INTRODUCTION TO PENCAMBRIA NUMBER 35
50 years ago we were going through momentous changes in so many ways, especially socially and politically. In America the Civil Rights movement was gaining momentum. Here in Britain the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was thriving after the Cuban Missile crisis; Harold Wilson was the Prime Minister of the first Labour government since Clement Atlee’s government, which through housing, education and especially the National Health Service had improved the lives of the vast majority of the people in Britain, had been defeated in 1951, the contraceptive pill, the decriminalisation of abortion and the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality were transforming the lives of so many people and the alternative lifestyle known as the Hippie movement, or Flower Power was beginning to bloom. In the forefront of this were the Beatles, who released their ground breaking LP Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Make Love, Not War was the slogan from John Lennon and this all began to culminate in the Summer of 1967 which was known as the Summer of Love. What was happening in Mid Wales and what were the experiences of Mid Walians during this year? You can read about that later on in this issue.
100 years before 1967, the world was also undergoing profound changes. Electricity was beginning to transform society and the USA was in the full throes of expansion and consolidation. In 1867 the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was pivotal in the events that led to the First World War, was formed, and Pierre Michaux developed the fist mass-produced bicycle. In Britain the vote was given to all male ratepayers in the borough constituencies, Karl Marx published Das Kapital and Queen Victoria turned down plans for a channel tunnel. You can read about these and so much more in Jim French’s look at the year 1867.
We have lost 2 invaluable local historians this year David Pugh of Newtown and E. Ronald Morris of Llanidloes. Tributes to both these men can be found in this issue.
Brian Poole discovers just how much of a retail innovator was Newtown’s Pryce Jones.
Andrew Dakin provides a very entertaining account of his family history researches is amazing what you can dig up if you go that extra mile. Lawrence Johnson can always be relied on to go that extra mile and this time he is exploring the lake district of the Leri Valley and the upper Rheidol valley, inland from Ponterwyd, surveying all from the Great Watchtower. There can’t be many families with so many talented members as the Mills family. We have heard about some of them in previous editions of PenCambria and in this issue Richard Meredith sketches some pen portraits of a few more of them. Following my brief look at the development of the British Parliament and of the history rioting in mid Wales in PC34, you can read my account of the riot that took place in Llanidloes in 1721. This is also the featured article on this web page.
Giving us much food for thought, Dr Chris Barrett reviews a book documenting the various asylums in Wales and the lives of the inmates.
The Reverend Francis Kilvert was a prolific 19th century diarist and his diaries while he was a curate at St Harmon are a great source of research material, giving a particularly vivid insight into life there at that period. Reginald Massey takes a look at Kilvert as a diarist. Reginald also gives a tantalising look into his own life with his account of film making in Bangladesh with that great boxer Muhammed Ali, yes, really!
The RCAHMW has two fascinating projects that they are keen for us all to know about and to use the collection of information about European travellers in Wales from 1750 to 2010 and their list of historic place names in Wales. Details can be found on their pages in this edition. History told in verse, as indeed it was for millennia, especially in Wales, before the age of writing, conveys an impression of events more vividly and memorably than many words written down on dusty parchments. We have two instances in this issue: the very human tale of a jilted albeit anonymous Radnorshire girl, sent in by Brian Lawrence, and in the Dragon’s Crypt the epic drama of 500 bards slaughtered by Edward I after a feast at Montgomery as commemorated by the Hungarian poet, Janos Arany in a masterly translation by the physicist Peter Zollman. Also in the Dragon’s Crypt the late Tom Merchant of Aberystwyth tells a tale of hope overcoming adversity, Norma Allen discovers the Radnorshire legend of Silver John, Reginald Massey welcomes the return of the swallows and Eeyore has a few words of advice.
