Monday, December 10, 2012

Heated political debate

George responds to Sill's political challenge - and concludes with some advice on how to combat scarlet fever.
April 12th

Dear Brother

I have been scribbling a few political facts for your perusal during your spare time.  I hope they may open your eyes to see the things in the right way.  Since we have touched on politics, we may as well, express our opinions, however simple they may be, for if we live I hope we shall have the priveledge of a vote or perhaps be honoured as a candidate & a member but I fear Owr lot Lorbad

          The applause of listening sends to command
          The threat of pain or ruin to dispise
          To scatter Plenty ore a smilling land
          And read our history in a nations eyes
          We shall more likely, along the
          Cool sequesterd vale of life, Persue
          the voiceless terror of our way


I have refered to page 7 of the Cambrian and have read with disgust the few arguments you liberals advance to show why the electors should not vote for the Conservatives.  And I claim that the spirited Foreign Policy has been the means of preserving us from the horrors of war.  The Berlin Memorandum had nothing more in view than that the three great powers of the Continent should portion out to themselves the rest of Europe and rule the world.  The agreement had been drawn out and they were just going to sign it when one of the emperors said What will England say now their minds were filled with fear for they knew that England under the Beaconsfield administration was fast rising from the weak state in which Gladstone had left her and if she refused to sign would be a dangerous foe to conquer, but if she signed a powerfull ally.  Let us send their Cabinet a copy and get them to sign it says one.  So a copy was sent and the cabinet rejects its proposals as aggressive and unfair, and with the patriotism of Englishmen refused to sign and said we take the consequences for we will be no party to deprive either small or weak turk or servian of their rights.  What were the consequences?  The Berlin Memorandum was destroyed the dangerous triple alliance squashed and the present Austrian German treaty the result.  A treaty entered into with the view of curbing the aggressive passions of Russian showing that Europeans & Continental nations see in her policy a danger, which is seen only by Conservatives in England, and utterly ignored by the Whigs.  

Benjamin Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield
Again, did we not do our utmost to prevent the Russia Turkish war did we not send our Representatives to Turkey to try and persuade them not to go to war but Russian demands were excessive and nothing but war would satisfy her.  Did not Russian Priests excite and stir up the poor fanatics (which you liberals please to call Christians) in Servia, Bugaria & Montenegro to rebellion and when the [porle] tried to repress them sent her soldiers & officers to help and to continue the rebellion. 

Let me ask you is Russia a Christian Nation, if so, why is her press gagged her peoples opinions hushed, and what means these throngs of Prisoners on their was to the Cold tombs of Siberia.  Hark, what is that noise like thunder tis their attempt to murder their Emperor tis the outburst of passion from her downtrodden people who are ruled with a rod of Iron & Oppression.  What better are the Russians than the Turks.  Follow me over the Steppes of Asia and see the oppressed Kihavians and the merciless slaughter of the Turkomans.  This aggressive policy on the frontiers of China, and watch them cast their longing eyes on the rich plains of our own Indian Empire many more reasons could I adduce to show you that Russia is morally & politically worse thank the turk had I time. 

Turkey never would have drawn the sword had not Russia instigated the so called Christians to rise in insurrection. The Servians never spared woman or child of the turks and could you expect the turk to be better than the Christian.  The stories told of Bulgarian Atrocities are scarce one of them true being exaggerated and high coloured by the Russian.  As soon as Turkey had succeeded in quelling the various insurrections, Russia steps in and says that the parties that had been beaten should have governments of their own.  Is that fair, why not have said so at first, and settled the questions before war begin, no Russia wanted to divide turkey and weaken her power and then she would try to get a piece for her share and for the sly and mean part she had played in the background.  So turkey called the powers together and tried to settle in the best way she could this new difficulty.  And after the conference every power seemed to be satisfied when all of a sudden Russia declared war and hurried her legions across the Pra. 

What your liberal leaders wanted us to do was to Join with Russia in the [in the] degrading mission of adding to her territory and subjects on which she may display her iron rule.  I ask you again would that be fair, two strong nations to oppress a weak one.  No Conservatives could not sink the honours of England as low as that but Liberals may.  

This war which the liberals advocated would have cost 50 millions and we should have gained nothing only added to Russian territory, and have closed the high road to our Indian possessions.  Again we have always held the opinion, whether liberal or conservative that Constantinople & Asia minor are the chief roads to our Indian Empire an Enemy in possession of those points would soon be in a position to attack us with advantage.  So we informed the Russians how far we should allow them to go before we should actively interfer Said we, you must not break the line of Gallipoli or our Ships shall advance and protect our interests, did Russia heed our warning no but advanced at her peril and not till then did our ship enter Turkish waters. 

