Glyngynwdd Mill 1841-1901

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Glyngynwydd (pronounced "Glyngenwith") Mill is located very close to Cwmbelan, on the outskirts of Llanidloes. It was connected to both the George and Jerman families from the middle to the end of the nineteenth century.  Inside the old barn we find carved two boys' initials: EJ and DJ.  These were Edward Jerman (b.1873) and Daniel Jerman (b.1876).  Their parents and grandparents had lived at the Mill for the past forty years.  

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Glyngynwydd Township was so-called but was no more than a scattering of houses and small-holdings around the mill. It was known as part of Cwmbelan. As well as the township, there is also Glyngynwydd Farm - about a mile to the west of the mill's location. On this farm may now be found Glyngynwydd Farm Cottages. 

1841 - Marriage between Edward George and Elizabeth Jerman

Edward George and Elizabeth Jerman, believed of Cringoed near Llanbrynmair, descendant of the Glangwden Jerman family, married at the Parish Church of Llangurig on 19 March 1841. Edward's father is recorded as John George, Farmer. Frustratingly, Edward's place of residence at marriage is shown simply as "Llanidloes". His occupation, however, is shown as Fuller. Fulling is an important stage of the manufacture of cloth and requires a source of water - so-called fulling mills had been present in the area since the 16th century.

"Montgomeryshire was the most important centre of the woven textile industry in Wales from the mid 16th century, and until around 1790 wool was carded, spun and woven into fabric in almost all farmhouses and cottages as a winter activity to supplement the often meagre living from upland farming. Weaving is among the earliest trades recorded in parish registers. Since textiles were being produced in so many, often remote, locations throughout the district, small water-powered fulling mills were built in many places to process the rolls of woven cloth. The fulling process involved soaking the cloth in warm water and detergent such as fuller's earth, causing the wet woollen fibres to mat together and thicken and cleanse the cloth.These mills were known as "Pandai" in Welsh, and they began to close as the processes of fulling and dyeing were incorporated into later, bigger mills. Very few of the buildings survived, but the name "Pandy" occurs in over three hundred Welsh place names, a reminder of the former importance of the textile industry to the rural economy."

                                 from http://history.powys.org.uk/history/llani/flan1.html (Powys Digital History Project)


A typical Welsh rural "factory".

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At the time of the 1841 census, Edward and Elizabeth George are recorded at Pen y Graig Fulling Mill, in Glynhafren township.  This is on the River Severn, west of Llanidloes down the Pen y Green Road.   At this time, there were no houses on the Pen y Green road - open fields started straight after the Short Bridge was crossed.  So their location further up the valley would indeed have been remote.  There were major flannel operations in this area and the young couple would have played a part in this process.  On the 1902 Ordnance Survey map of Llanidoes, Pen y Graig is shown possibly on the north bank of the Severn, just west of "Broomcliffe" - as Pandy - Disused.  Neat details are shown for the sluice to the river from the mill race itself just adjacent to the river.


Ten years later, in April 1851, they are recorded in the census as resident with their first three children at Nantyrhebog, further up the river but in the same area. Edward George's occupation is recorded as Fuller.   The mill appears to have been run by one John Morris, described as Manufacturer and surrounding the mill are a series of further households - shown by small cottages today - whose inhabitants' occupations testify to the vertical integration of process within this small "factory".  Attached to Nantyrhebog are fullers, a carder, weavers and a piece-worker - all the processes necessary to transform raw wool into finished cloth, even finished woven articles ready for sale.  This type of small factory would have been a first step at combining previously separate processes under the one roof; indeed, the surrounding hillsides were also used by terracing them to provide drying and natural bleaching.   This type of operation, though, would eventually prove too small and too remote - much larger factories were being established further down the valley, closer to Llanidloes, although exactly the same types of integrated activities would take place.  Nantyrhebog ceased operation as a woollen mill prior to the turn of the twentieth century and was taken over by Maurice Jones, who would found the eponymous local family firm of carpenters, builders and undertakers, now nearby at Isfryn.   The mill, by the way, would not have been powered by the Severn itself, which is not very powerful at this point.  Rather, the wheel would be turned by the Nant yr Hebog  - the Hebog stream, dropping down the valley side as tributary to the larger river.


