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WELSH INDUS- TRIES. j • HOMFRAYS OF PENY- ? DARREN. 1' VOYAGE TO CARDIFF. t r Ly CHARLES WILKLN3, F. G. S. i s"tated that wliea Guest, of Dowlais, ^ent^ seu^ a' sma^ iron estabiish- I Wori. Q-'lr -Broseiey, known as the Calcott Ho ,^le>'e were owned' by a Mr. Horn fray, b^»> ^a<f a forge at Stewpony, near Stour- Homfray liad! three sons, Samuel, of and Thomas, and as they were men lW»mg character the invitation from '^ey an<^ Cyfarthfa- was readily accepted. Ho f031116 down, visited1 Guest and saw his jr,tUrtiaccs'> then went to Cyfarthfa and had beeji erview with Anthony Bacon, lu has; not into *'ecorded what arrangement was entered CGnt If any, with Guest, but with Bacon a t° as at once planned for them theja -a foi'=e Cyfarthfa, Bacon to supply cl ^'ith Cyfarthfa pig iron, for which they /° Pay him £ 4 10s. per ton long weight, ^er *on ^or °°a"" '^11S sett--e<i, the Uifc tf,ays returned home to pick out some of est men they knew and then return. t],6 ev? more stirring episodes are current in ^^strial history of Wales than the 1^on which, started from Stourbridge for 88 when the full complement of men had Xuri Ss'ected!- Amongst them were the 'Weif8' ^le ^ees> the Hemans, the Browns, a °f whom in after yeaxs was mayor of I Wives, sons, and daughters, were I ^d roots of old-fashioned flowers and I CaJ& *rees> a.nd one carried a blackbird in a an<^ most brought with them some re- I aJl thêr of the old home they were leaving, for f .1::1.0 ey knew, and as it turned out, for ever. lalld W Were they to go down into the strange tria^' aiQidst people whose language and th^i ers and customs were so different to th6 °wn ? Jt was soon decided. Two of of ^lers> ^aiuue' and Jeremiah, the latter giws 0311 lived to liave an equippage and four *>i a coachman and1 footman in livery, Mt,h °f «■ prince. Thomas remained men, and having obtained a boat IS entry large, passed down with the tide St sil0ester' and there slept. This was the ijig J of tlie journey, and when the morn- a^aed a few of the men agreed amongst i* .fJes that the undertaking was a foolish tljgy better go back home," said they and b|°0(?lea'rit it. This did not suit the northern ifiea&j 1'homas, who (adopted phjysical On tJjpT in addition to swearing roundly, so r I ^her j°Urneyed again and reached Gloucester thZ the captain humoured them a bit, gave See CouP'e of days' holiday, took them to 1'hen ,^athedral, and organised rook shooting. boug, Qe boat was abandoned and a barge I ant* on ^iey went until the Bristol ^a's s&i Was reac^iec''> and for hours the trip *%ht ny and pleasant to a degree. Then It it eallie on, and witk it a storm, and here auw as if the expedition would end Ms l1ea.rlly, for the master of the barge lost tile eh and admitted he had never been in go. ¡annel before, and did not know where to Prise tIt Îssaid that these bold men of eoiter- an P«? a n'hile about punishing the fellow ae°tual way and throw him into the jyp 80 that he should not bring others to b'lt )rin'0T11 he had evidently brought them, tLf nierc'ifu' views prevailed, and as sun- 'I# i cahner weather came «"ith the morn I ? Was forgiven and very shortly they I 0ar(?-ffailc^Or under Penarth Head. Once ati(i w[.' W1th solid groimd under their feet Q a day's march of their destination, r,§°t their troubles, dismissed the master ^"ge, first paving him so well that in the mud determined to go *,Jmfry as could and then Jeremiah upon the scene with wagons, t e hav6r^ (.'n the final stage of their journey. ^Orn 0 e interesting account handed down t tVeQiii(7e t,le descendents of the eventful 13th of May, 1782, when they p n s"'g:it of the Merthyr Village, alig PI.Y,, Qd th i^rnouth, with its one furnace, and ^Ppear in the village street. They T°yage wave been thirsty souls after their ht!!1 ,1° 111 uo'1 sea wave, for we hear that y ^ound tiiat there were three y ^ound tiiat tLere were three r(%n Uses—the Star, the principal inn; the tljQ ^^latched house, famous for its ale, thev say nothing of others. The ^st 0fyiaif was very small and insignificant, houses low and thatched. The f0r f1' too, was small. At the Boot they •I cot IT n* £ ht, until asccommodation else- reef, prepared for them, and here P1'3}"Or f)i C.< that Brown, the ancestor of the s doo- f ^Port, being short of funds, sold ,there tr nllle;pence. > tlip1S °ne 'nteresting1 fact in connection rt!l tlie u^Veilturers who came into Wales 1111 Both nifra^s- Amongst them was U'*fl C|1T.(am' the mother of Mary Howitt, \?)0tl3st iGs ood, her graridfather was k • Cyfarthfa adventurers. -ff^d who, with her gifted ut ti'hir. llain» obtained a memoi-- n her L\ 'Q ^nglish literature, tells avifle chidhood in the Penydarren f wher« the little com- PR'S evid„n, northerners settled down and ba'?'