Gwaith Mair o Rosyr
WILLIAM JONES, MASTER MARINER
1842 - 1907
JOHN OWEN WILLIAMS, M.B., C.M.
GENERAL MEDICAL PRACTITIONER
AT BRYNGWYN HALL, DWYRAN. 1905 - 1937
AND ITS PEOPLE
WILLIAM JONES, MASTER MARINER
1842 - 1907
Industrialist and Civic Leader.
A member of a Newborough family had the drive to make a success in life, but it was in Tasmania that he settled down and where his life's work is commemorated in a museum.
He showed a love of the sea when only a boy in Newborough. William (Billy) Jones, the second son of Robert and Margaret (nee Griffiths) Jones, White Lion, was born on the 5th May 1842, and baptised into the Church of England as it was then, at St Peter's Church. He had three brothers, John, Richard and Owen Jeffreys, and four sisters, Ellen, Ann, Mary Ellen and Margaret. In 1851, the family are recorded as living at Malltraeth Street, Newborough. Robert was 48, and farming 300 acres, Margaret was 36 and children John 15, Robert 12, Ellen 10, William 8 Mary Ellen 2 and Margaret was just one month old.
Above; The White Lion Inn, where William Jones was born in 1842
Below; the family farmhouse where William grew up
St Peters' Church, Newborough
where William Jones was Christened
His father, Robert who also kept the tavern and farmed, died at the White Lion in 1867 at the age of 67. William's mother then moved to Tyddyn, the family farm, where she died in 1886, aged 73. Both his parents came from families with strong seafaring traditions.
William, who was named after his uncle, a sea captain, worked on the ferry boat 'Menai', running between Caernarfon and Anglesey until he was eighteen. From the age of ten to twelve, William was persuaded by his uncle, who recognised the value of education, to attend the village school and the Caernarfon Maritime College. Just before his nineteenth birthday, his uncle Henry, captain of the 'Prince Consort' took him on as a deckhand at a shilling a month. In the family bible he wrote; "I left Liverpool on March 14, 1861, in the ship Prince Consort under Captain Henry Jones. We arrived at Williamstown, Australia on June 30, 1861".
The trip of 108 days made a man of him and he eventually sailed with his uncle, Captain William Jones, and elder brother who were already engaged in the intercolonial shipping trade. He married Martha Maria Dowling, the daughter of a well to do family on the 5 March 1863 at Table Cape, Tasmania and their mansion house was named 'Menai'. Billy never returned to Wales. He then became master of his uncle's ketch Margaret Chessell but, wanting his own ship, engaged William Mollison to build a schooner, the 'Onward', with which he traded.
William gave up the sea in 1872, and began as licensee of the Ship Inn, Marine Terrace. Alongside he built a store which became chandlery, grain-store, auction-mart and supplier of mining equipment to the developing Mt Bischoff and other mines. In 1875 he built Jones's (later the Bay View) Hotel and in 1878 his mansion, Menai.
Captain William Jones and his family
leave Menai for an outing in the 1890s.
The Menai is now an hotel,
Called The King of Burnie
In 1876 he bought Uplands, a farming property on Cooee Creek, and began a range of primary and secondary industries. He used water-power for a sawmill and built stables for a team of horses which dragged logs to the mill on a wooden-rail tramway. He found good clay in the creek-bed and built brick kilns. Then, establishing his own harbour at the mouth of the creek, he engaged William Mollison to build north-west Tasmania's first steamer, the Cambria, for exporting the bricks and timber. He built a soft-drink factory; used power from his water-wheel to churn butter at Emu Bay Butter Factory, of which company he was chairman of directors; grew pigs, slaughtered them at his own abattoir and cured them at his Brookside Bacon Factory.
Billy worked hard in the community for some thirty years. He became a shipping and estate agent as well as a property developer in his own right; a mining entrepreneur sponsoring prospectors on the west coast; and promoter of Blythe River Iron Mines Ltd. He was chairman of the Emu Bay Road Trust from 1879, first chairman of the Burnie Town Board in 1898, several times chairman of the licensing bench, a justice of the peace from 1889 and a foundation trustee of Burnie Institute, a group which built the first town hall. A warden of the Table Cape (later Burnie) Marine Board from 1875, Jones was harbourmaster in 1878-98. He was a member of the Poulett Masonic Lodge, Wynyard.
William is recorded as a ratepayer at Uplands Farm, Burnie, in the 1891 Electoral Roll, Legislative Council, in the district of Wellington, Tasmania for the year commencing April 1891.
|Captain and Mrs Jones at Menai
with a grandson
He died on 21 April 1907 at Burnie and was buried in Wivenhoe cemetery, survived by his wife, a daughter and seven sons, most of whom bore Welsh names. A clock tower was erected on the town hall, demolished in 1976, to honour his memory, and Old Jones Pier, built in 1901, and a more recent general cargo berth, are named after him. A fine crayon portrait is displayed at Burnie Pioneer Village Museum.
William Jones changed a small community into a thriving town and port. A quote from a paper in the museum at Burnie, Emu Bay, Tasmania, gives a description of his business interests in the town he helped develop. "William Jones became a legend in his own lifetime. He graduated from cabin-boy to captain within the space of a decade. He sailed his own ships and built an industrial empire - estate agent, farmer, miner, hotelier and proprietor of a multitude of other businesses". William was known as 'The King of Burnie'.
John, his elder brother, who was in Tasmania before William, married a Tasmanian girl and became a master mariner. He met his death on the Bass Strait run to Melbourne.
Richard was a pilot out of Liverpool and was drowned in Liverpool Bay in 1864. He is buried at St Peter's cemetery.
Owen Jeffries Jones, born 1857, left the sea after two years to farm 36 acres of land with his widowed mother, Margred at Tyddyn. He was to become a District and County Councillor, Guardian of the Poor, Churchwarden at St Peter's and Justice of the Peace. His second christian name, Jeffreys, was also the surname of the rector of the parish from 1851 to 1867, which is why the parents probably chose it for him. He is still remembered with affection by those who have childhood memories of his courtesy and kindness.
A sister Ellen, married and lived in London. One of her sons was the Rev. Cole, who for many years was Archdeacon of Montreal, Canada.
Ann another sister, married Thomas Jones who farmed the area.
Mary Ellen married Captain Williams, Bryn Menai.
Finally, sister Margaret, married a Captain Roberts and lived at Torquay, England.
JOHN OWEN WILLIAMS, M.B., C.M.
GENERAL MEDICAL PRACTITIONER
AT BRYNGWYN HALL, DWYRAN. 1905 - 1937
Dr Owen's grandparents were John Williams, Old Erw Wen, a mariner, married to Elizabeth who bore him four children. The eldest named Thomas was also a mariner. He became a pilot at Llanddwyn Island where he was drowned in 1885. The second son John, born 1846, became a master mariner. Owen, another mariner, was drowned aged sixty in 1915. He was serving on the Holyhead ship, 'Tara' in the Mediterranean at the time. Mary, born in 1850, married William Thomas, Tyddyn Plwm, a village carpenter and funeral director. She died in July 1942. Both were buried in St Peter's Church cemetery. Their eldest son John William Thomas was a builder in Liverpool and later became librarian and caretaker of the Prichard Jones Institute. Thomas Owen, the second son became village carpenter and funeral director like his father before him. His workshop was on Church Street, next to Cambrian House.
John, the second son, attended Llangeinwen Board School with his parents paying two pence a week for his schooling there. He married Elizabeth (nee Roberts) Dywades, who was to bear him a son and daughter. As Captain John Williams, he became Master of three large sailing vessels, Moel Tryvan, 1884-85, Alliance, 1885-92 and Meinwen, 1892-99.
He employed many local men as crew members. His father John Williams, had died of cholera at Hamburg in 1854. As Captain, and with command of his own ship, on one of his trips, he put into Hamburg port, where he placed a stone on his father's grave. He was to tell his sister Mary Thomas, Tyddyn Plwm, of this when he came home.
His two children, John Owen Williams and sister Jane lived with their parents at Baron Hill, Newborough. On 17 October 1896, Captain Williams bought the small holding, Bryn Hyfryd, which had been uninhabited for a few years, for £800 and the family moved to their new home on the outskirts of the village. Both children were privately educated with Jane attending St. David's school for girls at Ashford, Middlesex. Sadly she died of tuberculosis at twenty two years of age soon after obtaining her B.A. degree.
John first went to Newborough Board School. In 1886, at the age of thirteen, he became a weekly boarder at St. John's School, a private establishment at Llangefni, belonging to Mr T.J. Jones-Lewis, Headmaster, where board and tuition was £9 per term. From Llangefni, he went to Friars School, Bangor, and then, aged nineteen, he entered Edinburgh University, to study medicine and graduated in 1904, with M.B., C.M. degree. A fellow student was the Rev. R. R. Hughes, born at Pont Myfyrian, Gaerwen, who became minister of the C. M. Ebenezer Chapel, Newborough, in 1925.
In 1905, Captain John Williams, his father, bought Bryngwyn Hall, Dwyran, a large house surrounded by 35 acres of land, where his son set up his practice as a General Practitioner, in a rural area covering the villages of Brynsiencyn, Dwyran, Newborough and farms within a radius of ten miles.
Captain Williams died at Bryn Hyfryd in 1909. His widow moved to live with her son at Bryngwyn Hall, where she died in 1924, aged seventy nine.
Doctor Williams's first marriage was to Ann Lloyd Roberts, the second daughter of Mr. R. R. Roberts, Gwydryn, Brynsiencyn. The marriage ceremony was held at Bangor Cathedral in 1916. They had five children, three boys, John, Robert and Hugh, and two girls, Elizabeth and Annie Lloyd. John died of scarlet fever when five years old in 1927. In 1929, Dr. Williams bought Clynnog, an estate of one hundred acres, situated between Newborough and Dwyran for £4,250. His wife Annie Lloyd died in 1930, when her youngest daughter was born. He married Margaret Evans of Bodwyr Isaf, Gaerwen, in 1934 with one daughter, Mary, born in 1936. Dr Williams died of cancer at Bryngwyn Hall on the 31st July, 1937 and was buried at the Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Newborough. His second wife Mary died in 1957.
Robert, Dr. O. J. Williams' eldest son, was to maintain a family tradition, for he decided to go to sea. After four years at Llangefni County School, he left in 1938 to become a deck apprentice with Eagle Oil and Shipping Company of London, where he gained his second mate certificate in 1942 and became deck officer in 1947. His first of several war time encounters was when his ship the San Delfino was broken in two and sunk in harbour, one of the first casualties of a German magnetic mine, on December 28th, 1939. All the crew miraculously survived this and the ship was repaired and returned into service, being eventually sunk off the American coast in 1943.
Robert joined the Royal Mail Line of London as a deck officer. In 1951 he got his Master's Foreign Going Certificate in Liverpool, seventy seven years after his grandfather, Captain John Williams had gained his certificate at the same place. Captain Robert R. Lloyd Williams served five years as Senior Navigating Officer on the Flag ship, Andes. He left the sea in 1954 and joined his brother Hugh in partnership at Clynnog farm.
NEWBOROUGH AND ITS PEOPLE
The 1891 census puts the total inhabitants of Newborough as 960, 444 males and 516 females. The 1832 Reform Act had granted voting rights for forty shilling freeholders in the counties as well as to certain classes of leaseholders. After 1867, the same qualifications entitled them to vote in local elections. The 1884 Act gave the vote to agricultural workers. By 1918, men over twenty one and women over thirty were entitled to vote. It was 1924 before the actions of the suffragettes forced the government to bring the age of voting for women down to twenty one. It is interesting to note here that the first suffragette meeting on Anglesey was held at Newborough in 1920, the link being the market town of Caernarfon.
The occupation of the villagers towards the end of the nineteenth century as shown in the 1881 and 1891 census returns, remained fairly consistent. Over one hundred and thirty people were working on the land as tenant farmers or as agricultural workers on desperately low wages with many young girls going into domestic service on the larger farms or in the better off households.
One farm servant told me of a place where she worked around 1910 where there were several sons. She was expected to work out of doors from dawn until dusk as well as seeing to the milking and house work and this continued until she moved to a farm run by a much kinder mistress. The daily meal for a farm worker, even in the first two decades of the last century, was often potatoes with buttermilk, with meat put on the plate only on Sundays.
The largest farm in the village extended to 160 acres, whilst many small ones were just two or three acres with most of the men having a second occupation, either working for another farmer or following a trade as a joiner, carter, gelder or slater for instance. Their wives and daughters supplemented the family income by making mats, ropes and baskets from the marram grass. Some households employed women to make the mats for them, paying them a daily wage. One such employer was Mrs Williams of Gwningar, a farm on the edge of the warren. The mats and ropes were ferried over to Caernarfon to be sold. Local people could barter their mats for groceries at about 18d a mat.
An old man from Dolgellau remembers coming to Newborough as a lad at the turn of the last century but one, to buy the mats from Cae Crwn stores. They were then taken by horse and cart to Bodorgan station to be sent on to Dolgellau by rail. The basket makers, only a few in number, lived in Penlon. Others carried on working at the Pandy Woollen Mill and factory up to the outbreak of the Great War, by which time cheaper manufactured cloth was on sale in the shops.
Approximately forty men were seamen according to the censuses, following a local tradition, with several becoming master mariners, whilst the rest were sailors, cooks and deckhands. Some of the local seamen, after retiring from the sea, kept in touch by becoming pilots on Llanddwyn island, occupying the four cottages, specially built for them in 1810. One or two were to make their mark in other parts of the world. Over a hundred men, women and children worked at mat, rope and basket making. The youngest such workers, even after school age attendance was made obligatory, were aged 11 and 12, whilst the eldest was a widow in her eighties who still had to work or suffer the indignity of going 'on the parish'.
As late as the nineteen thirties, you could still find large hooks, made by the local blacksmith, fastened to beams in the ceilings of small cottages, such as those at Plas Pydewau on Church Street. Those cottages were so named because the water supply for the dwellings on that corner of the village square came from a large 'pydew', or well, behind them. A bucket attached to a rope was dropped a distance of several feet to scoop up the water which was then transferred to another bucket to carry it to the house, where it was emptied into a large earthenware pot protected by a round slate lid.
This system prevailed until piped water was brought into the village in the nineteen fifties.The ropes and mats were suspended from the ceiling for easier handling whilst working the marram grass. Many of the women sat outside their cottages weaving the dried reed like grass into a strip worked on a surface or on the knee. Eleven strands were woven into a strip, feeding in more of the grass as the work progressed. Eight strips, about eight metres in length, were then joined using a bodkin using a few stems twisted together. The men whenever possible did this more manually difficult stitching. The bundles of harvested marram grass were arranged in stooks similar to those when corn was left to ripen in the fields before combine harvesters became commonplace.
