1948 Free Press

February 6th

Market Gardener was duped by a Plausible Thief

Pleading that he was the victim of a plausible thief rather than an accomplice, Eric Burns (38) a market gardener of Abergwellan Farm Nantyderry, was acquitted at Pontypool on Saturday of receiving 2,000 ft of assorted timber, value £35, 204 lbs of grass seed, value £32/10s and four rolls of coir matting, value £4 /15/- from Norman Shrimpton, knowing them to have been stolen. It was stated that Shrimpton had been convicted of theft and sent to prison.

Mr W K G Thurnall prosecuted and Mr K A W Clarke, Ebbw Vale, defended and pleaded not guilty.

PC F Jones, Llanover, said that on December 28th, he went to Burns Farm and asked for an explanation of the presence of the timber. Burns said “Shrimpton brought it here in a lorry,” and took witness to a locked barn where the timber was stored.

Burns said he believed it had come from London and he understood that Shrimpton had come by it legally.

Witness and PC K Jenkins, Little Mill, took possession of the timber and when they asked if there was anything else Burns produced three sacks of grass seed from the granary. He later produced the rolls of matting which he said Shrimpton had given to his wife as a present. Some of the stolen timber had been used to repair the floor of the outhouse.

“Nothing to Hide”

In reply to Mr Clarke, he agreed that Burns conduct was that of a man who had nothing to hide.

PC Jenkins read a statement which Burns made to him. It ran “I was given to understand that that the timber was come by honestly. It was brought here to build a fowl house in the orchard which Shrimpton was going to rent from me. He told me to take some of it to repair the outhouse floor.”

Witnessess from the Nylon factory stated that the timber, seed and matting were similar to those used at the factory.

Addressing the magistrates, Mr Clarke said that Shrimpton had told Burns and his wife a wonderful story, representing himself to be a chicken breeder in a large way and to be a man of means.

He claimed to have a house in London and mentioned that he was a friend of Dr Morgan Lloyd Jones, the eminent preacher. He also said that White, the financier had defrauded him out of £2000.

He expressed his intention of doing some local preaching in the district, “although” said Mr Clarke “I don’t know what he would have preached about unless it was the ‘fowls of the air’”.

Shrimpton went on Mr Clarke, told Mr and Mrs Burns he was a distant relative of Admiral Cunningham and talked with the patronising air of a London man.

Having established a feeling of confidence man who carefully prepared the ground and then set out to extract money from his victim.

“Unfortunate Dupe”

“Burns he said was the unfortunate dupe of a man with a plausible tongue and a ready imagination.

Burns in the box, said he had accepted Shrimpton as a man of means, especially as he had announced his intention of starting a poultry farm in the district and taking up local preaching.

Three loads of timber were delivered all in daylight and always by the same driver. He had commentated once on the probable cost of the timber and Shrimpton told him he had paid £15 for a load. The first indication he had that anything was wrong was when the police came to the farm.

Mrs Olive Burns his wife, said Shrimpton told her he knew Lord Nuffield and said he was at one time steward of a club in London which was regularly used by Field Marshall Montgomery and Mr Churchill.

“When he told me he had some coconut matting for me I was thrilled” she said. She added that half a dozen times Shrimpton had tossed £3 on the table as rent for the orchard and would brook no denial.

Relative’s Opinion

Cecil Goldsmith, a builder’s foreman of Felton Middlesex, a brother-in-law of Mrs Burns, said that while on a visit there on Christmas Eve, he met Shrimpton and came to the conclusion that he was a “twister.” He asked him straight out if he had permits for the timber and he replied that he could get permits for all he wanted for building outhouses.

Daniel Mills, of Saron Cottages, Goytre, who had introduced Shrimpton to Burns, said he had been as much led astray as they.

Ald. W C Watkins, MBE, the chairman, said the magistrates felt that Burns had been easily taken in.

They gave him the benefit of the doubt and dismissed the case.