Photo by G. Jones, Feb.2013.  This was taken from the north bank of the Severn and looks across to the area around Nant yr Hebog.

"...and there exist three flannel factories with their accompanying fulling mills within the limits of the parish — viz., at Cwmbelan, on the Nant Belan ; in Glyn Brochan, on the banks of the Brochan ; and at Cae-yn-y-coed, on the banks of the Hafren, Factories also existed formerly on the banks of the Bidno and Tylwch."

Hamer, A Parochial Account of Llangurig" Montgomeryshire Collections, 


1851 Census - Montgomeryshire - transcription by Powys FHS

GEORGE Edward, h, m, 36, Fuller, MGY Llanidloes, Nant yr heliog, /f193/p9

GEORGE Elizabeth, w, m, 32, Fuller's wife, MGY Trefeglwys, Nant yr heliog, /f193/p9

GEORGE Margaret, d, u, 8, , MGY Llanidloes, Nant yr heliog, /f193/p9

GEORGE John, s, u, 6, , MGY Llanidloes, Nant yr heliog, /f193/p9

GEORGE Edward, s, u, 3, , MGY Llanidloes, Nant yr heliog, /f193/p9

1851 Census - Montgomeryshire

JONES William, h, m, 52, Fuller, MGY Llandysyl, Glangynwyr? Mill, /f9/p10

JONES Ann, w, m, 62, Fuller's wife, MGY Llanidloes, Glangynwyr? Mill, /f9/p10


1851 - Move to Glyngynwydd and birth of Elizabeth George

Shortly after the 1851 census, Edward and Elizabeth George appear to have moved to Glangynwydd Mill. The birth of their fourth child, Elizabeth George is recorded on 5 September 1851, place of birth "Glyngynwydd Mill, Llangurig".


1869 - Marriage between Edward George & Jane Ingram

Born c.1848, son Edward George is recorded at his marriage as a Miller, of "Glyngenwith, Llangurig". His wife, Jane Ingram (born c.1847), was a dress-maker of Cwmbelan. We have seen the beginnings of a relationship between the George and Jerman families in Edward's parents (Edward George and Elizabeth Jerman), to be continued with the marriage, discussed below, of their daughter Elizabeth George to Daniel Jerman. To confuse matters even more, it will be seen that a daughter of the same Ingram family will later marry into this Jerman family.  Edward George later continued corn milling at Pontdolgoch Mill, near Caerswys, between Llanidloes and Newtown.

1872 - Marriage between Elizabeth George & Daniel Jerman

Daniel Jerman and Elizabeth George married in Llanidloes in April 1872. Daniel's residence is recorded as "Bedow, Llanidloes", probably the same place "The Bedw, Llanidloes" recorded for his birth in 1848. His father, Maurice's, occupation is recorded as Farmer in both 1848 and 1872.

It appears that Daniel was related to his future mother-in-law, being a first cousin, once removed. This would make the spouses Daniel and Elizabeth second cousins: Elizabeth's mother, also Elizabeth, was a Jerman before marrying. Her parents are believed to be Daniel and Margaret Jerman of Cringoed, near Llanbrynmair, who themselves were first cousins. Margaret Jerman's parents were Daniel Jerman and Elizabeth Stephens of Glangwden, Trefeglwys, with this Daniel being great-grandfather to the Daniel who married Elizabeth George.

Elizabeth is recorded at her marriage in 1872 to be living at "Glyngenwith Mill, Llangurig". At this time, her father Edward George's occupation is recorded as Miller.  Shortly after their marriage in 1872, Daniel and Elizabeth appear to have taken up residence at Glyngynwydd Mill, with Elizabeth's family. They are known to have at least three children, with the author's great grandfather being the first, in 1873.

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                                                             A view of the Miller's house at Glyngynwydd.  Phot by G. Jones, 2003

1873 - Birth of Edward Jerman at Penpompren

Edward Jerman (1873-1943) is recorded as being born at "Penpompren Mill, Llangurig." At this time, his father Daniel's occupation is recorded as Labourer, also resident at "Penpompren Mill". It is likely that the "Penpompren" as recorded on Edward Jerman's birth certificate of 1873 and marriage certificate of 1895 is the colloquial, spoken form of Pen-pontbren. The nomenclature now becomes confusing as it has yet to be confirmed whether, as is likely, Glangynwydd Mill and Penpompren Mill were one and the same, or separate entities very close to each other. In 1851, there is no direct mention of Pen-bontbren or Penpompren, the enumerator's return for the locality shows "Penbontbach?", as a farm of 160 acres held by the Jenkins family. The existence of Glangynwydd Farm should also be noted; about half a mile west of Cwmbelan. Its connection to the eponymous mill has yet to be properly established, but it is believed that Glangynwydd Mill was part of this farm's estate. The George/Jerman families would therefore have been tenant millers.