With workers meeting at the woollen factory to make cloth, or elsewhere as groups to make the mats and ropes, they formed social gatherings with a great deal of chatter and even courting going on as told me by an old woman from the village recalling her youth. Mrs Margaret Humphrey used to work the marram grass up to the nineteen thirties, seated by the door of an outhouse attached to her cottage on Pendref Street, with a bucket of the harvested dried grass by her side. She would pull out a few strands, tap the ends together on her knee, then weave them into a strip. She was one of the many women participating in the scheme introduced by Colonel Stapleton Cotton, of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll in 1913, when he formed a co-operative known as the Newborough Mat Makers Association.
Another woman who worked for the colonel was Miss Williams, Ty'n Gerddi, who preferred to work indoors. He was able to market the goods which was more rewarding that the old bartering system, reviving a tradition first witnessed and recorded early in the seventeenth century and he revived the craft through finding markets for the mats until again manufactured good replaced them.
Many of the special short handled sickles, made locally to cut the grass, have been found over the years, especially when the forestry workers were planting trees after the last war. It was necessary to harvest the marram grass before the flowering head appeared. The harvesting took place from August onwards, with many children being kept home from school to help with this most important work, as the regular complaints made to the school managers by the headmaster show. A widow who lived in a small cottage called Pant on Pendref Street was always late with her harvesting and when invited to accompany the others, she would excuse herself by saying she preferred to wait for the Indian summer, locally known as the little summer, 'Haf bach' in Welsh. Needless to say, the villagers called it 'Haf bach Mari Pant' ever since.
The members of the church of the parish vestry had decided they couldn't afford to pay the assessment fees for a hundred acres of land allocated to the poor of the parish early in the nineteenth century. Following the Land Enclosure Acts of 1845, the villagers had to pay for the right to harvest the grass, and as a result there was an increase in poverty, especially among the elderly, which put an extra burden on the rate payers. The marram grass cottage industry gave some of the villagers a modicum of income and this surely created in them a certain sense of self worth and self reliance. This industry, according to some historians, must have been active towards the end of the sixteenth century, for Elizabeth the First issued an order forbidding the cutting of marram grass as this caused erosion.
Farm produce was sent over to Caernarfon by ferry, as were the mats, usually sold in the town at the foot of the castle wall. Some mats were sent by rail to many parts of north Wales. The Great Western Railway company also bought the larger mats to cover their wagons. The mats, stitched end to end to the required length, were used to protect hay and straw ricks and were tied down with marram grass ropes, fastened by wooden pegs.
The girls in the village school were still being taught to make baskets up to the time access to the warren was denied when the War Ministry took it over in 1939, when a false runway was built there to deceive the enemy. This was a different form of work, stitching circular rows upon rows of marram grass to form a bowl shaped basket, similar to those imported to support craft in other countries nowadays. Mrs E. Williams, Neuadd Wen Farm, who retired to Bodwenna, was instrumental in teaching this craft at the school, and a basket made by her was bought by the Queen Mother in the nineteen thirties. The Anglesey Federation of Women's Institutes supported the local members at Newborough who kept the craft alive. A few households still proudly keep a basket made by a member of the branch at this time.
The village had its usual complement of shop keepers, tailors, dress makers, shoe makers and cobblers, joiners, painters and stone masons, as well as a blacksmith and of course, a rabbit catcher. The latter occupation continued until it also was officially stopped when the second world war broke out, at which time a couple of rabbits could be bought at the door for one shilling and sixpence. The cockle beds in Penlon and at Malltraeth were another much needed source of food for some of the villagers. Harry Jones, Penlon, used to take the cockles round neighbouring villages to sell with his pony and cart. As children, we could never keep up with his rapid walking pace, by which time he covered many miles daily. The local artisans supplied the people with shoes, clothes, items of furniture, wooden gates and coffins, with carters taking people and their goods to and from the ferry. A local woman who had lived in Manchester for a while, taught dressmaking to the women and was able to supply them with dress materials from Manchester.
When a special event such as a Sunday School trip was to take place, the women would be very busy making their outfits, self reliance being a way of life for many of them. More expensive and manufactured goods were bought in Caernarfon and brought over by ferry. Although the Welsh dressers were often locally made, the plates to put on them, as well as the grandfather clocks and clock fittings were bought in Caernarfon, though in later years, the less expensive mantel clocks would be bought there as well. It is also interesting to note that the cottagers moved house very often, which can make it difficult when seeking to trace someone who often shared common christian names and surnames.
The thatched roofs had been replaced by slates, and sometimes two small cottages were converted into one dwelling over the turn of the last century but one, which, together with the building of larger houses, showed that new money was coming into the village, so that the following comments, made a century earlier, no longer applied. A publication of 1790, 'England delineated', included Newborough, an anomaly if you like, and in it was written - "The decayed town of Newborough subsists only by a manufacture of mats and ropes made of the sea reed grass which binds together the sandy hills on the coast'. Angharad Llwyd gave a similar picture of poverty in 1833, when she wrote - "It has dwindled into an insignificant obscure village, a place for the fishermen to spread his net upon", and this was before the loss of the common land.
A few men worked at the Caernarfonshire slate quarries and even fewer worked on the railway. The village had its general and common carriers and a hawker. Two women were described as nurse and midwife, though many local wives and a widow acted as midwives well into the nineteen forties. A farmer's widow or shopkeeper retired on her or his own means. A potato merchant bought and sold other vegetables, particularly carrots, which proved to be a valuable crop for those who farmed the sandy acres near the warren, especially at Penlon.
The school, with a headmaster from outside the village, employed local women and youngsters as monitors, pupil teachers, sewing mistresses and teachers. It is worth noting that only one person, an elderly woman, was described as a pauper in the 1881 census.
It was at the annual meeting of the Church Vestry that men were selected to be responsible for running the parish. There the churchwardens, guardians and overseers of the poor, the village constable and road surveyor were chosen for the year. The Overseer of the Poor had the duty of collecting the poor rates from the proprietors of houses and land That occupation was as unpopular with those so selected as had been that of the parish constable earlier in the century. It has to be realised that they were volunteered to these unpaid occupations, though recognition of the cost of the work was made through an annual payment. To this were added the increasing responsibilities undertaken by the leaders in the chapels, bearing in mind that the first chapel was built in Newborough as early as 1785 and a school had also been opened some years earlier, a practical expression of the desire to break away from the dominant and sometimes uncaring position previously held by the church.
The names of the men qualified to act as jurors in 1890 and 1893 gave us further insight into who was important in the village, though not all so named wished to be involved in decision making. Later on, some would become the community, district and county councillors, as well as Justices of the peace. The post of Guardian of the Poor was to continue until 1929. There were twenty three named to be assessed for the payment of the Poor Rate in the parish in 1890.
Hugh Owen Hughes of Cefn Mawr, described as a general merchant, was one of the few freehold owners of house and land. He was also a social juror and magistrate. He was expected to play a leading role in the village where he was trustee and chairman of the Pritchard Jones Institute, but he was not to accept the invitation to become a deacon in the Calvinistic Methodist chapel, which he nonetheless attended and supported in other ways.
Captain Robert Roberts, Talbraich, another retired master mariner was a freehold farmer and shop keeper. Owen Jeffrey Jones who married the daughter of Ty Lawr, a member of the chapel, was a churchwarden and would eventually be one of the first church laymen to become a school manager and later on a parish councillor and J.P.. He was the grandson of William Jones, White Lion, and a younger brother of William Jones (1852 - 1907), who sailed to Australia and founded a family and empire in Tasmania.
The 1891 Register of Ownership voters to elect a Member of Parliament or County Councillor, lists seventeen names with eight of them being freeholders and residents in the village. Thomas Robert Jones gave his place if abode as the Caernarfon Union Workhouse, with Cae Newydd as is qualifying property.
Amongst the others were the Rev. Richard Evans, Rector, Sir John Pritchard Jones, his father Richard Jones who had by then moved from Ty'n y Coed to Tyddyn Pwrpas, to live with another of his sons, the Rev. William Jones. The others included Hugh Evans, Bronderwydd, William Thomas and his son-in-law Owen Jeffrey Jones, both of Llwynysgaw, Hugh Hughes, Plas Pydewau, and Thomas Jones, Rhedyn Coch.
Some women could only vote as County Council electors from their occupations. They were generally widows, with some described as 'penteulu', (head of the family) whilst others lived on their own means. Mrs Griffith, a widow, who farmed Pendref with her son, was a County elector, whereas her son had both county and parliamentary voting rights. Margaret Thomas, a young widow at Tyddyn Plwm, was a mat and broom setter and qualified as a county council elector.
The Land Tax Assessment for 1895, gives the names of owners and occupiers of houses and land in that year. Some of the large estate owners still owned properties in the village. They were Sir G. G. Meyrick, Lord Boston, the heirs of the Late Lord Dinorben and the Right Hon. H. J. Wynne, who owned the most properties ranging down in value from such farms as Caeau Brychion, Pendref and Maes y Ceirchdir, to the row of cottages known as Plas Pydewau and single cottages such as Caer Glyn, Minffordd and Pant.
Only a few local people were owner occupiers of houses, shops or farms. They were William Parry, Cerrig Mawr, Edward Jones, Llain Gabriel, Hugh Lewis, Bryn Sinc, The Rev. William Jones, Tyddyn Pwrpas, Margaret Jones, Neuadd Wen and Owen J. Jones, Llwyn Ysgaw who also owned Caeau Aeres. Robert Hughes of Goetan and William Roberts of Melin Ffrwd were owner occupiers, as were Richard Hughes of Cefn Mawr Isaf, and Robert Roberts of Hendy. Thomas Thomas had part of Sign Fawr and Robert Roberts occupied Waen y Sign where Tal y Braich would be built later. The remaining two were Gaynor Jones at Tan y Graig and E. Williams at Cae Merddyn Poeth. Captain O.J. Jones of Baron Hill, a retired master mariner, was to buy Brynhyfryd in 1896.
More new houses were built and others knocked down and rebuilt. More land was bought in the twentieth century by tenant farmers and those who had more lucrative occupations, generally merchants, shopkeepers and mariners. Portions of large estates were having to be sold during the difficult economic climate early last century, with only a few of the tenant farmers being able to afford to buy them. Some even had to pay landlords increased rents when often it was solely due to their efforts that the properties had been improved. Following local government acts, the County Council, in line with others nationwide, bought a few acres here and there to be turned into smallholdings and were encouraged to arrange mortgages for tenants who wished to buy them.
Brynsiencyn parish council was more persistent and successful in pursuing this than was Newborough parish council for instance, though Richard Prichard Jones as County Councillor was helpful in some instances in the village.
The 1934 Land Tax assessment showed that more properties in Newborough were owned by local people, some as landlords and others as owner occupiers. The 1934 assessment shows that Sir George Meyrick had kept two properties, Tyn Coed and Tir Capten and Lord Boston had kept Dywades, Tyn Lon and Cwcw's Shees. The Hon. F. G. Wynne still owned Caeau Brychion, Ty'n Goeden, Maes y Ceirchdir, Caer Gors and Caer Glyn, though a couple of tenants were in the process of buying their farms and Miss Griffith had bought Pendref from the estate in 1933.
The Land Tax assessment covering 1943 to 1946 shows that well over a hundred properties were owned, with thirty four of them owner occupiers. The Bodorgan estate still owned Merddyn Bagnal, part of a row of cottages on Pendref Street, Tir Capten and Gwningar Fawr. Lord Boston had kept the house and land at Tyn Lon, whilst Lord Newborough still owned the same properties as were taxed in 1934.
Thomas Thomas, Cae Coch, a freehold occupier and owner of land and house was a churchwarden. Griffith Robert Jones farmed Maes y Ceirgdir and he acted both as an overseer for a short while as well as being a long serving and hard working School Board member. The amount he was assessed to the Poor Rate, was £65, the highest in the parish.
Richard Prichard Jones, Cambrian House, grocer and draper the eldest surviving son of Richard and Jane Jones, Ty'n Coed was surely outstanding in the various roes he played in the life of the village. He never married and to this day, members of his family recall his many thoughtful acts over the years, in helping young people get on in life. His father had been deacon at the chapel for 46 years and he also became a deacon there, where his brother, the Rev. William Jones was a minister for twenty five years.
Richard Prichard Jones was Chairman of the School Board for many years and surely deserved the many honours bestowed on him such as when he was elected Chairman of Anglesey County Council in 1901. His concern for the welfare of the young was shared by his more famous brother, Sir John Prichard-Jones.
The members of this family in particular, by the quality of their leadership and support, were to make their mark, not only on life in their village of birth, but much further afield. Richard Jones, farmer and shoemaker and Jane Owen of Ty'n Coed, were married at St Peter's Church on the 16th February 1825.
Their first born was a daughter Eleanor, baptised in 1825 at St Peter's Church. A son named Owen died aged seven weeks in January 1827.
A second son, also baptised Owen, died in 1830 before reaching his second birthday. Richard was also baptised at St Peter's Church on the 29th January, 1831.
Three more sons were born to the couple, but as the parents were now members of Ebenezer Chapel, they were baptised there. William in July 1834, Owen in April 1837 and John in1841.
Owen, the third to bear the name, was to die in Childhood and the mother Jane died on the 15th July 1844, aged thirty eight. Her daughter Eleanor, married to Thomas Hughes, Hendre Bach, died childless in 1852 and was buried alongside her mother on the northern side of the church, only a short distance from their home. A second stone was placed on the grave after the death of Sir Richard Prichard-Jones, telling of their relationship.
Richard Jones' second wife was Jane Hughes from Llandwrog, Caernarfonshire, and her brother Hugh, a mariner, lived with them at Ty'n y Coed. On the death of his second wife, Richard Jones retired from farming and went to live with his son. the Rev William Jones and his wife Ann at Tyddyn Pwrpas. It is obvious from the records kept from the late 1880's onwards, that R.P. Jones, Cambrian House, was held in high esteem throughout his life and chosen to take a leading role in village affairs.
In the history of the village, the same few names cropped up regularly as already seen in the story of Newborough school. The duties of churchwardens had been limited to responsibility for church matters only, but the parish vestry continued to be responsible for all decisions until the implementation of the 1894 Act brought in Parish Councils and District Councils. The vestry meetings, which had always been held at the church, were now held at different houses in the village, and at the British School room, which from 1879 became a Board school. These Public Vestry meeting places reflected the role of the new men in charge, though the rector or parson was still necessary in some parishes as the only man sufficiently educated to interpret new directives and laws from Whitehall.
