Monday, June 9, 2014

Ebenezer Humphrey Jones




Family historians grow accustomed to unearthing the occasional coincidence, but I was unprepared for a connection between the nearby Wiltshire parish of Lydiard Tregoze and my husband's family in Pembrokeshire.

A new century saw the arrival of a new Rector at St Mary's when Ebenezer Humphrey Jones moved into the Rectory in Hay Lane, close to the site of the present day Tregoze School, in 1900.

The 1901 census records the widowed Rev Jones aged 58 living at the Rectory with his eldest daughter Gwendolin 21 and three young children, Mildred 11, Stanley B. 8 and Kathleen M. 6, all born in Steynton, Pembrokeshire.

Built in 1830 the new rectory was part of a deal struck between Henry, 4th Viscount St John and the Rev Richard Miles who had long complained about the state of the old rectory, refusing to live there. Demolishing the old building enabled Henry to reroute access to the church away from Lydiard House and a new rectory was built just outside the park entrance in compensation.

Rev Jones was no stranger to the congregation at St Mary's, having previously served nine months there as a curate in 1877.  After this first short stay the Rev Jones moved his young family to a parish in Fitz, Shropshire before taking up an incumbency at St Peter and St Cewydd, Steynton near Milford Haven in West Wales.

Benjamin Roberts 25, a labourer, and his wife Esther 24, my husband's paternal great-grandparents, lived at Thornton in the parish of Steynton, but the connection with Rev Jones doesn't end there.

Emma Roberts, my husband's grandmother, was born at the family home on September 22, 1890, one of five Roberts children to be baptised by Rev. E. Humphrey Jones at the parish church in Steynton.

The Roberts family continued to live in the Milford Haven area.  When Emma married Benjamin Thomas Bevan at St. Katherine's Church in 1914 the family was living at Haven's Head, a picturesque village stretching from Hubberston Pill to Liddestone, where her father Benjamin worked as an Engine Driver, probably on the nearby docks.

In 1900 the Rev Jones quickly settled into his new Wiltshire parish.  Throughout the summer of 1901 he presided over bazaars, concerts and garden parties in partnership with Lady Bolingbroke, to raise money towards an estimated £500 needed to restore the church.

Ebenezer Humphrey Jones retired and moved to Newnham, a village on the River Severn on the Somerset and Gloucestershire borders, in 1914.  He died there in 1926.  He was buried in the churchyard at St Peter and St Cewydd, Steynton, where he had served as minister for 20 years.


Emma Bevan nee Roberts, the baby he baptised in 1890 died in the summer of 1965 aged 75. Emma never moved away from Milford Haven where she raised a family of nine children.  She is buried with her husband in the cemetery at Thornton, a stones throw away from the house where she was born.

Images - The tower at St Mary's Church, Lydiard Tregoze and Emma Bevan pictured shortly before her death in 1965 at the wedding of her granddaughter Barbara Bevan.

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