1 Park View / William and Annie Jones

The following was sent to me by a lovely lady called Gwyneth Stratton who’s Jones family came to Goytre in the late 1800’s. Although they moved around the parish they finally settled at 1 Park View. Gwyneth’s nephew Gerald Jones married my cousin Judith Lewis (Bonnie) at Saron Chapel.



William and Annie were married at the Ebenzer Baptist Chapel in Griffithstown, Pontypool on 6.9.1895.

Their first home was at Coalbrook Cottage (Farm Cottage, Coalbrook, Goytre) (No photographs found). They then moved in 1901, after the birth of their son Henry, to Parc Bach, Canal Lane, Goytre. This was after it was vacated by Annie’s sister Hannah and husband Louis.

This was a very small cottage consisting of a tiny living room, even tinier kitchen. Upstairs had a main bedroom and an adjoining landing which was used as a bedroom for the girls. The boys slept in the loft over the outside bakehouse. Water was fetched from a spring some 100yds from house.

The front porch was added at a later date. Originally the entrance was at the rear of the cottage.

Goytrey School. 1912

Built in 1870 funded by Col Byrdd at a cost of £600. There was one classroom with separate entrances and play areas for boys and girls. A cottage was provided for the head teacher alongside the school building. Over the years some 15 members of our family attended this school. A new building was erected in the 1950’s and the old school is now a private house.

Ellen and Gertrude are on this photograph. Gertrude is 4th from left on 1st standing row, Nell-6th from left on 2nd row.

Free schooling only became compulsory after an Act of Parliament in 1870.

William, with son Arthur, on the milk round in Pontypool. Note the name on the cart: GlanUsk Dairy. When Grandad died in 1912 Annie had to sell this equipment as her sole source of income.

The front of 1 Park View. This was taken shortly after the new road was built. Speak to any of the cousins and they will all remember the steep steps up to the front door- which was hardly ever used.

In 1911 the Jones family moved to 1 Park View, a recently built pair of cottages belonging to the Thomas family. Here there was room at the back for a double stable to accommodate William’s horse and milk cart. Just across the road was the Carpenters Arms which caused much friction between Annie and William. For some time William had been a heavy drinker which no doubt contributed to him developing ‘Dropsy’ (now known as Oedema, a heart condition causing swelling of the body) and which subsequently led to his death at the age of 40 on 27th June 1912, leaving Annie with seven children one of whom was a mere baby.


Back: Henry and Ellen.  Front: Minnie, Arthur, Annie, Gertrude and Lillian.  Seated at Annie’s knee: William Jnr.

Life for Annie and her children was traumatic at this time. There was no Widow’s pensions and the thought of ‘being on the Parish’ was not even considered. A request for some financial help was made but when Annie was told by the Inspector that she should send her daughters out to service and put the younger ones into care she picked up her broom and sent the poor man about his business. She took on the job of cleaner for the village school which involved much scrubbing of stone floors-daughter Ellen helped and she showed her children in later years the scars on her knees where she had helped out.

To earn an extra 1/- (10p) Annie would go to houses where someone had died to lay them our ready for burial. Her one proviso was that if it was a nighttime call she insisted that someone fetched and returned her after her work was done. All her life Annie had been frightened of the dark.

Lillian and Minnie went into Service while Ellen took on the job of collecting the mail from Jackson’s shop in the village and taking it by bicycle to catch the 4.30 train.

In October 1913 or 17? Annie went on her own to Bristol. This is borne out on a postcard provided by Pam, Ellen’s daughter. It is rumoured that she went to give birth to a child that was adopted. This has yet to be confirmed. We can only assume that the children had been left to be cared for by older siblings and possibly their Aunts Minnie and Hannah who lived locally.

The 1914-18 War had little effect on the family-the boys were all too young for being called up for active service. The sad toll on human life was not as great as in the cities, although the Memorial plaques in the church record a number of losses. The biggest long term effect effect was in the social hierarchy and the fact that the upheavals caused by the war were the catalyst for a major breakdown in the old order of life. This was not so apparent in rural communities where life followed a day to day regular pattern.


