Friday, October 17, 2008

Walter Powell Jeffreys

About 1825 a young man named Walter Powell Jeffreys left his parents’ home, Ystradwalter near Llandovery, Wales to begin a career. He traveled north to Liverpool establishing himself in business as a woolen draper and silk mercer in the thriving port city. In partnership with David Morgan, he operated Jeffreys & Morgan, silk mercers, at 3 Ranelagh Street. As a woolen draper and merchant he operated Jeffreys, Davies & Company for over thirty years from offices on Prices Street.

Ystradwalter Farm, photo JB Jeffreys 1999

As a successful businessman Walter soon turned to civic affairs. His first election to public office was as a member of the Select Vestry. In the two years he held that post he assisted in rating all the cottage property in the parish reaping the sum of £14,000 a year for the benefit of the poor. He was for several terms elected representative for the Pitt Street Ward to the Liverpool Town Council and sat on several committees: Education, the Watch, the Baths and the Improvement Committees.

On October 6, 1840 he married Anne Price at Cilycwm Church near Llandovery. Anne was the daughter of Daniel Price of Erryd House, who was a Llandovery merchant and later Provost Martial at Montserrat in the West Indies. Anne was the niece of David Powell Price (1790-1854), Admiral, R.N..

Erryd House, photo JB Jeffreys 1999

The Towy River coursing through the Erryd property

Erryd Fishing Cottage on the banks of the Towy, now in ruins, but probably a pleasant spot when the Price family was in residence

Erryd is a lovely two-story, 18th century house overlooking the Towy River valley. When our Price ancestors lived there the house was encased in vines. There are no vines any longer and the home is in immaculate condition. I spent a delightful afternoon with the owners of Erryd House, Brian and Ann Jones, in the spring of 1999. Ann was thrilled to show me around and give all of the details of the house, its construction and history. The basement has a wine cellar containing dozens and dozens of ancient (empty) wine bottles.

Walter P. Jeffreys and his wife Anne had one son, Walter Powell Jeffreys, Jr. who was born in Liverpool on November 15, 1843. Sadly, young Walter lost his mother when he was just four and one-half years old. There is a marble tablet to the memory of Anne Price Jeffreys inside the Cilycwm Church. The grieving father sent his young son to Carmarthenshire to live with his great Aunt Margaret and his mother’s sister, Mary Price, at Erryd House. His grandparents, Rees and Anne Price were already dead by 1848.
Walter’s brother Rees Jeffreys worked with him at Jeffreys, Davies & Company. Eventually Rees’ son, John Henderson Jeffreys, took over the business on Walter’s retirement.

Bacon’s Tourist Map of Liverpool, sold by J. H. Bishop, Stationer, 6 Ranelagh Place, Liverpool

Memorial Tablet inside the Cilycwm Church:

This Tablet was erected by her disconsolate husband,
of Liverpool, and of Llwynfron in this County, Gent., under a deep sense of his own bereavement, and that of his only child, and in affectionate remembrance of his beloved wife,
ANNE JEFFREYS who was the eldest daughter of Daniel Price, Esq., Late Provost Martial at Montserrat; and granddaughter of Rees Price, Esqr. Of Bwlchtrebanne in this Parish. Her cheerful disposition, active benevolence and resignation to her Maker’s Will, enabled her to discharge faithfully during a painful and protracted illness, the Christian duties of the Wife, Mother, Friend.
Born on the 30th day of November, A.D. 1814, at Llandovery. She died the 2nd day of April, A.D. 1848, at Liverpool. Beloved and Regretted most by those who knew her best. To her, “To Live was Christ and to Die was Gain.”

Anne (Price) Jeffreys

Walter Powell Jeffreys, Sr.

After a few years with his mother’s family Walter Powell Jeffreys, Jr. went back to Liverpool to be with his father. He attended Rev. T. L. Pain’s School. It was there he met young Nicholas Robinson who became a lifelong friend and his future brother-in-law. Later Walter continued his education at Shrewsbury School, and following that, traveled throughout Europe with Nicholas Robinson on the “Grand Tour” as young men of the time did to round out their education.

From the 1851 Census of Liverpool, England at 29 Washington Street, Rodney Street Ward we find in the home the father and son, sister-in-law Mary Price, and a visiting Wesleyan Minister, John Bartley of Carnarvon. Walter, Sr. was employing Elizabeth Edwards as cook, and James Birch as butler.