The mill - or one of them - has also been known as "Titley's Mill", probably after one of its operators.

 

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Image produced from the http://www.old-maps.co.uk/ service with permission of Landmark Information Group Ltd. and Ordnance Survey

The map of 1881 above shows a "Pen-pontpren", north-east of Cwmbelan towards Llanidloes.Glan Gynwydd Mill is shown nearby. The modern Ordnance Survey map shows the same place as "Pen-pontbren". The spelling variation pren/bren is explained by mutuation in Welsh: Pen-pontbren is probably the correct rendering, meaning "at the head (or end) of the wooden bridge".

1876 - Birth of Daniel Jerman

A second son, Daniel, is born to Elizabeth and Daniel Jerman. However, both birth-place and residence of father, Daniel, is shown as Great Oak Street, Llanidloes.

1881 - "Mill Llangurig"

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 One of the old barns at Glyngynwydd Mill. Photo by G Jones, July 2003.

The 1881 census records Elizabeth George and family living at "Mill", Llangurig. At this time, the family comprised:

The recorded head of the household, Elizabeth George, recently widowed, age 62.   Her occupation is recorded as Farmer of 30 acres and Miller.

Daniel Jerman age 33, occupation "Servant (Dom) Ag. Lab."

Elizabeth Jerman (née George) age 29, daughter of Elizabeth George, above.

Edward Jerman (1873-1943), son of above, age 8

Daniel Jerman, son of above, age 5

Thomas Jones, age 17, grandson of Elizabeth George. His identity awaits confirmation.

A servant, Mary Owen, age 14, is also recorded.

 

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This gravestone, in Bethel Cemetery, Llanidloes records the death of Edward George, "of Glangynwydd Mill, near Llanidloes" on April 28, 1880, aged 68. His wife Elizabeth, is also shown, aged 83, died October 18, 1901.

 1887 - Birth of Hannah Jerman

Hannah Elizabeth Jerman was born on 17 April 1887 to parents Daniel and Elizabeth Jerman. The place of birth is recorded as Glangynwydd Mill, Llangurig.

1895 - Marriage of Edward Jerman

In 1895, aged 22, Edward Jerman was married from "Penpompren Mill", to Sarah Anne Ingram of Cwmbelan.





The Mill

It remains to be established exactly what type of milling took place at Glangynwydd. Edward George is recorded at various points of life as a Fuller (and again, below close to his death in 1878). One of his son, also an Edward, became a corn miller at Pontdolgoch mill, near Caersws, around 1875. This was a flour mill which continued operation until the 1960s. The family business continues, however, as an agricultural merchants. www.egeorge.co.uk/home.html


pempomp1835


This trade directory entry is from 1835, showing "Penpompren Mill".  It is probable that both corn milling and fulling took place at Glangynwydd over time; the building appears large enough to have supported both. Possibly corn milling became more important as the processes involved in the manufacture of cloth were being centralised in the Llanidloes factories.



1878, Cassey's Trade Directory

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After Edward George's death in 1880, it appears that the family continued in residence at the mill, at least until 1895, when Edward Jerman is recorded as being married from there. At this stage, his father Daniel Jerman's occupation is recorded as Farmer, and having been previously recorded as Labourer, it appears he may have acceded to the running of Glangynwydd/Penpompren Mill, possibly following the advancing age of his mother-in-law, Elizabeth George (1819-1901).


Into the 20th Century...

Between 1895 and 1901, with eldest son Edward married, living in Llanidloes, and Daniel in Aberdare, South Wales, Daniel and Elizabeth Jerman appear to have moved with daughter Hannah from the Mill to Belan Tavern, in Cwmbelan, which is recorded in the 1901 census as being in "Glyngynwy" (presumably Glyngynwydd) Old Township. Daniel's occupation is recorded as Innkeeper. Also resident is mother-in-law, Elizabeth, aged 82, recorded shortly before her death in October 1901. Interestingly, six years previously, Bellan Tavern is recorded as the residence at marriage of Sarah Anne Ingram, bride of Edward Jerman.

