Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Rev Biscombe is to preach on the evening

June 1st/79

Dear Brother

I am glad to tell you we are all quite well although the weather is so cold.

Today the tea meeting takes place at Oxwich green.  The Rev. Mr. Biscombe from Lanelly is to preach on the evening.

Sill and Harriet are gone but it has been raining very hard ever since they started so I think they will enjoy a good shower bath if nothing else.

I think Frank will be disappointed at the rain.  They were going to walk out to Sketty and have their tea on Sketty Green but I am afraid they will have to get indoors in somewhere.

We washed the sheep on Saturday and we should be glad with your services to help shear them if you could spare a week or so but I suppose you are so full of business that you couldnt be spared.

You were going a little too fast when you sent to ask us had we finished sowing Swedes.  We have not Begun.

Jane has been into Swansea and had her tooth pulled out she had been suffering very much in it.

Aunt Jane started for Cardiff Saturday to see Rowland.  I cannot think of any more important news to tell you so I must conclude

                   with love from all
                             I remain
                   Your affectionate sister
                             E. Bevan

In April 1672 Richard Bevan’s house in Rhossili was officially licensed as an Independent Meeting House and four years later the congregation numbered 45 in this small parish of approximately 135 residents, thus becoming the largest group of dissenters in Gower. (Richard was one of the sons of Jenkin Bevan and his wife Elizabeth After, brother to William who is recorded as being a member of the Society of Friends in the mid 17th century.)

John Wesley, the founding father of Methodism, visited Gower at least four times between 1762-1773 staying at a cottage in Oxwich. By 1780 the Methodist movement had spread widely in the southern counties of Wales and produced a flurry of chapel building in the Gower area. Oxwich Chapel was built in 1808 and Horton in 1813, followed by Pitton in 1833, Llangennith in 1862 and Reynoldstone in 1869 - the chapel at Porteynon was fitted out by Captain Bevan in 1852. The chapel at Horton where several of Silvanus and Ann’s children were baptised was built on land provided by William Tucker. The Old Manse was built in 1868 when Horton became the place of residence for Gower’s Wesleyan Minister, although according to the Bevan description of the cramped accommodation afforded the incoming Minister in 1879, the manse would appear to be little more than a small cottage.

The 1851 religious census in South Wales recorded a total of 1,863 places of worship – of these 615 were Church of England, 7 Roman Catholic and 2 Jew – all the rest were non-conformist chapels with 80% of the Welsh people describing themselves as ‘adherents’ of Non Conformist bodies.

Silvanus appears on the Gower Circuit Quarterly plan of May-July 1868 as being ‘On Trial’, the stage before full accreditation as a local Preacher is given. By the time of the Quarterly plan of August-October 1869 S. Bevan of Overton is on the Preachers List. In 1870 Silvanus is described as leader at Porteynon. In 1878 he is listed as being one of the Circuit Stewards, a senior lay position, along with Capt. William Bevan and John Tucker as Assistant.

The cottage in Oxwich where John Wesley stayed

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eliza and Hannah milks 28 ewes on the Clift

Early summer heralds a busy time on the farm as a letter from Sill reveals.

 Overton Gower
May 21st 1879

Dear Brother

We are all quite well except Jane.  She has been suffering very much in the tooth-ach.  The weather is very mild and sultry and makes everything look like summer.

We have a very fair prospect of a good crop of apples, and pears, there is plenty of blossom.  The cattle and the 1 yr old colt went to Muzzard last Saturday.  We have not one this year the white face colt we are going to keep and he does a good deal of work and has eaten a good deal of oats the other we are preparing for wool fair the second day of July.  We are thinking to wash the sheep on Saturday.  Eliza and Hannah milks 28 ewes on the Clift and they are to have eight more tomorrow we have 57 lambs and have about half-a-dozen more young ewes to have lambs we only lost one and sold four late thanks to the young draper’s perseverance.

Mother was to Swansea on Saturday and Frank intends to stick at the drapery.  Today the trial is to come off about the Mary Stenhouse George Gibbs and 7 or 8 of Rossily people for and against him went to London yesterday.