“Lynwood” a freehold bungalow situated in the parish of Goytrey was sold with vacant possession to Mr W James of Pontypool for £730 at an auction sale held by Messrs Straker, Chadwick, at the Greyhound Hotel, Abergavenny.

The bungalow has about an acre of land.

Solicitors concerned were Messrs Jacob & Pugsley, Abergavenny

May 21st


Provocation was the only defence offered by Hubert Frewin (26) a railwayman of Fernleigh, Goytre when he pleaded not guilty at Pontypool on Saturday to assaulting Anthony Stuart Langdon, an aircraftman of Dunedin, Goytre.

Langdon, who was represented by Mr D P Tomlin (Everett & Tomlin Pontypool) said that on Friday May 7th, he was standing talking to Mr Benjamin Bishop when Frewin came along on his bicycle. Bishop spoke to him and there was some discussion, friendly at first, about trestles for the village hall.

It developed into an angry disagreement and Frewin finally told Bishop he should have been in the trenches instead of a soft cushy job. He turned to complainant and said, “That goes for you, too.”

He told Frewin that his service life and career was his own private business and told him to “shut up.” Frewin rode off, but two minutes later came back on foot and said, “Did you tell me to shut up?”

Could see nothing

“Without any warning he hit me in the right eye and as I am blind in the left eye I could see nothing at all,” said Langdon. He kept on hitting me until Mr Bishop pulled him away.

Bishop, who lives at Ty Arrow, Goytre, said that nothing was said to provoke Frewin and Langdon did not strike a single blow in retaliation.

Ernest Henry Langdon, the father said his son was ill during the night as a result of the assault.

Mr Tomlin explained that Langdon, as a result of his blindness in one eye, was given a good deal of leave by the RAF and was often at home.

Frewin did not give evidence but said he was provoked by Langdon.

He was fined 40/- and ordered to pay 40/- costs.

July 9th


Goytre’s 800 inhabitants built the first village hall in Great Britain under the new National Council for Social Services scheme. They celebrated their success on Thursday; Mrs L Byrde performed the opening ceremony.

Conceived in the minds of a few energetic workers in September, 1945, the idea grew until the parish council called a public meeting at which a working committee was elected.

A site was leased from Mr E A Messenger, foundations were dug and laid and the cement base prepared by voluntary labour.

The council for Social Services then supplied and erected the main body of the building, valued at £1,500 and let to the committee at 5/- per week.

An army hut from Glascoed provided enough timber for an entrance hall, two cloakrooms, a large clubroom and a stage.

One hundred feet long, the hall has, up to now cost just over £1,000 of which £549/6/0 was received in subscriptions and £104/17/3 from whist drives and other social events.

The hall is equipped with modern lighting and central heating and has a dance floor.

Community Centre

Congratulating the band of workers who, she said, had put all their spare time in to the effort over a long period, Mrs Byrde stressed the importance of the hall as a community centre. It was a memorial hall and those who were commemorated had left a message for all time and that the only way to overcome the world’s problems was by comradeship and friendship. One was never too young to learn and practise the art of leadership and she hoped the hall would serve the youth as well as the adult community.

Mr D W Phillips (treasurer) thanked Mrs Byrde for her unfailing support, both financially and in loaning the grounds of her home for the annual flower shows and reminded those present that the future of the hall rested with them.

Mrs Eva Williams seconded the vote of thanks.

“There is a wonderful opportunity for both social and cultural works in this hall,” said Canon G Morgan (Rector of Goytre) “I hope it will be used not only for pleasure but for the advancement of character and mind.”

The chairman of the Village Hall Committee of the Rural Community Council, Councillor R Gordon Burge JP added his committee’s congratulations to the workers but warned them that their troubles were by no means over.

The financial balance was somewhat low but he had no doubt that, with their past achievements to encourage them they could face the future quite confidently.