William Gladstone

Here was the beginning of Englands Rise Russia thought she would be afraid but now found her mistake and so her forces retired to adrianople and our ships to the mediterrain.  Suppose the liberals had been in power.  They would have maintained an indifference until Russia had conquered Constantinople and then would have been forced to war to dislodge her.  The last war cost them about 200 millions and thousands of men and I am of the opinion that this would have cost them double or treble that amount.  The conservatives with the six millions went boldly up and thus avoided the horror of war and of exhausting the exchequer and her army by bloodshed.  And raised England again to the biggest & greatest nation in the world.

                    When Gladstone was in power
                    Her banner in the dust did lay
                    But now unrivalled flys it in the air
                    Supported there by Beaconsfield’s Command.

Again you attack our Afghan policy as an unjust war.  Liberals have advanced the opinion that Afghan must be our friends or not be strong, very well.  You Liberals gave Afghan the cold shoulder and made her your enemy, and left the disagreeable duty of making her weak to the conservatives as a legacy when you went out of power.  

We should not have done that however, if they had treated us with the respect which is due to us, but they admitted our known enemies to her capital and refused us who had the greater claim to be there, insulted our representatives, and instigated by Russia bid us defiance. 

The intrigues of Russia and her known design upon India Rendered it necessary that our frontiers should be adjusted and strengthened.  Thus it was plainly our duty to repress an insolent tribe which had been used as a cats paw by Russia and to protect ourselves from Russia herself.  

I cannot dwell further upon this question my recent illness prevented me gaining information which I should desire and we take a Liberal paper here and it cannot be relied upon.  

Sir Bartle Frere
The Zulu war was one of the most needed and was that ever undertaken by the British crown. Had not Sir Bartle Frere advanced at once against them they would have been down on Cape Colony and have murdered ever white man in the colony.  The Ulundi  disaster is an incident which has caused much regret to Conservatives & Liberals but it is plain they did their duty and fought like Brittons. But did not Lord Chelmsford retrieve that at Ulundi and had finished the war before you bolsted Liberal arrived?  All these troubles were legacies left by the Liberals and now they have been settled the Liberals will quietly go back again and reap the benefit in the years of peace & plenty which will & naturally follow. 

If the Liberals go in the honour of Britain will sink again to where the Conservatives found it and her name will be a byword among the nations never to be raised until Conservatives take the helm and her captain stands once more on the bridge and directs her again to Honour if it is through the billows of war.  The name of that Captain is Beaconsfield.  To such a name May England long Preserve a broad approach of fame And never ceasing avenues of song.  

Neither have they neglected domestic legislation or exhausted the finances of the country to half the extent that the liberals did before them.  The boasted six millions surplus was a myth & a fraud – which realised only £800000.  The conservatives have not resorted to that mean policy of Gladstones that is to collect 5 quarter taxes in one year, which he did in 1870.  A Conservative year has only 4 quarters.  Neither have we recklessly given away 3 millions to the Americans on the pretex of an Alabama Award without inquiring into the details and getting Cheated of a Million & half by giving them too much.  That is how the Liberals squandered our money and disgraced our honour, fenced in a corner the Liberal would rather pay away the earning of the labourer than fight for his rights.  

The Americans had no ground at all for such a claim (and if they had it was the liberals let her escape from Berkenhead) but instead of standing up for Englands glory he payed her demands out of the public fund.  Such was the case with Ancient Rome, preferring to pay off her assailants than to fight them she soon succumbed to idle mess and her power began to wane which soon led to her overthrow & Ruin.  And such will be the case of England under the Whigs her now powerful fleet will sink into the same state as before and her Cheeseparing policy will Ruin her.  

Hoping this may convert you into a powerful supporter of the tories and that you will leave the rotten policy of the Whigs and go in with me for peace honour & glory with the Conservatives no more paper or I may enlighten you on other subjects.

Whatever may be our lot, there is no harm in gathering all knowledge that we may be enlightened on all subjects. And be interesting to those with whom we come in contact. amen 

I am glad to say that I am quite well and hope you are the same.  We are all sorry to hear of the ravages of the scarlet fever down there.  Aunt thinks it would be a wise plan & a preventive for you to get some sulphur and burn in the rooms, you can buy it at the chemists it does not cost very much per lb.  The way to do it is to heat an old pan red hot and put in the room on a tray or large stone and then drop a few lumps of sulpher into it.  Close all holes & put something at the foot of the door to keep all the smoke in the room.  It is warranted to kill all moths fleas, Bugs & beetles as well as to prevent fever.  Aunt and the children are all gone to Betws y Coed for a little while.  And Mr. Bevan went upon Saturday and I expect him back this Evening.