It was first proposed in the eighteen sixties to sell parish property in order to build a school following on the 1834 Union of Parish Property Act, giving permission for such property to be sold for the good of the village. Another suggestion was to use the money to extend the church cemetery, the only one in the village at that time. Thirteen cottages had been built earlier in the century as dwelling for poor people in the parish. These cottages had been built with a loan from the then rector as being less expensive than paying rent to private property owners, for the parish ratepayers were duty bound to pay for the housing of the needy, or paupers as they were known, in the parish. The Bailiff's quillet on Church Street extended to about half an acre. By 1875 the 'Poor Houses' as Rhenc Newydd, were to be sold to enlarge the cemetery, together with other church property in the village, but after a few more years of discussion at the vestry meetings, it was decided to keep half of the money for the church and the other half for the Dissenters.
Three years later there was still indecision as it was proposed that the money be used solely to enlarge the existing church cemetery. Permission to sell could only be granted by the Guardians of the Poor of the Caernarfon Union. Eventually a proposal by the Rev. William Jones, Cambrian House, was carried that the money be shared between the church and the Nonconformists for a burial ground, walled and with a Dead House. The walls of the old churchyard had to be mended by voluntary subscriptions, another sign of the division in the parish. A Burial Board for the new cemetery had been chosen in 1881, with most men continuing as board members into the next decade. The members were as follows;
The debts incurred with the buying of the new cemetery were all cleared by 1885. Unfortunately, there is no further information about the new cemetery or how the money was shared out.
|Rev. Thomas Meredith|
Samuel Roberts, Bron Derwydd
Richard Hughes, Cefn Mawr
Captain Robert Roberts, Tal y Braich
William Griffith, Pendref
Thomas Jones, Cefn Mawr
John Jones, Tan y Ffynnon
Owen Owens, Pen Y Wal.
The vestry meetings were held and minuted sometimes in Welsh and sometimes in English, though no set rules seemed to apply. Richard Prichard Jones became Guardian of the Poor in 1883 with Escu Davies, Post Office, Clerk of the Vestry and Guardian of the Vestry Book. His family came originally from Carmarthenshire and his father had been a surgeon at Fleet Street, London, before they came north to Anglesey. It is to be seen that men who had moved into the village were invited to occupy positions of responsibility occasionally.
Miss Jones, Bodiorwerth, had signed over the well or spring known as Ffynnon Dwr Cloddiau. also known as Ffynnon Gweirgloddiau to the Vestry in 1886, with condition that the water be piped for easy access by the villagers. The water sometimes overflows on to the pavement even in these days. The members of the Vestry were sympathetic when some rate payers were unable to meet their obligations and excused payments from some of them, possibly after a bad harvest or when a widow met with difficulties. After all, it was the Vestry members that decided how and where to spend the rates in the village, especially for the poor and needy. Some of the ratepayers farmed land of less than half a dozen acres. However, those so named were warned that summonses would be issued if they were to fall into arrears again. An ongoing problem was that of moles in the village and this matter was still being brought up after the parish council had taken over the duties and responsibilities of the public vestry in 1894.
These are the names of the regular members of the Parish Vestry over the next few years, until councillors had to be elected at a formal parish meeting; Hugh Evans, Chapel Street; Thomas Thomas, Cae Coch; Owen Owens, Pen Bonc (Rhouse gynt); Owen J. Jones, Ty Lawr; Griffith R. Jones, Maes y Ceirchdir; William Griffith, Pendref; Capt. John Jones, Baron Hill, Hugh Hughes, Plas Pydew; Capt. Robert Roberts, Tal y Braich; Hugh Hughes, Bryn Golau; Josiah W. Hughes, Ty'n y Goeden and the Rev. William Jones, Tyddyn Pwrpas held positions for a short while.
The public vestry meeting of March 1890, decided that the men whom they employed, mostly on road work, were to paid two shillings and sixpence a day, increased to six shillings a day when they used their horse and cart as well. The maintenance of the roads was still the responsibility of the Vestry. Another decision was increase the weekly relief to one Ellen Evans, widow of Carreg yr Eglwys, being dependent on the parish for such payments.
Early in 1894, the Vestry was for giving rate arrears due from some ratepayers in the village as well as at Pentre Isaf, the part of the parish overlooking Malltraeth marshes in the Felin Ffrwd lane area. A decision taken in August 1893 and confirmed in January 1894, was to share with Dwyran vestry as Guarantors, via the Poor Rates, the cost of the construction of telegraph communication for the villagers at the invitation of the Postmaster General. The line was also extended to Llanddwyn island, where the lifeboat was kept. The Caernarfon Union Rural Sanitary Authority was informed of the resolution, for it had the final word in such matters.
The 1888 Local Government Act had transferred the for roads and bridges, drains and general county matters from the magistrates to the county councils, and the 1894 Parish Council Act created secular vestries with the power to enforce rights of way, manage parochial charities and prevent enclosure.
A most important date in the administration of Village affairs in Newborough, was the 4th December 1894, when a parish meeting was held at the Board Schoolroom with R. P. Jones, Cambrian House in the chair, to elect a parish council. Thirty seven local names were put forward with three withdrawing their names there and then. Sixteen were publicly elected from the remaining names and as the last two had the same number of votes, the casting vote of the chairman went in favour of Ellis Jones, Abermenai Road and not David Williams, Spier House. The first Parish Council meeting was held at the Board School, chaired by Mr R.P. Jones on the 13th of December.
Mr Hugh Evans, Chapel Street was elected to the chair with Captain R. Roberts, Tal y Braich as Vice Chairman. Thomas Thomas, Cae Coch, Griffith P. Jones, Maes y Cairchdir, Thomas Hughes, Coedanna and Hugh Hughes, Bryngolau were named as Overseers of the Poor, for these positions were still the responsibility of the parish council. Lewis Lewis, Bryn Sinc was chosen as secretary at a salary of thirty shillings per annum, to be replaced by Hugh Evans, Chapel Street, the following year.
Mr E.M. Roberts, Manager of the Metropolitan Bank, Caernarfon was asked to be treasurer. In due course, he would be asked to sign a bond for £100 on reaching an agreement with the council. The remaining councillors were Captain J. Jones, Baron Hill, Joseph Roberts, Glanffynnon, Robert Roberts, Bryn Howydd, William Lewis, Madryn House, Hugh Lewis, Ty'n Coed, Richard Jones, Rhedyn Coch, John Evans, Cerrig Gwydd and Owen Roberts, Pen Ras.
A meeting was called in June as a possibility of dissolving the connection with the Caernarvon Union was being considered, but as the area, later to become the Dwyran District Council, consisted of only a small group of villages, the councillors realised it was too small to sustain its own separate Union. They reached a decision that if a change was necessary, they would prefer to join Holyhead Union. Anglesey County Council was also informed that if a new Guardian was chosen, he would have to be an Anglesey man. This important meeting had been held and minuted in English, the language of Whitehall, where all government rules and regulations originated. By 1895 they would be considering the possibility of having just the one workhouse for the whole of Anglesey.
In January 1895 permission had been granted to erect poles with telegraph wires along Church Street in the direction of Llanddwyn and a favourable reply was given to the landowners and tenants of Pentre Isaf who were asking for a better road, subject to their preparing a suitable scheme. At this time, came the first reference to the proposal to ask the Midland Railway Company to extend their railway system in north Wales. Llangaffo parish council wrote asking the council to support the proposed light railway planned to join Gaerwen station to the Anglesey and Caernarfon ferry, but though the idea was discussed, no decision was made. Captain R. Roberts and Mr. Hugh Evans would represent the council at a special committee formed later on. The destruction of moles was still causing problems for the councils to the extent that Llangeinwen parish council sought to include that as an item for discussion at the same meeting.
The rate collector's pay was to be increased annually to three pounds and ten shillings, and on reading the rules in council, it was decided that all meetings would be minuted in Welsh. The Rev. William Jones paid seven pounds rent for the chapel cemetery, which implies that ownership had been transferred from the vestry to the parish council, though there is no record of any such transaction.
Another transfer of responsibility was that of non-ecclesiastical charities illustrated by a request from Mr Richard Griffith, Treddafydd stating that by a will of 1777, the tenants of Rallt Gwta, Newborough had to pay an annual rent of ten shillings for house and garden towards the poor of Trefdraeth.
The letting of Tir Tlodion to tenants was another transfer of responsibility with David Thomas, Gwningar and John Lewis, Church Street, both seeking the tenancy, it being granted to John Lewis whose bid of £2.2s was the higher by two shillings.
An offer of ten shillings or thereabouts was accepted for the cemetery hay annually as well.
David Williams Spierhouse and Hugh Williams, Pengamdda, asked the parish council to secure a few acres of land which would be sublet as allotments, 'rhandiroedd' in Welsh. Similar requests followed from John Jones, Shop, and William Williams, Giat, William Roberts, Warehouse and Robert Jones, Glascoed.
Having approached W. H. Owen, Esq., Plas Penrhyn, Dwyran, the condition attached to his releasing of sixteen acres of Clynnog land nearest to the parish, known as Erw Hirion, (Long Acres), to this purpose, namely that the council should build a boundary wall along the road to Llangeinwen, Lon Filltir (Mile Road) as it is now called, was considered too troublesome and costly. Mr Owen wrote advising the council to approach owners of large estates such as the Hon. Frederick Wynn and Lord Boston.
Pendref, Plas and Ty'n Cae land were available in the village for which tenants applied via the council. Mr Richard Roberts, agent for the Hon. Frederick Wynne, Glynllifon, replied in due course and though sympathising with their request for twelve acres, he could only advise them to approach the County Council instead. Anglesey County Council replied that they considered it unreasonable to expect them to act on behalf of the parish council in asking for Glynllifon land at Pendref.
A request from Llangoed Parish Council asking the council to join it with other councils to seek information about the rights to common land and allotments was rejected. The parish had lost all such land apart from ten acres, Tir Tlodion - remaining at Penlon. Also all the ratepayers in the village would have been expected to sign a petition to accompany the inquiry as well as contributing to its cost.
The duties expected of the council became greater as when it had to have the drains from the 'new' cemetery deepened, which necessitated a request to Captain Hugh Roberts, White Lion, to allow access to the drain on Hendre Fawr land. All the officers that the council had to approach and involve in this work were employees of the Caernarfon Union and more often than not, were Caernarfonshire men, usually crossing over by ferry regularly, as did Mr H. Parry, Inspector of Nuisances.
He visited the Dwyran Rural District area, which included Newborough, many times over the years and listed the cases and households he visited and the reason for his concern. He wrote several letters to the council following instructions from Mr P. Frazer, Medical Officer of Health for the Union to visit certain properties in Newborough, and he informed them of the need to check the quality of drinking water available in the village, and to ensure that all the landlords had proper privies for each household.
A committee of three was named to speak to Mr J. H. Griffiths, Clynnog about mending the road by Cerrig Llwyd, whilst the Dwyran District Council was asked to take over and mend the Ty'n Llidiart road leading to the warren and seashore. A notice was sent to three farmers not to interfere with paths on their land, namely Thomas Roberts, Tyddyn, Owen Williams, Ty'n Lon, and William Roberts, Melin Ffrwd.
A library for the village was considered and the Rev J. Lewis,Llanidan's letter explaining the need to have a District Nurse to treat 'cleifion heintus', those suffering from infectious diseases, was warmly welcomed. A letter of complaint was sent more than once to the Post Master at Bangor because of the irregular delivery of the mail. R. H. Williams Bulkeley of Baron Hill, wrote inviting the council to light a bonfire on June 22, 1897, to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee. This was done at Maes y Ceirchdir, accompanied by the firing of rockets. Many other bonfires were lit to celebrate events over the years, the last one was at Tir Orsedd after the second World War ended, with Tommy Owen, Penrhos, who had been a prisoner of war, lighting it.
The councillors chosen at a parish meeting in 1897 were as follows;
|R. Griffiths, Cambrian House, Chairman|
Griffith R. Jones, Maes y Ceirchen, Vice Chairman
William Jones, Tir Bodfel
Captain J. Jones, Sgubor Ddu
David Williams, Spier House
The last four named were also Overseer of the Poor.
William Lloyd, Penlon
Thomas Hughes, Coedanna
Griffith Jones, Glanffynnon
Robert Jones, Bron Gadair
O.J. Jones, Ty Lawr
Captain J. Jones, Baron Hill
Captain R. Roberts, Tal y Braich
Thomas Thomas, Cae Coch
William M. Williams, 'Rhouse
John Williams, Cefn Bychan
and John H. Thomas as secretary.
The councillors in 1899 were Richard Jones, Corn Coch, Owen Jones, Fair View, Rev. William Jones, Tyddyn Pwrpas, Thomas Prichard, Ty'n 'Rallt, and John Jones, Penrhyn House. With R. Roberts, Warehouse as chairman, and Isaac Hughes as vice Chairman, John Henry Thomas continued as secretary to the council in 1900, when the payment of the Poor rates was excused for William Williams, Bangor House, Thomas Williams, Bryn Madog and Ellen Roberts, 'Rallt Gwta.
Though women could become councillors, not one had sought to put her name forward, though they would be given some recognition as the new century progressed. For instance, Bangor University College's offer of Dairy classes was accepted by the council, if the ladies were willing to take them up.
As the rate collector needed to become a member of the Guarantee Society under new rules, his pay was increased by fifteen shillings to cover the cost involved.
The council discussed the possibility of lighting the village with paraffin lamps although it came nothing, and the desirabilitiy of a village pillar box was also considered.
The payment of poor rates was again excused in 1902, this time by Catherin Thomas, Sign Fawr and Mary Rowlands, Nyth Goch, though both were warned that they would not be excused again. With the increased demand for clean water, a pump at Malltraeth Street was put to use, with Mr Edwards as the officer responsible, having to see to it being opened daily between seven in the morning and five in the evening.
Finally, Mr H. Hughes, Gorffwysfa's offer to plant trees in the parish was gratefully accepted.
His family home was a typical small Welsh cottage only a couple of fields from the church. There is some uncertainty about the ownership of the farm for Hugh Owen, Ty'n y Coed, bearing Jane's maiden name, died there in March 1827, aged 42, leading one to conclude that it has been his home also as a close relative of hers, possibly her father.
Richard Jones' occupation was variously described as 'crydd', shoemaker, or farmer in those early days.
