Saturday, January 28, 2012

Frank likes his work

Frank seems to like his work and George Stevens intends to try harder.
April 14th

My dear Brother

We have been looking out for a letter from you for a long time we were just beginning to think some thing was wrong.  Frank was down on Friday he seems to like his work very well he said he felt very tired by night we had a very good tea at Horton there was a bout one Hundred less there this year than last perhaps that was why those that was there had such a good tea.  We had a letter from M—le on Saturday he seems to enjoy himself.  George Stevens is home he is going to school in Swansea to try and pass this time.  Father was down to Porteynon Chapel last night for their first time he walked down and up and is no worse for it today we are all pretty well have you heard of poor Elizabeth Thomas’s death of G---she died ---sudden in a fever the same as we had.  I think that is all the news good night

                   I am your
                   Aff. Sister Jane Bevan

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Frank decides on being a draper - or not

A letter from the younger sisters.


Dear Brother

I should have written before but we have been so busy cleaning that we have had no time.  We had the chimney swept this morning and tomorrow Aunt Harriet is coming up to help paper.

Father & Mother were down to Pitton yesterday after the seed.

We have finished sowing barley.

We had a letter from Uncle today he says that they have all bad colds.

We heard from Frank last week he complains of being very tired at night his month is up on Thursday so we shall see wether he decides on being a draper or not.

We are all quite well and hoping you are the same. I remain

                   Your Affect.
E. Bevan               Harriete waiting for the pen.

Old postcard view of Port Eynon from the cliffs

Aunt Harriet is another example of the intermarrying Gower families.  Born Harriet Jones Bevan she was the granddaughter of Harriet Gibbs formerly George, (Ann’s mother Jane’s sister).  Harriet married George Bevan, Silvanus’ seagoing younger brother, in Swansea in 1867.  They had three children, Silvanus George born 1868; Elizabeth Mary in 1870 and John Overton in 1872.  Their youngest son was born four months before his father’s death on  December 16.  Harriet and her sons live at The Rectory, Porteynon.

You might also like to read 

Taken from Harriet George's notebooks 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Frank leaves home

Ann and Silvanus farmed 140 acres, employing one man and one boy and  growing a variety of crops, corn, oats, barley and hay – turnips, Swedes and potatoes.  The children talk about George’s strawberries, the gooseberries and apples.  Their main income would seem to come from the sheep and their wool.  They also keep a few cows, some fowl and sell a horse once a year at Swansea market.

April 2d 1879 
Dear George

I have been up early this morning & have a little time to write you a few lines.  Frank has just left by the Buss to begin his apprenticeship at Mr. Jenkins your Father & I feel his leaving us very much he has been a great help to mind the sheep this winter & has been very careful & attentive to his flock.  We have 56 young Lambs & never lost one I believe we were never so fortunate before.  My Prayer is that all our children may live in [in] the fear off the Lord and do their duty truly & honestly in whatever situation they may be placed I am glad to say your Father is much better since the weather alter’d it is very fine here today & we are very busy.  We have planted the Potatoes & sown the Oates.  Sill is going to Slade Cross to Fetch a calf we are rearing Six this year.  

Dear George Elizzie is wanting me to come to breakfast so I must conclude George Stevens is home again all well some of the youngsters must write & tell you all the news 

with kind love & may God bless & keep you 
                                           from your ever affectionate Mother

                                            A.   Bevan.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We expect another calf tonight

Overton Gower
March 21st 1879

Dear Brother

I have the sad news to tell you of another ship wreck a Smack from Swansea bound to somewhere in Carmarthen with 60 tons of manure kept too close to Port Eynon’s Point going down channel with favourable wind and tide on Wednesday last.  She is lying between Skysea and Sedgers Bank but she did not ebb dry yesterday nor I do not think to day, but the men were able to wade to her to bring ashore the rigging, the three men came ashore in there own boat

We have began to tame the white-faced colt & put him to pull a stick yesterday and shoed him today a spirited rascal we have [called] him boxer.

We sold the fat stock last Monday the cattle was sent off almost before the bargain was struck and the sheep are to go next Monday.  We have forty-eight lambs and three claves we expect another calf to night.

Mother, Elizabeth, and Frank are going to Swansea to morrow in the trap, he rather expect to go to his trade next Wednesday week.

I hope you are well of your cold.  Jane has had a very severe cold in pain in her back but she is much better now.  Father is much the same.