I remain
                              Your aff. Brother

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Political musings

Today Chancellor George Osborne will deliver what is being described as 'a bleak mini-budget.' Read Sill's view on the Conservative Party of 130 years ago as the country prepared for a General Election.

Henry Goulburn (1784 -1856) op gravure uit 1837. Conservatieve Engels staatsman en een lid van de factie Peelite na 1846. Gegraveerd door F. Holl naar een schilderij van Pickersgill en uitgegeven door G. deugd. Stockfoto - 10755263
Henry Goulburn Tory Chancellor Jan 1828-Nov 1830
 Overton Gower
April 1st 1880

My Dear Brother

 I duly received your letter and was glad to hear you are quite well & able to discuss politics so well, I think you had better leave the ranks of the Tories & join those of the Whigs I felt greatly relieved on reading your letter.  I did not think your party had the interest of the country i.e. at home, so much to heart, as to pass those few good laws that you enumerated, to shorten this letter, let me refer you to page seven in the Cambrian & there you will see a great many things they would not do, they were too much occupied with their “spirited” foreign policy, by which they have tarnished and degraded the very name of our nation by upholding the rotten, mislead, despotism of Turkey.  Why not have signed the Berlin Memorandum? & acted jointly with the other powers of Europe in establishing good laws, and order, in the oppressed provinces of Turkey, instead of leaving it in the hands of Russia and thus prevented a unjust and worthless war, & then when both combatants were quite exhausted, to step in for a share of the spoil with such menacing as sending the fleet up the Dardenells & such expressions as “when the sword is drawn justice shall be done” on the back of a very great injustice, at the cost of six millions, which would have done far more good & more honourable had it been distributed to feed our starving poor at home, to be relieved of taxes is very good to be sure but I like to “pay as we go” not to be adding to our nationall debt, which with the Conservatives in power will soon get too heavy a burden to bear and this hasten the time when your bands of pilgrims will be visiting our ruined towns etc.

Just think of the Zulu war with its immense cost of lives & money which you Conservatives so boldly undertook but could not find a man competent to bring it to a honourable conclusion, of your own party, were obliged to send a Liberal (Ld. Garnet) to settle that dificult problem, & now you have a nother in Afghanistan which is nothing less than a sore on the late Cabinet’s head) which none of your doctors can cure.

You will see a letter in the Cambrian by “Informant” owning to Irish & Conservative rogues, I have almost been ruined, but however, I hope we shall have a more enlightened government, next! Which I think is pretty sure.

Please send a Conservative paper sometimes & Punch ever week till the election is over.

We had a good Tea Meeting on Good Friday.  Jane was home from Thursday until Tuesday, and Morgan and Frank, except Saturday.

Hannah went to Swansea yesterday to begin her term to day for two years learning the Millinery & dressmaking.  She is to lodge with Jane at 22 George Street.

We have nearly finished ploughing for barley but have now sown much.

Hoping this will find you quite well & every success to the Liberals.

                              I remain
                                        Your affection:
                                                  Brother S. Bevan

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jane gets all the letters now

Castle Square
Feb. 26th 1880

My Dear Brother

 I was very sorry to hear that you were down in the scarlet fever and hope that you are well and strong again and all the others.  I have been to Jane’s this evening and she told me to say that she had been in Swansea a month and you had not written to her yet.  We have been very busy in the shop this week taking down stock we have been in until 12pm every night and I have got very tired at it and am very Glad its over.  When will you be out of your apprentice and will you come home before you begin to work as an assistant.  I wrote to you about 3 weeks ago but I suppose you were too Ill to answer my letter.  I have not Heard from Home for the Last fortnight.  Jane gets all the letters now and I have to go out there to get all the news.  I have no more news now.

                              From your
                                        F. Bevan

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Robert Polhill Bevan

Silvanus and Ann's family ancestry can be traced back to Jenkins Bevan and his wife Elizabeth After who married at St Mary's Church, Rhossili c1620. And so can founding member of the Camden Town Group of artists Robert Polhill Bevan.

Silvanus and Ann descend from Jenkins' son Francis Bevan who remained in Gower farming, albeit prosperously. Robert's ancestor was Francis' brother William Bevan who moved to Swansea where he refused to pay church rates and tithes and was imprisoned for two years for his Quaker beliefs.

From this line comes the descent of some very entrepreneurial Bevan family members including Silvanus, founder of the Plough Court Pharmacy. Robert Polhill Bevan's great great grandfather Timothy was partner and brother of Silvanus and it is Timothy who connects the Bevan family to new business opportunities with his two influential marriages. The first one was to Elizabeth, daughter of linendraper and banker David Barclay by whom he had three surviving children, Silvanus, Timothy and Priscilla. His second marriage was to Hannah Gurney, daughter of the philanthropic Gurney Quaker family from Norwich of whom the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry nee Gurney was a descendant.

Born in Hove on August 5, 1865 Robert Polhill Bevan was the son of Richard Alexander Bevan and Laura Maria Polhill. He studied art at the Westminster School of Art, later moving to the Academie Julian in Paris.

Described as a modest man, many of his works were unsold at the time of his death in 1925 and remained in the possession of his family. In 1961 his son and daughter presented a number of his paintings, drawings and lithographs and 27 of his sketchbooks to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

Patrick Baty, British historical paint consultant, is Robert's great grandson.

A Small Southdown Farm

A Sale at Tattersalls

Back of the Granary, Poland.

Patrick Baty

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Taken from Harriet George's notebooks

That such a cache of mundane and some might say, pedestrian letters should survive so many years continues to amaze and delight me.  The earliest ones date from the 1830s and were exchanged between members of the George family, Ann's mother Jane's side of the family.

James George, Ann’s grandfather, originally came from Horningsham, a small village four miles from Warminster in Wiltshire.   He was employed for sixty years as a land agent for the wealthy Talbot family, responsible for collecting rents from the tenants of the extensive Penrice estate.

The George family lived at Nicholaston Hall in a village of the same name overlooking Oxwich Bay.  The family must have been on the move at the time of Jane’s birth as she was baptised on May 13, 1802 at Dailly in Ayrshire.  The other six children were all baptised at St. Andrew’s Church, Penrice – Thomas in 1788; Hannah 1790; John 1791; Harriet 1795; James 1797; Mary 1793 and Robert in 1799.

Harriet George married Samuel Gibbs, a seaman from Porteynon, at St Nicholas Church, Nicholaston on January 30, 1816. The couple set up home in the village of Porteynon where their nine children were baptised at the parish church of St. Cattwg.

Perhaps this inclination to preserve family letters and ephemera was a George characteristic. Harriet kept a series of little notebooks in which she recorded family events. In 1854 there is a reference to her sister Jane. Bevan. She notes that the family at Oxwich Castle "are quite well and they have had an abundant harvest.  It has been a fine time on the farm, the live and dead stock fetching such high prices owing to the Russian War, which is not likely to terminate soon." She also kept a batch of letters received from her scattered family over the years, which she read on her regular walks along the cliffs. 

One of Harriet's sons, George, was appointed Lloyd's Agent in Gower in 1864 and in one of her several notebooks Harriet records some of the shipwrecks George attends.

February 10, 1864.
A brigatin got ashore out by Skysie and became a total wreck, she belonged to Port Talbot, came from Plymouth with limestone ballast, her name "The Perie," 200 tons, all saved their lives, 5 of the crew lodged a J. bevan and boarded till Friday the following, the 12th. The Captain lodged at our house until the Wednesday and he left. We charged him nothing for his board. He was a quiet, inoffensive man, not married, a Capt. Gidies. Their board at "The Ship" came to £1.0.0.

September, 19, 1864.

A large brig, name "Industry," came out from LLanelly with coals and sprung a leak. They run her in on the sand at Nackershole, and there she is and will not likely to be got off, they were bound to Malta.

September 20, 1864.
The cargo is insured in Loyd's and George Gibbs being the agent, he had to discharge it and save all he can and sell it.

February 6, 1867.
The French lugger came ashore on Brufton sand called the "Fortuna," laden with cotton and a few barrels of sugar.

March 10, 1867
Sunday night, at 1 o'clock a large brig, 300 tons, stuck on Porteynon point and became a total wreck, in ballast, bound to Cardiff for Coal from Whitstable, name Amininoe. There was at this time a fall of snow and East wind, and the Captain and crew, 7 men, had to stay in the place until 14th, when they all went in Grove's bus, and G. Gibbs with them being Loyd's agent.

January 23, 1868.
At 2 o'clock in the morning, George Gibbs was sent for to Rosilly, a vessel ashore and all perished. It was an awful gale, and sea running mountains. There was a heart-rending scene to look at, 11 vessels all to pieces, having come out of Lanelly in the evening and the wind died away, the sea mad and they all got ashore on Rosilly sand and Llangenny, Brufton and the banks. The shore was all strewed with the wrecks, 15 tun vessells came out and 11 can be seen the remains; the others are supposed to be gone and the crews of them as they left the vessels and some of them got to the hulk. How many poor fellows is gone, the account is not known. This is the most distressing wreck that was ever heard of on this coast."

Harriet's story is told in an article written by Michael Gibbs entitled "Dear Stay At Home," published in the Gower Journal Vol 34 in 1983.  He concludes:

"Harriet survived her husband by more than eleven years.  She died on the 13th November, 1881. When the time came to sort out her personal effects, her daughter Lizzie carefully packed together the letters and the little notebooks which Harriet had kept, and preserved them.  If she had consigned them to the fire, as many people would have done, none of this could have been written."