The three surviving brothers were educated at the Dwyran School, where the parents paid two pence a week for each child, with most of them taking their midday meal with them to the school as it was a two or three mile walk for many from the neighbouring villages. As was the custom at the time, it was mostly sons who were sent to be educated at the schools. Learning to read at Sunday school was considered adwquate for most girls.
At the age of fourteen, John was apprenticed to the Nelson, Caernarfon. From there he moved to work in similar establishments at Pwllheli and Bangor. Although Welsh was the language of the hearth, he would have learnt English at school and in the shops where he worked in north Wales. He must have felt that his grasp of English was adequate for he moved to Yorkshire, where one of his ventures was 'Welsh Tours for Tourists', a financially successful tour company organising trips to Anglesey, Caernarfonshire and Meirionydd.
The business was so successful, he decided to move to London where he first found employment at Swan and Edgars, in the West End. Here again, his ability was such that he was promoted through various positions to become staff manager and eventually a buyer for the company as he was acknowledged a specialist in certain goods.
He met a Mr Dickins, part owner of a small shop bearing his name, 'Dickins and Jones', in Regent Street. The shop's origins can be traced back to 1803. In 1872, John became a buyer at the shop and by 1878, he had become a partner as well, keeping the name Jones going. Adjoining properties were bought over the years as the business thrived. He proved to be an astute businessman and invested in other properties in London, some of which he sold, whilst others were rented out to various firms and businesses.
North Wales Express, 18th April 1902
The Lyons Corner House, Aldgate, London, together with the office floors above, was an investment which was to enable him to share his success with the village of his birth. Ground rents paid in London for the upkeep of the Prichard Jones Institute, which, together with six cottages built for the pensioners of Newborough, was opened in 1905, though in later years, pensioners from surrounding villages as well as further afield were to become tenants. The then Dwyran Rural District Council had granted John Richard Jones planning permission for the erecting of public buildings at Newborough in March 1902. He had owned other property in the village, namely some of the houses in Soar Terrace, but had sold them as being possibly unsuited to his purpose.
The Institute, built of grey Anglesey granite with Ruabon stone dressing, was officially opened on June 30th, 1905, by Sir Richard Williams-Bulkeley, at that time Lord Lieutenant of Anglesey, with John Prichard Jones as High Sherriff. There was a gathering of leading figures from the world of politics and business, including many from north Wales. Bollands of Chester were caterers for a grand dinner with the menu written in French, accompanied by a lengthy wine list. The founder as chairman, proposed a toast followed by the Lord Lieutenant, Sir Isambard Owen, Sir Marchant Williams and Ellis Jones Griffith Esq., M.P.
The slate in the main hallway gives the following information as to the Institute's use and purpose.
THIS BUILDING WAS ERECTED
AND ENDOWED BY
JOHN PRICHARD JONES A NATIVE OF THIS PARISH,
AND PRESENTED AS A FREE GIFT FOR EVER ON
JUNE 30th 1905, TO THE PEOPLE OF NEWBOROUGH
FOR THEIR USE AND FOR THE USE OF THE PEOPLE
OF THE ADJOINING PARISHES, TOGETHER WITH THE
COTTAGE HOMES WHICH ARE FOR THE BENEFIT OF
THE INHABITANTS OF NEWBOROUGH ALONE.
ARCHITECT; ROWLAND LLOYD JONES, CAERNARFON
BUILDER; HUGH HUGHES, NEWBOROUGH
The objectives of the Institute were the provision of the residences for the inhabitants of Newborough, together with the payment of a pension to such residents within the Institute. Further provisions of public rooms were for the residents and for the inhabitants of the Parish of Newborough and the adjoining parishes of Llangeinwen, Llangaffo, Llanidan and Malltraeth, including Trerdraeth and Llangadwaladr. It could also be used for political meetings to be and charitable or other public purposes, connected with Newborough.
The Institute and cottages were funded with an endowment of £250 a year from the ground rents in London. It was anticipated that this sum would pay wages and pensions as well as the cost for heating, lighting and cleaning and the maintenance and repairs of all the buildings. The endowment was also expected to increase in value annually. Accordingly, any such increase was to the Anglesey County Council to establish exhibitions to Intermediate schools as well as scholarships to the University College, Bangor, in the founder's name.
The field opposite the Institute, going by the name of 'Coryn Doc quillet', was bought at a later date and after being divided into eight garden plots, two were given to the Librarian and the other six for the cottage tenants. The Institute was described as the most impressive of the four that were built in rural Anglesey, owing to the generosity of a local benefactor. The other three were at Cemmaes, Gaerwen and Llangoed, all of them being built between 1898 and 1911. The newspaper 'The London Welshman', quite correctly described the Institute as unique, "with no other village in Wales possessing anything approaching it".
The first governing body consisted of John Prichard Jones and his two brothers, with that responsibility eventually passing to other family members and to the chairmen of the Parish and District Councils, to rectors and ministers in the parish, to the member of the county council for the district, to the headmaster of the village council school together with three co-opted members, one of whom must always be a woman. The COTGREAVE filing system used in the library for issuing books, is one of two introduced in Britain.
The tenants lived rent free and also benefited from a monthly pension of thirty shillings for married couples and twenty shillings for a single person. The whole establishment was supervised on behalf of the trustees by a caretaker who was also the librarian, and in this role, he attended the meetings of the trustees.
When David Lloyd George was Chancellor, he introduces national insurance, so that contributions by workers would guarantee them a pension on retirement. In 1905, John Prichard Jones had introduced an Investment and Savings fund to his employees to promote thrift and self help, allowing them to benefit from investing in the firm and earn interest on such funds. It is interesting to note that in the last two decades of the last century, modern firms introduced similar schemes.
He was also a founder member of the Drapers Chamber of Trade. He was a personal friend and supporter of the Chancellor and there is some credence to the story that his ideas, which he put into practice at Newborough as well as his employees in London, had in some measure influenced Lloyd George when he was preparing the Insurance Act of 1911.
The library with separate reading room, was to be very successful, making books, newspapers, periodicals and magazines available to the villagers in both Welsh and English, a policy the trustees always followed. This was to continue until the Second World War, when bomb damage in London in 1941 led to the loss of the regular income which has been essential to the successful running of the Hall and cottages. This loss of revenue was to create many problems for successive trustees.
The Institute was to be used as a school for children of secondary school age following the implementation of the 1944 Education Act until more satisfactory provisions were made for comprehensive education on Anglesey. Interestingly enough, Anglesey was the second authority to bring in comprehensive education in Great Britain in the 1950s, with the London Education Authority the first to do so.
John Prichard Jones supported education for north Wales and following his personal donation on £17,000, the Prichard Jones Hall was built at Bangor University College in 1910. He was a member of the Council of the Collage and also Vice President in 1909. He showed further support for education by donations towards scholarships to the Warehousemen, Clerks and Drapers School in Purley, Surrey, where such financial support helped educate children from the business community.
As guarantor of the National Eisteddfod held in London in 1887, a financial failure, he had uncomplainingly cleared all its debts. He was treasurer of the successful National Eisteddfod held in London in 1909. He was also a generous benefactor to the National Museum, Cardiff, where he was treasurer for many years, and he was equally active as treasurer of The Welsh Appointments Board, which helped many young men and women to get a start in life.
He must have been a man of tremendous drive, for he worked diligently on behalf of two other groups in London, one an advisory body for London Welsh, and the other a Welsh Charitable Society. He was for many years a member of the Honourable Cymmorodorion Council. The controlling interest in Dickins and Jones was transferred in 1911 to Harrod's (Limited), so that Sir John, by then retired, was able to associate himself more and more with Welsh groups and movements in Wales as well as England.
He was created Baronet by King Edward VII in 1910 and was to have many other honours bestowed on him over the years. His contribution to education in Wales was acknowledged when he was granted an LL.D. and D.L. Honoris Causa by the University of Wales in 1913.
On Anglesey, he was a J. P., High Sheriff in 1905-06 and Deputy Lord-Lieutenant. He was a Freeman of Caernarfon and Bangor city. He kept a home at Bron Menai, Dwyran, to which his elder brother retired in 1905, as well as Maes yr Haf, Elstree. He was travelling to Wales in his chauffer driven limousine in 1917 when there was a bad accident and Sir John returned to Elstree where he died on Wednesday October 17th, 1917.
In accordance with his will, his coffin was brought to Newborough M.C. Ebenezer Chapel on the eve of his funeral, where a memorial service was held. The following day, with the Rev. W. H. Jenkins officiating at the church, he laid to rest in St. Peter's cemetery. The local dignitaries at the church included the Rev. Dr. John Williams, Brynsiencyn, Mr. Thomas Owen, Rhuddgar, Mr H. O. Hughes, Cefn Mawr and Mr. J Trevor Roberts, Trefarthin.
One reason given by his son, for Sir John's decision to be buried at the church, was his disappointment at the fact that though money had been left to Ebenezer chapel to pay for the upkeep of his father, Richard Jones' grave, which had been sadly neglected.
The eldest brother, Richard Prichard Jones, was to play a most important part in the life of his village and that of the county in so many ways. He and his father, who lived well into his nineties, were deacons at the M. C. Chapel, and he was surely as supportive of his brother William who became minister there, as he was of his younger brother John.
His many roles included that of chairman of the recently formed Anglesey County Council and the Education Committee, a Justice of the Peace and High Sheriff of Anglesey, as well as President of the M.C. monthly meetings on the island.
Sir John's first wife, Miss Mary Coggan of Muchelney, Somerset, died in 1901. His second wife Marie, whom he married in 1911, was the daughter of the late Mr. Charles Read.
The Institute which was built at an approximate cost of £25,000, was opened in 1905, the year he was High Sheriff. John Prichard Jones stated at the opening of the Institute, that his purpose in creating such a place was "to raise the standard of social and moral life --- to keep both old and young from the temptation of the public house --- intellectual food for the mind and to enable students to continue their education --- an institution wanted in every town and village in Wales".
The names of some of the guests who attended the official opening of the Institute on Friday, June 30th 1905, well illustrate John Prichard Jones' standing in the north Wales community, some years before he became baronet.
Accompanying the three brothers were R. Williams Bulkeley, Mr & Mrs H.F. Dickins, Dr & Mrs Lake, Mayor of Caernarfon, William Bayne, Mayor of Bangor. Mayor of Deptford, Thomas Owen, Rhuddgaer, J. H. Griffith, Clynnog, O. Jeffrey Jones, Thomas Jones, Gelliniog Wen, Watkin, Bangor, H. R. Reichel, Principal, University College Bangor, Isambard Owen, Principal Bristol College, L. D. Jones (Llew Tegid) Bangor, T. Lloyd Thomas, Fleet Surgeon, R.N., Dr W. H. Williams, Dwyran, with his wife M. E. Williams, whose book 'Hanes Mon yn y Bedwaredd Ganrif ar Bymtheg' would be published in 1927.
Others proud to write their names in the visitor's book were Hugh Evans, D. Pryse Jones, Robert Griffith, Cambrian House, Hugh Hughes, Builder, L. Prothero, Chief Constable, Rev. Evan Jones, Rector Llangeinwen and Llangaffo. Richard Evans, Vicar of Llanidan. Newspaper representatives from the Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury, J. Wells Thatcher, Middle Temple, London, C. Hughes Hunter, Plas Coch.
W. Morris Williams, Josiah W. Hughes, Charles C. Williams, Rees Roberts, John Hughes, Llnagaffo. Ellis Roberts and Maggie M. and Elizzie A. Roberts, Caer Du, Dwyran, Huw Willams and John Hughes, Librarian and Caretaker, Rose Hughes and Hugh Williams, Police Station.
Some later visitors were Lewis Lewis, Clerk to the Parish Council, Mrs Jeffrey Jones, Ty Lawr, Captain Owen Lewis, Llain Stent, Mary C. Jones, Bodiorwerth, Lizzie Pryse Jones, the Rev. Phineas P. Hughes, Llangeinwen and G. Roberts-Parry, Dinam Hall and U.S.A..
Morris Williams, 'Morienydd', wrote in June 1907;
"Ym mhob llafur mae elw. A llafur mewn llyfrau yw'r gyfoethogaf".
"There is gain from all labour. To labour in books gives the greatest wealth".
A deputation from Bangor City Council visited in March 1907 before John Prichard Jones was granted the freedom of the city. Other visitors in that decade were John Morris Jones, Llanfairpwll and wife, Lady Hughes Hunter and guest, Sir Harry R. Reichel and Lady Reichel. A regular visitor on behalf of Sir John Prichard Jones was J. Wells Thatcher, Essex Court, The Temple, London.
On August 27th, 1909, the people from the five parishes named as beneficiaries, together with dignitaries, showed their appreciation oh his generosity to John Prichard Jones. by presenting him with a bust. Mr Goscombe John had been commissioned to do the work.
H. J. Angel, Caernarfon were caterers for a celebratory dinner held at the Institute, arranged by Richard Prichard Jones, the eldest brother and Dr Owen Prichard of Malltraeth, London. A choir and verses written by a local bard entertained the guests. More refreshments were supplied and the evening ended with a concert at the adjoining field, which included a harpist and a Mrs Revelly, Cardiff, who played records on her gramophone. School children from Bethel, Brynsiencyn, Dwyran, Newborough, Llangadwaladr, Llangaffo and Malltraeth were given tea parties and John Prichard Jones presented each child in person with a commemorative medal, one side of which gave the date and the other showed the bust.
Lord Boston with Mr William Owen, 'Rhouse, Newborough presented the old Newborough regalia on the 9th of September, 1910. It is safely kept in a glass case in the library. Lloyd George visited with Dr John Williams, Llwyn Idris, Brynsiencyn in August 1910. Lady Prichard Jones with her mother, Mrs Janet Read and Uncle John Bell of Liverpool, then staying at Dwyran, visited the Hall in 1911.
After the death of her husband, Lady Prichard Jones was to ensure the success of the Institute by playing a most important role as trustee over the years. Because of her continued close contact with the area, she became Vice President of the Executive Committee of the Llanidan and Newborough District Nursing Association in the nineteen twenties. She married Lord Louth in 1926 and he became a member of the committee in 1927. Her son, the present Sir John Prichard Jones, visited the Institute with Lord and Lady Louth in 1932 and became a trustee two years later. Sir John, with his wife Lady Helen, still visits Newborough on their trips to north Wales.
The opening of the Institute had been well publicised in the local and national press and it was to become mecca for people from as far afield as Pueblo, Colorado, Lucknow and the Punjab, Africa, Melbourne, Patagonia, Minnesota and Calgary, Chicago, Florida and New York. Many north Walians brought family and friends to visit. Very few of the local people visited in the early days, except as trustees and local councillors.