Mr. Newtown. David Pugh 1941-2017 Brian Poole
Llanidloes: a Riotous Town? Part One Gay Roberts
The Royal Warehouse at Newtown Brian Poole
The Millses of Llanidloes A Family of Many Talents Richard Meredith
The Demise of the Dakins of Llanidloes : Part One Andrew Dakin
The Life and Diaries of Francis Kilvert Reginald Massey
All Below the Watchtower Lawrence Johnson
Edward Ronald Morris 1922-2017 Richard Meredith
The Jilted Girl Brian Lawrence
Dangerous Asylums : Book review Dr. Chris Barrett
Domestic Deity or a Damned Cat Diana Ashworth
Aberystwyth Bruce Mawdeskey
Mid Wales in 1867 Jim French
Make Love Not War 1967 and the Summer of Love Gay Roberts
Ali and Me Reginald Massey
Abbey Cwmhir Heritage Trust
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales features
European Travellers: A new view on historic tourism to Wales
The List of Historic Place Names of Wales
Mid Wales Art Centre Events
The Dragons Crypt
I Shall See Snow Again Tom Merchant
The Bards of Wales Janos Arany, translated by Peter Zollman
The Legend of Silver John Norma Allen
The Swallows Reginald Massey
If I were you Eeyore
THE LLANIDLOES RIOT OF 1721 Gay Roberts
To set the scene in Llanidloes, in December 1721 canvassing was already underway for the general election which was to be held in April of the following year. There were two political parties putting up candidates the incumbent Whig party, that drew its support from the burgesses and the landed aristocracy led by Sir Robert Walpole, who was campaigning to establish himself as the country’s Prime Minister, and the Tory party, the party of the landed gentry and the burgesses. Diana Brown has written very astutely and entertainingly about the political tough and tumble in Montgomeryshire at this critical time.
Their names Whig and Tory are thought to come from the Scottish whiggamore, meaning a horse thief, and the Irish tory – a pursuer or a pirate, hence the saying that the English Parliament is a parliament of pirates and horse thieves. The Llanidloes gentry, which included the powerful families of the Lloyds of Berthllwyd, the Ingrams of Glynhafren, the Clunnes of Glandulas, the Owens of Garth and the Glynne family were Tory to a man and had been ever since the Civil War, and especially since the 1680s when the Whig Herberts of Lymore had sought to disenfranchise the out-boroughs, and have their pocket borough of Montgomery as the sole representative of the seat.
The candidates contesting the seat of the Montgomery Boroughs were John Pugh of Mathafarn, the sitting member, a Tory who was supported by the outboroughs of Llanidloes, Llanfyllin, and Welshpool, and Sir Charles Lloyd of Moel y Garth, a Whig supported by the borough of Montgomery and its patrons the Herberts of Lymore.
What actually happened on 26th December 1721? Dr. Humphreys gives an excellent summary of the events of that night and that follows below:
On 26th December 1721 Evan Glynne of Glyn Clywedog, a member of a powerful local gentry family and a Tory, canvassed the town with more than the customary gusto. Accompanied by at least four henchmen, all apparently the worse for drink, he called “Pugh for Ever!” and fired his pistols at the houses of several respectable townsfolk. By coincidence, at the market hall there were two town lads, Richard Pryce and John Davies who baited one another with the political cat-calls of “Pugh for Ever!” and “Lloyd for Ever!”. Evan Glynne, hearing Richard Pryce call ”Lloyd for Ever!” fired his pistol at the boy and caught him in the thigh. Ugly scenes were already developing in the town; Glynne was inciting an explosion of communal anger. He and his accomplices fled into the house of a mercer of the town named John Evans. There followed the stoning of the house, apparently a popular form of crowd action in eighteenth-century Montgomeryshire. When the crowd finally entered the house, they found that Glynne had escaped with his accomplices, and for good measure they proceeded to beat-up John Evans. Two cases were brought into the Court of Great Sessions; a case by John Evans against the rioters for riot and assault, and a case by Richard Pryce against Evan Glynne for grievous assault. However, the whole affair becomes confusing because of the appearance of some `alternative’ witnesses who were undoubtedly used by the Glynne family to clear the case against their relative. (Dr. Melvin Humphreys)
As with all rioting the sequence of events is a bit confusing with some statements appearing to be at odds with others. The following account is pieced together from the depositions reprinted by Dr. Humphreys in his article.
Sometime between seven and eight o’clock in the evening of 26th December Evan Glynne and three companions, John Humphreys, a shoe maker, Richard Humphreys, a shoemaker, and John David Junior, all probably somewhat the worse for drink, were swaggering around the town crying “Pugh for ever!” in support of John Pugh as they passed Lowry Jones’s house until they came to David Jarman’s house. Glynne stood against the house and fired a gun the shots of which passed very close to the face of David Jarman’s daughter Anne, who was trying to get back to the safety of her father’s house as quickly as possible, and lit up the side of the house. Wandering on, they were joined a bit later by Morris Humphreys, a glover, and some others in the street where John Evans, a mercer, lived.