At this point, therefore, this Jerman family appear to have removed themselves entirely from agricultural activity:

   On his marriage in 1895, son Edward Jerman was recorded at Penpompren Mill and is described as a "Farmer's Son". Shortly afterwards, he became a General Labourer and worked mainly on the construction and ongoing maintenance of the Elan Valley Reservoir system. Between his marriage in 1895 and 1901, he appears to have settled in Llanidloes, at Cwmdu, Llanidloes, with his wife, Sarah Anne Ingram.

   Younger son, Daniel, had moved to industrial Aberdare in South Wales, to be followed shortly by his father to Cwmparc.

   Daughter Hannah, living in Cwmbelan with her parents in 1901, moved with them later to South Wales.

At the time of the 1901 census, a Bennett family appears resident at the Mill. "Penpompren" is shown separately, but next door, as a farm.

Census 1901

BENNETT Rich, h, m, 45, miller/farmer, MGY Llanidloes, Glyngwyodd Mill, /f27/p1

BENNETT Sarah, w, m, 44,, RAD Beguildy, Glyngwyodd Mill, /f27/p1

BENNETT R Thomas, s, u, 20, asst miller, MGY Llandinam, Glyngwyodd Mill, /f27/p1

BENNETT Martha Ann, d, u, 18,, MGY Llandinam, Glyngwyodd Mill, /f27/p1

BENNETT George, s, u, 8, student, MGY Llandinam, Glyngwyodd Mill, /f27/p1

THOMAS David Pryer, h, w, 28, farmer (caretaker), MGY Llandinam, Pantbonbren Farm, /f27/p1

THOMAS David Pryer, s, u, 3,, MGY Llanwnnog, Pantbonbren Farm, /f27/p1

MEDDY May Ellen, sv, u, 24, domestic servant, MGY Castell Caer+, Pantbonbren Farm, /f27/p1




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The mill as it is today (photo by G Jones, July 2003). The mill building is on the left, with the river Dulas to power the wheel behind it. It has been converted into a private residence. On the right is the old miller's house, where the miller and his family would have lived. This is also now a private dwelling.



Cwmbelan Township 1900 - An impressionistic account ...

 

Another bad winter at Glyngynwydd Mill.  Things were getting so poor now that Daniel Jerman wondered if he could keep going for another year.   He was 52 now, a grandfather for two years, and still not yet master in his own home.   His mother-in-law had been born in 1818 and the 82 year old hag was still calling the shots at the mill.   Daniel hadn’t known she was a Jerman before she became a George back in 1841– only once he was firmly and filially attached to the bosom of the family, she told him that she was from the wild mountains of Llanbrynmair - only ten miles north but a universe away - and was as hardy as the sheep there that many of his cousins were still making good money from.  But he kept away from Llanidloes on market days now – too many hints of lost opportunities, squandered openings and awkward relationships.  There were also too many places there that were not good for him.

 

It had all seemed so different when he’d married Elizabeth, now almost thirty years ago.   He’d been glad to get off the crowded family farm at Bedw and there hadn’t ever been any real chance of him of taking that over; his father had known his ways and quickly came to reckon that his brother Edward was the steadier and more reliable bet for the future.    When he arrived at Glyngynwydd Mill, rather than carry his wife over the threshold, instead master miller and new father-in-law Edward George met the callow 24 year old squarely there, and told him, “Don’t get in my way boy, respect my daughter, and leave the work to us Georges.” Daniel had been happy enough playing second fiddle to him and his sons.  There was enough money to go round and not a great deal was demanded of Daniel.  He had found the fulling work repetitive and dirty – good enough reason, though, to slake his thirst at the end of the day – and had had mixed feelings when master Edward moved the mill into corn.   He’d been dead now for close to twenty years and only the indomitable spirit of old mother George and her contacts on every farm within twenty miles had kept them afloat.  Tellingly, none of the George boys had shown any interest in the mill – maybe they saw there was now no future in small-scale local flannel production and even less in grinding cereals - although the cleverest one, Edward had set himself up very nicely at Pontdolgoch, down past Caerswys.   Daniel remembered the day he had left with his new wife, saying,

“I hope we don’t have cause to compete over customers. I doubt it will happen because you won’t be up early enough in the morning to see any.”  He now took himself off to the village if they were to come calling and didn’t care how late on the morrow his careful ministrations made him.

