Goitre, Kerry. In 1650, he was instrumental in procuring an Act for the Propagation of the Gospel in Wales, and he helped to bring out three editions of the New Testament in Welsh, and an edition of 6,000 copies of the Welsh Bible. He was a staunch Republican, and opposed Cromwell assuming the Protectorship. For this he was arrested while preaching at Aberbechan, near Newtown, and taken prisoner to Worcester. In 1660 he opposed the Restoration, and spent seven years in prison in consequence. Many attempts were made upon his life, at Newtown, at Guilsfield, and at Machynlleth. Through his untiring zeal and complete self-sacrifice he made a lasting impression upon the life and character of the people of Mid-Wales.

(Visit the KERRY NEWS website here; )

On the 13th May 1885, Beatrix Potter, then aged 19 went on a train journey from Shrewsbury to Machynlleth, travelling through Newtown. This is what she wrote in her journal that day: 

Went with papa and mama to Machynlleth in Merioneth. From Euston to Stafford by Holyhead Mail all very well, but the Welsh railways are past description. Four hours to go sixty miles between Shrewsbury and Machynlleth. When mushrooms are in season the guard gets out to pick them.
Machynlleth, wretched town, hardly a person could speak English. Wynnstay Arms to which we were directed, closed since two years. Lion, only other, a singular place. Country most beautiful, but on rather an awkwardly large scale for getting about. House we went to see, Pennal Power, in a wilderness. Widow, Mrs Thurston, alarming result, and warning of living in the wilds.
Village of Pennal consisted of three large Chapels and about twelve other houses. Welsh seem a pleasant intelligent race, but I should think awkward to live with. The children exceedingly pretty, black or red, with pink complexions and clear blue eyes. The middle-aged are very plain, but the old people are better. The language is past description.




8th May 1874

FIRE-On Saturday morning, May 2nd, a serious fire occurred at the farm building, at the Lower Scafell. Messengers were at once sent to Newtown for the engines, and those belonging to the Shropshire and North Wales, and Salop Fire Offices were immediately despached by the agents of the respective offices, and they were accompanied by a large body of volunteers, who went to render what assistance they could.
On arriving on the spot it was found that the the buildings were almost entirely burnt down, and that the house was in flames, and it was towards the latter the efforts to get the flames under were directed. After several hours of the greatest exertion in which the public joined with great willingness, the fire was extinguished as far as the house was concerned, though the buildings were burnt to the ground. As usual upon occasions of this character the populace worked well, the efforts made by Mr John Pilot, Mr Sergeant Hudson, Mr Charles Thomas and many others were very highly spoken of.

The damage, it is stated, will fall principally upon the proprietor, the Rev. H. H. Herbert, who, we understand upon the death of the late Miss Hamer, of Glandulas became the possessor of the estate. The origin of the fire is attributed to a spark from the chimney falling upon some loose straw in front of the farm building, which at once caught fire, and owing to the quantity of old and dry woodwork, the flames spread with great rapidity. Before the engines arrived the bulk of the furniture had been removed from the house, under the direction of Sergeant Hudson, who was the first on the ground and as soon as the fire was discovered the cattle were all let out of the buildings. The tenant's loss is not large. 

In 1851, these were the residents in the locality.

George Soley 60, a farmer  of  30 acres employing  2 lab labourers, born in  Tregynon, was head of household at Scafell. His wife Elizabeth was  59, and also born in Tregynon. Their house servant, Sarah Davies 24 was from Llanidloes, and the two agricukltural laborers John Moses24 and William Thomas 17 were from Tregynon.

William Francis 49, of Llandinam, farmed 144 acres at Scafell and employed 3 labourers. His wife Dorothy  49, came from Llanidloes. Their sons Richard 16, Edward 14 and Thomas 10 were born in Llandinam, but daughter Mary A. 9 was born in the parish of Llanllwchaiarn. Agricultural labourers were Thomas Griffiths 25 of Tregynon, Lewis Humphreys 35 of Trefeglwys and Elizabeth Hughes 15 of Carno was a house servant.

Scafell Cottage housed Thomas Morgan 29, an agricultural labourer from Tregynon, and his Llangynog born wife, Elizabeth 21

Upper Scafell was farmed by widower Edward Owen 58 from Llanllwchaiarn. It consisted of 380 acres and had 4 employees toiling the land. Richard Oliver 28, Edward Oliver 21 and John Oliver 16, all noted as his sons were also born in Llanllwchaiarn. Recorded as his daughters were Mary Stephens,29 and married, Jane Oliver 25, Eliza Oliver 14 and granddaughter Jane Stephens 11 months old. All were born in Llanllwchaiarn, as was agricultural labourer John Evans 25, of Trefeglwys, Thomas Jones 17 of Llanllwchaiarn, Charles Jones 12 of Llanmerewig, and house servant Sarah Jones 18 was from Trefeglwys.

William Griffiths  57, a  Brickmaker, from Kerry, lived at Bee Hive with wife Margaret 57 from Llanwnog. Son Thomas Griffiths 18 was a wool feeder, agricultural labourer Abraham Owen 24, wife Margaret 23 and their daughter Elizabeth 5 months old, all born in Llanllwchaiarn are also recorded at Bee Hive. 

Edward Jones 49, an agricultural labourer from Aberhafesp, and his family also resided at Bee Hive. Wife Martha was 39, son Edward 14, both from Aberhafesp, John 7 was from Chirbury and Richard 3 from Llanllwchaiarn. Labourer Owen Williams 63, wife Elizabeth 61 and daughter Margaret 17 a dressmaker were also there.

Richard Mapp 38, a  Wheelwright's assistant,  born in Aberhafesp, lived at Cemybank with wife Mary,  27, born Kerry, John, 9, born Kerry, Richard,  6, born Llanllwchaiarn, and  Mary,  3, born Aberhafesp.

Edward, Jones 57, farmed 200 acres at Scafell with wife Mary 55, both born in  GY Llanllwchaiarn, . Daughter  Margaret, was, 28, sons  Edward 27, Richard 25 were born in Aberhafesp and John 23 , Thomas 16 both draper's assistants, Evan 20, Pryce 13 were born in Llanllwchaiarn.Evan Evans 19,an agricultural labourer was from Llanllwchaiarn,  Martha Evans 26, a house servant, from Tregynon .