Pessimist Confounded

This sentiment was also expressed by Mr D L Jones OBE (secretary of the Rural Community Council) who said that the pessimists who had alleged that there was not sufficient social life in Goytre to justify the building of a hall and had been proved hopelessly wrong. Mr Jones was sure that this was not the time for the village committee to rest on its laurels but to go ahead, working together to consolidate to successes they had already achieved.

Mr H Hatchley (chairman) introduced the speakers, who also included Mr B W F Bishop (secretary.)

A bouquet was presented to Mrs Byrde by Miss Margaret Kennedy and entertainment was provided by Mrs Hamer, Miss Brenda Merrick, Mr Luke Groves, and Mr Gwyn Holmes.

July 18th


Ronald Taylor, 9, son of Mr George Taylor, New Buildings Croesnypant, Goytre, received slight head injuries when he collided with a motor-car near the Goytre Arms on Wednesday afternoon.

He was riding a cycle. The car was driven by Mrs Bronwyn Price, Ty Coch, Goytre.

Mr Franklin Lawton Hickman, 64, of Ivy Cottage Goytre was admitted to Panteg Hospital following an accident at Little Mill.

Riding a pedal cycle, he lost control of it at the bottom of Pentwyn Pitch and mounted the curb, causing head and hand injuries, PC Kenneth Jenkins rendered first aid.

August 6th


While working for Monmouthshire War Agricultural Executive Committee, William Williams, 2, gardener, of the Hollies Goytre was issued with a bicycle on loan to travel to the farms.

Charged at Pontypool on Saturday with stealing the machine, Williams was stated to have sold it for 15/- to John Powell, a Goytre farm worker.

William Baker, a foreman at the committee’s Usk depot, said he did not know whether any demand was made on Williams, by the bicycle was only loaned to him and he made no effort to return it.

PC Dorning said he saw Powell riding the bicycle in Usk and recognised it as one similar to those issued by the Committee.

Williams in a statement said he used the bicycle for nine months and then joined the army. When he was home on leave, he sold the machine.

In court Williams, who pleaded not guilty, said there were no tyres on the bicycle and asked why two years had gone by before he was approached. “I thought they had forgotten about it,” he added.

Williams was fined 40/-.

August 13th


Nantyderry Home for Unmarried Mothers – one of the very few kind in the country- has been closed down, a step which was deeply regretted by the committee.

Many who attended the sale of the contents of Nantyderry House experienced a feeling of sadness at seeing an end to nearly thirty years’ work.

It was in 1920 that Lady Mather-Jackson and a small band of public-spirited ladies in Monmouthshire founded the home, and since its inception it has been instrumental in providing a maternity service frt a section of the community who, although their need was great, had previously had no provision made for them.

The moral and spiritual welfare of those girls who entered the home was always of prime importance and with the help and sympathy and guidance which they received enabled them to leave the home far better equipped to take their place in this difficult world.

Gap in health scheme

Closing this home will leave a gap in a comprehensive health scheme, unless a similar institution is envisaged by the local health authorities.

The home has remained all through the years under the chairmanship of Lady Mather-Jackson, who has received loyal support, not only from her committee but also from the medical and nursing staff and one and all can feel proud of the work which they have accomplished.

We feel certain, that with very few exceptions the 500 or more girls who have passed through that “open door” would be loud in their praise of the home, and all that it meant to them during a very difficult time.

September 10th – Edwin Edgar


A 78 year old farmer, who pleaded not guilty at Pontypool on Saturday to assaulting a police constable while in the execution of his duty, was alleged to have been annoyed because the local authority had sent workman to lay on water supply to a Goytre cottage he owned.

He was Edwin Edgar, of Ynys-picca, Goytre. The magistrates fined him £5 with an alternative of one month’s imprisonment.

PC Kenneth Jenkins (Little Mill) said he was requested by a sanitary inspector to keep an eye on Edgar, who was making trouble at the cottage and shouting threats and abuse at the workmen. He went to the site and it was necessary for him to take Edgar away from there to his own home nearby.