                   I must now conclude
                             I remain
                                      Your affect. Broth
                                                Silvanus Bevan

P.S. Please give my love to Florey.

Port Eynon Bay


Florey is the boys’ cousin, their Uncle William’s young daughter.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Mary Stenhouse

March 10

Dear George

We received your letter this morning & find you have got our complaint at Llandudno had colds, I have been giveing Treacle & water to Eddy, Robert & Ellen tonight.  Eddy is very fond of it I have had a very bad cold for nearly a week.  Sill is much Better but was not able to sow the wheat captain Stevens did it for us.  We are very busy prepareing for spring work as it will soon be time to sow oats & plant Potatoes.  Harriet has told you about your Grandfathers Bull breaking loose you will see an account of it in the Cambrian the womman was not much hurted.  Mrs. George Gibbs of Porteynon is gone to Liverpool today about the Salvage of the Mary Stenhouse if you see an account of the Trial in any newspaper send it for your Father to read there is great talk about it here.  I believe Mr Gibbs & the Pembrey Steam tug claims 450£ it is uncertain how much he will get the Trial comes off tomorrow Dear George I have no more paper to write more to night Harriet & your Father are playing Draughts & Frank is just come in from seeing the sheep we have 11 lambs we have not lost one 11 has come since yesterday morning.

                             With kind love from your affect.

The Mary Stenhouse, a Liverpool ship carrying 350 tons of pig iron, ran aground at Rhossilli on the evening of Tuesday February 11, 1879.  The ship's boat was launched with nine members of the twenty strong crew on board, including the master's wife, Mrs Hedgecock, but it capsized before reaching the shore.  All ten people on board were drowned.  The remaining crew members were rescued safely.  Lloyds Agent, George Gibbs (Ann's cousin) sent the tug Hero to go to the aid of the Mary Stenhouse, which later the following day was towed to Swansea.

Monday, January 9, 2012

So what was the rest of the family up to?

Take time out to read about another branch of the Bevan family.

The Anchor Brewery once stood on what is now the site of the reconstructed Globe Theatre. With its closure in 1981 a 365 year history of brewing was brought to an end. Courage, the then owners, transferred their operations to a new brewery at Worton Grange, Reading.

The brewery was established by James Monger the elder in 1616, and by 1666 his successor Josiah Child was supplying the navy with beer and had thus adopted the familiar sign of the Anchor as an early trade mark.

But it was under the ownership of Ralph Thrale, Member of Parliament for Southwark between 1741 and 1747 that the brewery expanded, producing 46,100 barrels in 1750 and with net assets of £72,000. Upon his death Ralph's son Henry inherited the brewery and continued its expansion and redevelopment. He built Borough House within the nine acre brewery site at Southwark with the less than salubrious address Deadman's Place. Samuel Johnson, the 17th century lexicographer and family friend of the Thrales, occupied an appartment at Borough House.

The Anchor Brewery survived declining fortunes during times of war and only narrowly avoided being burnt down by the anti-papists revolutionaries in the Gordon Riots of 1780 but with Henry Thrale's death in 1781 and no sons to follow him into the business his widow Hester had no option but to sell the brewery. Barclay Quaker family and former manager John Perkins, whose wife Amelia Bevan was the widow of Timothy Bevan, bought the business for £135,000. Silvanus (married to Louisa Kendall Bevan) became a sleeping partner in the firm, paying a quarter of the total purchase price. Samuel Johnson was the executor of his old friend Henry Thrale's will and upon the sale of the brewery to Barclay & Perkins, commented: "We are not to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dream of avarice."

Barclay, Perkins & Co., became something of a national institution. Dickens referred to the establishment in his novel David Copperfield first published in monthly instalments during 1849-50. The irrepressibly optimistic Micawber family consider the brewery trade to be ideal employment for Mr. Micawber - 'I will not conceal from you, my dear Mr. Copperfield,' said Mrs. Micawber, 'that I have long felt the Brewing business to be particularly adapted to Mr. Micawber. Look at Barclay and Perkins! Look at Truman, Hanbury, and Buxton! It is on that extensive footing that Mr. Micawber, I know from my own knowledge of him, is calculated to shine; and the profits, I am told, are e-NOR-MOUS! But if Mr. Micawber cannot get into those firms - which decline to answer his letters, when he offers his services even in an inferior capacity - what is the use of dwelling upon that idea? None. I may have a conviction that Mr. Micawber's manners -'

Barclay, Perkins & Co., became the best known brewer of export stout with one of their regular customers being the Empress of Russia and at the beginning of the 19th century they were rated as one of the principle porter breweries, producing 264,405 barrels in 1810-11 and 270,259 in 1811-12.