Thomas Lloyd 65 farmed 140 acres at Scafell and was born in Bettws. Wife Martha 63 and son John 33 were Llanwnog born, daughter Anne 24 was born in Llanllwchaiarn. Evan Chapman 22 from Penstrowed and David Morris of Llanllwchaiarn, Edward Bumford 19 from Kerry were agricultural labourers and Mary Lloyd 17 from Llangyniew, a housemaid. 

In 1861, these were the residents in the locality.

William Norton 44, from Bishops Castle, farmed 40 acres at Scafell, his wife Sarah, 28, was born in Kempton. Children Arthur H.14, was born in Bishops Castle, Mary M.4, in Llanllwchaiarn, Sarah A, 3, also in  Llanllwchaiarn, Clement, 4 months old was born in Brynhyfryd. The cater was Pryce Jones 17 of Newtown, Elizabeth Samuel 22 a house servant and Fanny Holloway 18 a dairymaid from Wellington.

Evan Goodwin 28 from Berriew also farmed 100 at a property called Scafell, with wife Elizabeth 23 from Guilsfield, where son David 2 was also born. Richard Williams 25 and  David Jones 14 were carters, both of Newtown, Jane Richards 16 a dairymaid from Manafon.

Scafell Cottage housed Evan Chapman 32 an agricultural labourer born in Kerry. His wife Frances 27 was born in Llanllwchaiarn, daughter Mary 5 and son John 2 in Willenshall, with daughter Susan 5 months, born in Llanllwchaiarn. 

Widow Susan Thomas 73, a former dairymaid from Kerry was head of another household at Scafell Cottage, which included an Elizabeth Thomas 71 of Newtown, described as of unsound mind.

Widowed wood ranger William Owen 75, and family of Mary 37, housekeeper, John 33 who farmed 20 acres, Margaret 26 a milliner all born in Aberhafesp and grandson John 6, all lived at Scafell Cottage too. 

Penybank housed Richard Mapp 48 a wheelwright from Aberhafesp, wife Mary 40 was from Kerry. John 19 also a wheelwright was also born in Kerry, his siblings in Llanllwchaiarn. Willaim 10, Thomas 5, Margaret 3 and Charles 1.

Edward Jones 67 farmed 300 acres at Middle Scafell with wife Mary 65, Edward 25, Richard 33, Evan 28, Thomas 24 and Pryce 22, both draper's assistantall born in Llanllwchaiarn. David Owen 28 from Aberhafesp was a carter,Charles Jones 15 his assistant from Kerry, Elizabeth Davies 20 a housemaid and Hannah Davies 20 a dairymaid, both from Kerry.

Brickmaker William Griffiths 68 of Kerry lived at Beehive with wife Margaret 70 of Llanwnog.

Martha Lloyd 73, a farmer's widow, from Llanwnog lived at Scafell with son John 42 also of Llanwnog, Annie 33, Thomas 29 of Llanllwchaiarn. John Jones 21 was a carter from Llandinam, Francis Griffiths  20 a labourer, David Morris 15 a carter's assistant, both of Llanllwchaiarn and Masry Mapp 13, a house servant from Aberhafesp. 

Butcher Thomas Evans 48 of Aberhafesp lived at Upper Scafell with Wife Margaret 38 also of Abehafesp. Children were Sarah 9, Thomas 7, William 5, Harriet 1 all born in Llanllwchaiarn and John 3 born in Nrewtown. Mary Evans 16 from Mongomery was their house servant.

Thomas Mills 65, an agricultural labourer born in Bettws, wife Elizabeth 87 and 83 year old Bridget Jones , formerly a house servant, lived at Green Lane (Cottage)

In 1891, these were the residents in the locality.

Green Lane cottage housed John Jones, 66, a general labourer, born in Llanwnog, wife Elizabeth 57, born inTrefeglwys, daughter Mary A. 22, a  dressmaker, born Llanllwchaiarn.

Wain-a-bricks, was farmed by Thomas Jones 30, born in Aberhafesp. His wife Eliza 31, was a native of Derbyshire. They had three daughters Ellen 4, Jane 1, and Alice 2 months old, all born in Llanllwchaiarn. Alfred Trow 16 of Mochdre was a farm servant there.

Scafell housed David Lewis Lewis 37, a farmer from Llanidloes, wife Mary 41 and servants Mary Benbow, 17, Thomas Gwilt 18 and Henry Bumford 15. Ann Morgans 16 was visiting them at the time.

Another Scafell housed John Bowen 41, a farmer from Mochdre, wife Mary 38, from Llanbadarn and family of Thomas 21, Annie 19 both born in Llanbadarn, Radnorshire, John 16, Martha 15, Richard 13, and Edward all born in Beguildy, Margaret 8, Mary 6, Emily 4, Alice M. 3 and Frances M. 11 months all born in Mochdre. Emily Bowen 17, a dressmaker, also of Mochdre was visiting them. Pryce Jones 19 of Llanbadarn was their farm servant.

Scafell Cottage housed clerk G. M. Evans 28 of Llanidloes and his family. Mother Mary was 71 and widowed from Newtown, sister Anne 30 was single, nephew George A 4, and visitors Albert M. 14 and Edward S. 12, all born in Llanidloes.

Mount Pleasant was farmed by Abraham Jervis 63 of Cemmaes, wife Jane 61 of Carno. Son Thomas 36 and domestic servant Mary Bebb 29 were born in Llanbrynmair. Retired fuller, Thomas Phillips 49 of Newtown boarded with them.

Lower Scafell had Robinson Jones 43, and single, farming there. He and his sister Mary A 39 were born in Tregynon. George Green 35 worked there. He was born in Yarmouth.

Scafell Station had John Evans 35 a warehouseman from Llanfair and his family as occupants. His wife Agnes 35 came from Newtown, children Frank H.10, John H. 8 and Agnes 6 were Newtown born, and Edith L. 3 and Gladys 1, were born in Llanllwchaiarn.

