Famous Characters in Pentrechwyth & Bonymaen Road
Some famous characters with nick-names in Pentrechwyth and Bonymaen Road in the late 1890’s
John (Brachoo) The Malt-house
William " his son who knew every date of happenings
Tommy Davies the Leader of Cannan Church
Thomas the Scrip, who was lay reader at Pentrechwyth School
Will Hopkins the Harp
Will (Goggles) a quiet humorist
Will (Bull) a horse breaker & maker of whips
Geo Morgan (Scarett) our boxing booth fighter
Dai (Banker) a notorious horse breaker & boozer
Dai (Clutch) well known at Grenfell works
Dai (Skitchi) a good runner winner of prize cups
Tom (Cotter) also a good runner
Dai (Spinks) who worked on the railway
Tommy (Rabbits) could tell good yarns
Harry (the Sheep_ A fine fellow
Will (one Bracer) A wonderful stone-mason
Dai (Small) very religious
Dai Jones (the Tailor) a Deacon
Dan (the Bog) a marvel with the sprag to stop (trams coal)
Harry (Bach) who bred cockerels (Indian Game) for fighting and drove for Beddoe’s Colliery
Tom (Blackie) who took a great interest in sketches for the band of hope & Penny readings. To explain this the band of hope had little concerts held in Miss Jones’s school which was built by the Grenfells, who built (Pentrechwyth) and the Penny-readings were held in Cannan congregation church. This would be the programme
Pianoforte solo for children
Violin solo Jim Martin
Jenny Boyd (recitation) Curfew shall not ring to-night with all the audience saying the last line
Teddy the Whistler a great favourite with his 2 whistles with all the audience whistling with their mouths. He only knew 3 tunes.
Dick Hooper another favourite (recitation)
The Foxhole Fire Brigade. This was recorded about 2 years ago, just before he died he had been on T.V., several times in a programme called Life begins at 80. Some of his recordings went to America to a Welsh Community.
Another Recitation by Charlie Holcome. The Women of Mumbles Head, he would make the audience cry.
Yet another character John Tucker who would read portions from Shakespeare he never became a favourite.
We had many others in sketches Willie Hughes John Howell Williams who later started the Male Voice party and many enjoyable evenings we had with their singing.
William Hooper with his ear trumpet, the horn was about a foot across and all buldges by hitting us boys for misbehaving, many times we threw nuts in the trumpet, it was so big we could not miss it.
Another character a lady this time.
Miss Maggie Martin a quack doctor who could cure anything much to Dr. E. B. Evans’ disgust. She made her own medicine, ointment, out of herbs, her poultice for any swelling inflammation, gout, sprains, etc. was cows dung, you would have to go up to the farm and get the dung warm from the cow. Then she would put something on it and apply bandage, and (believe it or not) you would be cured, I have had her treatment.
Another lady Character Eliza Daffyd was always at hand, when anyone was in trouble, need sickness or any other adversity, as the Common Prayer put it. She was always at hand, day or night, confinement, illness and death.
She was the chief layer out at death and supplied her own equipment if it was needed, sheets counterpane and all her lace pillow-slips. She also made the shrouds for the Undertaker, some-times having to work all night, always pleasant in her Welsh Costume which she always wore.
I must now describe the Business people John shop Grocer, Draper, Butcher, Hay and Corn-merchant, he sold everything, from oil to treacle, his wife was very humourous, one saying (about her husband, who was a very stern man a Deacon of Adulam Chapel) that he was only happy when he was miserable. Tommy Rees another Grocer who also sold chemistry.
Tom Griffiths the Gwindy, a public house was a sporting man kept greyhounds one dog, ‘Welsh-man’, was a winner at all races. There were no race-tracks in those days. John Wilks, who kept the Rising Sun it was a very, low ceiling bar and very small it has since been rebuilt.
Tom (Pagey) Phillips who kept the Bake-house for public baking.
Morris Davies the shoemaker a deacon at Cannan Congregational Church, a very well educated man, who was very popular with the clergy, he was very old, and he kept a diary of all notable events.
Williams the New Inn, who gave children a New penny, every new years day.
Rees Davies the joiner, undertaker etc. who used to make the Coffins for Grenfells workmen, which were given by the Squire his speciality was barrows for boys, barrows for gardeners, farmers, etc.
Isaac Jenkins our Sunday school teacher who had a very big mens bible class.
Thomas John who was a fore man at Grenfells works a church warden at the school, used by the education authorities on week days, and services on Sundays which we all attended with Miss Jones the school mistress a very saintly lady the Misses Gertrude and Mary Grenfell used to visit her, a big day for the children.
We had a good choir there, and when we had special services, we used to have a few good singers from the Parish-church to assist. One was Miss Annie Stephens a teacher at the school whom we nicknamed, Ten Thousand times Ten thousand her favourite him also Jinny Griffiths, ‘Jerusalem the Golden’.
Another fine old gentleman the manager of Tyrgwillt Colliery who lived at the Mansion Llanerch very popular with his workmen. We as boys used to go up to the mansion to ask him if he would give a grease Cask for Guy Fawkes night, he would tell us to keep away from all property and would give us a note to take to the greaser, who would give us the dirtiest he could find then to Rees Davies the joiner to get bags of shavings, we would be told to keep away from all property and oblige. Then we would have canvas sacks to put over us, after having our worse suit on, we would cut 2 holes in the side for our arms, then go down to where they tip the drams, to roll this cask up the road to the spot for the 5th, after getting it well alight we would let it roll down a bank a great night this.
Another sport we used to enjoy was glass-ball shooting. A piece of Ground at the rear of the Gwindy Inn was levelled off and covered with a thick layer of sawdust quite a number of men with Rifles would compete for a prize, a spring Contraption would throw these glass balls about (6” dia) into the air at a very good height. They were then shot at by the Competitors whilst in the air, if missed. They would fall on the saw-dust and could be used again. We as boys would run to retrieve the balls and if lucky we would be rewarded with a penny.