* earlv aS JounS 8ir1'8 Illind re" 'ouritT- Peasant impressions from fn 6 founwln"S1aild woody hillsides, jv/^i at Cyfarthfa was, like the i} a?agempn+ by homfray, and the direct inti wl Was unfier a Welshman, named a^tia) J10, 111 our own generation had t '1 is ;^ndents in the Aberdare Valley, |y represented to this day by lj>l aCoQ S' a^-e °f Treforest Works. +.fitter ic,S ai^ eneroetic and influential man. fa he 1Cated by the fact that previous j f, Ay{es. as returne<} member of Parliament VViiv/^ as a colleague of the notable > and he retained his seat in *VVjW ti J v t0 1780- a5? eHahl!vJ "1!:1 lr>an War broke out, Bacon t^n. /-n ° ost substantial orders for e Well coal-hammered iron Avas found SiH(Jad of oar. for the work, and many onB^tthe o°wV eDt flxJI.ri Cyfaithfa to be tK of +i Cannon W harf, Cardiff. The si.e 8reat /0rSe at Merthyr was one of at-a611 iron history, and few W^d down interesting 'than those _7Jlr'rri that remarkable day. There or- '^ed, f_ a cons-iderabie crowd hk'S, and iv poPuIation was rapidly in- W( e<i wi+i v*ai-s n;en, Plymouth men, till °g of^i I viHagers in seeing the frr^t *o/e ^thhlf r^e- Shonny Cwmglo was 0i)<] a ooteV0|werful harp- Shonny coul(1 ixw. <,fHild ?•' once let him hear a tune ^theaje PJay it_ and in p]ayhig and visit- np.ny livprl^i^^ scenes of merriment bn,er Plaved u ^ie was a century old. He ancf r.-iru ,er t'^lan that day, and the inm Wao v,■nnced in the meadows near, t|, any- +u Parity. Shonny played louder ^.|>ri^n roared1 more vigorously as Bnmf11 work, and so <lelighted was it °' his r"nray '^lat he seized the best new <ili+?l<er tV irnan' Joseph Hemans, and threw Htwt06 «v«, la'mnifir. andi Joseph, not to be Cfih" in ti, ^1S master, threw Samuel's A> intlm™ P<^i"n. rever of much ac- W ,ll(2 da-'s> Was forgotten altogether. >^lSntrn <u!^ 't war tlie merriest J>i yeaps r ^astership possible. o.(/>>ri aT,,rj +101 Pn'sk times were enioyed, and Je tlo:tifravs prospered. Then atise0Qxhev^rses- Captain Smith, in his Dia n<>ntent ,eV^ute Uocks, alleges that Bacon, "wit}-, r. supplying the Britisli Govern- 'an?nn' which were desiiatched to Wlc^as a=« w-f 1,°rtsm°T'!th, supplied the sll; and lost his contract, which, afterwards was taken up by the C'arron Com- pany, Scotland'. This, statement we cannot sub- stantiate, so that it may have only been village go-rip. For two years the connection lasted between Bacon and the Homfrays, when the latter bagan to complain tint lie was not .served ?o promptly or fully as he could wish with Cyfarthfa. pig iron, and' one day, like the impetuous Northerner he was, he went to' Cyfai*thfa furnace to know the reason why, and forcibly tapped the furnace, so as to help himself. This led to a row; Homfrays' men came upon the scene; from words both parties resorted to bluows, and after a big fight, in which most suffered-for it was no child's play then-all connection ended between the Homfrays and Bacon. Before we trace the further career of the Homfrays it will be well to note the retire- ment of Anthony Bacon from what had been the happiest speculation of his life. The world had wagged well with him. At Cyfarthfa he had a foundry, a forge, and two furnaces, and a furnace at Hirwain, and another at Plymouth. Iron-making, though on a scale we should now regard as paltry, paid well. He sent his mule troops to Swan- sea and to Cardiff, and realised for his iron JB18 per ton. His profit is estimated from all his Welsh sources at £10,000 a year, but he was getting tired. He sought a little change from his furnaces. At Aberaman House, in the Aberdare Valley, and amongst his friends was an old bard, named Evans, who was held in great repute far and near, but was, like the majority of bards, as poor as a church mouse. Bacon helped him in his need, and the poet gave him, as he felt the hand of death upon him, the greatest treasure he possessed, a. copy of the Gododin, the famous Illiad of the Welsh Homer— Aneurin. There were at this time only three in existence—one at the British Museum, another at Hengwrt, and that of Evans's. Bacon is stated to have accepted the book with pleasure, and, if the further history of the book be true, as related a century ago, it is only another of the proofs abounding showing the danger of lending books. Bacon, in the close of his Welsh career, was visited by the indefatigable his- torian of Brecon, Theophilus Jones, who bor- rowed the book, and forgot to return it. Jones died, and at his death Mrs. Jones presented it to the Rev. T. Price ("Carnhua- nawc"), and at his sale it was bought by Sir Thomas Phillips. In justice to the memory of »Theophilus Jones, he stated that it was given him by Mr. Bacon. The manu- script book is now probably with Sir Thomas Phillips' descendant's. It was Anthony Bacon's intention to develop the mineral riches of the Aberdare Valley. This he did not do. At a certain period of his career, about 1783, the desire came upon him to arrange his property in Wales and to quit the scenes of his: marked success as an ironma.ster. With him at Cyfarthfa was a young man named Richard Hill, who married into a family into which Bacon should have married also, but did not, and the amends he made, according to local history, was to take a lively interest in Richard Hill's prospects, and., after employ- ing him as an agent or overman at Cyfarthfa, lie made arrangements with him to take the furnace at Plymouth into his