Old Factory House was occupied by Susan Beedles 32 and married, son Maurice 12 both of Llanwnog, Evan 10 of Tregynon, Thomas 7 and Mary A 4, both born in Aberhafesp.

Penybank housed John Jones 48, a farm labourer, of Chirbury, wife Margaret 34, relative Mary Mapp 72, niece Evelyn F 5, son John E. 2 and daughters Mabel E 1 and Ellen M. 2 months old, all born in  Llanllwchaiarn.

Another Lower Scafell was occupied by John Lewis 30, a farmer, of Penegoes and servant Richard Evans 19 of Llandinam.

 In 1901, these were the residents in the locality.

Brynhyfryd housed Clement Norton 40, an ironmonger from Llanllwchaiarn whose wife Mary 30 came from Clun. They had one son Clement E. 5 born in Llanllwchaiarn. Charles Norton 53 a farm labourer was born in Newtown and Maud Thomas 14, a domestic servant, was born in Kerry. 

Lower Scafell still housed farmer John Lewis 38, of Penegoes, wife Margaret A. 33 of Cemmaes, sons John Edgar 7 and Albert 5 both born in Llanllwchaiarn. Polly Rowlands 19 of Cemmaes and Morris Beedles 21  of Llanwnog, were general servants.

Middle Scafell housed John Jones 50, single and a farmer from Tregynon. Living with him was his sister M. A. Jones 42 also of Tregynon.

Scafell Station was occupied by railway platelayer Hugh Jarman 43, of Trefeglwys, wife Mary 43 of Llandinam, sons William 4 and David 3 born in Llanllwchaiarn.

Penybank was still occupied by John Jones 57, a farm labourer of Chirbury, and his family. His wife Margaret was 43, children Emeline F. 14, John E 12, Mabel E. 11, Ellen M. 10, Richard H. 8, William 7, Clement 5, Ethel 4, Beatrice 3 all born in Llanllwchaiarn.

Penybank also housed Susannah Crewe 54, a cottage farmer's wife, of Kerry.

Living at Old Factory was Maurice Bennett 31, a farm labourer of Llandyssil wife Margaret 24 of Llandinam, and daughters Bertha 4, born Llanllwchaiarn, Elizabeth 3, born Newtown and Edith 1 month old. George Griffiths 25 of Churchstoke was visiting them.

Beehive housed widow Mary Thomas 61, a general workwoman born Llanwnog, daughter Margaret Thomas 24 and single born in Berriew, granddaughters Ethel 4 and Mary Dorothy 4 months, born in Llanllwchaiarn. 

Upper Scafell housed James Lloyd, 30, a farmer, brothers Richard 28, Lewis 26, sisters Annie 31, and Mary 23 all of Nantmel.

Little Scafell was occupied by John Jones 35 of Kerry, wife Mary 34 of Llandinam, son Edwin 4 born in Kerry, and daughter Ann 1 born Newtown 

Neuadd Hendidley housed widow Phoebe Jones 69, farmer of Llanwnog, son David 28 born Trefeglwys, nephew Evan E. Jones 10, a cattleman and servant Edward Tanner 23 a waggoner all born in Trefeglwys. Stockman  Joseph Perkins 22 was from Churchstoke and housemaid Ann Orrrells 25, from Trefeglwys

Green Lane housed John Jones 75, a labourer hedger & fencer born in Llanwnog, wife Elizabeth 66 of Trefeglwys and daughter Mary A. 30 a dressmaker born in Llanllwchaiarn.

1895 - 1995

The following is reproduced here by kind permission of the author, Alan Roberts.

The early course was situated high above the town on the Bryn Bank and was very primitive. Access to the course was either on foot through the Bryn Woods, up the Bryn Lane on horseback or pony and trap.

A small hut lit by oil lamps acted as a makeshift clubhouse. The nearby farm leased the rough grazing land and erected fences to prevent ponies and sheep from damaging the greens.

The course measured under 2000 yards and was described as 'very boggy'. Initially six holes, it was extended to nine and in 1899 the Golfing Annual spoke of holes as being between 180 and 375 yards.

The green record was 41 by A.E. Saunders, the Assistant Master at the County School. The entrance fee and annual subsription was ten shillings and sixpence (52p) each, ladies seven shillings and sixpence. The membership stood at 40

 Towyn on Sea and Merioneth County Times
20th October 1904


1901 Census of Agnes Matilda Stubbs's family
Dolerw Farm House
William Stubbs, Head, married, 60 coachman, Born Clun
Isabella Stubbs, daughter, 22, at home, born Newtown
Agnes M Stubbs, daughter, 17 at home, born Newtown


Montgomeryshire Express & Radnor Times
Tuesday September 19, 1905


Much sensation was occasioned in Newtown on Saturday evening by the news of a fatal accident on Milford Road. It appears that shortly after 8 o'clock, Thomas Jenkins, a middle aged man, employed at Blue House farm, Aberhafesp, was returning home from Newtown in the company of Mr Davies, Scafell farm, and was rounding that sharp corner of the road, just opposite the old toll gate, when he was suddenly struck down by a bicycle, ridden by Thomas Benbow, Aberhafesp.

Jenkins' head came into violent contact with the ground and Benbow fell over or upon him. With all haste, Dr Wilson was summoned to the spot by Benbow and upon examination he discovered  that Jenkins was suffering from concussion of the brain. The unfortunate man died in a short time. The ambulance arrived in about an hour and upon it the body was removed to the mortuary at the infirmary. Jenkins was an unmarried man. An inquest will be probably held today. 

 North Wales Chronicle
and Advertiser for the Principality

27th July 1917

Stan Wilson

 This article first appeared in The Newtonian,
the journal of Newtown Local History Group

Times were poor. The Great War had not long finished and many of the large farm estates such as Glanhafren and Glandulais which owned thousands of acres of land at the time, had to sell their farm holdings.

In 1921, the estate of Glanhafren was sold. Two of the lots for sale were Middle Scafell and Upper Scafell or Waenybricks. Middle Scafell, famous for the field of blessing, was where I was born, is pictured here.