Walter’s brother, Rees Jeffreys, also lived in Liverpool and worked at Jeffreys, Davies & Company. He and his family are found on the 1851 Census of Liverpool at 6 Prices Street, Pitt Street Ward. Rees and Winefred Jeffreys had four young children: David, John, Walter and Margaret.

About 1867 Walter Powell Jeffreys, Sr. found his health declining and decided he would retire from his civic duties and business enterprise. He did not run for re-election to the Town Council and sold the firm of Jeffreys, Davies & Company to his nephew, John Henderson Jeffreys, in partnership with David Davies. Walter, Sr. and his son found a lovely home, Henllys, about three miles from Llandovery and the same distance south of Cilycwm. Henllys (meaning “Old Court”) is a long, low white house with a beautiful garden and meadows, facing the hills of the River Towy below. The father and son lived there with their wonderful housekeeper to look after them and the maids. Walter Sr. didn't comnpletely retire from public service - he did serve as Mayor of Llandovery.  On June 24, 1869 Walter Powell Jeffreys, Jr. married Agnes Robinson, the sister to his dear friend Nicholas Robinson. They were married at Cockshutt Church, Ellesmere, Shropshire. Walter P. Jeffreys, Sr. gave up Henllys to them and went to live in Llandovery at Mile End House with his devoted housekeeper, Anne Knowles.

Henllys, photo JB Jeffreys 2006
When in Llandovery you may consider the Henllys Estate, which now offers bed and breakfast accommodations.

Walter Powell Jeffreys, Jr. served as a Justice of the Peace for the county of Carmarthenshire and the county of Breconshire. In 1889-90 he was High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire. He served in the Royal Brecon Militia attaining the rank of Captain. Walter Powell Jeffreys, Jr. and Agnes (Robinson) Jeffreys were the parents of five children, all born at Henllys, four of whom grew to adulthood.

Walter Powell Jeffreys, Jr., Deputy Lieutenant, Royal Brecon Militia

Their first child, a son, Walter Herbert Jeffreys, was born April 24, 1870. He later attended school at Harrow and like his father was a member of the South Wales Borderers (Royal Brecon Militia). He worked as a government storesman in Tahana, New Zealand. Herbert died in London, unmarried, on December 16, 1910 and was buried at Cynghordy.

Their second child, a daughter, was born on October 6, 1871 and was called Anne Euphemia after her two grandmothers, Anne Jeffreys and Euphemia Robinson. On July 26, 1894 she married George Francis Heath at Cynghordy. They lived at Maidenhead until George’s death on February 23, 1903 and Anne Euphemia’s death on November 16, 1910. They had one daughter, Mona Violet Effie Heath, born on May 10, 1895.

Mona Violet Effie Heath resided at Becket Bigbury on Sea in South Devon. She died of ovarian cancer on February 26, 1938. She was unmarried and of independent means.

Agnes Cecile “Dot” Jeffreys, their third child, was born on March 17, 1873 and was named for her mother and her uncle, Edward Cecil Robinson. Always known as “Dot,” she lived with her father much of her life, and later at her grandfather’s estate in Shropshire. She died unmarried on October 23, 1956.

Agnes Cecile “Aunt Dot” Jeffreys

Kathleen Augusta Jeffreys was born on August 5, 1875 and died September 2, 1875.

In 1867 the elder Walter P. Jeffreys’ health was deteriorating. His dutiful servant Anne Knowles and his daughter-in-law Agnes Jeffreys were caring for him. Walter, Sr. died at Mile End House in Llandovery on January 7, 1877 and was buried near his parents, David and Elizabeth Jeffreys at St. Mary’s Church, Llanfair-ary-bryn.

Walter Powell Jeffreys, the Elder


This vintage postcard of Llanfair-ary bryn was a gift from David Gealy of Llandovery. On a 2006 visit after lunch served by his charming wife, David gave this writer an interesting tour of the church, its tower and cemetery. Following that we visited Henllys to see the superb renovation done by the present owners, the Magills. From there we drove along the river road north past Erryd House to Nant Ddu where William Jeffreys lived 150 years ago.

In Walter's will which was executed by him on December 30, 1876 he left an annuity to his servant, Anne Knowles for the remainder of her life. All of his real and personal property was left to his only child, Walter Powell Jeffreys, Jr. In the estate were the lands of his grandfather, Morgan Jeffreys, in Llanddeusant Parish, including the family home there, Llwynyfron.