 

Daniel’s sons, Edward and Daniel, had left the mill as soon as they politely could.  They too saw no future in it and there had been no money for them as long as they could remember.  They themselves were never going to work on the land as anything more than labourers in hock to their haughty relations and they knew their own stuttering and struggling family undertaking was only as second-hand processor of its fruit, run worse by a father who really couldn’t muster the strength or initiative to keep it going.   

 

All that the proud and upright Edward Jerman could offer his own new wife in 1895 was what came from his labour and he started quickly enough as one of the hundreds swarming to the biggest construction site  - they thought in the world  - at Cwm Elan.  Edward had also become a firm believer in the Baptist cause, which gave Daniel little enthusiasm and merely broadened the chasm developing between them.

 

At least old mother Elizabeth was now 83 and thankfully deaf, mused Daniel, nursing the last of his ale at the tavern at Cwmbelan.   “I can speak or shout, weep or curse, as long as she can’t hear me, she doesn’t know what’s happening.  The problem is how to put it to Elizabeth….”

 

“Will you be having another, Daniel?”, enquired the inn-keeper’s wife, happy to see at least one regular customer patronising her empty front parlour.

“I may as well, Sarah, there’s little for me at home except a scolding, so may as well as be hung for a sheep…”.  Scratching his head, he wondered why he made light of the common knowledge that he spent more time talking to the inn-keeper and her family than to his own, and there was not even the excuse of drumming up trade.  Few enough called at the mill any more and he knew no-one would go to the bother of seeking him out in Belan Tavern of a weekday evening.  He coughed, spluttered and dropped his clay-pipe.

 

Easy there, Dan”, called over the inn-keeper.

 

His second son, also Daniel, had left not six months ago. The train at Llanidloes took just over two hours to deliver the boy into the bubbling crucible of iron, coal and seething mass of human-kind from all corners of Wales and beyond, all there for one purpose - to work and be paid and to do that again and again and again.   It had seemed like the next world to Daniel when he had himself ventured there, to Cwmparc in the Rhondda, some thirty years ago, chasing the black gold promised by David Davies, Top Sawyer of Llandinam.   Daniel had been appalled at what was expected of men there, the labour was cold and brutal and Daniel’s nerves told him he’d be better off finding an easier way back in Llanidloes.  Now he wondered how his own Daniel was finding Aberdare.  He’d found a girl, soon enough though, father an inn-keeper, promisingly, and marriage was for next year.  He doubted he’d make the journey though, inn-keeper to meet or not.  He knew he wouldn’t be missed.

 

You know myself and my husband are moving to Rhayader at month end”, interjected the inn-keeper’s wife, to break his bitter reverie.  “You’ll maybe have to try the Vulcan or walk in to Llani for your sup.  No-one’s taking this place on, that’s as we knows.”

 

What is in Rhayader that lacks here?” murmured Daniel.

 

Customers and trade for one.  The town is bursting at the seams with all the works for the dams.  We’re taking on a little place so that the workers from the village can walk out to of an evening and also those travelling home to sleep can stop in at the end of the day.”

 

Daniel doubted his son Edward, the pompous prig, would ever set foot in the place but now had his mind on his own needs.  There was little hope of him of assuming the same degree of near-residence in the Vulcan – he and old Tom Ingram knew each other too well for that and there certainly wouldn’t be any tick.  He didn’t relish the walk to Llanidloes and most of the taverns there that he could afford to drink in were low and sordid places, young men’s places punctuated by fighting and low weavers’ ribaldry.  

 

“Who’s taking over here, you said?” Daniel asked, knowing fine the answer, but now finding some distant but still native Jerman cunning, an idea forming not only from alcoholic grandiosity.

 

“When we leave at the end of the month, we hand the keys back to Mr Marsh, at the solicitor’s office in Llani.  No-one has been to look here and there is no tenant. “  

 

“Well, that’s it then.  Marsh is it, looking after it?”


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