Davies' Family History
Background to Llanidloes in Montgomeryshire, Wales
|Description of Llanidloes from 1812||Description of Llanidloes from 1835||Description of Llanidloes of 1843|
|Brief History of Wales||Brief History of Llanidloes||Industries in Llanidloes pre 1900|
|Descriptions of Llanidloes extracted from Powys
Digital History project
|14th century building (now a bank) on the corner of China & Great Oak Streets, Llanidloes.|
The places for divine worship here are the parish church, four chapels
for the service of the dissenters and a meeting-house belonging to the
Society of Friends. The church is dedicated to St Idloes; the living
is a vicarage, in the gift of the Bishops of Bangor and incumbency of
the Rev. John Davies. The chapels are very spacious, that of the Calvinist
will seat upwards of one thousand persons and the Wesleyan Methodist
chapel affords accommodation nearly as extensive. In the vicinity of
this town are several handsome residences, the property of opulent individuals;
amongst the most distinguished is 'Dollys', the seat of George Meares
Esquire, situate about a mile from the town on the road leading to Trefeglwys
from which the approach to Llanidloes is highly picturesque. The appearance
of the vale with the Severn beautifully winding and the hills by which
the prospect is boarded, all are in unison to render this spot highly
interesting. The lands about the town and in the vale are fertile and
well cultivated, rich in wood and foliage, while the roads around are
kept in superior order. There is an excellent market on Saturday for
wool, grain and all marketable commodities. The fairs take place on
the second Saturday in February, the first Saturday in April, the 11th
of May , Saturday before the 24th June, the 17th July, the second Saturday
in September, the first Friday in October, the 28th October and the
Saturday before the 16th of December- for wool, horses, cattle, sheep
and swine. The parish of Llanidloes comprises the townships of Kilmarham,
Llanidloes, Llanidloes third division, Manleth, Birthdir, Treflyn and
Cross-Al-Inybln containing collectively at the census taken in 1821
3145 inhabitants and by that for 1831 4189. The population of the town,
according to information furnished by a resident, amounted in October
1834 to 2525 persons.
Description of the town.
In 1284 , King Edward 1 conquered Wales and annexed it to his dominions. He divided it into counties but the old Welsh laws prevailed.
Property had always been divided under an arrangement known as gavelkind i.e. equal division among sons therefore the Welsh placed great emphasis on pedigree and a Welshman could run off several generations of his family history. For example Ievan ap Caradoc ap Griffith ap Gwillam.
From 1542 Wales was united in an administrative union with England and they insisted on a surname system to simplify the paperwork. This is why many of the greatest Welsh families share the same surnames with lesser known families, ap Rhys (son of Rhys) became Price; ap Richard became Pritchard; son of Gwillam became William's and son of David became Davie's.
Llanidloes is situated on a small plateau dedicated to an ancient Celtic saint, St Idloes. It is a small market town on the confluence of the Severn and Clywedog Rivers and many of the old Tudor buildings still remain.
Prehistoric remains have been found near Trefeglwys; several Bronze Age burial cairns and standing stones near the dam site ; Iron Age hill forts are scattered around the district with some impressive ones at Llandinam, and Guilsfield and smaller ones at Penyclun farm and at Pen-y-gaer. There was a Roman fort in Llanwnog and Roman roads emanated out of Caersws.
Christianity came to Britain during Roman times but it wasn't until the 6th century that the Celtic west become known as the Age of Saints. Missionaries or holy men established religious settlements in the area and one, Idloes, built a small church on the confluence of the rivers Severn and Clywedog. A small settlement grew up around the church and it was granted its Market Charter in 1280. A Norman castle was built on the site of the old motte and bailey and the town laid out according to the typical Norman plan.
During medieval times, the town was part of the Welsh kingdom of Powys but like the rest of Wales was annexed to England during the reign of Henry V111. Powys was renamed Montgomeryshire and was able to send two representatives to the English Parliament. Llanidloes was controlled by the largest local landowner- the Lloyds of Berthlwyd and later during the 19th century by their successor, Lord Mostyn.
During the 18th century the improvement of roads became an issue and Turnpike roads were built to pay for their upgrading. The county was divided into three districts, Llanidloes being one of them. Toll-gates were erected on roads radiating out of the town and many of these can still be seen today.
Despite the political reforms of 1832, the majority of the adult male population remained without a vote. The Poor Law Act forced the poor into workhouses and despair led to violence around the country. Chartism came to Llanidloes in 1837 in a big way. The Charter demanded universal male suffrage; the ballot; payment of MPs; abolition of property qualifications for MPs; equal constituencies and annual elections. Meetings were held for several years at the old Market Hall (see photographs). One day events got out of hand and violence ensued. Forty-three men were arrested; some got transportation to Botany Bay; most in gaol. The military occupied Llanidloes for a year- Chartism had failed.
For centuries cottagers had supplemented their earnings with carding, spinning and weaving wool. In 1562, the industry was monopolised by the Shrewsbury Drapers' Company but it wasn't until 1838 that Llanidloes tradesmen formed their own company to produce flannel. Mills and factories started to spring up around the town.
Tanning had always been a small flourishing family industry in town but in 19th century large tanneries were built, one of which was owned by Thomas and Edward Davies in Short Bridge Street.
Lead mining got under way in the 19th century in the surrounding district, employing many hundreds of men and an iron and brass founder was established, supplying the mines and the newly built railways.
The first railway line in the area was completed in 1859 and was from Newton to Llanidloes. This was to replace the canal system for transporting flannel goods. The large railway station was built in 1864 and branch lines followed.
|St. Idloes Parish Church.
St. Idloes was an early 7th century saint. Nothing survives of the earliest church on this site. The west tower was built around 1350 then the rest of the church was rebuilt in 1542. The interior was refurbished in 1816 and the two old galleries removed and replaced by a single gallery and the new organ. The magnificent oaken rook was brought from Abbey Cwmhir after the Dissolution of the monasteries. The square tower is of the usual Montgomeryshire type. The bells were a gift from a former vicar, Rev. John David and new bells were presented by Mrs. Norah Sarah Davies in 1969. The church Registers date from 1615 but there are no entries dating from the Commonwealth or Cromwell Period.
by Ros Davies