I cannot locate any date for Lillian’s birth although believe it be about May or June 1896.

She, like so many young women left home aged about 14/15 years of age and went into service where she was trained as a cook.


At some point in 1917 Ellen left home and returned to her Mother’s birthplace, Brislington, Bristol where she obtained work in a dairy called Grange owned by the Morris family and lodged at 12, Sandown Road. There is a record of other members of the Cousin’s family living a 1, Manworthy Road, Brislington. (These could be traced on the National Census records-1911.)


In 1917, at the age of twelve Annie’s daughter, Gertrude, was sent some distance away (I can find no trace of just where but according to Gertrude it was to a wealthier member of the family who lived in a large farmhouse and where a number of servants were employed. She was employed to help with the dairy work. Having been told to ‘babysit’ the baby daughter of the family one evening when everyone else, including the staff, went to a Harvest Supper, Gertrude was told to close all the outside wooden shutters on the windows. Gertrude did as she was told despite being absolutely terrified of being in the house and outside in the dark. Early next morning she packed her belonging and set off to walk home arriving at 1 Park View in the late afternoon. The exhausted child was tired, hungry and frightened and fortunately her mother listened to her sad tale. Realising that Gertrude had been unfairly treated a message was sent to notify her employers as to her whereabouts. Her mother told her that she had to return and finish her year but once that was completed she could come home and another place would be found for her. Annie accompanied Gertrude back to the farm and had some very stiff words with the housekeeper and Gertrude was never asked to do anything like this during her remaining time there.

There is no record of what occupations Henry and Arthur followed and we have no dates as to when they left home. Arthur, it is believed, spent time with a Guards Regiment in London but I can find no trace of this as yet. This left William Jr. aged 17 at home.

Lillian and Thomas Morris

Married: ?   Children: Margaret Ann (Peggy)b. d.

Minnie and William Griffiths.  Children:  Joan b. ?,  Mary b. ?



Henry m Doris ?     No Children




Arthur. m Violet?  Children: Lawrence (Adopted).

Ellen and Arthur Cottle, m. 14.8.1926.
Children:  Jean b. ?   Pamela b. ?


William and Elsie (Shutt) m. 1933.
Children:  Cedric Anthony b. Mar 1934 d. 9.1.2015, Gerald b 1939.

Gertrude and Stanley (Bob) Hayes 28.5.1925.
Children:  Stanley William b. 20.4.1926,  Edna Gertrude b.1928 d.Sep 1929, Gwyneth Marjorie b. 12.1.1934

No pictures available of Joan and Mary Griffiths


Back: Stanley Hayes, Jean Cottle. Front: Gwyneth Hayes, Cedric Jones, Pamela Cottle. (In Edgar’s Field).

Margaret (Peggy Morris) with Edgar Thomas.

EDGAR THOMAS B 1878: As children we accepted the idea that Edgar was Nanny’s lodger. He was a bit of a rough diamond but looked on all of us as his own relatives.We all can recall going with him to feed his pig’s in ‘Edgar’s’ field and riding in the old cart he kept for many years. He could neither read not write apart from signing his name and I don’t think any of us truly appreciated his worth. Little was known about his background. Searches turned up a few surprises:

1920’s. On the yard outside 1 Park View.

1851 Census shows: James Thomas, Master Blacksmith. Born 1805 married to Sarah born 1810. They had 7 children one of whom was Edgar’s father Alfred. Born 1846.

1881 Census shows Alfred. General labourer married to Emma, Turnpike Toll Collector, at Llanellen. They had 4 children among whom was Edgar, born 1878 (and Edith-more of her in a moment).

1901 Census shows Edgar as a blacksmith at Penpellryw 2. (wonder if this was a spelling mistake?) Monmouthshire.

1911 Census shows: Edgar Thomas, aged 34. Single. Blacksmith living at Lynwood Cottage. Goytrey. Nr Pontypool.

From now on it will be pure supposition-until the next census for 1921 is released.