sole govern- ment, paying 5s. per ton for all the iron he made there. This was the introduction of the Hill family and of Plymouth Works into our iron ajinals. I We have seen that, through Anthony Bacon, the family of Homfray came upon the sccne. His next step was to dispose of Cyfarthfa. In 1784 Mr. Tanner, of Mcn- mouth, was introduced into the valley, and, in conjunction with other gentlemen, a similar arrangement was made both with the Cyfarthfa and Hirwain properties for a time, until a sale could be effected, and eventually this was done as regards Cyfarthfa. by which Bacon and his heirs realised J310,000 a year from the district, where he hid first only incurred a liability of JB200 Having made his settlements, Bacon disappeared from the scene, troubled, tlie local historians say, with unrest, and is reported to have died when his children were yet young. He had two sons and a daughter. One son was an ensign, and fought at Waterloo. This son had Cyfarthfa.; the other, Thomas Bushey Bacon, died in 1861 at Plymouth. It is stated that the children were handsomely provided for, but that a good deal of the wealth gained in Wales nvas flitted away from one of the descendants over the giamblin^-t&ble. Cer- tainly, this wa-s not by Anthony Bacon him- self, who had undergone the labour and anxiety of earning it; but it is generally the cas-e--and the truism is as old as humanity —that the fortune which lightly comes goes as lightly. The immediate successor's of Bacon at Cyfarthfa was Mr. Tanner, of Monmouth; a Mr. Oockshutt, and Bowser, who had' a small works in Carmarthenshire. Bowser's son in our days was one of the founders of the Wluttington Insurance Society. The manager selected for Cyfarthfa was Thomas Treharne, one of the founders of a respectable family in the neighbourhood, and still represented. An Aberdarian gave in years gone by a vivid account of tlie entry of Treharne upon tlie scene, which deserves a place by the side of that of the Homfrays. It was but one remove from the wanderings of the Patriarchs of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, with their tents and their countless flocks and the sojourning by deep wells in the valleys of old. The family came up from the far-off land, not of Goshen, but of 'Carmarthen, with thirty or forty horses anó. mules. They carried with them all their family, and their possessions. Children were perched amidst beds and chests of drawers. The inseparable cat was there, as weli as the household guardian, the dog, aid the travellers, too, had their flowers, for it was, as in the case of the Homfrays, a widespread impression that the iron valley was a lonely and a dark seclusion where vegetation was scant and the roads were of iron-stone, and the earth dry as that of the destlrt. Treharne went to live at Cyfarthia, and became an excellent manager. Cyfarthfa. was still upon a small scale. There was only one furnace in blast and seven black- smitld bellows at work. The mine was had principally by scouring, and in greater part collected from. the bed of the river by the woman of the village, just as they collect sandstones now and retail the results with the plaintive cry of "Isa gro." In a quiet way Cyfarthfa pyogresoed, vet not having Anthony Bacon's energy and influence, bowser did not thrive, and drifted into difficulties. These befcame so acute that Mr. Bowser borrowed all Treharne's savings to pay the men, "the expected cheque not coming to hand." In another week or two the climax came, and is thus related in vil- lage history. Treharne, coming home to dinner, brought bad news. Taking a, mighty pinch of snuff, he exclaimed, "It's all up with us; the bailiffs are come from London, and are in the works!" There was general consternation at this. Fortunately, Gwen- draeth Ironworks remained, and he and his family, gathering the cavalcade of horses and mules again, made their way back home, leaving Bowser and Tanner to their fate. In the annals of the Treharne family he is said to have remained there at his old post for two years, and every time the nanie of Bowser was mentioned he would think of his hundred guineas and bring down his hummer on th-3 iron with a fierce blow, as if he had the delinquent under his hand. The day came, however, when, as he was busy working, a voice called out, Tom, how do"you do?'' and', looking round, there was Bowser come to pay him all he oweu and to get him back to Cyfarthfa, and back he went with the whole procession of himself and friends, and with still more children perched amongst the household gods. Then we find! that Tanner, having lost money, sold out. Bowser retained the furnace at Hii wain; Cockshutt and a. man named Stephens remained at Cyfarthfa., where Treharne ruled as manager, and then upon the scene came the memorable iron king, Richard Crawshav, linking his fortunes for a little time with the others until1 he acquired and ruled the whole of the Cyfarthfa domain. To his eventful coming and his early career 11 y we shall devote our next sketch. (All rights reserved.)




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