“As i released him, he grabbed a length of piping with both hands and swung it at my head. I warded the blow off with my arm and my wrist watch was broken,” said the constable.

PC Jenkins then took Edgar to Pontypool Police Station in a car. He used as little force as possible. When charged Edgar told him: “You won’t forget this.”

Rather Pitiful

George Harold Wragg, foreman piper employed by the firm of contractors laying the water supply, testified to Edgar’s bad behaviour, and William Thomas Jones, an engineer, described the old man’s attitude as “abusive and rather pitiful.”

Edgar, who was represented by Mr Harold Saunders, told the court he wanted to be sure the workmen were not damaging a sewer he laid about ten years ago. He contended the constable handled him roughly, denied being abusive and also denied picking up the lead pipe and striking a blow. “I did not threaten the workmen. It was private property and they had no right in there,” he added.

Mr Saunders said Edgar had been ordered by Pontypool RDC to lay the water supply himself. The pipe he was alleged to have used to commit the assault was one of several he had bought to do the work.

September 10th

Stole Apples

Three boys admitted at Pontypool Juvenile Court on Wednesday stealing apples, the property of Edwin Edgar and Abraham Jenkins at Goytre on August 15th.

PC Parry saw the boys on bicycles with the apples in harvest sacks.

The parents had to pay 10/- for each boy.

September 24th


Mrs L D Whitehead OBE, JP, has decided to sell Goytre Hall estate near Abergavenny and take up farming at Parc Llettis Farm near Penpergwm.

The Goytre Hall estate of 132 acres includes Goytre Hall, a modernised period country house which was built in 1446 for Thomas Herbert, son of the Earl of Pembroke, who lived at Raglan Castle.

It was once the residence of a family of Jenkins, now extinct in the male line and lineally descended from Gwaethford, a chieftain, who, in ancient times owned considerable territory in Gwent.

An Ancient Family

Members of the ancient family of Jenkins are buried within the communion rails of the parish church of St Peter’s, Goytre.

The house will be offered with vacant possession. The remainder of the estate is let and produces £207 per annum.

If not sold to a private buyer the estate will be offered by auction in one of seven lots at the Angel Hotel, Abergavenny, on October 19th.

Mrs Whitehead is disposing of it because she finds it too large now that all her children are married.

Parc Llettis Farm, to which she is going, has an historic background.

December 3rd


Messrs Rennie, Taylor and Till sold by auction at Abergavenny the 19-acre smallholding, Bwrgwm Farm Goytrey, lying about a mile off the old Abergavenny Road and comprising cottage, buildings, pasture, arable and woodland.

The farm was sold subject to Mr Jacob’s annual tenancy at £24 a year and tithe charge of £1/15/8 per annum.

For investment purchases the property realised £850 after spirited bidding.

Vendor’s solicitors, Bythway and Son, Pontypool.

December 10th


As the result of a collision at the junction of the Mamhilad-Abergavenny road, Ernest Charles Morris (52) a painter and decorator of Vine Tree Cottage, Goytre was charged at Pontypool on Saturday with driving dangerously, without due care and attention and without reasonable consideration for other road users.

Represented by Mr D P Tomlin he pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention. Mr Thurnall who prosecuted, accepted the plea and withdrew the other two charges.

Mr Thurnall alleged that Morris turned into the Mamhilad road on his wrong side and without giving any signal. There was a glancing collision with a car driven by a Mr Wilfred Beaton. If Beaton had not accelerated and shot across the road there would have been a head-on collision.

Mr Tomlin said Morris had been driving 30 years without mishap or summons and this offence was the result of an error of judgement coupled with bad luck.

He rounded the corner on his wrong side and almost succeeded in avoiding a collision by going further to the wrong side of the road.

The damage done to the cars was negligible.

A fine of 40/- was imposed.


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