The Rev. William Owen, St Margaret's, Whalley Range, whose father Hugh Owen was the donor's cousin, visited in 1906. Only seven years previously ha had been a missionary in Japan. The Rev. John Williams, Llwyn Idris, Brynsiencyn, visited with Lloyd George in August 1910. Sir Richard Williams Bulkeley with R. John Bulkeley and Richard Mackin, Scout Master, 7th Caernarfon Troops, paid a visit in 1911. The Rev. Robert Evans, a missionary in India, celebrated his sixty third birthday with a visit on July the 20th, 1912. Mrs. Margaret Lloyd George, giving her address as 11, Downing Street, was a visitor, as was her daughter Olwen in 1912. Sir John Prichard Jones brought John and Florence Hunt there in the September.
The Rev. R. Eurog Jones, M. E. Parsonage, Lee Centre, U.S.A., wrote in the book in November 1912, "Genedigol o Niwbwrch, Mon, yr ochr arall i'r heol o'r adeilad hwn" which translated is, "Native of Newborough, Anglesey, born on the opposite side of the road to this building". He was also to subscribe to R. Mon Williams' "Enwogion Mon", published in 1913. Other subscribers from Newborough were Mr H. O. Hughes, J.P., Cefn Mawr, Mr. Josiah Hughes, Mrs. Rose Hughes, Mr. D. Pryse Jones, and Sir John Prichard Jones.
A familiar surname to Newborough mat makers was that of Jane Stapleton Cotton, Plas Llwynon, who signed the visitor's book in 1913, for it was Colonel Cotton who revived the marram grass industry in the village.
Belgian refugees from Ostend came to stay at Talgwynedd, Dwyran, in 1914 and visited the Institute in the October. Other callers who visited in the line of duties were Isaac Edwards, District Valuer with J. H. Arthur Jones from the valuation department, Caernarfon, who came with Rowland Lloyd Jones the architect. In the December, A. J. E. Evans, Wrexham, proudly described himself as the great grandson of John Elias of Mon.
All sixty four members of the Anglesey Temperance Association who attended the 'Cymanfa' in the concert hall in August 1916, signed the visitor's book. The young minister from the C. M. Chapel, who had enlisted in the army as padre, 2nd Lieutenant John T. Evans, 6th Royal Welch Fusiliers, brought 2nd Lieutenant Owen J. Roberts of Portmadoc with him in the September. Another wartime visitor was W. P. Wheldon, 14th R.W.F, British Expeditionary Force, France, on September the 18th, 1918.
In August 1919, William John Williams, senior curate at Holyhead, brought along his future wife, Miss A. E. Slater of Longford Terrace, Holyhead. He was to become rector of Newborough in 1924.
The following month, John W. Vaughan, 'Ioan Fychan', signed and added the information that he was 'Bardd Cadeiriol' Colwyn Bay, 1893, 1896 and 1899. An interesting visitor in August 1920 was L. C. Harris, Women's Institute, Iddesleigh House, Westminster, who included the Institute on her visit to the founder group of the W. I. on Anglesey. Newborough ladies would form a local branch in 1936.
Lady Prichard Jones unveiled the Memorial to the soldiers and sailors who lost their lives in the 1914-18 War, on May 14th, 1921, accompanied by Brigadier General Owen Thomas, M. P., her uncle Mr. John Bell and the Rev. J. Hughes Jones, rector of Newborough. Others present from the village included W. D. Evans, Penbonc, with members of his family, Robert Griffith, Cambrian House, a relative of Sir John Prichard Jones, H. O. Jones, Bryniau, Richard Jones, Corn Coch and O. T. Thomas, headmaster, all of them nonconformists.
There had been a dispute in the village about where and how to place a memorial and church members, who had walked out of earlier meetings, had gone ahead and already had a memorial erected in St Peter's Churchyard. The names of those who died in both World Wars are identical on both memorials. So many of them had died in the field of battle.
Louis P. Delan, Sign Fawr (born NewYork)
Robert Edwards, Cae Coch Terrace
John Owen Griffiths, Ty'n Gerddi
Owen Griffiths, Baptist Chapel House
Edward Hughes, Nyth y Gog
E. R. Lloyd-Jones, Pendref Bach
Richard Jones, Rhenc Isaf
William Jones, Glanffynnon (son of Rhedyn Goch)
William Jones, Tan Lan
William Pierce Jones, Tyddyn Fawd
David Owen, New Chamber
John Owen, Penras, Penlon
Robert L. Owen, Ty'n Pant
Thomas Owen, Baron Hill
John Evans-Parry, Cae Coch (born in Pentraeth)
John Roberts, 2, Baron Hill (born in Holyhead)
Richard Owen Roberts, Ty'n Pant
Robert Roberts, Hen Blas
Henry Hugh Williams, 'Rhouse (Parents Felin Fach, Dwyran)
Humphrey O. Williams, 'Rhouse
John Williams, Ty'n Llidiard
John Williams, Goetan
Joseph Williams, Tan Rofft
Thomas Williams, Moranedd
Hug Williams, Rhenc Isaf (born Llangefni)
Peter Williams, Rhenc Isaf
William Williams, (enlisted at Tonypandy)
Owen Williams, (son of Hen Erw Wen)
Some of the above were buried in France, Belgium and Israel. Some had no known grave whilst others died at sea. A few died soon after the war as a result of their war service. One or two appear in the case of photographs of those in the services, 1914 - 15, at the Prichard Jones Institute.
The Anglesey Antiquarian Society led by Mrs. John of Llanfairpg met there in June 1924. There were many teachers in the group including T. H. Wyn Williams of Dwyran. In June 1925, the Rev. W. J. Williams, rector, conducted a meeting for sixty members of the St Mary's Branch, Mothers Union, Bangor, at the Institute. He was to bring other groups there over the years, including the Llanberis branch of the Mothers Union in 1928, with St James and St Daniel's Cathedral branch ten years later. Two local men who visited in 1926 were Len W. Owen, Engineer, R. S. S. Regina White Star, and E.O. Jones who had returned from the Sudan.
There were less and less visitors in the thirties, though the Marquess of Anglesey signed the visitors' book on September the 16th, 1930. More use was being made by other bodies such as a Health Week Exhibition in 1930, the Llandudno Colwyn Bay and District Field Club, consisting of forty members in 1931, followed by another visit in 1937.
Cynan visited on August 1931 and Lady Kathleen Stanley, Llanfawr, in June 1953. Four R. A. F. men signed the book in June 1943, with their addresses as Canada and Paris.
A most important visitor in October 1955 was Dave Hickson, Everton Football Club, who came to watch a game between Newborough and Gwalchmai.
Early in the nineteenth century, it was realised that the 'masses' should be given some learning, particularly those in the industrialised towns and cities. Such learning was to be directed to emphasising each one's station in society according to God's will.
In 1833, Government grants were made available to both the non denominational British and Foreign Schools and the Church of England National Society. These voluntary bodies were required to raise half the cost of building a school before qualifying for a grant. The intention of the church schools was to see that education would turn young people in the towns away from thieving and make for a better life. This had to be a consideration in smaller communities as well.
That the doctrine of the Church of England was an essential part of threir curriculum was to become a bone of contention. By 1839, the 'religious question' was the cause of open conflict between church and chapel over the allocation of money for elementary education.
By the middle of the century, government inspectors were employed to inspect state aided schools. Both types of schools used the monitorial system of teaching. The teacher instructed a monitor who would in turn attempt to pass on that knowledge to a group of ten or more pupils. The pupil monitor's education suffered from this arrangement as did that of the rest of the pupils.
The three "Rs" continued to be taught throughout, and in 1862, when the system of payment by results came in, teachers were just drilling facts into the children, a soul destroying act for teacher and pupils alike. It was particularly ineffective when monoglot Welsh children had to be taught through English, the language considered essential to get on in life. They were taught parrot fashion, without any understanding, so what was taught was soon forgotten. They were also taught that Welsh was an inferior language. This was illustrated by a remark made by a housewife in Newborough in the late eighteenth nineties, on seeing an Englishman walking up the street - "There goes a gentleman, he can't speak a word of Welsh."
Government inspectors checked on attendance as well as examination results. Part of the teachers' pay, which came from the grant, was dependent on these results. Attendance suffered when epidemics hit the area or when seasonal absences occurred, as children missed school to help with weeding or harvesting. Working class education suffered and failed.
The Church and British schools in Dwyran had educated many Newborough children. Before the Newborough British school was firmly established, well-to-do Dwyran people raid the fees of nonconformist children so that they attended the British school there instead of the local Church school. The Church, with dwindling congregations, was unable to raise funds to maintain some of its National schools. The Church school in Llangeinwen closed in 1883, although it had been transferred to a School Board in 1827 by Canon W. Williams, son of its founder. In 1880, education became compulsory. The 1891 Act brought in education as a right with payment by results being finally abolished in 1898.
With Griffith Jones, Maes y Ceirchdir as Management Committee secretary, a British school had been opened in Newborough in February 1867, at the M.C. chapel house with an attendance of forty pupils. It was run and financed by non-conformists with no help from the rector, Rev. Thomas Meredith or from church members. In 1868, Methodist chapels on the island made a special collection towards the Newborough school. At that time, under the Caernarfon Poor Law Union, the parish was separately maintaining its own poor.
The Caernarfon Union, under the direction of the Poor Law Board, Whitehall, London, had given permission in March 1866, for the Church Wardens and Overseers of the Poor to sell parish property for the erection of a school in the village. Other money was raised from residents, proprietors and employers paying the poor rate. Richard Davies, who employed Newborough seamen, gave fifty pounds. A labourer contributed half a crown. The correspondent for the exchanges with Whitehall, was Griffith Jones, Maes y Ceirchdir.
The school was intended " for the instruction of children of the labouring poor ..... a population of 1250..... besides the labouring poor are farmers, tradesmen and artisans. Nine tenths of the families in labouring population are members of the nonconforming congregation."
The school opened in 1868 and the first members of the management committee included R.P. Jones, shopkeeper, his brother William Jones who would be ordained a Methodist minister in 1875, and later on become minister of the M.C. Chapel in the village, and their father Richard Jones, a chapel deacon for forty years.
The headmaster, Owen Griffiths, had been a pupil teacher at Llanrhuddiad before being trained at the Bangor Normal College, which had opened in 1858 to train teachers for the British and Foreign Schools Society. Pupil teachers, introduced in the middle of the century, had to be thirteen years of age and over, and have five years apprenticeship with annual inspections, when the best were given scholarships to training colleges. The not too gifted could gain Certificates of Merit and grants to still pay part of their wages.
Pupils joined at regular intervals, dropped out, left to go to situation or returned after a long absence. By the end of the first year, a full grant was paid showing that teaching and attendance satisfied D.R. Fearon, H.M.I.. The following year, one of the best scholars left to go to sea, whilst some young ladies attended to help with needlework. The first lesson in English grammar was given in 1868.
A boy, attending instead of his sister, was told that it was contrary to rules, but his parents, having paid the fee, obviously wanted their money's worth. Following the example set by earlier schools in the area, young sailors home from sea attended occasionally. By December 1868, there were 125 pupils present, when the Inspector visited. It was noted that the corn harvest affected attendance in the August and work on the land was to interfere with schooling well into the next century.
Some of the brighter boys were encouraged to become paid monitors, especially after the new schoolroom was opened, but there were insufficient eleven and twelve year olds "to work the school satisfactorily". However, the Certificated master, Owen Griffiths of Llanfechell, taught with the help of John Davies, a nephew of Escu Davies, as a pupil teacher, one paid monitor, a sewing mistress and two other monitors, with the proportion of girls to boys amongst the pupils being very small.
The H.M.I. expressed his dissatisfaction with this imbalance and asked that girls be encouraged to attend, even though it was a convention in the Victorian age, and for many more years, that the education of boys was deemed more important than that of girls. Some pupils attended school for instruction in writing only. They had already learnt to read at Sunday school.
Following W. E. Forster's 1870 Education Act, thirty four school boards were eventually formed on Anglesey.
| Ellen Owen's payment for cleaning the new school in 1874, 9/6|
Owen Owen, 6 months school cleaning
|First Instalment of Poor Rate
The Newborough board was compulsorily elected in July 1875, replacing the earlier voluntary management board. The Charmain was Captain William Thomas with Captain Robert Roberts as treasurer. The other members of the board were Richard P. Jones, Samuel Roberts and Mr Griffiths. It must have been a proud moment when the Bye-laws were printed ending with the words - "sealed with the Corporate Common Seal of the School Board of the Parish of St. Peter's, Newborough, this 8th day of December, 1875, in the presence of
WILLIAM THOMAS, Chairman.
ESCU DAVIES, Clerk".
Having previously failed to get a voluntary rate through the Church Vestry, they could now impose a compulsory rate, a precept. The rector, the Rev. Thomas Meredith, had warned the parish about the rate bogy and had caused worry and delay.
The schools were for five to thirteen year old boys and girls and "every child attending a school provided by any school board shall pay such weekly funds as may be prescribed by the school board". As early as 1876 a local man was employed as attendance officer. The board took further steps to encourage attendance at the school, for they were well aware that the government grant depended on it.
Newborough in its early days closed for just two or days at Easter, Christmas and other holy days, keeping to the church tradition as laid down by the government bye-laws. It also closed when the church and chapel held their separate Harvest Festivals, or when religious bodies held special meetings, services and music festivals in Newborough as well as neighbouring villages.
Public meetings and elections were held at the schoolrooms. August 1878 brought the first holiday excursion from the village to Llandudno and Rhyl, when the school was closed for the day. It sometimes closed for the funeral of important members of the community.
When weeding and other work on the land affected school attendance, the board very wisely began to arrange school holidays to coincide with such essential work. A more serious reason for the closure was an epidemic of measles in 1883. The Medical Officer of Health was to close many schools on Anglesey over the years due to whooping cough, influenza, chickenpox, mumps, scarlet fever and measles, and children from an infected family would occasionally be excluded.
By the late 1870's, John Jones, the police officer, was paid seven shillings and sixpence for serving school board notices to parents whose children were regularly absent. One parent was taken to court for non payment of school fees.
Absences became such a matter of concern that the board decided to order a logbook to record and explain the absences. A mother from Penlon came to explain that her children could not attend school as they had neither shoes nor clogs to wear. The Relieving Officer was asked to ascertain why children were so often absent, and was told to inform the parents that their children, whose fees were paid by the Guardians of the Poor, were expected to attend at least eight times weekly. The Guardians also bought clogs so pauper children could attend.