My parents David Swain Wilson and Eliza Wilson nee Davies worked there for my mother's Uncle Pryce Davies after my father was discharged from the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry/Royal Welch Fusiliers at the end of the war. 

Father was the son of William Tills Wilson and Jane Wilson, nee Swain. They married in London, when my grandfather worked as a milk carrier in Lambeth, although he was born in Beccles, Suffolk. Jane was the daughter of Edward and Jane Swain of Hollybush, Aberhafesp. William, with no farming background and Jane Wilson farmed Penyglannau before buying Wernfach in Aberhafesp. They had three children, my father David, Roderick and Dora.

Mother was the daughter of William and Esther Ann Davies nee Hamer of Newtown. William's father Richard, my great grandfather, was born in Berriew in 1807, and married Elizabeth Hughes in Bettws Cedewain in 1836. They lived at Bryn Bedwen, Kerry, then Y Graig, Dolfor before moving to live in Worthen where they died in 1881 and 1885 respectively. They had eleven children.

My grandfather William Davies lived at Middle Scafell, later called Scafell, until his death in 1914. My grandmother Esther lived until 1921, when she died at what was then described as the ripe old age of seventy-three. Their son Pryce continued with the farm. 

Pryce Davies with the famous Scafell King.

In the Glanhafren sale, Middle Scafell, Lot 10, was described as a very desirable freehold stock farm. The picturesque black and white house contained an entrance hall, parlour, kitchen, back kitchen, tub house, cellar and six bedrooms. The farm buildings comprised of a wain house, loose box, fowl house, three piggeries, tieing for twenty seven cattle, bings, calf cote, barn and three bays, granary, stable for three, two loose boxes and trap house. There was also a factory cottage, which was a six-roomed workmen's cottage with garden. 

Upper Scafell or Waenybricks, Lot 8, described as a freehold small farm, was brick built and slated, containing a barn and bay, stable for three horses, cow house for five cattle, wain house, piggery and yearling shed. The sitting tenant, Mr Richard Lloyd was issued with a notice to quit, and my parents moved to their new home in 1923. Mr Lloyd moved to be a tenant at Upper Rhydfelen. 

During these difficult times, mother kept the farm going with her produce, selling eggs, butter and boilers, or old hens which had gone past laying age. They would however make wonderful broth, and were sold for 1/6 each (7.5p). She would take two at a time to town, then come back home to dress another two. When I was old enough, I delivered these boilers to people who had ordered them. Mother's produce would pay for hen food, coal and lamp oil. 

Monies made by father through farming were saved to pay for buildings, repairs, corn and fertiliser. Generally, everything he worked for, in a way, went back into the ground to repay what was taken out of it.  

Stan as a boy with his father
David Swain Wilson, 
right and Mr Morgan. 

As a child, I remember seeing quite a few people in our fields early in the mornings and late evenings in September, picking the fast growing mushrooms. The law stated that as mushrooms were classed as wild food, people therefore had a right to pick them. Technically though, they were trespassing, but farmers seldom took action against them. Some caused damage to hedges as they crossed fields, but generally there were no problems. Sadly, with the advent of fertiliser usage over the years, the volume of mushrooms growing on farmland has reduced significantly.

Another type of mushroom could be found on farms. Made of stone and standing about eighteen inches tall, they were known as corn stones. Farmers would stack sheaves of corn on them to build large stacks. I recently saw a set of six of these old stones sold for £200. 

Wheat had to be pickled to avoid being ruined by a disease called black smut. It was mixed with urine and blue stone or copper sulphate, and sown in the ground. On one occasion during November, having sown the wheat seeds, I remember seeing the field was black with crows, despite the scarecrows located in the field, helping themselves to the drilled seeds. They cunningly had a 'look out' crow in a nearby tree, which warned the others by suddenly flying away when it saw someone approach.  

We used a number of markets to sell our sheep. I walked fifteen to twenty sheep from Llanidloes to Waenybricks. Walked sheep to Kerry for the sales. Before the Second World War, we dipped them in coloured dyes, orange or yellow to make them look attractive, but this practise was later banned. 

Lambs were taken to Welshpool and Newtown for grading after the War. Weighing machines were available, but graders would guess the weights. Graders would reduce lambs weights by one, two or three pounds if they thought the lambs were not up to standard, thus reducing payments made to farmers. After metrification, they would be reduced by one, two or three kilos, which effectively doubled the farmers' loss, as a kilo was about two pounds in weight. 

Dipping sheep was an important practise for farmers, which had to be undertaken twice a year from as far back as I can remember. Dipping baths were few and far between as not many farmers owned one. There was one in Llanllwchaiarn for those living in that area. When taking the sheep from Waenybricks, part of the route took me down Golwgydre Lane. This was so narrow that anyone trying to come in the opposite direction had to go back, to let the sheep through. We continued down where Edward's Field now stands, to Mr George Hawkins' property, where the bath was located, near the river. The sheep were kept in pens in Mr Hawkins' gardens. 

Sheep were dipped initially in June, to prevent them getting sheep scab and maggot fly, and then in September, especially if the sheep were going to be sold in the market. Unfortunately, the sheep dip wasn't a long-term antidote for maggot fly. Boots the Chemist later sold a dip containing Deldrin, which was very powerful and killed every flying insect. The government soon realised the danger of this dip and banned it. 

Occasionally, sheep from one flock could accidentally be in a field with another flock. When this happened, the two flocks could easily be controlled, as the flocks never mixed with each other. They naturally kept themselves apart from the other flock.  

Mr Hawkins eventually retired, which meant that I had to walk the sheep to another sheep bath in town owned by Mr Watkin, The Brimmon, near the current housing estate of Treowen. 

Farmers soon bought their own dipping baths, some made of fibreglass, and they were able to dip their own sheep. Police had to be notified of the date and time the dipping would take place and they would come and inspect the procedure. The baths had to be a certain depth to ensure the sheep were properly dipped - each sheep taking two minutes dipping time. The task of inspecting the process was eventually passed from the police to the Ministry of Agriculture Inspector. It was a very serious offence not to dip sheep.  

