Local History Contributions

This section of the website is to allow people to contribute their own stories about the history of Nannerch. The title of each story is shown below – click on the “+” sign to read the fully story and “-” to collapse it again. If you have a story to contribute, please email garetheos@outlook.com.

So what’s the story of the cottage in Melin Y Wern?

By Gareth Williams, Llety’r Eos, Nannerch

It’s 20 years since we moved into Llety’r Eos and I’ve always wondered about the history of the house – who lived there, what did they do and how did it fit into the wider village. Here’s a brief summary of this history – which is still work in progress!

Solving a Mystery

Because I’m a history geek, understanding the background of the house came naturally. The house deeds in my possession only go back to the I950’s so I had to use the census returns to see who lived in the house and what they did.

I managed to find the house back in 1841 and then tracked its occupants every 10 years until 1911 (except for 1851 which seems to miss Llety’r Eos). But what about before 1841? Well, using the parish records of Nannerch, the earliest record of the house was the burial of an Elizabeth Foulkes of Lletty’r Eos on January 31st 1816.

However, during the census searches a mystery started to appear. Bearing in mind the original house that I recognise has 3 rooms, how was it that, in 1861 there were 14 people living in what appeared like 4 separate dwellings? And yet, by 1881 it was showing as two separate dwellings and finally ending up as one dwelling of 4 rooms in 1901. No matter how I tried to make sense of it (including trying to see signs of separate doors and windows in the stone work), I just couldn’t see there being 4 separate cottages accommodating 14 people.

It was then that a friend shared a link to the National Library of Wales’ tithe maps – completed in 1839. Matching some of the names from the 1841 census and overlaying today’s map with the 1839 tithe map, shows quite clearly that there were indeed three cottages making up Llety’r Eos – it also seems likely that the cottage on the corner of Denbigh Road (the bad bend) was the fourth. See what you think:

Image of the tithe map 1839.

The tithe map image is upside down as this is how we would normally view it on a map. The road that is visible on the map is the current byway and the house shown next to 132 is likely to be the current Llety’r Eos. The cottage next to 146 is likely to be Hawthorne Cottage, the shaded area at 143a is listed as wood (likely to be the current wood / swamp at the bottom of today’s byway) and the cottage at 144 possibly Beck Cottage.

So, the reason for the disappearance of the other cottages? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: by 1869 the new railway line between Mold and Denbigh had been completed. It is likely that at least two of the original cottages were probably lost during the construction.

Finally, the only other key piece of information from the tithe map was who owned the property – it is listed, along with many others, as being owned by a Thomas Molyneux Williams, the then owner of Penbedw.

Inhabitants of Llety’r Eos

I’ve included below a table that shows the inhabitants of Llety’r Eos according to the census returns from 1841 to 1911 (1851 still evades me so I will include it when I get the chance!)

Lletty’r EosEdward Jones80Labourer
Mary Jones65
Lletty’r EosJohn Jones80Labourer
Elizabeth Jones70
Lletty’r EosJohn Williams40Shoemaker
Lletty’r EosThomas Morris70Ag. Labourer
Lletty r EosJohn Jones50Stone Mason
Eleanor Jones10General Servant
Lletty r EosJoseph Mathews31Ag Lab
Hannah Mathews27
Robert Mathews5
Ellen Mathews4
Edwin Mathews11mo
Lletty r EosJoseph Gittins42Ag Lab
Mary Gittins33
Thomas Gittins7Scholar
Jeremiah Gittins5
Edward Gittins2
Lletty r EosJane Roberts60Pauper
Lletty r EosEdward Jones56Lead Miner
Esther Jones47
Robert Jones15Mason’s Labourer
George Jones13Scholar
Thomas Jones9
Lletty’r EosJohn Jones40Mason
Lucy Jones33His Wife
George Jones4
Griffith Jones3
Prudence Mary Jones4mo
Lletty’r EosJane Roberts70
Lletty’r EosMary Gitting48Widow
Jemimah Gitting9
Benjamin Gitting6
Lletty’r EosGeorge Jones59Labourer
Dinah Jones32
Mary Jones29
Jane Jones2Her dau
Jane Jones?9moHer dau
Llettyr EosRobert Jones54Miner
Anne Jones54Miners Wife
Llettyr EosEllin Roberts32Widow – Miner’s wife
Thomas Roberts11Scholar
Samuel Roberts9Scholar
Harriet Roberts6Schoolgirl
Llety’r Eos (a)Robert Jones65General Laborer
Anne Jones65
Llety’r Eos (b)Peter Bellis47General Lab
Mary Bellis42
Emma Bellis16Domestic Servant
William Bellis11Scholar
Elizabeth Bellis6
Edward Cave23General Lab
Ellen Cave
Lletty’r EosRobert Jones76Agricultural Labourer
Ann Jones76
Lletty’r EosPeter Bellis57
Mary Bellis52
Emma Bellis26General Servant
Llettyr EosGeorge Hughes40Carter on Farm Horse Worker
Catherine Hughes41
Margaret Hughes16
Hugh E. Hughes12
George A. Hughes8
Freeman Hughes5
Llety-r-EosNason Le Gallais31Journeyman Joiner
Katie Le Gallais34
Charles Edward Le Gallais7
Francis Leo Le Gallais2
1939Special pre-war census
Frank M. Watkin30Auxiliary Postman and Farm Labourer
Mary D. Watkin34Unpaid domestic duties
Voided out

The Le Gallais Family

You will see from the above that the Le Gallais family were the residents of Llety’r Eos during the 1911 census – in fact it appears that they lived there between 1908 and 1913. I managed to contact one of the descendants of the family while looking for some history on the house. Denise Jefferys, the granddaughter of Charles Edward Le Gallais, kindly provided the following story, written by her grandfather in 1994, aged around 90. She also provided photos of Nason and Katie Le Gallais before they left for Canada.

Memories of Charles Edward Le Gallais, 1994

At about age 5 we moved to Nannerch, 14 miles from Flint (previous home). The village, if it can be called that, was situated at a crossroads. One corner was a pond and across the road a clump of trees and the next corner a house, surrounded by trees. Now, on the last corner was the village: a house, the store, the post office and two houses – and that was it! Except behind all this was my school.

Surrounding were the fields of farmers and the Buddicom Manor where my father had employment as a joiner, which is several steps above a carpenter in skill.

The manor was in a walled in forest, a town in itself, with a large variety of tradespeople, such as my father. There being no refrigeration, for meat there was a piggery, hens for eggs and meat, cows for milk, cream and butter, fields for garden produce and even a flower garden for house decoration, along with their gardeners. And horses! Horses for fieldwork, horses for the carriages, horses for fox hunting, with enough for guests, along with ponies for the children. Also, pheasants were raised for shooting parties. One time I took part in a shoot, as a beater, along with others. We walked in a line towards the shooters to scare the pheasants up for the guests to shoot, then pick up the birds, take them back and put them in neat rows for the guests to admire. Then the kitchen staff would take over and prepare the birds for the table.

The owner of the estate was Lord Buddicom, a rich and influential person as you can imagine. He personally awarded me a prize of a sixpence for a bouquet of wild flowers (picked by my father) at a manor party celebrating the coronation of King George in 1911 when I was eight years old.

My father used to tell this story. He was in the workshop one day when the window washer came in and said “I’ve just finished all the windows, all 364 of them, almost one for every day of the year”. The Supervisor spoke up “LeGallais, cut a matching window in that wall”.

Our home was a three room cottage, still on the estate, about a mile from the school and the village. It was 250 years old, built of stone with walls 12 inches wide, tiled floors set on the ground. There was a separate building consisting of laundry, bake oven, stable and out-house. The oven was built of brick with a cast iron door. On bake day, Dad would build a fire of wood in the oven then, when the bricks were properly heated, he would clean out the ashes. Mother would then place her pans of dough in the oven, close the door and let the bricks do their work.

We had no electricity, no running water, no telephone and no furnace. The two bedrooms, each at the ends of the house, each had a fireplace. The all-purpose room in between had the hob for cooking and heating.

When it was dark, we used coal-oil lamps and candles. No wonder kids were afraid of the dark, there was so much of it!

Around the house were fields and woods, along with foxes, weasals, hedgehogs, pheasants and dozens of rabbits. To keep those pesky rabbits from his garden Dad cut trees to make fence posts. An odd thing happened, the next year those fence posts grew into trees.

It was a mile walk into the school, no hill – when I took the same walk eighty later, it had grown into a hill that made me puff! The school was small, one room, right out of Charles Dickens. The pupils sat on one long bench. The teachers, a grey haired old man and his wife. One used a four foot square blackboard on an easel, the other had a sort of pulpit to use to read to the pupils standing below. No books or scribblers but each of us had a slate and a slate pencil. We were still in the 1800’s and this was 1910!

From 1911 to the Present Day

With the available census returns ending in 1911 it is difficult to piece together the history of the cottage to the present day. The only available information that I have is from the existing house deeds. The house was sold by Venetia Digby Buddicom of Penbedw in 1956 to an Arthur Ridgway who, strangely enough bought back the land occupied by the old railway in 1966, from the British Railways Board.

Photo of the house taken around 1950’s

So that is it for now, I have other named owners of the house since the 1950’s but I’m very aware of naming them due to data protection as I can’t contact them for their permission.

Do you have any information?

If you have any information or photos of the house in the early years of its history, I would love to hear from you! Please email garetheos@outlook.com.