When Dr Mary Bevan died in 2004 in Mildura, Western Australia this bundle of Bevan family letters could also so easily have ended up on a fire with a whole family history lost.

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Frank decides on being a draper - or not

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The clock has warned for eleven

Some of the most evocative letters are those written by Anne.  Imagine her sitting at the kitchen table, writing by lamplight, probably the only one still up so late at night.  She recalls those in the village she knows to be ill and warns her son, recovering from scarlet fever, to take good care of himself.  A mention of the movements of other members of the family and then a glance at the clock, with an early start the next morning she sends her love and prayers to the son she sees so seldom.

Febry 26 1880

Dear George

We have not heard from Llandudno this week & I have got anxious about you but I hope no news is good news & that you are all nearly well again you must take care of yourself & not take cold it is very dangerous after Fever there has been some case of Scarlet Fever at Burry & Mr Thomas’es son of Lake is ill with it.  I hope we shall escape it this time we have had bad colds.  I have made Sill some Gruel & given him a cough mixture to night Elizzie is not very well your Father is very well & very busy he has been out at some Job or another every day during the week. 

I heard from Jane she wants to know how you are we shall be glad to hear from you we are thinking to go to Swansea on Saturday & Jane is coming home for a few days.  Frank is quite well we are very busy when the weather is fine & food is very short for the Sheep.  Father says we shall have hard work to keep them alive until the Spring as the Sweeds are nearly done.  I have no news to tell you.  

Poor old John Bevan is very Poorly keeping his Bed the other neebours are pretty well the clock has warned for eleven & we are going to kill two Pigs tomorrow morning for the Butcher so I must conclud with kind love to you & all & may God bless & keep you from all evil

from your affectionate
Mother A. Bevan

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

From Edmund and Robert

February 18th 1880

Dear Brother

I am very sorry that you Were very ill but We hope you Will Be well by this time.  We Got five young chicken and We got a young calf.  We have a fine young horse For you to Ride when you Come home it is very Quiet and george can ride him to Moors.  We Are going to put a Wire Fence Round the Feilds on the burrows.  I Remain your Brother

Robert Bevan

Feb 18th 1880
My dear Brother

We have sold our fat cattle. Frank is going to give a penny to the one that sees the first lamb first but we have not one yet one of the geese has laid one egg.  We have twenty fat sheep to sell.  It is very wet here now and we have not finished sowing wheat.  Mother have a bad cold we others are all quite well and I hope you are well too.

          I remain your
          loving Brother

Edmund was approximately seven years old when he wrote this letter – note – no spelling mistakes

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Scarlet Fever is very bad in Swansea

Feb 16th/80

Dear Brother

We were glad to hear by Uncles letter which we received to day that you are all getting better and hope you will soon be able to resume your usual duties.  We have nearly all bad colds at home.  Sill has a swelled face with the toothache.  The scarlet fever is very bad in Swansea.  One of Margaret little boys has died in it.  He was buried in Port Eynon today.  Margaret was up here she inquired kindly after you and was sorry to hear you had been so ill. 

We heard from Frank yesterday he seems to be getting on pretty well.

I suppose you have heard that Jane has left us.  She is getting on very well but misses the noise and row at home.  Mary Gibbs has run away from home again her son has been brought up to Overton to save expense and Mary did not like it and so she went away.  Miss N. Beynon of hills has also started.  She has got a situation in London.  So we are two less in the village.

The weather has been very wet and stormy here.  Sill went away to day with two cattle to Parkmill he got a thorough wetting.  Hannah had a valentine on Saturday from Rowland.  We havent seen or heard of him for a long time.

Mr Ellis is the Editor of a circuit Magazine of which I enclose you a copy.  It may drive away a weary hour.  I must now conclude with love from all.

I remain Your affecte. Sister E. Bevan.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

William Steven's buss

Feby 10th 1880

Dear Brother

I hope you are getting better and all at Landudno too.  Father has got a bad cold, he went to Swansea on Saturday in William Steven’s buss.  Father and mother intended going in the trap only the weather was too bad.  

We had a calf on Sunday morning.  Our feeding cattle is going away on Monday morning Mr. W. Abraham bought them.  Sil is taming in the colt.  I have been collecting for the Missionary Society and have got 14/- must less than Hannah gathered last year.  

Father saw Jane on Saturday they were very well.  They live in 22 George St. Swansea.  Mother says she hope you will be able to write soon and let us all know how you are.  We are all very well at home.  So now I must conclude.

