Author Topic: Williams : Clockmakers of Trecastle  (Read 4912 times)

Offline Lins_Australia

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Williams : Clockmakers of Trecastle
« on: Monday 04 May 15 09:55 BST (UK) »
I am trying to put together my Williams ancestry and whilst I can find tantalising snippets about the Williams family of clock and watch makers of Trecastle (and Brecon and Newport), I cant quite work out the earlier generations of the family.
If anyone has a copy of the book about the families in the  Llywel area "Roots and Branches" by T.O.Evans, you might let me know if there is anything of this family, to justify me getting a copy for myself.
The first mention of the family I find is a WILLIAM GRIFFITH a clockmaker - who was supposedly from Devynock. I know that he was the son of GRIFFITH DAVID (patronymic).
William Griffith was buried at St David's, Llywel : "William Griffith David of Ynnsfain Trayan-Glaes clock maker was buried March ye 13th 1786".
There were supposedly 4 sons : 1) William, 2) Rees, 3) Griffith and 4) John.
1) William Williams buried Llywel 1827 aged 92 (1735).
I dont know anything more about William Williams.
2) Rees Williams buried Llywel 1827 aged 90 (1737).
My 5 x ggrandfather.  I know more of him and his family history.
3) Griffith Williams.
Active in Newport until 1795.  I assume that is his year of death - no more info, apart from finding a photo of one of his clocks made in Newport in 1775.
4) John Williams buried Llanfihangel Nant Bran 1822 aged 81 (1741).
If I have the right person: he lived at Berthddu  or Berth-ddu in Ysclydach area of the Llywel parish and I have worked out a bit of his history.

I know of the early Williams connection to the property known as Ynysfain / Ynysfaen, near Cwmwysg in Traean-glas area of Llywel parish.

A number of descendants of this family were also clock and / or watch makers.

I have scoured the Llywel parish register looking for baptisms for the four sons of William Griffith - patronymic in mind - to no avail.  And also Devynock (Defynnog).  Any clues ?

Regards : Lins / South Australia.

Since posting : I have found in the Jones - History of Brecknock (Vol II Part II) - a reference to a William Griffiths in the section on Devynock.  Is he the same William Griffith mentioned above ?  I am not sure of the year that the text is written by Theophilus Jones, in relation to the date of death of my William Griffith in 1786.

Page 678 : "The above Rees Williams was sheriff of Breconshire in 1611 and was the ancestor of William Griffiths, late of Blancrai, now living near Devynock village".

Page 678 : when describing the interior of Devynock church -  "Above, on the wall, is a small tablet to the memory of two children of the before named William Griffiths ~ ~ ~ ".





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Offline Greensleeves

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Re: Williams : Clockmakers of Trecastle
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 06 May 15 00:14 BST (UK) »
Hi Lins - I used to live in Trecastle and somewhere I have some notes about the Trecastle clock-makers; I'll see if I can find them when I have a chance.  I also have a copy of Roots and Branches which I will also try to find but the information it contains needs to be treated with some degree of caution.  It is not comprehensive because the writer was trying to concentrate on his own family links rather than looking at the families of the area as a whole.

One of the problems with the families of the Trecastle area is that they all seem to be interrelated and there are very few surnames.  For this reason people in the village were - and still are -  known by the name of their house or farm:   as we lived in Bear House, we were known as The Bears.   ;D

Ynysfaen still exists, you may be interested to know: friends of mine used to own it and I've spent many a happy hour sitting by the ingle-nook watching a blazing fire.  A very pretty place, away from the village, with a bit of land.

I'll post again when I've found the book and let you know if there are any entries which might be of interest.