Yes, times were poor. I was educated at Penygloddfa, but also had to help on the farm, and my schooling naturally suffered. I often had no time to do my homework. Helping father from an early age, gave me the confidence for later years when I would work the farm myself. I was twenty-one when my father died, a very young age to take on farming. He died before he had the opportunity of teaching me all he knew. I learned a lot from watching other farmers at work during the seasons. Looking back though, I much preferred farming life to any other. 


                                                           Stan Wilson

This article first appeared in The Newtonian,
the journal of Newtown Local History Group

 "Women's' trousers tuppence a leg!" and  "Wash me well and keep me clean, and I'll never tell what I have seen!" These were the cries of some Newtown 'Cheap Jacks' or street traders in 1930.

The Michaelmas, or October fair was here again, and schools closed for the day. I remember when I was 10 years old, my mother, Mrs Eliza Wilson, taking me to the funfair around five o'clock in the evening, before it went dark. 

In 1930, mother kept between eighty and a hundred hens, Rhode Island Reds (below left) and White Wyandottes, which could be bought for about 7/6d (37.5p) each and a few cockerels.

We walked from our Waenybricks farm through the Bryn Wood to where the Crescent Street roundabout is now situated, to sell eggs. In later years, aged about fifteen, I'd help by carrying two arm baskets, and my mother one. Each basket contained eight dozen eggs. It was difficult climbing the styles to get over fences and hedges, and putting the baskets down without cracking the eggs

Mother took her eggs to 'Mrs Humphreys the cheese' in the Market Hall, and I would meet the late Charlie Evans' father, 'Dickybird' as he was known, with other farmers' wives selling eggs. Dickybird would arrive in his lorry at the Crescent, which only consisted of a lamppost in those days. Mr Evans paid 6d or 7d a dozen, but nothing for cracked eggs, although he sold them to a queue of local customers, waiting with basins, eager to learn when they could buy them. I was fortunate, because as I had helped him with unpacking other customers' eggs, he paid for any of our cracked eggs. He had a business with his wife and Charlie collecting eggs in Severn Square. Mr Evans was known as a 'huckster'. Hucksters would buy produce, including holly and mistletoe at Christmas, together with damsons, apples, plums and blackberries when in season and take them to cities such as Liverpool or Manchester to sell. In later years, they would visit farms to purchase produce. 

Another huckster was a Mr Ewdell. He came to Newtown and was very popular, buying eggs and butter from local farmers' wives in Market Street. On one occasion however, he bought some butter in all innocence, and took it to Birmingham to sell. It was analysed as containing some margarine, and he was heavily fined for this offence. He never returned to trade at Newtown. 

A huckster traded in Back Lane, near the band room. He sold gutted rabbits, as there were plenty on farms then. Pairs of live hens and ducks were tied together with rags by their legs, and placed on the ground. During the day, some hens would break loose, and on the following morning, could be seen roosting in the trees nearby!  

Mother also kept five Aylesbury ducks, which didn't fly. I recall her buying two ducks or 'runners', for breeding. She thought they too would be flightless. Unfortunately, when she undid the rags to free them, they both took to the air, and we never saw them again! 

The Michaelmas Fair was a traditional pleasure fair, which attracted large numbers of visitors and street traders to Newtown and the many sideshows set up at The Gravel, opposite the current Post Office. 

Visitors came by pony and trap, and were put up in places such as the Elephant & Castle, Bear and Black Boy, where stabling facilities were available. The pubs would be open all day. Not many people owned cars. Cooksons Garage in Severn Street sold Austin cars from £122/10/-, Morris cars from £125 and a new Ford could be bought for £100. Nearby villagers travelled to town by bus.

Many included the Pryce Jones sale as part of their fair day. On the 28th October 1930, Pryce Jones held a huge mid seasonal sale of surplus stock in every department. Items were offered at 'absolute clearance prices between 9am and 6pm'. It was described, as 'A money saving opportunity you must not miss'.

Mother and I would enjoy a cup of tea and cake from either Bebbs' Café, now Evans's, or Wigleys Café, now part of William Jones, Butchers, High Street, before venturing through town. 

In previous years, street traders had caused problems for the normal shop traders by blocking their entrances. This resulted in some traders, such as the saddlers' shop in High Street, putting its own goods on the street to keep the Cheap Jacks away. The police had given instructions for 1930 that gangways to shops were to be maintained by traders to stop the friction between resident traders and street traders.

I found it amusing watching and listening to the traders selling their wares.

To attract customers, a clothier would shout ' Women's trousers tuppence a leg'. People couldn't resist the temptation of having a look. Another cry from a trader with crockery, trying to sell a bedroom chamber pot would yell; 'Wash me well and keep me clean, and I'll never tell what I have seen!'  

Linoleum sold from a lorry, would be thrown over the side and rolled onto the street to the cry of 'Five pounds! Four pounds! Three pounds! Who'll give me two pounds?' These types of traders were called mock auctioneers. Their calling started at a high price, reducing to a lower one to secure a sale, the opposite way to how proper auctioneers sold goods. 

A street entertainer challenged the public to a bet that he couldn't be permanently chained up. Customers would wrap the chain around him and padlock it together. No matter how hard they tried, the entertainer would roll, wriggle and writhe on the floor until one of his arms broke free, and he could continue with his escape! 

I recall an early photographer with a small hand held camera, taking photographs. You were unaware that your picture had been taken, and it was produced for you to buy for sixpence. Inevitably it was an action photo.  

Traders' stalls stretched from the Lion Hotel to the Gravel. The acetylene lamps, which lit and heated the stalls, fascinated me. They made a gushing sound as the traders fired them up. Electricity would not arrive at Newtown for another couple of years or so. Normal lighting was either by gas, candle or paraffin lamps

Farmers drove their sheep and cattle through town to market. I helped my father by walking with the cattle, as part of a gang of local farmers, stopping the animals going up side streets. Once, some broke away and ran down an alley, straight into a clothesline. They returned startled and scared with all manner of clothing on their horns, frightening many people in town as the cattle ran through the streets!  

The Smithfield market hadn't been built in 1930, so the cattle market was held near the Horse Repository, close to where the Lion Works or old B.R.D. site now stands. When the market sales were over, the cattle dealers employed drovers to take the cattle out of town, either by cattle wagons on the trains, or by foot to local farms. 

Highlight of my day was going to the Gravel and the funfair! Here were hobby horses, driven by the steam engines, which pulled the caravans from the last fair location. Water was pumped from the river to supply the steam, which was also used in barrel organs to make their wonderfully distinctive music

The fair consisted of many challenging games. A coconut shy enticed you to knock a coconut off its stand with a wooden ball - your prize was a coconut! A shooting gallery, in which you fired four small darts from an air rifle into four separate targets with a bullseye and two outer rings in each. I had steady hands and a good eye for shooting by the time I was about fifteen, although I don't remember getting a bullseye. I regularly gave away my prizes of small teddy bears or ornaments. 

I also remember a large number board with a flashing light going around its edge and along the numbered squares. The game was to guess the number at which the light would stop.

I won a clock when I was ten years old, which disappointed my mother, as she wanted me to select a teapot! The clock lasted a long time.  

She enjoyed playing on the roll-a-penny stand, giving her the chance to win money. The penny rolled should not touch the line between the rows of winning monetary prizes, which went up to sixpence. 

Once I'd spent my pocket money, it was time to return home with my mother, back up the Bryn Wood. To this day I retain the happy memories of the smell and hiss of the steam engines, the music of the barrel organs and the banter of the traders with their customers. What tales my friends and I would share at Penygloddfa school the following day and all for sixpence, or just two and a half pence in today's money.



Sunday 21st June 1936, conditions were getting worse after a great storm the previous day. Mrs Bernice Roberts from her home at Lower Talwrn, Mochdre, was looking at a scene down the valley which would have a greatn impact on the history of the area.

Her mother, Mrs Haynes was the station mistress at Ysgafell Station, some two miles from Newtown, on the valley floor below Mochdre. Her husband Eddie was a railway ganger and the couple lived at the station house at Ysgafell. Bernice and her father had decided to nstay at home, as Mrs Haynes and another daughter had gone to a Wesleyan anniversary in Newtown.

The rain continued to fall heavily, and Bernice and her father went outside look. Bernice recalls as they walked from their home at Scafell Halt to Dulas bridge "As we approached the stone arched bridge over Mochdre Brook, at Dulas, just before the junction with the Severn, we could not believe the horrific sight that lay before us. The normally peaceful brook had become a raging torrent, carrying livestock, including two cows still tethered in their stalls, furniture, masonry from higher up the brook."

Bernice stood on the bridge until her father's urgent cry made her leap off, not a moment too soon. "A tall alder tree came surging down, standing upright and with its full roots. It rammed into the bridge....the bridge was gone." The railway tracks however remained slung across the chasm.


As a railwayman, Eddie knew that a train was about to leave Caersws for Newtown shortly.Urgent action was called for. Stranded on the wrong side of the bridge they could not reach the telephone at the station. What were they to do? They split up to give warning, Bernice's task to run two miles down the line to Newtown. The rain poured down. Lightening flashed on the metals. There were no houses nearby where she could phone or get help otherwise. She had to go on. She ran from near the 'Field of Blessing'. Her name means 'bringer of victory' and to be realistic, prosaic, she was at the time a county and North Wales hockey player. 

When she arrived at Newtown signalbox, the signalman acted promptly at her cry of "The bridge has gone" by telegraphing the Caersws station, and the train was held back.and disaster was averted. 

Bernice then worried about her father, but a neighbour drove her home, where she found Mr Haynes was alright and that he already knew of her safety - and that of the train.

Not only was the railway bridge destroyed, but the bridge carrying the main road was damaged beyond repair, below.


A teacher at Penygloddfa School, Newtown, at the time, Bernice was there as usual next morning, quickly followed by reporters and photographers galore.

Adapted from The Montgomeryshire Collections. 


by  Mr Stan Wilson

This article first appeared in The Newtonian, the journal of Newtown Local History Group 

I was 25 when the Second World War ended 60 years ago, and had farmed at Waenybricks, Green Lane, Newtown with my parents, David Swain Wilson, and Eliza Wilson, nee Davies, during the war.

Farming was hard work in those days. Tractors were not yet available during the first couple of war years, and even then were scarce in the locality. Both our horses were therefore relied upon to do the ploughing chores to help cultivate produce. Ploughs couldn't cut very deeply into the soil, and much weeding was required.

The War meant that farming had to change completely, as the Ministry of Agriculture wanted wheat grown in a certain percentage of land held. Potatoes and barley were sold to the government and some sold locally. Oats for your own use could be grown. Livestock had to be reduced in accordance with the land now available following the reduction due to wheat demand.

Some of our livestock of cattle and lambs were sold to a local butcher who had a slaughterhouse in Stone Street, and the meat was distributed locally. Meat restrictions were imposed and rationed. There were strict price controls, and produce could not be sold above the rate for that item.

Food rationing started in January 1940 with restrictions on sugar (12ozs a week), butter (4ozs), and bacon and ham (4ozs). Other meat rations were added in March. July 1940 saw tea rationed (2ozs a week), cooking fat (2ozs) and margarine (4ozs). The Food Office was where the Silver Band now plays. It was here that coupons were issued and National Milk Powder for babies.

We kept a pig but a permit was required to kill it for food. Farmer's wives could make butter (rationed) and keep hens, although they were quite difficult to feed without corn. I recall going to a local shop with a pound of butter, which my mother had made, and went to 'exchange' it for two pounds of sugar. Two ladies saw this exchange of brown paper packages. One whispered to the other 'What's in his basket?' and the other replied 'God only knows!'

Large mounds of potatoes were covered and stored in Park Street, near Plas Cae Crwn, in case the town became surrounded and incoming supplies were cut off. I was not aware of any thefts from the mounds.

Our first tractor was a David Brown, purchased from Neal's Garage, Llanidloes Road. We had been on a long waiting list as tractor supplies were limited. New tractor cultivating implements were therefore required to undertake the work. Petrol was difficult to obtain, but farmers were allowed an additional amount due to the nature of their work.

My father died in 1942, leaving my mother and I to farm our 60 acres. We requested the services of land girls and Prisoners of War. The land girls worked in groups, although some worked individually and were I believe, based in Welshpool. They were mostly employed by us to plant and later pick potatoes, and were paid directly by us.

There were Italian, German and Polish POWs stationed at Glandulas. Farmers signed an agreement when employing them, not to fraternise with the POWs, nor let them handle guns, nor be allowed out late at night. They lodged on the farms, and were 'paid' for their services, although the money went to the Government. They had to be shown how to sow seeds.

I recall one POW who came to work for us from a neighbouring farm. The farmer had unwittingly upset him. He had said that the POW 'ate like a horse'. He took this as a serious slur to his character, and cried out  'Me no horse! Me no horse!' and consequently left that employment!

Copy of a 'Descriptive Document', relating to Giuseppe Novelli, an Italian Prisoner of War, who worked at Waenybricks during the War

Farming was a reserved occupation. Many farmers tried to leave farming to fight in the War but were refused.   Many like myself, enlisted in the Home Guard. My friend and I joined up at the same time, having spoken to a Lieutenant in a public house. There were no uniforms initially, and the Home Guard consisted mostly of elderly gentlemen, whose first weapons were mainly pitchforks.

Living in a rural area, I joined the Aberhafesp group on the 30th December 1940. The Church had given the Parish Room to the local community, but the government commandeered it for the Home Guard. Our task was to guard the roads around Newtown at night. We had 8 on duty, taking turns in two groups of 4 to keep watch for a few hours at a time. We also went to Barmouth on an exercise, with Home Guards from Newtown and Kerry, on the pretence that the Germans had landed.

Most Home Guard Captains were civilians and generally very good to their soldiers. There were Sergeants, Corporals, lance corporals - the same ranks as in the Army, but ironically, during the day, a role reversal could take place at work. A Captain who may have given a soldier a ticking off for untidy battledress, could be on the other end of a ticking off for a minor misdemeanour, if that soldier was the Captains employer during the day! 

The cinema was our main entertainment. George Formby films being a particular favourite. We would pay 6d, 9d or 1/- in the stalls of The Regent Cinema or 1/3 and 1/6 in the balcony. We also had the Victoria Cinema, where Ladywell House is now situated. The Church House opposite the Baptist Chapel held dances and whist drives. I also recall Charlie Chester entertaining the troops in a show put on by the army. The troops ate their meals in the Pavilion, now just a memory to those who frequented it.

We listened to the radio, although the news we received about the war seemed to be what they wanted us to know. Surprisingly the broadcasts of Lord Haw Haw were much clearer on the radio waves than the Home Service. There were no weather forecasts for security reasons. Any storms in the locality were reported many days after the event.

Farmers had to resort to their 'weatherglasses' and nature for an inkling of what was to come. We also resorted to watching the behaviour of our livestock. A cow running across a field with its tail up was a sure sign of rain within 24 hours, but if a herd of cows were lying on top of 'a lump' or hillock, then we were in for a fine day! 'Whirlywinds' in the field would also suggest rain. Hens were also a good guide. If, during a drizzle, they took off to the henhouse, we only suffered a shower, but if they remained outside it would pour with rain, and the hens would feed on the worms coming to the surface. Thunderstorms would sour our milk due to the 'closeness' of the weather.

I married Ceceline Davies in July 1944. She served with the A.T.S. and was based in Swansea. Despite our marriage and my mother's failing health on the farm, my wife was not allowed to be discharged until the end of the War. We celebrated our wedding with 4 bottles of beer, at a small reception held at my Aunt's house, Trehafren, in Garth Owen. The reception was a wedding present.

The farming industry was generally poor after the war, and there were still growing restrictions for some 4 or 5 years later. Agriculture played its part in the battle against the enemy, as did the unsuspecting livestock with their weather rituals. Fortunately farmers no longer rely on their animals in this way, and I truly hope that we will never have to again.


Fresh Air and Fire
Edited by Chris Kinsey
ISBN 978 1 870797 70 2

Published by Oriel Davies Gallery 2013

Stan was one of many interviewed to share his memories.
This is what Stan said on the topics in question

Around Home.
I remember going to Penygloddfa School. A girl took me, a neighbour, she took me to school to start me going. When you went to school in those days there was no canteen to eat your food, we carried in our bag a few sandwiches and just ate them in the playground and had a drink of cold water to swill it down.

In the 1930s some of the town children were so hungry they'd be behind you begging a crust or your apple core. I gave them mine but other children would throw their cores down and stamp on them or put them in the bins and the hungry ones would get them out or pick up the pips. I remember hungry children picking grains of corn of the street.

There weren't cars much about in those days, so us boys going home from school up the Milford Road could play ball up the road, you see. One of us kicked the ball into the wall at Dolerw and I volunteered to go over the wall to pick it up. Sir Victor saw me and we hadn't gome very far before there was this police officer on his bicycle.
"Which of you boys went over the wall?"
I said "I did".
"Don't do it again!"

Birds and Beasts.

I remember saving a cuckoo chick that was abandoned under a hedge.
I asked the schoolmaster what he thought it might eat and he said 'A bit of meat', so I bought some dog biscuits with meat in them, moistened them and fed it on that. It did well and eventually flew away.

I remember the big sheep sales. We bought our sheep from Llani because it was hardier country. But we always sold our sheep in Kerry. That was a sight - all the sheep being driven up the Vastre. In the twenties and thirties, the sheep were brightly coloured. Every farmer had a colour and the whole sheep was dyed. Ours were orange - Kerry Sunset, Kerry Sunrise. In the end the colouring of sheep was banned because it spoiled the wool. Dyers couldn't get another colour to take properly afterwards. But it was a sight to see all the lovely coloured sheep being driven.