                    I remain
                    Your affectionate sister
                    Harriet A. Bevan

Morgan and Jane's home in Swansea today

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Winter tasks


My dear Brother

We are very busy just now the thrashing Machine is in Overton so there will be a little more Life than normall but it is very cold on the men working it.  Tell Uncle the Machine he sent me is working very well.  I have done a lot of work with it.  Sill is well getting on with his short hand. 

I will write in a few days and tell you a little news.  I have another letter to write of great importance and it is getting late.  We are all quite well

Good night

                    I remain your
                    Aff. Sister Jane Bevan

have you forgotten Ellen’s pin holder

 The family prepare for Christmas and yet again it is disappointing news.  Uncle cannot spare George to return home for the second year in succession.

December 15th/79 
Dear Brother

 I am glad to hear you are getting on so well in your large shop and I hope you will soon be an independent tradesman.  Times are very dull here so perhaps you will be able to send us a few Cheques now and then.

 I suppose you are not coming home to spend the Christmas.  So I may wish a Merry Christmas and happy new Year when it comes.

We are going to have some grand times here there are going to be several weddings among which are Mr William Ball and Miss Mary Shepherd.  There is going to be a Christmas tree at Horton and Magic lantern entertainment and refreshments in the evening.  So you see you will miss it all by not coming home at Christmas.

We are to have the usual tea meeting at Port Eynon at New Years day.

The machine works very very well Jane has done a great deal of sewing with it since it came.

It is very fine calm wheather here now all our horses have been very bad but they are getting better now.  We have thrashed out all the barley & wheat with the steam thrashing machine.

I have not time to write more so I must conclude

          with love from all

          I remain
                    Your Affect: Sister
                              E. Bevan

There is no news good night

Nov 4th Monday

My dear Brother

I am going to by a knife for Eddy he is very wishfull to have one and I promised him yesterday to write today he has been asking ever so many times to day if I am going to see George and bring him a knife. Robert took his to the smith to have a hole put in the handle and he split the handle.  

Mr. George has opened a night school and Sill has joined.  James Bevan is Captain of a Barque called the Mouener and sailed today for Cape de Verd, George Stevens is going with him.  They are in trouble about Capt. Jones of Horton and Capt. Frank Gibbs of Port eynon.  They have been 2 weeks longer than some vessels sailing from the same place.  

We are all quite well.  Father is just as usuall.  Father wished me to say that we received a letter from Uncle to day.  We have been rather bussy to day do not forget to send the knife.  There is no news good night

from Your aff.
Sister Jane Bevan

Paraffin 10d per gall


Oct 30 1879

My dear Cousin

In answer to your last note I have to say that Mr Thomas does not intend having a new hand as the one he thought of having (a relative of his) remains on, I should have written at once but he has only lately decided, if there is any opening in the neighbourhood I shall certainly let him know.  I think Messrs Cross Brothers St. Mary St are in want of one or two hands, some of theirs have been dismissed lately I know, perhaps your friend had better write there.

I am sorry dear cousin that I have been negligent as regards corresponding with you, however we are now in more comfortable apartments and have better facilities for writing etc.

I am getting along very nicely our shop is much improved and enlarged since I came here, it is not one of the first class shops but we do an immense trade.  You may imagine when there are sometimes more than 500 customers served in one day we are now 11 counter hands and have an apprentice coming on next Monday, we cut things very fine down here.  Paraffin 10d per gall, cut nails 1½ on everything which comes in there is a certain discount put on & we have to stick to our price, which saves us no end of barney, especially with foreigners & Irishmen they often go out without purchasing, but invariably come back again for the goods so we loose [nothing] in the end.

I like Cardiff, much better than Swansea and I am sure you would too, the only objection I have is to the long hours, I hear that next month we are to fined for all mistakes.

How I hope you will write me soon for I know nothing of Llandudno news, who of my old friends are still there what sort of a season have you had, have you had all your money in etc

From your affectionate Cousin
R.J. Bevan

Share your kind regards to Uncle Aunt Florence George Hedley Jeni Arthur Miss Perry, Miss Symonds the Franklands all the Jones family & all the rest

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sill - off to see the world!

Jane’s period of illness lasted many weeks - once recovered she writes this newsy letter to her brother.  

Oct 6th 1879

My dear Brother,

We have been looking out for a letter from you for some time now it is coming to fine weather now we have finished hearvest we finished Saturday. 

I was down to Port Eynon yesterday afternoon. It was ten weeks since I was down before.  I did not stay to meeting the Minister from the Mumbles was there and Father thought I should get a cold coming home we have given up going to the wells it is to cold.  I am going to Sketty to stay with Aunt Harriet for a little while on Wednesday.

