"Rhiw residents in the 1880ís"


Patrick Allely,

A check of the permanent residents of Rhiw in the 21st century shows a significant decline in the population when compared to the late 19th century. At that time farming was vastly more labour intensive, mining was employing people on the slopes of Mynydd Rhiw and there were shops and public houses that needed employees.

The population was younger, young people were not leaving the village and older retired people were not moving in. Looking at the occupations of the Rhiw villagers, few had what would now be considered to be well-paid work, but no one of working age seemed to be unemployed. Another surprising thing is that a considerable minority of adults were unmarried. Whether this was by choice or due to other reasons, such as being unable to afford marriage is unknown, but I rather suspect that a church wedding was a luxury and not considered a necessity.


One of the public houses was Penponcyn, in 1881 the landlady was Anne Rowlands, she was born in 1812, the same year that Napoleon was defeated in Russia and lived at Penponcyn with a Mary Williams an unmarried 20 year old who was employed at the pub as a general servant.

"Tan y Fynwent"

At the back of Penebo Chapel (now generally known as Nebo chapel) was the house Tan y Fynwent, this was occupied by Abraham Jones a 76 year old agricultural labourer and his wife Mary who was born in1816. Abraham was also the Sexton of the chapel.

Keeping with religious folk, at Tyn Llan rectory resided Thomas Hardy Richards born in 1831 an unmarried priest and his domestic servant, Mary Williams, unmarried, and born at Llanfaelrhys in 1857.

One of the older residents was John Jones of Salfur, he was born in 1801 and was an egg dealer, he lived with his wife Anne who was 18 years younger than him, presumably he raised fowl for the eggs and his home was well sited for people to come from both Rhiw and Aberdaron to deal with him, or he to visit them.

"Four Crosses (Y Ffor)"

Four Crosses was then 2 dwellings, at number 1 lived William Griffiths, a joiner, born 1833 and his wife Mary who was 10 years younger, whilst at number 2 lived Margaret Jones, an unmarried domestic servant and her three daughters and a Mary Rowlands, unmarried domestic servant aged 73 years who was a boarder at the house.

At Tyn y Murion lived a widower Isaac Jones born in 1821, he was a lead miner who must have travelled to Bwlch Tocyn for work, as this was where some very rich seams of lead were mined, presumably he walked along the beach of Port Neigwl, which as this time had sand hills and was not cut off by the tide.

The house Lon Las was occupied by another widower Robert Davies born in 1802 and was employed as a blacksmith and farmer. Also living in the house was his daughter, her husband and their children.

Up the hill at Conion, lived Owen Hughes born in 1826 and who described himself as a farmer and carriage proprietor, with him lived his wife Ellen, their son William and a boarder Robert Hughes an unmarried schoolmaster, and presumably the schoolmaster for the village.

"Pisgah House (Awelon)"

At Pisga House (Pisgah) lived Hannah Jones born 1829, who was a Flour and Grocery dealer, along with her unmarried 20-year-old daughter who was a general servant. Pisga House was a shop close to two pubs and must have attracted many customers.

Another shop was Shop Newydd (Moelwyn View) this owned and run by Mariah Williams born 1829 assisted by her unmarried daughter Hannah who was born in 1860.

Further up the lane at Pwllmelyn lived Samuel Williams a 67 year old farmer and Ellen Humphrey an unmarried servant aged 36 who was born in Birkenhead.

Opposite, at Tyddyn Morthwyl was Roland Griffith born 1823 a farmer, who resided with his wife Mary, and their daughter another Mary, unmarried and born in 1859. It was the younger Mary who eventually sold the land on which the house Dwyfor was built to provide a house for the village schoolmaster.


I know that I have mentioned the names of people who were the grandparents and great grand parents of residents of present day Rhiw, and I have no wish to offend any of them. The information I have given is open to all for inspection and I present a small proportion of this merely to show the fascinating changes that have taken place over the last 120 years.

We would once again like to thank Patrick Allely for another brilliant article about our Village.


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