Penystair Road – 1870

Free Press, April 16, 1870


To the Editor of the Free Press

Sir, – The public and the Editors of the County papers must be pretty well tired with the subject of the Penystair road and the futile attempts made by the Rector of Goytre to justify his acts by misrepresentations, but I must beg your indulgence for once to enlighten some of your readers respecting the statements of the rev gentleman, by way of a summary to his proceedings.

I will only refer to matters of fact, and will not take up much of your space.  First of all, notice the beginning of this newspaper controversy by an announcement in the county papers by the Rector himself: – That the question of the gates had been “summararily and finally settled by ten parishioners.” Intended to convey an impression that independent parishioners had removed them, – these parishioners, it seems, being himself and his servants and labourers.

Then notice the refusal to a parishioner the right of representation to the Highway Board he claims for himself, and because Mr James, of Upper Goytrey House, takes his friends to join him in a letter, he is called by the Rector a “tale-bearer” and “Partizan”.  Surely, Mr Editor, this is not very fair dealing, or fair speaking either.  Mr James had surely the same right of petition as the parish clerk had to apply for signature over and over again on behalf of the Rector:  and if Mr James found that the parish might be involved in a new era of law expenses, it was certainly a very natural apprehension after past experience of the heavy law experiences the Rector had been the means of leading the parish to incur the remembrance of which is still fresh in the minds of many of the poor people of Goytre, yet the expression of the views held by Mr James and his friends is termed by the Rector as “pressure.”

The question of the transport of stones does not affect the matter, as the gates were no obstruction to traffic, but if it did, there is abundant evidence adverse to the Rector’s assertions on this point.

All questions of “traffic” is well known to have had no influence whatever in this matter.  It is patent to everyone who knows the facts of the case that there was no “traffic” on the road, and that it was of no real use to any one.

That the sawing away of the posts and the removal of the gates was a malicious act, originating solely in personal feeling on the part of the Rector of Goytre, is universally believed and it will be long before this belief is effaced from the minds of many now living in this parish or neighbourhood, despite all that is said and written to the contrary.

The statement put before the public that Col. Byrde with “high hand” procured two justices to view the road and make an order, at the time the gentleman was away in Ceylon, should at least clear the rev gentleman from such free use of such terms as “Unscrupulous” in writing of other.  Does not such a mis-statement as this cast discredit upon the whole of his version of the matter?  “Ex uno disce omnes.” (One specimen is enough to judge by.)  Then notice the complaint made by the Rector of unfair treatment by the chairman of the Board that he did not let him know he was going to inspect the road, in which he omitted to mention that he had changed his postal address from Pontypool to Abergavenny, which called the delay in the receipt of the chairman’s notice.

It was the Rector, in fact, who had requested the chairman to inspect the road and yet he joined Mr Bateman in his vehement attack upon him at the meeting of the 11th of March and actually denounced his visit to the road as “unauthorized” and “contrary to the rights of his office” which he himself had asked the chairman to make.

The Rector’s attempts in his various letters to make it appear that 170 yards of the lane had been taken in Col. Byrde’s field, simply because the thorns and briers had been cleared away from the bank when there was no hedge, speaks for himself.  It needs no comment.

If anyone is sufficiently interested to take a country walk to Goytre and see that celebrated Penystair road, he will be in a position to estimate the value of the Rectors merits(?) in his boasted championship of parish rights, which it would be far better for himself, and the parishioners, if he had let alone.

I am, sir, your obedient servant, FINIS.


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