Richard Price, a carpenter in Llanidloes, was on his way home from the house of John Wilson when he heard John David Junior called out”Pugh for ever! Who dares speak against him?” When Richard Price answered “Lloyd!” in order to reprimand John David Junior for making such a disturbance, Glynne was out of sight and called out to ask who was there. Price replied”It is I. Dick Price”. Glynne then emerged from the shadows and came upon him with Richard Humphreys saying “God Damn you! How dare you say Lloyd”! Price replied that he would say Lloyd again, and went on his way.Evan Glynne, John David and Richard Humphreys ran after him. Then Evan Glynne hit Price in the face and Richard Humphreys grabbed him by the hair and started to haul him along. At that moment Richard Humphreys’ father John arrived and told his son to let Price go, which he did.
At some point during this interchange Glynne replied “God Damn me but I’ll shoot thee!”, instantly cocked the loaded gun he had in his hand and clapped the muzzle up against the breast of Richard Price, who immediately beat it down with his hand so that when it went off it shot him in the right thigh. Price dropped to the ground crying “I am killed! Mr. Glynne hath shot me through the thigh!” but managed to make it back to his home where he lay dangerously ill for a long time lapsing in and out of consciousness at least a dozen times. When the depositions were being taken he was being treated by James Baxter, the apothecary and surgeon of Newtown, However, he was still in a very uncertain state of health when his deposition was taken and if he survived he would as likely be lame or a cripple and he and his family would be ruined as the result of his being unable to work. David Lewis, a former citizen of Llanidloes, asked the group who were the murderers who killed the lad, striking at somebody in the crowd as he did so. Morris Humphreys then struck David Lewis with a hurdle. At this point one of the petty constables, Robert Jones arrived and told Morris Humphreys, John Humphreys and Richard Humphreys to lay down their weapons and be quiet in respect of the King’s peace. Whereupon John Humphreys knocked Constable Jones to the ground, cutting him on the forehead and they all fled into John Evans’s house and barred the doors. There then followed the most extraordinary scenes.
At around nine o’clock, a crowd assembled in an ugly mood outside John Evans’ house and then proceeded to break most of the windows. Those gathered were the sergeants Evan Davids and David Jerman, David Evan bellman, Henry Edwards the inn keeper, Richard Owen the butcher, Thomas Jones glover, Edward Woosnam, Richard Jerman and Lowry Roberts. Lowry Roberts and some other men and women collected some great stones which they then threw into the house through the broken windows. She then said that she would get some fire, or perhaps they would get some gun-powder and blow the house up. Henry Edwards said that was not proper and that breaking it open so that they could get in should be enough. Then Edward Woosnam threw a huge stone that made a great breach in the wall and Henry Edwards, David Jerman and Evan Davids laughed heartily and said “Good lad, thou art strong, that’s a good push!” and then they broke open the shop windows. The next day he heard some people say that it was ill done to break John Evans’ house and windows to which John Price replied that it was not half enough but they should pull the whole house down. As a result, a watch was put on the street that night. Of those already in the house, John Jackson, a Scotchman from Newtown, said that he and three others were in John Evans’ parlour that night when around eight or nine o’clock the windows were broken and several great stones were hurled through by Richard Owen, David Evans and Evan Davies. Seven of them fell on the bed where Dunkin Miller lay and he was forced to get up. David Evans put his hand through the window and tried to strike John Jackson. Then one of Llanidloes’s innkeepers, Henry Edwards, came to the window and called everyone in the house murderers and that if they would not open the door to him he would break it down and murder everyone inside. He then saw Jenkin Kenkerdine, a shoemaker, come into the house along with everyone else, all acting in a riotous manner and Kenkerdine kicked John Evans down the stairs.
Anne Lewis came along as Evan Davies, John Price Junior and David Miles, all carrying great clubs or truncheons, were trying to break into the house, she tried to pacify them but Evan Davies pushed her in the breast with a club and said “God Damn You!” Just then John Price struck her on the head with a club and she fell down and began to bleed profusely. She managed to get to the back door of John Evan’s house where she was let but she was in a bad way and had to lie down on a bed in one of the rooms where another sick young woman also lay. Despite this the men continued to throw stones into that room. Matthew Ruffe was in the John Evans’ house that night and he heard John Price Junior, Richard Owen and David Miles say they would bring the house down and immediately began to take the tiles off the roof and threw them into the room where Matthew was along with the great stones they were throwing into the other rooms. He saw Jenkin Kenkerdine kick John Evans down the stairs and then he and David Miles hauled him by his collar into another room where they assaulted him and tore his clothes. Lydia Humphreys, wife of Morris Humphreys, had come over to the house at the request of John Evans’ wife and while she was there Richard Owen threw a great piece of wood, possibly the foot of one of the benches in the street, into the shop where it struck Mrs. Evans, who was standing there, causing a great bruise on her forehead. Then, despite the back door being open, all the previously named rioters burst in through the other door and proceeded to break all the windows.