Poor Capt. Stevens is very ill.  Sill is thinking of going to see the world a little on Saturday. George Bevan of Horton is talking of going to London William Bevan of Horton & John Austin Bevan have been in London. John has been there for more than twelve months at work and Wm about six in last and do you not think it will be a good Job if they stay there.  Wm Stevens intended going but his Father is so bad that he has given up the thought. 

When is Uncle & Aunt coming here the apples are very scarce the few we have is so small. I suppose they have none at Castle. We have not seen any from there for a long time.  John Silvanus Bevan have been down to Uncle George Gibbs for a week.  He went a way Saturday; he has 9 months more to be at sea before he can try to pass. George Bevan of the Ship has had a narrow escape he was ship wrecked near Liverpool you will see it in the paper.

Capt. & Mrs Jones of Horton is in London the boys will not want for company if they go.
Good night hoping you are all quite well I remain Your Aff. Sister Jane Bevan

Picture postcard view of Sketty Road, Swansea

John Austin Bevan never returned to the Gower to live.  In the summer of 1881 he married Jane, Fry, who at the time of the census taken earlier that year was working as a barmaid at the Latimer Arms in Walmer Street, Marylebone, just a stones-throw from John’s home in Fitzroy Street.  In 1901 John and Jane are still living at 32 Fitzroy Street with their children Herbert 15, Roland 12, Ada 6 and four year old John Edgar.  John has his own building and decorating business and describes himself as self-employed.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Rowland Bevan - Esquire of Oxwich

By the early 17th century the Elizabethan Oxwich Castle, built by the wealthy Mansel family, stood empty.  The southern range was converted into a farmhouse leased to tenants and by the end of that century it was home to the Bevan family.

Rowland Bevan - Esquire of Oxwich made his will on his deathbed on April 19, 1760.   After the usual preamble he begins by apportioning his lease held land to his son Richard.

I give and devise unto my Son Richard Bevan all that Tenement of Lands which I hold by Lease called Oxwich Green and also two Fields of Closes of ground which I likewise hold by Lease situate within the parish of Penrice and called by the name of Brimehill unto my son Richard Bevan during the Term of the said Leases.

Richard's inheritance also included £150 'together with two Beds and their Appurtenances one chest and Table and three Chairs and also two horses four Oxen four cows and twenty sheep.'

Rowland then turns his attention to his daughter Elizabeth the wife of William Button who receives 'that house at Penrice which I hold by Lease To hold the same unto her during her Life in as large and ample Manner as Ann Davis Widow now holds the same.'  She also receives £150.

Rowland makes provision for his grandchildren.  To the boys Edward, Samuel, Thomas, Philip, Richard and Rowland Hancorne, Francis, Samuel and Rowland Bevan, he leaves £50 each to be paid when they reach the age of twenty one, adding 'I likewise order the Interest of the said Several Legacies of ffifty pound to be paid by my Executor from the time of my decease at the Rate of four pound per cent per annum towards the Education of my said Grandsons.' Another grandson, also called Rowland Bevan and the son of Francis Bevan, does rather better and receives £500.

The Hancorne sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, receive slightly less - £40 - as does Jane Bevan, but with the same conditions and that the interest also goes towards their education.

Rowland appoints Lewis Tucker and his brother Thomas Bevan to be Overseers of his last Will and Testament.  His last bequest is to his servant Ann Guy who receives the sum of thirty pounds and the use of a cottage and garden in Oxwich then occupied by Philip Harry.

Having signed his will in the presence of witnesses, Rowland obviously has second thoughts about the money left to his Hancorne grandchildren and adds a codicil - 'my Will is that the said Several legacies shall be paid them respectively when they shall be put to any Business or occupation.'

The Will was proved at London just over a month later with administration for all the Goods Chattels and Credits going to Rowland's sole executor, his son Francis.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sill's mouthtache causes concern

Overton Gower
Aug. 27th 79

Dear Brother

I am sorry there is not much news, these dull times, or else I should write oftener.  The weather has been very wet and stormy, yesterday, and today, and I do not think we shall have any corn to cut before about the week after next.  There is a good rising of straw about here but I am afraid it will be badly filled.  We have been burning a little lime at Crow tor kiln and Thomas Ace has been almost smothered carrying it away this stormy weather but we finished it today.

I was to Swansea on Monday with Capt. Stevens, brake and one of Mr Beynon’s and one of our horses meeting the new Minister and his family he has three children and two other grown up persons besides his wife come down, so I expect they are pretty tight in the house at Horton.  I have not heard him preach yet. W.P. Ellis is his name.

Saunders and Mr Shepard was up here to tea on Monday evening.  Rowland has been down for about ten days he went away with me on Monday.

I have had one of those Sniders Rifles, there is a great number of them in the country 6/6 each from Sheffield so when you come down don’t forget amunition John Tucker was complaining that Rowland was using all his amunition so bring plenty of your own.