We have just had a band playing before the door this evening the second this spring I should think a sign of poor times.

I had a couple of craks with the gun to day, the first since you were home and killed four pigeons.  I have not seen many rabbits on the clift this year.  Hoping this will find you in good health.

I remain,
                   Your affection. Brother
                             Silvanus Bevan

George Bevan sends his kind regards to you and hope you will envite him to your wedding.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I think and Pray for you every day

 A poignant letter from Ann in which she expresses how much she misses her two sons working away from home.

Dear George,

It is a long time since I wrote to you but do not think your all forgotten.  I think and Pray for you every day.  Sunday eveing when the Children were reading & singing I could not help thinking were you & Frank would be & how glad I should be if you were nearer home & could come & see us some times.

Frank has only been home once since he has gone to Swansea.  He has got plenty to do and is going to stick to the Drapery if all is well.  I think to go to Swansea on Saturday.

I am glad to say we are all quite well, your Father walked to Chaple Sunday eveing & yesterday I and Ellen & Robert & Eddy walked up to Castle & Sill Brought us home in the Trap in the eveing.    

The Children were very pleased with their paints.  We have had some nice rain today, it will help on the crops as Grass is very tough for the Sheep & the Potatoes & Vegetables are very backwards this spring.  The weather has been so cold.

How is your Uncle, he was very poorly when he wrote.  I hope he is quite well again.  George Stevens is going to Sail tomorrow in the Pembroke Castle for the Cape.  James Bevan of Horton is Captain.

I have no news worth telling you and Father & Sill are waiting for their Suppe.  Be a good boy & write soon as we expect to hear once a week and may God Bless & keep you form every evils.  

                             For your ever affectionate

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oxwich Castle

Built during the early 16th century, Oxwich Castle is believed to stand on the site of a vanished Norman castle, alongside an ancient trackway dating back to the Celtic Christian period.  

Owned by the wealthy Mansel family, Sir Rice Mansel (1487-1559) was the first renovating architect who built the southern range.  However, it was his son Sir Edward who was responsible for adding the much grander eastern range and that Elizabethan ‘must-have’ gallery and hall.  

Despite all this ambitious building work, the Mansel family’s occupancy proved relatively short lived and by the early 17th century the castle was empty, the southern block converted into a farmhouse and leased to tenants.  

The Bevan family occupation dates from 1698-1917 and spans over two hundred years and a part of four individual centuries.  By the beginning of the 18th century Rowland Bevan and his wife Joan were farming at the Castle. Their son Francis baptised at St. Illytd’s on 15th April 1730 took over the tenancy after his father’s death in 1760.  Francis was Silvanus’ great grandfather and Ann’s great-great grandfather.   In his turn, Ann’s father George took over the tenancy and Ann and her sisters and brother grew up at ‘Castle.’ 

The black and white photographs of Oxwich Castle date from the beginning of the 20th century.

Jane has a secret


Dear Brother

Father & Mother & Eliza is going to Mansell Fold.  Poor Aunt Betsey died very sudden on Wednesday morning.  She had not been very well for a bout a fortnight but able to do her work.  She did not feel well on Wednesday and did not get up.  Mary Jenkins took her up a cup of tea and helped her up in bed to drink it.  She fell back and died in a few minites and is buryed to day and Mrs Morgan Bevan of Pitton Late of Swansea late Mary Curtis of Parkland is buryed at Porteynon to day and Mr S Wilson of Nilstone is to be buryed to morrow.  Their eldest brother is in California they have telegraph for him to come home.  

I heard that he told the girls when he was ill last that if he died he was afraid they would be almost on the parish people have wounderd how he could live in such stite and carry on the business the girls are always off one or the other visiting about then they have company staying in the house.  I am afraid the poor girls will find a great loss.  

Aunt Harriet is not well she has pain in her legs she is scarsily able to move.  

When I write to you next if all is well I shall revele a secret do not say any thing a bout it.  I will tell you in time.  

Sam Gibbs and young John Grove of Porteynon went to sea on Saturday evening.  Good night

I am your aff Sister
          Jane Bevan

A Victorian view of St Cattwg, Port Eynon