1 and 2 Park View were built in about 1905 and were the property of Edgar’s father, Alfred, who lived in a cottage in Newtown, Goytrey. Edgar’s sister Edith who married George Sexton in 1902 moved into No 2 Park View. William and Annie Jones moved to No. 1 Park View in 1911. After Grandfather William’s death in 1912 Annie had to make provision for her children and it is very likely that Edgar moved in as her lodger. Again this will be checked out in 1921. In actual fact roles were reversed and Nanny became the lodger and housekeeper to Edgar?? Had Edgar had his way he and Nanny would have married-he did ask her three times but was turned down.

Photo: A very special and dear lady, ANNIE JONES. On her 80th Birthday in 1952, Seated in the yard at No 1 Park View.

Nanny’s children:  Harry, Gertrude, Arthur, Nell, Billy, Minnie, Lillian.

This is probably the last photograph taken when they were all together.

Family Funeral for Nanny 1956.

Service at Saron Chapel.

Back: Arthur, Edgar, Gerald, Billy, Elsie, Harold. Front:  Gertrude, Minnie, Ellen.

None of us ever had occasion to tell Nanny Jones how much she meant to all her family, it is only now, after many years having walked down memory lane do we realise what a large part she played in our lives. What a legacy she left us, such treasured memories of a time, long past, when the world was a more innocent place.


Edgar’s Field

To anyone else this was just a field housing a pig sty, hen house and occasionally young heifers but to all of us children it was a delightful playground where Kingcups and Watercress flourished in the marshy lower part, and the upper field was filled with all the old fashioned meadow flowers. It was here we picnicked en famille. Collecting eggs from the hen house was a favourite pastime-being careful not to get pecked by an irate chicken.

The pigs were smelly but we still loved going with Edgar to feed the porkers.

The view from the railway bridge in Goytre.

It was magical to stand there and watch the steam trains coming along the line to Pontypool. As the train went under the bridge we would be wrapped in a pungent sulphuric cloud. The drivers would sound their whistles in answer to our waving-very ‘The Railway children’. Stanley and I did this in 2006-a very nostalgic moment although modern trains do not have the same glamour.

Saron Chapel

Where William and Annie were buried as was William (Billy) Hannah and Louis and two of their children are interred here.

Gerald and Bonny were married here.


Goytre Canal Bridge.

Until the canal was opened up for barges the water was crystal clear and we could see all the plant and wildlife therein. We spent many happy hours fishing for minnows, watching the water boatmen beetles scuttling across the water, watching the shimmering dragon flies dancing over the water plants and, on rare occasions, seeing the flash of blue and green as a Kingfisher flew between the banks. A child’s paradise and a precious memory.

Picture taken in 2006 when Stanley and I had a very nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Arrow Cottage, Newtown Road, Goytre – my home from 1949-1955.

 A public footpath ran along the side of the drive leading to the fields and then on to the Chapel Ed Lane. Behind Arrow Cottage was a tiny little cottage called ‘Nutshell Cottage’ – this was Cedric’s home when he was little. This picture was taken in 2006 but it didn’t look much different in my day.

Sadly the beautiful flower meadows behind The Nutshell have vanished into urban sprawl!


Goytre Wharf.

When we were young the canal and wharf were no longer in use and the wharf itself fell into disrepair. To us children it was a wild place full of brambles, stinging nettles, crumbling buildings including a ‘mysterious’ derelict cottage-lovely for scary games of hide and seek.

The Canal Company have done a splendid job bringing the place back to life – well worth a visit.


Abergavenny indoor market place.

Behind this stood the Cattle Market where weekly sales were held. Cattle, sheep and pigs were auctioned as farmers from all around the area came to do their deals whilst their wives caught up with shopping and gossip – it was all hustle and bustle. Vegetables, fruit, poultry, clothing-by three o’clock all would fall silent as everyone went home.

Nanny’s favourite lunchtime snack from market café:-Faggot and peas.


1 Park View in 2006.

Stanley and I had the pleasure of being invited in and were so happy to see that the old house has been lovingly and carefully refurbished to a very high standard.


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