In 1880, the payment of school fees became compulsory, so Griffith R. Jones was requested to collect them from the pauper children. With everyone paying fees, it appeared that with just the one school in the village where the rector also was visiting the school, the conflict between the church and the chapels was less apparent.
In 1883, Escu Daves, who was both clerk and attendance officer, had been asked to find out if school attendance at Llangaffo and Llangeinwen was any better.
A public meeting was called to advocate the advantages of education. The speakers were the Rev. R. C. Jones, the Rector, Rev. William Jones, Messers. J.R. Owen, R.B. Cole, E.J. Griffiths, B.A., Ty Coch, Llanidan and Richard Hughes, Cefn Mawr.
Eventually William Ellis, Relieving Officer, was asked to supply the board with the birth certificates of all children under fifteen years of age. At the same time, all religious bodies in the village were asked to draw the attention of their congregations to poor attendance and the threat of legal proceedings.
William Jones, Bryniau, was asked to seek out possible pupil teachers, and all future teachers were to be given written agreements. Mary Jones, Ty'n Pant was employed for three months at an annual salary of £10. Teachers absent without permission were fined sixpence a day. Thomas Jones, son of Richard Jones, Rhedyn Coch was urged to attend school in 1885 as he would likely pass an exam entered into by the school as one of twenty-four which had become affiliated to the North Wales Scholar Association.
Arrangements still had to be made for collecting school fees which, with the local rates and regular grants from the Council of Education, paid for the running of the school. An agreement was made in August 1888 with Mrs. Catherine Williams, Shop Isaf, a widow, for her thirteen year old son Griffith John Williams, to be a pupil teacher for five years at a salary of £5 increasing to £20 in the final year. A similar agreement was made with Mrs. Margaret Owen, Cae Coch, on behalf of her daughter Ann. Sadly Griffith John was absent from school a great deal during his last few months there and died in November, aged just seventeen.
Ellen Morris, Rhenc Isaf, a cleaner, swept and watered the schoolroom floor daily, as well as washing it quarterly and lighting fires when necessary, and a local man was paid a small wage to clean out the privies. At Dwyran school a stream which carried effluence from the privies to the river Braint had to be regularly cleaned out.
The Board was concerned when a ten year old boy, who hadn't reached the top standard at school, was working on a Dwyran farm contrary to government by-laws. In 1885, Francis Hughes, a shopkeeper, had been issued with his first warning that he faced legal prosecution if he continued to employ a child under thirteen years of age.
By 1890, the school was employing half a dozen monitors, and their frequent absences could be attributed to the problem of having to teach and control boys and girls not much younger than themselves. Pupil teacher Philip Hughes was dismissed for being unable to supply medical certificates to justify his prolonged absences from school. Margaret Ellen Jones had been the first female monitoress in 1885, followed by Ann Owen in 1886. In 1887 a critical inspector's report, together with poor attendance, gave cause for concern.
In 1890 the school staff consisted of a headmaster and at least half a dozen monitors, a pupil teacher and a sewing mistress. The English grammar was described as feeble. There was very little change by 1891 and there was a threat that the school would be reported as inefficient if there was no improvement.
The inspector complained that he had seen about twenty children of school age playing in the village during the school hours and that the register was still unmarked at 3pm. The teaching of such subjects as Geography, Grammar and Drawing gave entitlement to further grants.
North Wales Express, 23rd October 1891
The situation was to improve after D. Pryse Jones became headmaster in December 1891. With 193 children on the books, the average attendance was only 131. Mr Jones, accompanied by members of the school board, made a point of visiting all the families in the village who had children of school age during his first three weeks at the school.
Mrs Jones, Baron Hill, Mrs. Jones, Ty Lawr, Mrs. Evans, Bronderwydd and Mrs. Williams House, became school visitors by 1890. The first visit was with Mr P. Prichard Jones, Chairman of the Board in1888, introducing a new pattern of school visiting. The other members of the Board in1890 were Owen Lewis, a Joiner, Vice Chairman, Captain W.J. Jones, Baron Hill Terrace, Hugh Evans, Grocer and Ironmonger, Owen Jones, Ty Lawr, and Josiah Hughes.
There had appealed to the recently established County Council to have the police officer act as Compulsion Officer, but, having been refused, they employed Thomas Williams, Penbonc, for a trial period of three months. His wages were 25 shillings for the three months. The following year he was to be given a shilling each time twenty more children were added to one hundred attendances.
Being still unable to cure the non-attendance of children, a letter was sent to the Standing Joint Committee of the County Council and magistrates as well as to the Chief Constable asking permission for a police officer to act ad Compulsory Officer. When H.J. Ellis, the Poor Rate collector, was late in paying the precept they arranged for the parish overseers to pay them the money directly.
The setting up of the County Councils in 1888 gave members the opportunity to be directly responsible for educational provision in their area with the support of the Board of Education formed in 1889. The 1902 Balfour Education Act placed all education on the rates.
Welsh non-conformists were strongly opposed to this, and some local authorities in Wales refused to implement it unless church schools dropped denominational teaching ad accepted public management as well. Anglesey County Council was one of those in revolt.
The voluntary schools were maintained by parliamentary fees and aid grants. Out of twenty church schools in 1900, only eleven of them remained by 1928. In 1902, thirty-three out of thirty-nine school board headmasters on Anglesey were nonconformists, and of those, twenty-two were Calvinistic Methodists. This state of affairs, which for decades, was to influence decision in many walks of life, perpetuated disharmony between church and chapel. A casual remark even now reveals that some residue of resentment still exists in folk memory.
The critical school inspection in 1891 had led to the then schoolmaster Mr. Williams being asked to resign and Ann Owen pupil teacher advised of an unfavourable report. The vacancy had been advertised in the local press and thirteen people applied for the post.
Mr. Daniel Pryse Jones, a native of Llanllechid, was appointed at a salary of £30 a year to be paid quarterly. He had previously taught at Compton Streey School, London. He took up his post on December the 7th.
Soon after, Robert Griffiths, who had taught at Queensbury National School, Bradford, joined as an assistant teacher at a salary of £20 per annum.
An amusing fact was that Miss M.J. Parry, Twnti, was to be employed as sewing mistress, but only until the H.M.I inspection took place.
The new men on the teaching staff were to involve the board in more positive action to encourage school attendance through awarding certificates and other prizes for good attendance. The Rev. Richard Evans, the Rector and the Rev William Jones, minister, all became regular school visitors keeping an eye on the attendance of children in their congregation. Parents were still being called up before the Board to explain their children's non-attendance at school.
In 1892, J.G. Jones from the Bangor Normal College replaced Robert Griffiths as an assistant teacher, the vacancy had been advertised as usual in the School Master, Y Genedl Gymreig, Y Werin and the North Wales Observer and Express.
The fathers were legally responsible for seeing that the children attended school regularly, but when they were called up before the school board, many ignored the call and so board members took on the task of visiting the families in person.
A mother attended in 1892, to explain that she could not send her children to school as she couldn't afford to clothe them. This was given as an explanation when children did not attend chapel, where it was recognized that the Rev. William Jones had clothes bought for some families to ensure their children's attendance. Whether the money came from his own pocket, or from the Poor Rate is not clear.
Newborough had its share of poor families, many of whom depended solely on mat making for their income. There was no benign landlord or estate owner to turn to, so many pauper children still went begging at the farms.
Again, following an H.M.I. report, the Board decided to have another schoolroom built as they could apply for Public Works Loan Grants from the Commissioners in London. The sum of £375, repayable over 30 years, was sanctioned by the Education Department which also approved the plans prepared by Mr. Richard Davies, Architect, Bangor.
Having advertised in the press for tenders, William Lewis, Madryn House and Hugh Hughes, Bryngolau House, were jointly given the work at a cost of £323. The continuing contract with Caernarfon as the market town was reflected that the deeds were kept by Griffith Robert Rees of the Old Bank, Caernarfon.
In 1893, the Rev. William Jones, now living at Tyddyn Pwrpas, again became a member of the Board, with Hugh Evans, Chapel Street, as clerk at an annual salary of £10. He had resigned from the membership of the Board to become its clerk. Almost his first task was to write to parents about their children's non-attendance at school. The master, D.P. Jones, undertook the running of an evening school at the request of the Board, an extra grant being available to pay him for the work. He was paid £7-17-00 in 1894.
In May 1894, the clerk had to visit Francis Hughes, David Jones, Griffith Jones and Ann Roberts, local shopkeepers, urging them not to employ children of school age. Some children as young as thirteen had been described on the 1891 census as mat makers, working at home. Their mothers, some of them widows, together with their unmarried daughters still at home, earned a living making mats, baskets and setting brooms.
In all, nearly a hundred people were involved in mat making at that time. About fifty men and women, mostly youngsters, were employed on farms as domestic servants on general farm workers, the youngest being a girl of twelve, and amongst the boys, one or two were aged fourteen.
Amongst the shopkeepers generally, teenage sons and daughter were employed at home.
The first meeting of the newly elected Newborough School Board saw a break from the old pattern of limiting its members to non-conformists. In addition to Captain Robert Roberts, Taibraich as Chairman and Captain John Jones, Baron Hill, Vice Chairman, the other members were Mr. Richard Pritchard Jones, Cambrian House, Mr. Griffith Robert Jones, Maes y Ceirchdir, and the now Rev. Richard Jones, the Rector.
As members of the Board, they were still expected to visit the parents of children who had failed to attend school regularly, the name s being supplied by the master. The Rev. Richard Evans visited the school to urge the teachers to study for their examinations.
John Pritchard Jones, Esq., 262 Regent Street, London, younger brother of the Rev. William Jones and R. Pritchard Jones. And Ellis J. Griffiths, Esq. M.P., were asked to represent the Board at the expected deputation to Downing Street in 1897, respecting grants, in view of pending legislation.
The Liberals, especially the nonconformists, continued to be strongly opposed to the granting of public money to church schools which were not under public control. They won the right to have grants paid to their board schools which were suffering from lack of funds, so Newborough school also benefited.
Money was being allocated to the school under the Agricultural Rate Act of 1896, but there was still insufficient money coming in to employ better qualified teachers. The Board had also to make contributions to the teachers' pension scheme following on the 1898 Superannuation Act.
By 1900 such was the concern about the financial circumstances of the Board, that it had to consider dispensing with the services of W.G. Hughes, the assistant master, and indeed he had to leave in the October of that year.
Some structural improvements were made at the school and metalling was bought for the playground. Summonses were issued to parents of children regularly absent from school, which were then withdrawn on payment of a fine of half a crown, the cost of issuing the summonses, and a promise that their children would attend regularly from then on.
Circulars pointing out the advantages of education were bought and sent to all parents. Miss Jane Roberts and Miss Jane Griffith, both assistant teachers, were each allowed an advance of £5 on their salary after writing to offer their resignations. This was common practice among teachers on the island who gained an increase in salary as well by such means. A similar request for an advance in 1895 had however been refused with the high expenditure in running the school given as an explanation.
In 1898, 136 children qualified for a grant of 9s 6d a head, bringing in £64 12s to the school. The Rev. Richard Evans resigned in December 1898 on leaving the parish, to be replaced by Mr. Isaac Hughes, Ty Mawr, a farmer. The uncontested triennial election of 1899 brought in Captain Hugh Evans, Bronderwydd, retired master mariner, the Rev. William Jones, Tyddyn Pwrpas, and Mr. Owen Jeffrey Jones, Ty Lawr, farmer and church warden who would in the year become a Justice of the Peace.
Incidentally, a gift of oranges to the school children at Christmas became an annual occurrence up to the beginning of the second World War, and it appears that the first such gift was made by Mr. W. Hughes, Mona House in 1899.
The close knit nature of all those in various positions of authority in the village is reflected in the minutes of a special School Board meeting held in September 1899. There it was decided "that a resolution be sent favouring the construction of a Light Railway, and that the School Board pledges itself to do all in its power to facilitate the construction of the line". This was to support the proposed light railway scheme seeking to connect the main line at Gaerwen with the ferry and therefore with Caernarfon. This idea was being pursued by the Dwyran Rural District Council.
The uncontested election of 1902 brought in another new member, namely Hugh Hughes, Bryngolau, a contractor, who was to build the Pritchard Jones Institute in 1905. R.P. Jones had retired to Bron Menai, Dwyran, from Cambrian House, but for a short time, remained a member of the Board.
The school closed from the 25th June to the 5th August in 1902, by now, standard practice so as to coincide with the harvesting of most crops in the area. That same autumn, again following the H.M.I.'s advice, there was a proposal to sub-divide the large classroom with partitions, replenish desks, and supply the infants' room with a new fireguard. Kintergarden equipment was also bought.
There was no tap water or sewerage and a local man was paid to clean the privies and urinals. Before approaching the Board of Education for a loan, it was necessary to write to the recently formed Education Authority as well. Rowland Lloyd Jones, Caernarfon, Architect, was asked to prepare the plans, and would design the Pritchard Jones Institute in another couple of years.
In March 1903 the grant based on average attendance at school amounted to £64 1s 4d, at 10s 2d per head for 128 pupils. The Agricultural Rate grant raised another £122 12s 4d. The following year a letter was sent to Mrs. Hughes, Cae Mawr, Dwyran, as to the illegality of employing John Williams, aged 12, who had only reached Standard 2. A letter was also sent to his father Hugh Williams, Penlon with the same complaint.
In April, the teaching staff consisted of D.P. Jones, the headmaster with Ellen Jones, Jane Griffiths, Mary Roberts and Elizabeth Jones as assistant teachers and Annie E. Evans, a pupil teacher. The Board passed a vote of thanks to G.R. Jones for his faithful services to R.P. Jones the Chairman, and he was warmly congratulated on obtaining a seat on the Magisterial Bench.
Newborough School was closed for three days in July 1894 to celebrate the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales to the National Eisteddfod in Caernarfon. The board members also bought one and a hald gross of Diamond Jubilee medals in the form of a Maltese Cross to distribute to the children at a clebratory Jubilee tea party in June 1897.
They sent a message of condolence, in February 1901, to King Edward VII and his consort Queen Alexandra, on the death of Queen Victoria. The following year they were to buy a gross and a half of coronation medals to distribute to the children.
In June 1904, R.H. Williams, a qualified teacher, was appointed Secretary of Education on Anglesey at a salary of £200 per annum plus expenses. This heralded a change in control of education on the island. All teachers at Newborough were advised that they would continue with their present salary scale pending action by the Anglesey Education Committee.
The offices of all school clerks and attendance officers were abolished. The latter henceforth would be employed by the Finance Committee. Messers Trefor Hughes, H. Parry Edwards, J. Williams and A.R. Pierce were the four attendance officers employed by the county, replacing 51 men who had been previously employed by the various school boards. Hugh Evans one time clerk and attendance officer for St. Peter's School, Newborough, was finally paid off in February 1905.
The first payment of salary to the teachers from the Finance Committee came in July with the information that they would continue to receive part of their pay from government grants. Their superannuation contributions would come out of their pay packet in due course. Instead of continuing to pay each member of staff separately, in September 1905, one cheque was sent to the Headmaster of each school, who would then pay the rest of the staff. This system continued for many years.
Further progress was made when grants in respect of Welsh classes were paid to 15 schools, including Newborough, where D. Pryse Jones was headmaster. It would be another 2 years before another important step was taken regarding promoting Welsh in Anglesey schools, when the children's periodical 'Cymru'r Plant' was ordered for all schools.
In 1891, when Intermediate education was being considered, the utilizing of the Welsh language in such schools was put to the Committee.
Education was seen as a gateway of opportunity, especially in Newborough, where there was a histotory of men who, having been diligent in attending schools in the area in earlier years, had become master mariners bringing back wealth to the village. In many rural areas the educated village schoolmaster often became a leader in his community. D. Pryse Jones, for example, became a deacon at the M.C. Chapel in Newborough. Many a boy or girl from a poor family could achieve social status from such a respectable and secure occupation as teaching.
The names of those who passed the final exams at the school were first written down in 1888, and up to 1893 only 10 were successful, with another 19 up to 1899, including Margaret Evans, Ty'n Rallt who won a scholarship to Llangefni in July 1899.
Pryse Jones had introduced a competition in writing compositions so as to encourage the pupils and kept a list of the winners. In the 1890s they were William Lewis Jones, Penllyn, Ann Morgan, White Lion and Kate Pierce, Chapel View. Other winners were Samuel Evans, Tyddyn Abercyn, Owen Pierce, Chapel View and C.J. Rowlands, Cae Coch.
Eight pupils were taught Algebra bringing the school an extra grant of 16/-. The Headmaster was proud to report a first success by a pupil teacher in the school, when Elen Jones, in her fourth year, passed the Queen's Scholarship Exam.
One of the pupils from the old school board days was William Owen, baptized and confirmed in the Church. He had been a monitor at the school for just a few days in 1890 when he was aged fourteen, though at the same time he was apprenticed to his father Hugh Owen, Pendref Street, slater and plasterer and cousin to Sir John Pritchard Jones.
The rector, the Rev. Richard Evans, gave him private tuition which included Greek and Hebrew sp that eventually he was accepted into Saint Paul's College, Burgh in 1895. From there he went as a missionary to Japan in 1899 where he kept a diary. He witnessed the return of the V.Cs. to London in October 1900 from The Boer War, and wrote how some of the crowd in Trafalgar Square received fatal injuries.
During his stay at home in 1900, he wrote that he had the pleasure of an interview with the old 'llenor' Owen Williamson, Glanbraint, when they discussed the early Welsh There is a reference to the meeting in Mr. Williamson's book, 'Hanes Niwbwrch'. He completed his theological training at Saint Augustine's College, Canterbury, and later on at Durham University. He eventually became a rector and hospital chaplain in Gloucester.
After 1900 more of the village children were seen taking advantage of the greater opportunities in education. Most of them went on to Llangefni County School, with one or two going to Holyhead or Beaumaris. Some would become weekly boarders at the schools or in the towns. Owen John Lewis, Madryn House, attended Caernarfon County School in 1904, with Robert Jones, Caeau Brychion, also being sent there in 1911, as were many boys from the Dwyran and Brynsiencyn area.
The story of the village school over the next few years tells up about the day-to-day events I the village and helps to explain the many changes that were to improve the quality of life for many children and adults alike.
The 1901 inspector's report had stressed the need to sub-divide the large room and to improve the ventilation. It also pointed out that the poor attendance affecting teaching and, that apart from the headmaster, the staff could 'scarcely cope with the intelligent type of work expected'. The inspector complained that the desk surfaces were too rough for either drawing or penmanship which meant the loss of part of the annual grant.
The staff now included Elizabeth Jones as Infant Monitor. The school was closed on 26th August for laying the foundation stone of the Pritchard Jones Institute. Welsh songs were taught, 'Yr Hogyn Drwg', Yr Eneth Ddall' and 'Nos Galan'. Medals were introduced for good attendance and it was recognized that backward children needed special attention. Chorus answering and finger counting were to be suppressed.
In September, harvesting marram grass again affected attendance. Carrot weeding in the spring was another local reason for closing the school, though epidemic of contagious illnesses were often the cause over many years. The school was closed for the partitions to be installed in November.
Several inspectors praised the work of the infant teacher and D. Pryse Jones's success as a teacher was recognized when he was sent as a delegate to the Training of Teachers Conference at Shrewsbury. The school closed on 8th January 1905, for the reopening of Saint Thomas's Church schoolroom.
Humphrey Pryse Jones and Richie Williams became pupil teachers for a period of 2 years and a salary of £15 rising to £17 10s in the second year. Mrs Eliza Lewis, Mrs. Jenkins and Miss J. Jones were visitors with a special interest in Needlework. Cookery classes for the older girls were introduced later on at the Pritchard Jones Hall. Mrs. E. Williams returned as a teacher and Mary Jones was paid £15 to become monitress for one year.
Lord Stanley of Alderley, first chairman of the Education Committee in 1904, was a distinguished educationalist and a Liberal Anglican. He came to inspect the school building, and following this, came the ordering of new books and other necessary equipment.
Welsh was included on the syllabus. In November, no doubt due to the issuing of nine summonses, attendance was much improved. Constant changes of staff and the headmaster's illness affected work, but in February 1906, came the news of Miss Annie E. Evans's success in Part 1 of the King's Scholarship exam. As preparation for Part 2 of the exam, she attended Llangefni School weekly for practical science classes.
Half-day holidays were introduced to award attendance of over 90%. In 1907, two of the pupil teachers were granted leave of absence to prepare for their matriculation. Fifteen children sat an elementary exam on temperance, following up talks begun by H.I. Williams, Plennydd, a couple of years earlier. Annie Ella Evans, Mary Jones and Richie Williams sat Part 1 of the Preliminary Certificate Exam in Caernarfon.
The following year they would be successful in the King's Scholarship exam and Richie Williams also passed the Welsh Matriculation in the first division and in the October, left for the U.C.N.W..
The school closed for the unveiling of the John Pritchard Jones bust at the Institute on the 27th August 1908, and for the tea party the following day. Miss Ellen Hughes of Llangaffo, who had been a pupil at Llangefni County School for five years before passing her junior exam, came as a student teacher for twelve months before going on to the Bangor Normal College which was now accepting women students as well. She was a replacement for Humphrey Pryse Jones who had left, eventually to be ordained a Calvinistic Methodist minister in 1918.
In 1908, Mrs. Ellen Williams commenced duties as an uncertified teacher at a salary of £45 per annum. William Bulkeley Jones joined the staff in September 1908, and in June the following year he was absent for part of his B.Sc. exam. Miss Jane Griffith attended a Women's Temperance Association meeting at Treborth in the October. Miss Lizzie Jones was to attend the following year, and in 1916 the Anglesey Temperance Festival was held at Newborough.
The 1909 inspector's report praised the standard of needlework and the infants fluency in reading Welsh. Miss Lizzie Jones, employed by the L.E.A. and not by a school board any more, was sent to different schools as supply teacher for weeks at a time as she had her own transport.
The report of the death of R.P. Jones, J.P., in London on 15th November 1910, minuted, with a comment that he done much to further education in the parish. He had been chairman of the school board for many years, and a county councilor for twenty one years.
The school was closed for two days in June 1911, when Dr. Pritchard, 41, Gloucester Square, London presented the children with Coronation medals at a tea party. The first visit by the school photographer was in the August.
By now the L.E.A. had introduced a mid-term break by closing the school for a week in October. Dr. Parry Edwards, Ministry of Health, ordered the school to be closed for a month because of an epidemic of scarlet fever.
Mr. H.O. Hughes, J.P., Cefn Mawr, was chairman of the managers when the inspector's report for 1911 described the children as intelligent, and suggested that they should be more frequently subjected to the humanizing influence of both English and Welsh literature.
Miss E. Bulkeley Williams addressed the children on the King Edward Memorial about the need to be aware of the increase of tuberculosis on Anglesey. The following year, she gave a lecture on "Laws of Health and the prevalence of tuberculosis" to the children, the school managers and guests. In 1913 the school was closed so that all teachers could attend an Education Conference at Llangefni on "After Care in the Community".
As non- attendance was still a problem the headmaster was pleased when the children were invited to a tea party and sports at Cefn Mawr, and another initiative was the use of a gramophone for drill and music with 10 year old Master R.H. Griffith in charge of the machine. He was related to Mr. R.P. Jones.
The use of the library at the Institute by the older children was proving beneficial, according to the 1913 report. The girls would continue to benefit from cookery classes there as well. Drawing needed to be taught to girls as well as boys and a suggestion was made to have a cottage garden for the boys.
D. Pryse Jones suffered from bouts of rheumatic fever so the L.E.A. sent J.H. Hefin Jones, a certificated supply teacher, to cover for him early in 1914. In the February, Mrs. Thomas, Treflys, took charge of Standard 1 in place of her sister Miss Annie Ella Evans.
St. David's Day was celebrated with a concert and half-day holiday. The County M.O.H., Dr. Arnold Davies, paid his first visit to the school as did Mr. Glynne Edwards, the school dentist.
"Clapping for eggs, prevalent throughout the county", was offered as an explanation for poor attendance. The school was closed in May when Dr. R.O. Morris gave a lecture on Hygiene at Dwyran School to all the teachers in the area.
It had been some years since the Education Authority had ordered that jugs and basins were to be placed in rural schools with a supply of wholesome drinking water made available for the children. The problem in rural Anglesey was that, apart from a few private houses, water was still being drawn from wells or springs, and earth closets were the norm, though even they weren't always the case in some households.
W.B. Jones returned in June after an absence for study in preparation for his final exam in 19914. He left in December 1915 to take up a teaching post at Cybi County School, Holyhead, and was replaced bt T.O. Owen.
Again a complaint was made in August, after the holiday, that children were still employed or being kept by their parents in the sands, obviously to harvest the marram grass.
Lizzie Jones, an old pupil, having passed her Senior exam, was appointed for a period of twelve months, at a salary of £25 per annum. There were several bouts of illnesses in the village early in 1915 and a Nurse Jones paid her first visit to inspect some pupils in the July. Nurse Pentre Jones as she was known, was a regular visitor from then on.
Mrs. E. Williams had sent word in February 1916 that she was going to a Women's Home Sanitarium at Talgarth, Brecon. She returned to work in the June. The school dentist, Mr William Thomas Williams, L.D.S., paid his first visit to the school in May 1918. He came again in the August with the school nurse, operated
The first reference to the War was a visit to the school by five Belgians when the children sang 'Marseillaise', 'God save the King' and 'Hen Wlad fy Nhadau'. All schools in the county would close for a General Meeting Day of Intercession in September 1915.
A government rule, whereby older children could miss school for field work was published, and when reported in the press, the headmaster commented that some families took advantage of the situation. The school was closed for half a day so that the teachers could attend a Red Cross meeting. They would be involved in Red Cross fund raising from then onwards.
The two minutes' silence introduced at the King's wish, was observed by all schools on the island in 1919. On 2nd December, the school was closed for the unveiling of a War Heroes memorial at the church.
Five children sat the scholarship exam at Llangefni in June. The three who had passed were called to a 'viva voce' and John Henry Roberts was successful. The cottage garden idea was taken up in 1918 when Mr. Glyn Williams, Bangor, accompanied Mr. O.T. Owen to inspect a site at Brynsinc, near the school and gardening began in earnest in February and, with the permission of the owner, it continued for years.
The school report for 1918, in describing the tone of the school, stated that 'the children's home conditions appear, in some instances, to militate against the formation of habits of neatness and cleanliness'.
It was some comfort to the school when two passed the scholarship exam to Llangefni County School. Annie Catherine Williams, Glan Ffynnon and Janet Olwen Jones, Bryn Felin, both passed the 'viva voce' and won a £5 scholarship. Furthermore, Annie Catherine with marks of 293 came second in the Llangefni list.
Mrs. Ellen Williams was granted leave for the day on the 5th December when the threshing machine came to her home, Neuadd Wen. The following week, Miss Ann Jane Evans, who had been appointed in September 1917, sat Part 1 of the Preliminary Certificate exam. She would pass the final part in 1920. Magi Ann Jones, a certificated teacher, was appointed to the school and O.T. Owen was examined by the military in Bangor. He wasn't called up and was granted leave of absence to get married the following spring.
A few weeks later, in April 1919, Mrs. E. Thomas, (nee Jones), was absent with leave getting married in Liverpool.
Daniel Pryse Jones composed his farewell to the school in the log book on the 19th June 1919, with this brief but poignant message - "I leave this school entirely in charge of Mr. O.T. Owen after twenty seven and a half years." He had served the school and village well under the old school board, and continued to encourage many children in his charge to take advantage of the extra opportunities that became available to them under the Anglesey Education Authority. He guided them well. With O.T. Owen as headmaster, the school reopened after the summer holiday on the 9th of September, with an attendance of 103 children. Miss M.E. Jones, the school correspondent, presented each child with a threepenny piece as school for Christmas on the 19th December 1919. It appears that the distribution of oranges at Christmas had stopped during the war years.
It is interesting to note that the sons of policemen who came to work in the village for a few years before moving on, seem to have done quite well at the school. John H. Roberts, Talbraich Terrace, who had won a scholarship to Llangefni, went on to the U.C.N.W.
The 1919 year was a very good one for twelve boys and girls went on to county schools, again including two who were sent to Caernarfon. Owen Jones, Penllyn, Pen Lon, took Newborough boys to Llangefni on a Monday morning in his vehicle referred to as a motor box and collected them again on the Friday afternoon.
They boarded with a Miss Hughes, Bridge Street, Llangefni and each took his box of food with him. The numbers dropped from the mid-1920s, a time of poverty and depression throughout the country, then improved again during the 1930s. Newborough children were then taken by Mr. Edward Pritchard, Ty'n Pant's blue bus daily to Llangefni. However, from 1937 to 1940 the decision was made to send them to Beaumaris Grammar school travelling with the Dwyran, Brynsiencyn and Llanddaniel children, with some of the older pupils still having to pay the school fees.