By 1815 Barclay, Perkins & Co had become the leading brewery in London, receiving visitors from both home and abroad, including a German prince who in the summer of 1827 was recorded as saying about the building 'the vastness of its dimensions renders almost romantic' Peter Ackroyd - London - The Biography.

Image of the Anchor brewery dated 1850

Silvanus Bevan 1743-1830, banker and brewer

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rowland gets on nicely

Another ‘shop talk’ letter from cousin Rowland, out to impress and asking for word of home.  

34 St. Mary St.
Feby 20 1879

My dear Cousin

I feel sure you must think me very unkind indeed in not writing to you before in your last note you wondered wether I was alive or not and now I fancy you must really think I am gone to the happy hunting grounds but I am still alive I am and have been in good health and spirits ever since I have been at Cardiff.  I am getting on very nicely I have been here now just over 12 months and in that time I have had my salary raised twice our shop is now one of the finest Ironmongers in South Wales it is now 150 feet long and 3 stories high & it was only one before.  We have not finishd the alterations commenced by our new master Mr Thomas yet.  I hope however we shall be all right by July for it is really very troublesome and aggravating to have ones shelves pulled about by workmen and having the dust and dirt to clear away so often.  Joiners are now fixing a patent Lift to carry goods from the ground floor up to the stock and show room.  I will try to give you some description of the shop.  One window is always filled with tools it is now filled with trowels of all descriptions and for some distance the shop is occupied with tools of all descriptions on command of the tool man as he is called then comes a department of ods & ends wire, Taps & Trimins fittings of all Kinds.  Then comes the Builders department which I had for some time now in command of another young man.  Opposite him is the Oil Paint & Color departm. as that counter we have to patint Pumps which draws the oil about as fas as T. Jones Yard to your shop and measures it at the same time one for Bingolene another for Paraffin which we sell @1½Pt. then comes to the furnishing departments which occupies the 2 sides of the shop as is bigger than any other two in the shop.  I am in command of this branch which is I suppose the most important in the shop.  I have a boy under my care who I keep employed in changing the things and dusting a villain he is I caught him one day mangling S Hooks if you please of course he spoilt the [illegible] and I had to take them off and get them turned.  Then out in the back beyond the shop are the workshop etc the second story is one long show room where we show Boxes Bedstead etc the next and largest is a stock room where we keep all sorts of thing from german flutes to penny whistles.  I can tell you George I have had to keep my eyes open & learn a thing or two since I came here, and I should advice you to employ all your spare time in getting at the prices of things, discounts number etc when I was in the Building department I was supposed to know the numbers and prices of all the sash Fasteners, lach Pullies, Locks, Hinges etc and so I did nearly.  I had to order things too as they were wanted and keep up stocks and as I have now.  I should like very much if you could just pop in for an hour some day and see us what a different master we have to the old one our present one gives us rather too much liberty whereas we did not have enough before he is quite a young man his father comes down for one thing nearly every day he is a [illegible] and we have to mind what we are doing when he is down. I now sleep out with an apprentice for company we are most comfortable together he is a nice little chap.  I much prefer sleeping out to indoors for the young men are such a noisey lot and cannot read or talk quietly in the house.  You have been home lately.  I am sure you were pleased to see your dear father so far recovered.  I had expected he would [illegible] prayer has had a good deal to do with his recovery. All the Llandudno news I have received for a long time has been from somewhere in the –dlands I believe it is a little town in Staffordshire called – what about all of my old pals M. Thomas Morris M Powell Mark & Co mind and write soon and tell me all and not [illegible]  as I have seen all you as you [illegible] for correspondence.  You may tell my friends [illegible] talk about [illegible]. Tell Florey I shall write to her soon and give kind love to her and George Hedley Uncle Aunt James & Arthur also to M. Thomas M. Powell Miss Symmond & Miss Perry of your affection. Cousin R Bevan

The last page of the letter has been reversed and Rowland continued writing across what he had previously written.  Unfortunately this renders it almost illegible.