Charles Nicholas Theodore Jeffreys was born on November 19, 1877. He attended school at Radley where he was Senior Prefect and rowed in the Radley VIII. He became a solicitor and worked in Liverpool and London before becoming Town Clerk of Brighton. He was married in 1904 to Ida Baines Forwood, daughter of Sir A. B. Forwood, Bart. Charlie and Ida Jeffreys retired to Cheltenham where he died on July 11, 1957.

Shortly after Charles’s birth, Agnes Jeffreys died suddenly as a result of childbirth, at Henllys and was buried at Cilycwm Church.

Walter hired a staff to assist with the young children and run the household: Agnes Sharp, a Scot, was the childrens’ governess of whom they were quite fond; Caroline Roberts was domestic nurse; Hannah Jenkins, cook; Mary Staut, housemaid; Elizabeth Edge, nurse; and Eliza Williams, dairy maid.

At the age of 40 Walter would marry again, a girl of 20 who was actually the sister-in-law of his dear friend Nicholas Robinson. On November 6, 1883 Walter Powell Jeffreys and Frances Constance Jones, daughter of Charles Gwillim Jones, Esq., a London solicitor, were married at St. George’s Church, Hanover Square, London. They had one son, Geoffrey Jeffreys, who was born March 27, 1885 in London.

Frances Constance Jones Jeffreys, 
with Scope

Cynghordy Hall, circa 1910

They resided at Henllys for a time before purchasing Cynghordy Hall and approximately 650 adjoining acres. After extensive renovations, the Jeffreys entertained guests and spent many hours in hunting and fishing for many years.

Geoffrey Jeffreys

Geoffrey Jeffreys (1885-1953), only child of Walter P. and Frances Constance Jeffreys, pioneered the early oil exploration of Mexico and continued his career as an international petroleum geologist throughout the Americas. Geoffrey married Miss Ina Littell in 1915 in Caracas, Venezuela.

Walter Powell and Frances Constance Jeffreys sold the Cynghordy Estate in 1917 and moved to England.

Transcribed below is a letter written by Walter P. Jeffreys shortly before his death to his daughter-in-law, Ina Jeffreys:

Telephone 32.
Ashford Carbonell,

2nd Feby, 1920

My dear Ina,

All my correspondence has fallen into arrears. I must apologize for not writing you before this. Your letter of last month was full of interest. How you must enjoy seeing your pupils on the violin coming on so well. The weather here too has been wretched, rain, rain, and boisterous winds. Rivers nearly bank high, but on the whole the temperature has been fairly mild for winter- but we do not get the warm lovely sun you do - instead we have frowning cloudy damp; depressing atmosphere. I suppose the northers account for the cold spell you have had - such as I experienced for a few days at Tampico when I went to see Geoff. The Hotel there where I stayed at lent itself to admitting the icy feel throughout the building - it penetrated everywhere. But the tarpon fishing I did enjoy there. I imagine the flowers out with you in the Southern States must be lovely. I hope your bulbs have flowered well. We have had to turf over some of our flower beds; have only about a couple of borders of hardy stuff. I saw today a few primroses (not the wild ones) showing, but they look weakly owing to the damp and rain - but Dot has seen a few wild ones in a sheltered hedgerow. Have you had more bass fishing? Please tell Geoff I will write him in a few days -; possibly his letter will arrive by the same mail as you receive this - as I don’t know the departure of the Steamers to US. 

So With our united best - love to you and Geoff - Believe me
Yours affect’ly,
Walter P. Jeffreys

Captain Walter Powell Jeffreys died in 1920 while living at The Forde, Ashford Carbonell, near Ludlow, England. He was buried at Cynghordy, the church he was the major benefactor, where there is a large marble tablet to his memory.

The Forde, Ashford Carbonel, Ludlow, England

Pen and Ink Sketches of Liverpool Town Councillors. Liverpool, 1866, reprinted from the “Liverpool Mercury,” 1857, p 179
Census Records of Carmarthenshire, Wales and Liverpool, England
Robinson, Nicholas (1915) “Some Memoirs of Nicholas Robinson and his Family” (Private printing)
Records in the General Register Office of England

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderfully informative Blog on your family of Jeffreys.

I have them in my tree also.

I have also subscribed to your site.

Cheryl Forwood