Mother is going to write in a day or two but when you send the parcel please to send one of your little 10/6 clocks and if you was to make me a present of a good razor I should be very thankful as my mouthtache wants a little trimming rather badly.  Father, Hannah, Harriet, Ellen, Robert, Edmund, George and John Overton was to Swansea last Friday week and along with Frank had their portraits in a group.  I enclose one card.  Hannah is going to write to Florey and send her one in a few days.

Jane is not very well she has been ill for about a fortnight not able to come down stairs having dreadful pain in her head but she is much better now.

Hoping this will find you quite well and all my Cousins & Uncle & Aunt.

          I remain
                   Your affection: Brother
                             Silvanus Bevan

Unfortunately George’s copy of the photograph has not survived.

Monday, April 2, 2012

10 years penal servitude

Castle Square

Aug 14 1879

Dear brother
I am quite well and I hope you are the same.  And I hope you have not forgotten me here.  I wrote to you a little time ago and have not received an answer yet if my letter was lost I cannot blame you but if on the contrary you received it and have been paying to much attention to the young Ladies lately to answer it back I shall give you a good reprimanding and 10 years penal servitude.

I saw Rowland this morning and he share my views of the case he is coming home for his Holiday and is going down to Killay by train and is going to walk home.  I was home last Saturday week and I am going home in the harvest time for a weeks Holiday.

                   From Your Affectionate
                             Bro. F. Bevan

P.S. Please write to clear your self of those grave charges
                                                Good night

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1 Coat vest & trousers £3 5s

Among the letters is included an invoice from W.B. Oliver, Tailor and Draper, Ladies’ Habits and Jackets Made to Order, Trinity Buildings, Llandudno addressed to a Mr. S. Bevan for 1 Coat vest & trousers £3 5s.  The bill was settled the same day.

Swansea 2 Augst 1879

Dear George,

You will be surprised to find your Father & I are payeing our long promised visit to Mr Roberts we came in on thusesday and are going home today I shall not send you a Post Office Ordar to day I think you better ask the Tailor what he will charge for your best suit & a strong trousers cloth is much cheaper than it was a little wile ago but if I buy it here W. Hirey may spoil it & the expense of sending it away you had better have them at Llandudno.  M. Davies charged £2 16s for your last suit.  Saunders passed his examination first division his Mother & Father are very please about it.  Robert is in London.

With kind love from your affectionate Father & Mother

Frank is quite well & is coming home this eveing if Mr Jenkins Can spare him.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Too cold to cut the corn

July and just when George thought he was forgotten he receives letters from Jane and Elizzie.

Sunday Evening

My dear Brother

We are all most by ourselves to day.  Sill went into Swansea yesterday afternoon to go to Neath Fair with the cold and to day George Bevan and Robert is gone with Father & Mother to meet the 3 oclock train at Killay.  They are going to stay until Saturday at Mr Roberts they intended going yesterday but had not finished a bout the hay.  We have all in but one load it came on to rain or we should have finished. 

Mr. John Hughes of Newton was married yesterday to Miss Bevan of Pitton the youngest daughter of his Cousin. I suppose it was rather a grand turn out old Mrs Hughes has been living at Long Ash near the Mumbles for some time with David. They keep a pony and a cow they have a splendid house and garden like a gentlemans.  The school that is tomorrow at Porteynon they expect a large gathering.  The parents of most of the Children are invited Sill & Eliza so if all is well I shall be by myself to morrow night. 

I am a little better but far from well now.  Mother will write in a few days.  Eliza Bevan is going home on Saturday.  Aunt Harriet of Porteynon is not very well all besides enjoy good health hopying you enjoy the same

                   I am
                             Your aff. Sister

                                      Jane Bevan

Monday evening

Dear Brother

I suppose you think we have forgotten you.  I daresay we are not gifted with such long memories as you Llandudno people.  For you have been thinking of us very often this last month or so.  We have been very busy lately therefore you must excuse us.  

Hannah & Georgie were very disappointed last Wednesday.  The weather was stormy father was afraid to venture so far as Swansea so they all had to stay home.  Sil took the colt but missed to sell it horses were very cheap and he brought it home again.  He is going to Swansea tomorrow with the wool.  We have had new potatoes this long time we sent some to Swansea on Saturday but I dont know what they were sold for.

We have not begun to cut hay yet.  It is so cold that I dont know when the corn will be ripe.  We have no gooseberries now so I think you had better wait until the apples come before you send home your parcel.

We are all quite well and hoping you are the same

I remain
          Your affecte Sister
                   E. Bevan

P.S. I could not send the letter for want of a stamp.  There was none to be bought in Port Eynon.

Image - Kennixton Farmhouse for more information visit