Fairs Carnivals and Flicks.
Travelling funfairs

First of May was the big Hiring Fair. 'May Day, pay day, pick up your lads and go away' - that was the old saying. That was when they hired men to work on the farm for another twelve months guaranteed. If you hired a man you gave him two shillings as a bond, and he had a week's holiday. used to come down on the Gravel and we'd have the day off school. The big steam engines and barrel organs playing music and the hobby horses going up and down, driven by steam. They were lovely, and you would sit with a girl behind you. Then perhaps in a tent or a caravan you'd go in to see the Naked Lady. There'd be one outside half dressed and you'd go inside and she wasn't much different!

Newtown fairs were big events. In those days (1930s) they were selling horses and foals down at the horse repository. That was  where the Lion Works is now. Tractors came gradually and horses got sold for about £8.

Cows and sheep were also down there on old mud floors, so the council built the Smithfield where it is now, or was, before Tesco. Local butchers used to go down and buy.

When the war came, things changed, animals were graded and weighed and the government bought them. Most of the trade went to Welshpool.

On a fair day there'd be traders all down the streets. One was Charles - he sold second-hand clothing and if he hadn't got many customers around him he'd shout out: "Women's trousers, tuppence a leg," and people would come and look and see what he was selling. And then there was another lad selling china and crockery and if there weren't many around him, he'd lift up a chamber pot and shout, "Keep me dry and wash me clean, I'll never say what I have seen," and people would come to see. Another man, Cooper, I think he was a Jewish man, used to sell good boots.

Big day the Carnival was. The procession came out of the hospital grounds with everybody watching. All the trades people would have vehicles, all decorated up. The Rose Queen was in one and another was a dancing troupe called the Dinky Blues. And the Silver Band would go down with Mr Morris conducting the band and all men waving.

There was a man called Long Tall Bill, he'd been down the street on stilts and he'd have his box collecting shaking it through people's bedroom windows.

In the evening there was a Confetti Battle but that was stopped after so many years...... you'd shove it down somebody's neck or trouser legs. It made such a mess of the streets, it was terrible to make things tidy again.


PROPERTY SALE at The Bear Hotel
on Tuesday next, August 22nd 1961 at 3pm

The Noted Severn Valley Farm
Middle Scafell
2 miles from Newtown, the Elizabethan Farm House, expansive farm buildings and fertile land,
in all 993/4 acres

Mains electricity, good water supply, valuable fishing rights on the
River Severn. Vacant possession together with
Scafell Cottage. subject to tenancy
Solicitors Milwyn Jenkins and Jenkins, Newtown and Llanidloes


26th August 1961

Elizabeth Farmhouse sold for £17,600

A farmhouse of historical importance, scheduled for preservation under the Town and Country Planning Act was sold at the Bear Hotel Newtown on Tuesday for Mr J. P. Morgan who is retiring from the farm.

This 100 acre is Middle Scafell, a genuine black and white Elizabethan structure, with beamed ceilings, a house that has been well cared for, and is in fine condition. The buyer was Mr Evan Roberts of Graig, Pontdolgoch, and the price he paid was £17,600. Mr J.P. Morgan for whom the house was sold, lived there for 37 years.

Bidding started at £12,000, the sale aroused even more than normal interest for the saleroom was so packed, that it took several minutes to clear after the sale.

Mr Evan Roberts will be able to take possession at the end of September.

The farm governs the fishing rights of nearly a mile of water in the River Severn, and tha land id well nourished and fertile.

Middle Scafell was once the home of the noted Non-conformist Henry Williams, and its history is strongly involved in the persecution of the non-conformist movement about 200 years ago.

A story is that this Henry Williams was robbed of all his possessions during this period of persecution, but the following year is said to have produced on his land, three ears of corn on each stem - a surfeit that changed his fortune.

The field was called 'The Field of Blessing', but in the centuries that have passed since then, a road has occupied the site of this field, but the story persists.   



 True newspapermen never fail to appreciate the story behind the story, and the County Times today publishes a fascinating report, which has arisen from a page one story in last week's issue, and which is truly astounding.

Elizabethan farmhouse sold for £17,600 (previous weeks headline)

Following on the interesting sidelights revealed by the sale of Middle Scafell, near Newtown, The County Times decided to get a picture of this historic building to tie in with the exclusive report in which some history is related.

Tremendous interest has been evinced in this publication, and this week a letter from a kind reader in Llanidloes put the County Times on the trail of an incredible story. The letter is published hereunder;

Sir,  It was good of you to publish the excellent photograph of the Elizabethan structure of Middle Scafell in last week's County Times. We certainly had some artistis craftsmen in those days. I should like to correct one of your statements concerning Middle Scafell.

It's history is strongly involved in the persection of the Non-conformists about 300 years ago, as was stated. The corn that is mentioned in the article grew in 1662, 300 years to next year! I should like to inform you that the only stalks of this corn now in existence were the property of the late Mr John Thomas,  and now of his son, Mr Charles Thomas, in a village near Machynlleth. They are to be seen today in a small glass case at his home.

Helen Roberts, Llanidloes.  


In the light of this letter the County Times photographer called on Mr Charles Thomas, who allowed him minute examination of this relic of a harvest of 300 years ago. These two single stalks of corn resoectively instead of the4 usual single year, and were from the 'Field of Blessing' mentioned in the story last week.

Mr Thomas said these had been plucked from the field 300 years ago by one of his ancestors, who was passing by the field, seated atop of a load of lime he was hauling from Porthywaen. This ancestor had marvelled at the 'miracle' cornfield and had carefully preserved the stalks he had plucked, wehich in time became a sort of heirloom and has been passed on to the present owner, Mr Charles Thomas by his father, the late Mr John Thomas, who kept the stalks wrapped up in a cardboard box.

Mr Charles Thomas was so intrigued however, that he felt such a tangible record of an ancient and unique harvest should be given a more elaborate case for display, and had a small oak case specially made to house the corn. 

A short while ago he claims that a seed was taken from one of the ears and planted - alas, though it germinated after all those years, the product was like any other normal piece of corn, it had a single ear.

So it would seem that with the non-persecution of Nonconformists in these enlightening days that miracles only happen in direst need. Which is, of course, as it should be. 



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