Amongst the rest of the children who left school in the first two decades of this century, by far the largest percentage left to be at home, possibly on farms and small holdings, though nine left to go into service. One boy left to train as a butcher and another as a baker. Six children went to South Wales with their families where the fathers hoped to find work, and seven left to work in the quarries at fifteen years of age. Five children left school to go to a sanitarium. There had been a need for the lectures and advice on Health and Hygiene and on the dangers of tuberculosis in the village.
The story of Dwyran Board School was in many respects very similar to Newborough's, with absent pupils a matter for concern and the non-payment of fees causing financial loss to the teacher as well as trouble for the board members who raised the matter in church and chapel and visited parents. Some parents were sending a penny instead of two pence for school fees and expecting not to have to pay anything for infants.
Here prizes were awarded for good attendance as at Newborough. Mr. Thomas, the headmaster, had tendered his resignation in 1888, but, in response to a petition from the parish rate payers, the Board agreed to pay him half instead of a quarter of the government grant, plus £40. In the late 1880s, it had qualified for full grants after good examination results and H.M.I. reports.
The reading of The Lord's Prayer and the Grace was allowed as well as reading from the Bible, the latter at the teacher's discretion.
When J.O. Jones, (Ap Ffarmwr) opened a grammar school at Dwyran from 1887 to 1890, the school board stated that their pupils were expected to reach the top level of elementary education before transferring to it. There was no talk of scholarships.
When the new Code was discussed in 1890, they decided not to take the Welsh language especially into consideration. In line with government Statutory Instruments which forbade sectarian influence in the school, they refused to allow it to be used by the chapel during its rebuilding. It was the nonconformists who had insisted that the government accept this condition and the Dwyran Board was determined to be seen to act on it.
Quarrymen were allowed to use the school for their lodge meetings and to hold concerts there to raise funds from 1885. In 1901 it was given free to the Rev. Evan Jones, Maes y Porth, to hold a concert.
The Board members in 1902 were Dr. W.H. Williams, Taldrwst, Thomas Owen, Esq. Rhyddgaer, The Rev. Evan Jones, the sole church representative and R.P. Jones, Bron Menai, now retired as a gentleman farmer. He had come a long way from his early days as shopkeeper and school board member in Newborough, where his guidance and support over many decades had helped the school cope with its many problems. In the last few years remaining to him, the Dwyran School Board was to benefit from his wisdom and experiences as well.
CHURCH SCHOOLS IN THE DISTRICT
The Board schools in Anglesey during the nineteenth century were comfortable with the new middle class of ministers, tradesmen, mariners and farmer who were members of the community and leaders and deacons in the chapels.
The Church or National Schools in comparison fared badly. Neither Llangristiolus Church School, in an area an early headmaster described as a 'howling wilderness', nor Llanedwen and Llanddaniel Church Schools were transferred to school boards, though both were entitled to claim government grants based on attendance and examination results with the usual reductions due to poor results.
In the 1860s an inspector's report had described Llangristiolus as being quite a rural school and that the difficulties connected with the language were very great. This was considered a common problem in most rural schools on Anglesey as in the rest of Welsh speaking areas, though only the odd comment here and there refer to difficulties that arose because of the insistence on English as the language of the schools.
Children were regularly absent from school to go to Llangefni Market and even the Menai Bridge annual fair. The Llangristiolus School closed for events at the chaples, and some children absented themselves in the mornings to attend chapel meetings with their parents, thus avoiding the doctrinal teaching of the Church.
The children, according to local custom, brought pence to school to pay for the coal. Apart from the usual seasonal absences for farm work, the children also missed school to collect mushrooms for sale.
The School Visitors were the rector, who was the correspondent, his family and guests, and the curate, who taught regularly at the school.
The catechism was taught, and the children were obliged to attend church on Sunday mornings. They were warned about the sin of lying and swearing. The Rev. David Roberts, Tyddyn Saddler, the Calvinistic Methodist minister only began to visit the school, where so many children (with their parents) were members of his congregation, in 1880.
An H.M.I. had inspected the Infants and "frightened them out of their wits". Here also an unsatisfactory Headmaster was dismissed as was an insubordinate school monitor.
The children's custom at Easter of going round the farms "clapping" for eggs was described as ridiculous. They were pauper children. There was a complaint that the children missed school there to follow the custom of begging before Christmas as well.
One exasperated headmaster wrote that though some of the children were improving, others were as if dormant and it was impossible to get them to understand rven by talking Welsh to them. As late as the end of the century children were given cash to encourage their use of English.
Llanddaniel National School was opened in 1874 on land donated by the Plas Newydd family though there had been other schools in the area previously. One report made in 1883 describes the children as very backward in English, The Rev. David Jones, rector of Newborough tested them in their knowledge of religious studies, and there was the obligation on them to attend church on Sunday mornings.
Accompanied by the teachers the children were invited to celebrate any royal event at the Plas. They went down to the shore to watch the annual boat race from Beaumaris to Caernarfon and attended events and functions at the Cana chapel as many of them were nonconformists. They accompanied their parents to services there during school hours as well.
In 1886, Richard E. Butler from Northamptonshire came as headmaster. He and his wife, who also taught, suffered the loss of young children there but had to cope as best they could.
The school suffered many epidemics and many of the symptoms of infectious diseases were not always recognized in time for the children to be excluded. The Compulsion officer's work was difficult as the school catered for children from a very wide area. The headmaster wrote that he couldn't get some children to attend by fair means or foul though prizes were awarded. Debility was given as a cause of some absences.
There was a lack of funds or concern as when complaints about the holes in the floor and a persistent smoking chimney were ignored. Even the cold classroom door had to be left open because of the smoke.
As at Newborough, the governors were advised to improve the building and pout in partitions. The Rev. D.C. Herbert, rector of Llanfairpwll, came on the school committee in 1904 when two of his sons were pupils there. Dr. Williams, Parc Glas was asked to visit the school in 1908 and it was only after his report was forwarded to the M.O.H. that the school was closed. It, too, was under the Anglesey Education Committee having been taken over in 1904.
Bilingual teaching had been introduced in all schools from 1909, and the H.M.I. report on the school following this change of policy stated that compositions of the older scholars in Welsh and English were creditably expressed.
When an application was made for a grant towards building the British School in Newborough, it was claimed that nearly ninety per cent of the inhabitants were non conformists. The same could be said about the other parishes. Llanidan National School had been transferred to a school board in 1877. When the Rev. John Williams, Brynsiencyn, became a member of the board in 1892, he proceeded to sack the headmaster, a popular man in the parish, but a churchman, though the school had received good reports. The school was to open as a new Board School in 1898.
Things were no better in the following century when all schools became the responsibility of the County Council. In 1904 twenty non-provided church schools on Anglesey were transferred to the L.E.A..
Here are examples of the problems they encountered under the new regime. The Education Committee was reluctant to pay a salary to the Vicar of Penmon who, at the manager's request, had been running the National School when it had been left for several months with a supplementary teacher in charge.
An aid grant applied for to supplement the salary of William Hughes, Headmaster of Gaerwen National School in previous years, was now withheld. A request from the Rev. D. Herbert, the Rector, to Llanfairpwll, Church of England school enlarged, was refused.
The County Council's letter in reply objected to the fact that the Headteachership was limited to members of the Established Church, to which the bulk of the parents using the school did not belong. The rector's response was that "the Trustees were unable to acquiesce because the two school secure freedom of choice and liberty of conscience, and that the government had voted £100,000 towards aiding the duplicating of schools in what are known as single school districts."
The same year the Authority ceased to maintain a Voluntary school at Llangadwaladr which had been opened in 1873 on land donated by the Myrick family. The children were transferred to Trefdraeth school which was also to close. Eleven were still open by 1928.
The County Councils, set up in 1888, were to be directly responsible for educational provision in their area with the support of the Board of Education formed in 1889. Another advantage, though not fully realised at the time because of other concerns, was the 1902 Balfour Education Act which placed all education on the rates, in line with the 1889 Welsh Intermediate Education Act, so that secondaery education was available to all.
Some of the older Newborough children were attending Caernarfon County School, crossing over by the ferry. In 1894 the clerk wrote to Brynsiencyn, Dwyran and Llangaffo board schools asking them to support their petition to the County school governors who were charging an extra admission fee of £2 in respect of children living outside the county of Caernarfon. This is of particular interest as the Anglesey Joint Educuation Committee 1890 had begun planning to provide intermediate schools on the island with the Rev. John Williams, Brynsiencyn, representing Llanidan, a district which included Newborough, Dwyran and Llangaffo.
Llangaffo was put forward as a possible location in view of the difficulty some children experienced going to Caernarfon, due to the unsatisfactory nature of the ferry. The Rev. John Williams had declared that navigation should be taught at the school for there were 32 master mariners and 60 mates living in the neighbourhood of Newborough.
He also said that £900 could be provided in the district of Brynsiencyn and Llangaffo and that they could find £1,000 any day. This was no idle boast as education was considered to be of prime importance.
The mixed day school at or near Llangaffo, it was said, would educate 35 boys and 15 girls, all of whom, to qualify, had to reach the sixth standard at their public school. The headmaster would have to be a graduate of some university in the United Kingdom with a fixed salary of £200 a year and the headmistress, equally qualified would be paid £100.
The governing body for the school was to include members elected by the Guardians of the Poor of the Anglesey parishes in the Bangor and Beaumaris Union, the catchment area of the school. The other areas proposed were Holyhead, Amlwch, Llangefni and Beaumaris.
The scheme was presented to the Charity Commissioners and the County Council. Following a meeting at the County Court, Llangefni, in January 1892, a unanimous decision was reached that only three schools be opened, namely Holyhead, Llangefni and Beaumaris, with Guardians of the Poor coming on the management committee.
The rural district of Llanidan would have found it very difficult to raise the funds to maintain such a school. The schools were to come under the Central Welsh Board scheme. So the 1889 Intermediate Education Act and the 1902 Education Act by which all schools were to be funded from the rates, were implemented by Anglesey County Council.
The Intermediate and Technical Education Committee granted scholarships to children in some Intermediate schools, and due to continuing concern about the lack of qualified teachers, certain pupils, with parental approval, could teach from the age of sixteen and scholarships awarded to help them qualify.
Those chosen for scholarship benefits had to undergo a medical examination. In 1905, three such pupils in the Llanidan area were Mary L. Evans, Newborough, Kate Owen, Brynsiencyn, and Ellen Hughes. It is worth mentioning too that a thirteen year old boy, an inmate of a workhouse, was given a scholarship.
Humphrey Pryse Jones, the headmaster's son and Richie Williams of Newborough were granted correspondence course fees.
In 1906, twenty one students on Anglesey passed Part 1 of King's Scholarship examination, and it was proposed that they be granted a fortnight break to study Part 2.
The connection with Caernarfon was still important, for pupil teachers from Dwyran and Newborough were granted £3 to pay for Saturday classes there, crossing over by ferry, in preference to pursuing correspondence courses. The Committee drew the attention of headmasters to the C.B.W's. resolution as to the desirability of Welsh as a medium of instruction in scripture knowledge.
Another important step was the introduction of two weeks' teaching practice for scholars wishing to become teachers with bursaries and grants to follow. Entrance exams for scholarships to the Beaumaris Grammar School and County Schools were introduced for under thirteens in 1909. The children were tested in Arithmetic, English composition and language together with alternative questions which would show a knowledge of Welsh. Evening classes were arranged in the same year paid for by the Board of Education grants.
Newborough was one of fourteen places where the classes were held with the Headmaster being paid 3s 6d an hour, a certificated assistant 3s and an uncertificated assistant 2s 3d. Complaints were made about the lack of funds during the war restricting the teaching of certain subjects. However, in 1918, Llangefni County School was offering advanced courses in science and mathematics.
Payments to schools and Children's Homes for the Blind and for the Deaf and Dumb, as well as to the Industrial Training ship "Clio", were from the County Finance and General Purpose Committee, whereas in previous years, the decision to send children to such establishments and accordingly having to pay the fees, would have been made by the Guardians of the Poor with each parish acting independently.
Fees were paid to the Bangor Normal College on behalf of students, one of whom was pupil teacher Humphrey Pryse Jones, son of the Headmaster of Newborough School, and to assistant teacher Annie Ella Evans, a school monitor since 1900, who was following a correspondence course.
In 1919, ex servicemen were awarded County Exhibitions. A County Exhibition worth £10 was awarded to John Henry Roberts, Newborough, to attend the U.C.N.W., and renewed for a third year in 1926. He had previously won a scholarship to Beaumaris Grammar School.
David Hughes of Llantrisant, in his will, left an endowment to build almshouses at Beaumaris as well as a "Free" Grammar School. He chose Beaumaris because it was the most important town on Anglesey in the sixteen hundreds. He also established an endowment which granted scholarships to Oxford University. The school opened in 1603 with the Bishop of Bangor as one of its trustees.
Under changing headmasters, it took in boarders from outside the island even from far afield as Ireland and England, as well as the sons of clergy, ignoring the needs of local people. The situation at the school was a cause of agitation amongst the Dissenters, especially after the 1870 Education Act.
One proposal was to move the school to a more central position on the island, and the other was to have more nonconformists on the governing body. The founding of the North Wales Scholarship Association in 1879, followed by the opening of the University of North Wales in 1884 was a spur for further action.
The Welsh Intermediate Education Act of 1889 transferred the power of drafting schemes for secondary education to the Joint Education Committee, and one of the five members nominated on Anglesey was Richard Hughes, farmer and quarry owner and a deacon at Dwyran. This meant that the Charity Commissioners were no longer involved in any decisions about the school.
The first County Council on Anglesey in 1889 was composed of thirty three nonconformists, of whom twenty four were Calvinistic Methodists. The press once referred to it as the "Calvin Council". The endowment to Beaumaris was to become a county charity.
The school opened in May 1895, with E. Madoc Jones, a nonconformist, as headmaster. The school continued to take in boarders until 1920 including two Newborough boys, Robert Pryse Jones, School House in 1904 and David Evans, Penbonc, in 1911.
Llangefni County School was opened at the Town Hall in 1897 with 71 pupils, including boarders, with Richard and Robert Davies contributing generously here as well. Robert Davies had offered money to Beaumaris Grammar School in view of the proposed changes but this had to be reluctantly withdrawn eventually.
He had contributed to the funds used to build the new British schools on Anglesey as well. When it became necessary to replace Beaumaris Grammar School, the donor of the Endowment was recognized when The David Hughes School which replaced it, was opened at Menai Bridge in 1963.