According to Lowry Jones, John Evans’ son James was also in the crowd when Evan Glynne shot Richard Price and they all urged him on to do it. However, it would seem from Richard Price’s testimony that Evan Glynne committed the act without any urging from anyone else and maybe he was saying this in order to provide some mitigating factors as to why he should not receive the full punishment that the law provides. When he first heard the gun being discharged, Henry Edwards did not know who had shot Richard Price. He did not find out until later that night, at the house of Francis Herbert, when Evan Glynne confessed to him and that he was sorry that he ever seen the face of the Humphreys and John David. Glynne’s deposition does not appear in Dr. Humphreys’ article and his name was crossed out on the list of those who did provide testimony. And there is no indication of whether or not he was found guilty and if so, what the punishment was.
Although slogans of political support were exchanged it would seem that these just provided the touch paper for a brawl by Evan Glynne and his friends, who then fled into John Evans’ house to escape being apprehended for the shooting of Richard Price. However, what is intriguing is why this should have caused so many in the town to want to destroy John Evans’ property and bring out such murderous feelings that his very life seemed to be in jeopardy. John Evans was a mercer, which is a textile merchant, one who buys and sells textiles. The economy of Llanidloes would have depended on the wool trade at this time both the manufacture and the weaving of the finished product. Unless there was something in his life that is not mentioned here, which gave townsfolk cause to feel such rage against him, maybe John Evans was too tight in his purchases and too generous with his profit margins. After all, the rioters were not calling for him to hand Evan Glynne and his companions over to them or the law. They just seemed determined to bring his house down, with gunpowder if necessary, as if some deep, long held back frustration had suddenly burst out and they were determined to take full advantage of the opportunity that presented itself.
Just how politically motivated this riot was, is open to question. Evan Glynne was a scion of an old and very powerful Llanidloes Family, the Glynnes of Glyn Clywedog and he and his followers were evidently used to throwing his weight around using politics as an excuse, as the following incident shows. When the Whig John, Lord Lisburne passed through Llanidloes on his way to his home at Crosswood in Cardiganshire he was set upon by one of Evan Glynne’s henchmen, Morris Humphreys, whose wife Lydia made a deposition regarding the riot on 26th December 1721. According to one Richard Owen, Humphreys was standing in the road with a pikel in his hand, as Lord Lisburne approached. Humphreys called out “Pugh! Pugh!” and pushed at his Lordship’s breast with the pikel as he rode by. Lord Lisburne called out “Edwards, Edwards, I am put upon! Secure the man or the pikel!
The December 1721 brawl was certainly not the only incident of its kind that Evan Glynne would be party to. Dr Humphreys is convinced that, although Evan is a common name in the Glynne family and it can be difficult to know which Evan is being referred to, it was this same Evan Glynne who was present when, at the house of one Richard Spoonley, a man called Evan Humphreys was killed seemingly because he wanted a fiddler, who was also present, to play a certain tune. Evan Glynne objected and a brawl followed resulting in the death of Edward Humphreys by an unknown assailant with a sword thrust through an open window.
(THE LLANIDLOES RIOT OF 1721 National Library of Wales, Wales 4/ 173/ 8 Edited by Dr Melvin Humphreys and published the Montgomery Collections Volume 75 1987)
In Part One of this article it was stated that there was an interesting correlation with the Chartists riot in Llanidloes nearly 120 years later. When the Trewythen Arms was attacked in order to release the Llanidloes Chartists who had been arrested and were being held there, it was Thomas Marsh, the former mayor who, having persuaded the current mayor David Evans to bring in reinforcements which included three London policemen and about three hundred special constables from around the area to maintain law and order, who, finding himself surrounded by the crowd wanting to get their friends released, shouted â “Hurrah for the Chartists! The people forever!”, raised his stick and smashed the first pane of glass, before fleeing to Shrewsbury to inform the Lord Lieutenant. The names are different but slogan is almost the same; vandalism is committed, women gathered the stones in both incidents
In the course of this piece we seem to have gone from the days of Victoria back in time to Poldark and back through the centuries to the days of the Anglo Saxons. However, I think that I prefer today’s â€˜boring political life that some young people currently deride, to the rioting and affray that overcame Llanidloes in the 18th century.