Regards,
GS
Suffolk: Pearl(e),  Garnham, Southgate, Blo(o)mfield,Grimwood/Grimwade,Josselyn/Gosling
Durham/Yorkshire: Sedgwick/Sidgwick, Shadforth
Ireland: Davis
Norway: Torreson/Torsen/Torrison
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Offline Lins_Australia

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Re: Williams : Clockmakers of Trecastle
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 06 May 15 00:48 BST (UK) »
Thank you GS.
I found a photo of Ynysfaen when it was occupied by the Humphrey family.
Subsequently renovated by an American couple, Bill and Gray Felstiner, who sold it in 2002.
Since then it appears to be a camping site - from which I found another photo.
As to William Griffiths of Devynock mentioned by Theophilus Jones - I have found that he was alive in 1805.  Which means another person as William son of Griffith son of David "clock maker" from Ynysfaen was buried at Llywel in 1786.
And I found a will for Griffith Williams of Newport - clockmaker - who died Dec 1788.  His will mentions his wife Jane, and son John.  (Welsh Archives have it incorrectly transcribed as Griffith Jones).  I assume this Griffith Williams of Newport is the son number 3) in my original post.
Looking forward to any further information
Regards
Lins.

Offline Greensleeves

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Re: Williams : Clockmakers of Trecastle
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 06 May 15 14:59 BST (UK) »
I have found the book, and have sent you a PM, Lin.

Regards
GS
Suffolk: Pearl(e),  Garnham, Southgate, Blo(o)mfield,Grimwood/Grimwade,Josselyn/Gosling
Durham/Yorkshire: Sedgwick/Sidgwick, Shadforth
Ireland: Davis
Norway: Torreson/Torsen/Torrison
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Lins_Australia

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Re: Williams : Clockmakers of Trecastle
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 21 May 15 05:11 BST (UK) »
Update:
Huge thanks to GS for providing two pages from the book "Roots and Branches" by Tommy Evans re the Clockmakers of Llywel.
From it and subsequent research, I think I have the Llywel part of the family correct now:
David
Griffith son of David
William son of Griffith 1707 - 1786.  (Burial register Llywel "William Griffith David of Ynnsfain Trayan-Glaes clock maker was buried March ye 13th 1786")
William Griffith had 3 known sons:
Griffith William/s - abt 1730 - 1788
John William/s - dont know his details other than he was a clockmaker.
Rees William/s - 1737 - 1827
Sons Griffith and John moved away from Llywel parish.
Son Rees, and his son Evan, carried on the clockmaking family in the Llywel area until 1849.
As to son Griffith William/s - clockmaker - he lived at Newport Monmouthshire.  His will of 1788 mentions a wife Jane and son John.  Jane dies in 1804 - with her son John still as a watchmaker.
Griffith Williams 1730 - 1788 had an earlier marriage.
I only know of one child from that marriage : Evan Williams 1749 - 1836.
Evan Williams - clockmaker and watchmaker - had four sons - all following their father's profession.
William Williams 1773 - 1852 Brecon, Griffith Williams 1778, Evan Williams 1780, Rees Williams 1782.
And these sons had Williams children who carried on the tradition.
Evan Williams descendants as clock and/or watch makers, can be found at Newport, Neath, Brecon, Crickhowell, Swansea.  And probably more that I don't know of.
It has been a fascinating journey to trace the family history for my gg grandfather - William Griffith Williams 1833 Newport - 1904 Brisbane, Queensland.  Who himself was apprenticed to his uncle William Williams of Brecon to learn watchmaking in the 1840s.  And all this to come to light in the lifetime of his great grandaughter - my mother - who celebrated her 98th birthday yesterday, and who can still recall the family stories of the "Williams from Wales" side of the family.
Cheers
Lins / Australia.


Offline Greensleeves

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Re: Williams : Clockmakers of Trecastle
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 23 May 15 00:30 BST (UK) »
Glad to have been of help, Lins.  Your family certainly has an interesting story to tell!

Kind regards
GS
Suffolk: Pearl(e),  Garnham, Southgate, Blo(o)mfield,Grimwood/Grimwade,Josselyn/Gosling
Durham/Yorkshire: Sedgwick/Sidgwick, Shadforth
Ireland: Davis
Norway: Torreson/Torsen/Torrison
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk