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Cwmgwili and Its Families

By Major FRANCIS JONES, C.V.O., T.D., D.L., F.S.A.,
Wales Herald of Arms Extraordinary

The story of Cwmgwili — the house that overlooks the Gwili below Bronwydd Arms—from the sixteenth century to the early years of the nineteenth century was related in Volume XIII of The Carmarthenshire Historian. In this concluding part of the story there are interesting references to personal experiences in Nelson's naval engagements, the Peninsular War and at Waterloo.

Little is known of the administration of the Cwmgwili estate during the incumbency of John George Philipps, M.P. (1761-1816) but he does not seem to have alienated any part of it. Indeed, in 1790, he added to it by buying several slangs adjoining his farm of Pante from the Revd David Scurlock of Blaencorse, near St Clears, for £80. In 1785 he was negotiating to buy Ystradwrallt and Ty Canol, from Herbert Evans of Lowmead, both of the clear annual rent of £75 10 0, the price being 25 years purchase of that rent; in the event he took the properties on a lease, and later acquired the freehold. Carmarthenshire landowners were very conscious of the value of timber, and took steps to afforestation, and often inserted planting clauses in the leases they granted. Trees could be sold for high prices, especially in war-time, to government contractors for ship-building and other purposes, and at all times to local industrialists who required charcoal for the furnaces, while bark was always in demand by the numerous tanners who carried on a brisk trade in the county. It was necessary to keep a careful eye on the timber. His wife wrote on 21 February 1785, that Mr R. Morgan had asked her to remind him about the "stragglin wood" which should be cut as the tenants ("so far from Cumgwilly and from your sight") felled "ever so fine trees", and Morgan had discovered that a great many fine trees had been cut down "and the roots of them covered with grass that they might not be discovered". According to Morgan the wood could be sold for over £200. On 10 May 1785, John George Philipps agreed to sell to David Lewis of Carmarthen, tanner, all timber, trees, saplings, underwoods, etc, growing upon the farms of Trefynis, Rwythfawr, Cwmhowell, and Tir Terrant Elias, in Abergwili parish, for the sum of £240.54

Mr Philipps entered into partnership with some of his neighbours to work a mine at Capel Dewi, and on 9 February 1785 Richard Lewis wrote from Abergwili Palace to enquire whether he could take up a one-sixth share which Mr Philipps had promised him. If Mr Philipps agreed to this, he would pay the money to Mr Stewart, the treasurer. Lewis informed him that "some favourable discovery had this week been made at the mine".55

Apart from the affairs of the Borough, he was busy in county concerns, especially as a magistrate. He was a member of Llandeilo'r Ynys Turnpike Trust, and took a special interest in road communications and their effect upon agriculture. A letter from Richard Jones Llwyd written on 3 May 1790 to J. G. Philipps at the Somerset Coffee House in the Strand indicates the attitude of Carmarthenshire landowners towards taxes and tolls — "A double toll upon turnpikes will materially prejudice this county. Most of the Turnpikes in this county were made originally to facilitate the carriage of coal, lime, and manure, and they depended upon the conveyance of those articles for their existence. Lime has of late years advanced in price from 6s 6d the horse-load to 4 shillings (sic), so that farmers can now scarcely afford to buy it. Lay another tax upon it, it puts that article beyond their reach and they have no substitute. Farm yards and composition dunghills being in their infancy, I will venture to say that if lime and manure and coal are not exempted from double toll, it will nearly ruin the agriculture in this county"; he further hopes that tax on transfers of real property will be confined to Bonds and Mortgages — "As to the tax upon deeds, it may induce the gentlemen of the law to curtail the enormous prolixity of modern conveyances and reduce them to their former conciseness and simplicity. Laymen may then have some guess at their meaning and content".56

Despite long absences from Cwmgwili during his parliamentary career, his domestic life was harmonious. There is no doubt that he and his wife Anne (Ball) were deeply in love, and it is from her numerous letters to him that we obtain glimpses of their family life. He, on the other hand, does not appear to have been a good correspondent, a fact commented upon in letters from his wife and friends.

Anne kept him posted not only with domestic news but with news of various friends and acquaintances. It is clear that she missed his company, and ends one letter (10 February 1785) with the words, "Adieu my dear, Cumgwilly is very dull without my JGP". Both were attached to the children, and Anne's letter to him on 12 February 1785 contains an account of her two small sons, "Little Griffith talks of you every day; he says that his papa is gone to London to buy him a new hat and a fine sash, so you can see the little rogue begins to grow coxcomical already as he talks of nothing but his dress. Little John is no less proud of his smart great-coat that came home today; he would not take it off till he went to sleep. . . . I dont know when to leave off when I begin to write to you. I am sure that I scribble a vast deal of nonsense for the sake of prolonging the time. Believe me my Dear that nothing can give me greater pleasure than writing to you. May you enjoy every happyness is the ardent prayer and sincere wish of your ever faithful and affectionate wife, Anne Philipps. P.S. — I would give the world to be with my ever Dear JGP, believe me there can be no happyness or pleasure for me without you. Pray write every post my Dear Mr Philipps." On 7 April 1787 she wrote that she had read that the House of Commons had been adjourned till 23 April — "Pray what will you do with yourself all that time? I wish to God it was in my power to make a pair of wings for you to fly home with. Since you have left Cwmgwilly I live here the world forgetting, by the world forgot. Your happiness is the chief study of my life".

Shortly after his return to London in February 1784, Anne says that Griffith "has been searching for you in the parlour, the study and in our rooms, crying all the way 'Papa, papa'. . . . I love you far too much to do anything contrary to your desire". Later in the month she chides him — "Why have you not written the last two posts? Hearing from you is my only pleasure". In a letter dated 28 February 1785 she again chides him for not writing oftener, for she wrote to him by every post, "Don't forget to be a Welshman tomorrow, and let little Griffith have the leek when you come home". Being a member of parliament was an expensive business and Anne was often busy getting in the rents, and raising money by other means to meet his occasions, often pressing, in the Metropolis.

Anne kept him informed of domestic and estate affairs, the farm at Cwmgwili and sale of commodities, and particularly about local political moves. She often urged him to take steps that would advance his interests. In 1784 she told him he should pay his compliments to Mr Powell (Nanteos), who was to be High Sheriff of Cardiganshire — "You know there is nothing lost by civility".

She found her husband's aunt, the masterful Mrs Jane Davies of Penylan, somewhat of a trial. Anne had been unwell in the early part of 1785 (she was often ailing), and had allowed herself to be persuaded, against her real inclination, to accompany Mrs Davies to a dance at Kidwelly — "I should not have gone had it not been for Mrs Davies of Penylan who pestered me to death two days before about it. She sent to tell me it would be so ungenteel and very odd of me if I did not go as Mr Lloyd was so kind as to come to fetch me, and Mr Billy her son was affronted with me at Kidwelly because I did not choose to dance with him. I hope I shall never see Mrs Davies at Cumgwilly again. You have always told me I behaved too well to her and I now see it myself, but I was always happy to do every thing in my power to oblige any of your family". In April 1785 she was quite ill, and everyone was most kind to her except "Mrs. Davies of Penyland, and she has behaved like a Brute". But this was a passing pique, Mrs Davies was often at Cwmgwili, and took the elder boys to Penylan when Mrs Philipps was brought to bed of her other children and when she was ill. It is not unlikely that Mrs Philipps was inclined to brood over her illnesses. In 1790 Mrs Jane Davies wrote a bantering letter to her brother, John George Philipps, "I remember you have often laughed at the idle chit-chat of the female pen, but nevertheless I have ventured your giving me a place in the list of such laughable beings, from the hope that even insignificant subjects, may for a minute or two divert my sister's attention from thinking of her complaints, which, I hope, will every day become less and less, and that very soon we may have the pleasure to see her return in perfect health".

After her husband's death Mrs Jane Davies lived at a house in Carmarthen belonging to her brother, whom she badgered continually about repairs and improvements. "Some time past notices were given to every house to erect troughs under the tiles. It has not been done here and the cornice being rotten part of it fell down nearly on Miss B. Lloyd's head, which might have killed her. Now the rain soaks into part of the front wall. I have sent to Evans the carpenter to do it, and hope you agree. I have sent to Jas George to get lime for the brewing kitchen which was stript by wind this last week all the southerly side. I wish for your sake and my own comfort that the outside was not in so poor a state, I'll take care to keep the inside comfortable without damage done to it".

This house proved troublesome and its later tenant, Mrs. Jane Davies' unmarried daughter Anne, proved as vigorous as her mother; for instance — "Dear Uncle. I have received a letter from my brother William in consequence of yours to me last Wednesday. He tells he had receipts for everything in the house. The shelf & dresser with several other things, my mother bought of Mr Hoskins who had bought them of the tenant before him; the dog-wheel she bought of old Mrs Rice and James Evans the carpenter. We have not sold the locks as you have been told. William also has the receipt for the marble slab in the parlour, which my mother put down but that we left there. The shelf, dresser & dogwheel the man who has taken the house bought by auction at £1 2 6, but on being told at Cwmgwilly they belonged to the house has refused to pay for them. Do you wish to buy them? if not they will be taken down tomorrow and sold. To whom shall I deliver the key of the street door on Michaelmas day. We then leave Carmarthen for Penylan and to make some visits we have promised before we leave Wales. I hope should your Daughters be left without father or mother (which is certainly not impossible) that they may not find a Landlord or uncle as tenacious about such a trifle as we have found. Wishing you and my cousins health & happiness, I am dear Uncle, your affectionate Anne Davies".

Anne Philipps's life was not made pleasanter by the fact that her brother, Herbert Ball, and others of the family, proved difficult about paying her marriage portion and other monies due. On 28 March 1789 she wrote to her husband that she had heard from brother Herbert, who said he had been cheated of half his fortune, but promised he would send "your money this term". She adds that "a Mob has destroyed and layd waste all the enclosures of the commons about the town this last week. I am affraid it will end seriously if there is not a stop put to it soon; the first Rebellion that ever happened in Carmarthen was about enclosing the Commons. I hope it will not end as it did then".

In 1791 (?2) another child was born, who received the name Grismond. She wrote to her husband on 25 March 1792, "Old Mr Rogers and Mr John Lloyd called on me last Friday, the old gentleman said he was anxious to see another Grismond Philipps before he died; you cannot imagine how many old people has come here to see the child on account of his name", adding that the boys are constant at their books, and ending on a more mundane note, "I assure you I will sell fresh butter every week and have a shilling a pound for it".

John George Philipps had considerable commitments: the expenses of living in London and maintaining the household at Cwmgwili were heavy, and in addition he had to pay an annuity to his mother (who did not die until 1810), while the education of the children, and, in due course, the portions of the daughters, added to his liabilities. Elections and petitions had proved burdensome, and in 1800 he was becoming financially embarrassed. His somewhat offhand attitude to business did not help. On 14 June 1800, his solicitor, John Lloyd of Carmarthen, implored him, "If you intend coming down, do bring the money to pay off the mortgage, if not there is no object in coming. I know your indolence in your concerns and I would wish you could get any friend of yours in Town to be active in the business and the money would soon be got. . . . I know you will excuse the liberties I have taken of digging you out of your indolence".57

To meet his occasions he sold farms in the parishes of Abergwili, Newchurch, Llanllawddog, Llanarthney, and Llandeilofawr, of the estimated capital value of £12,000—£13,000. This was done mainly to enable him to pay off the inherited £4000 mortgage and other debts. The purchase money for those farms amounted to £9000.58 In 1805 he sold part of the woodlands for £1800.

Despite indolence in some matters, he was active enough in others. He took a prominent part in raising and training the militia, served in the Royal Carmarthenshire Fusiliers, first as Captain and then as Major and second-in-command to the commanding officer, Lord Cawdor, and accompanied the regiment when it did duty, for instance, in 1798 at Wrexham, Liverpool, Pewsey (Wiltshire), and elsewhere in England, and for some time at Dublin.

Anne had endured many spells of ill-health, and was ailing for most of 1804 and 1805. Her condition worsened, and on 2 April 1806 she was buried at Abergwili, aged about 45 years. She had been a good, affectionate wife, and J. G. Philipps felt her loss grieviously. However, he soon took a second partner, "On the rebound" so the late Sir Grismond Philipps informed me. Apparently he had proclaimed his intention to marry the first woman he met on his return to Cwmgwili from his wife's funeral. She turned out to be his servant-maid Anne Thomas, whose father kept the Black Horse inn in Water Street, Carmarthen. The marriage settlement was made on 2 December 1807, and they married at Abergwili Church on the 10th of that month.

He had always been plump — in January 1796 a friend wrote to him, "Nash says you are grown fat and indolent" — and in later years grew excessively corpulent, suffering bouts of ill-health, particularly from that popular squirarchical complaint, gout. He died on 26 May 1816, aged 54, and was buried in the family vault in Abergwili church. His will, dated 19 May 1816, was proved in P.C.C. on 11 May 1822. The widow Anne afterwards married, in 1823 at Llangain, Captain Henry Harding, Adjutant of the Royal Carmarthen Fusiliers, who died on 14 September 1830 in his 64th year; on 11 August 1831 the widow married, at St George Hanover Square, her third husband, Captain John Bankes Davies of Myrtle Hill, near Carmarthen.

After saying that Mr Philipps had been a Member of Parliament for nearly twenty years, the obituary notice in The Cambrian for 1 June 1816, went on — "during which time zealously devoted to the principles of Mr Fox, and warmly attached to his person, he almost invariably supported the politics of that distinguished statesman. Well-versed in the laws and history of the country, he was on all occasions an able and upright magistrate. His memory was very retentive, and possessing a fund of anecdote, his presence always enlivened the circle in which he moved. As a landlord he was most indulgent...."

By his first wife Anne (Ball) he had seven children:

  1. Griffith Philipps, born in July 1782, educated at Ystrad Meurig School (Cardiganshire) and at Mr James Edwards's school in Fairford. When twelve years of age he wrote to his father (14 April 1794) ". . . my sister Eliza completes her seventh year today. Eliza and Anne are constantly in school, and merry little Grismond tells everybody 'Papa gon to Lanon, buy pitty sing for Gtsi';" the writer says he would be pleased and obliged for a present, "Not for a pretty thing but for an useful book", and ends, "Mama desires me to ask your opinion of that great, very great man, Danton as you used to call him". On 15 December 1800 he matriculated at Jesus College, Oxford, graduated B.A. in 1806, and proceeded M.A. in the following year. The payments his father had to make for his battels at Jesus College suggest that he was in no way extravagant. He did not enjoy robust health, and died unmarried at Cwmgwili, aged 25 years and was buried at Abergwili on 23 December 1807.
  2. John George Philipps, born in September 1783 — see later.
  3. Elizabeth ("Eliza") Catherine Philipps, born on 14 April 1787, married Peatre Garland of Lincoln Inn, barrister-at-law (her portion, £2000). They lived in London and Michaelston, Essex, and had issue.
  4. Anna Martha Philipps ("Tiddy"), born in August 1788; married on 3 November 1807 at Abergwili, William Edwardes Tucker,59 of Sealyham, Pembrokeshire. A man of bewildering nomenclature, he was born William Tucker Edwardes but in compliance with the request of his uncle, Admiral Tucker, assumed the name of William Edwardes Tucker but afterwards transposed his name into William Tucker Edwardes. He was High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire in 1829, and died on 8 May 1858, aged 74. His widow died in 1876. They had nine children.
  5. Grismond Philipps, born on 5 February 1792 — see later.
  6. Georgianna Jeannetta, born in April 1796, died in December 1799.
  7. Emma Louisa Mary, born in 1802, married at Abergwili on 7 September 1824 Dr Robert Williams, M.D., of Bedford Place,
London, and had issue.

By his second wife Anne (Thomas), he had an only child, Frederic Philipps, born in October 1808, and baptised at Abergwili on 24 March 1818, being then nine years old. When a youth, he lost the sight of one eye after it had been pierced by an arrow accidentally discharged by Dr Henry Lawrence. As a result he wore a black patch over the eye in the manner of a pirate, and became known as "Patch" Philipps. He was a Justice of the Peace and lived for a time at Llwyndu. His path was not wholly smooth; he amassed large debts for which he was thrown into gaol. The poor fellow eventually died of apoplexy in Bristol on 30 August 1838, at the early age of 31, and his remains were brought back for burial at Abergwili. His wife, whom he had married on 28 June 1831, was Elizabeth daughter of Lewis Pugh, publican, of the Castle inn, Haverfordwest. After her husband's death she returned to live at the inn, and was buried at Uzmaston on 23 May 1841. They had at least three children.

John George Philipps the Younger, 1783-1869
John George Philipps received his early education at Ystrad Meurig school, and on 12 March 1796 the master reported that John's "diligent application, his open behaviour, and the fair progress he has made, entitle him to my warmest recommendation". Later in that year he entered the Royal Navy, being thirteen years of age, and went to sea with his father's friend, Admiral John Macbride. John Nash wrote to the young sailor's father on 23 September 1796. "....I have the highest accounts of poor little John — he crawls up the ropes like a young monkey, and there is not a masthead that he had not been at the top. He is extremely liked by every body in the ship and will make a thorough sailor; he is now on his way to the Minotaur where the admiral is about to hoist his flag....none of you ever write to little John. I cannot wonder that you are so bad a correspondent with your friends when you neglect even your son. It will be necessary to assign John an allowance, say £30 a year". Soon, he was to experience what was, mercifully, an unusual occurrence in the Navy, and on 1 May 1797 wrote to his father that he could not have done so sooner as "the men would not let any letter out of the ship without reading, till lately"; and on 11 May tells him that everything will be settled as soon as the King's pardon comes down, that a great many officers had been turned out of different ships by the mutineers, especially Mars and Duke who have no officer at all on board, and that Lord Howe was expected to arrive. By firmness, moderation, and tact, Howe soon brought the sailors back to their allegiance.

He saw active service within two years of joining his ship. In 1798 he was present at the Battle of the Nile, at the capture of Naples, Civita Vecchia, and Rome, and at Barcelona and Egypt. In 1804 he received his first promotion; on 5 March 1806 was appointed Lieutenant of the Lavina; on 8 December of the following year appointed to the sloop Pilot, and on 24 March 1808 to the sloop Speedy. On 2 February 1809 he was serving on the Shirley at Spithead where he had just arrived from Newfoundland after a passage of 21 days, and told his father, "A great bustle prevails here at this moment occasioned by sending the Troops from Spain. I assure you it is very distressing to see the poor fellows almost the whole of them, both Men and Officers, being half naked. All the hospitals here are quite full of the sick and wounded. The mortality is very great amongst them. You can't walk the street without meeting the funeral of some gallant fellow going to his last home, about thirty die daily. Regiments that mustered a thousand strong have only brought home three hundred. Sir John Moore's retreat is supposed to be one of the first that ever was made, the Country has suffered a severe loss in him as he was the only person in our army that Buonaparte would allow to be a General. It is rumoured here that another expedition of sixty thousand men is to be sent off immediately . . . . for some part of Spain. I fear they will be served in the same manner as the last as it is impossible that we can fight against so great a superiority in numbers. If a sufficient force could be sent I have no doubt but we should thrash them. All the Officers that I have seen who have come from Spain agree in saying that the French are not equal to our troops in personal bravery as they could never stand against our charge."60 He added he had received a letter from Mr Morris (the banker) that he (i.e. J.G.P.) had been admitted a burgess of Carmarthen.

This was the "other end" of the retreat from Corunna and the . evacuation of the British troops from Spain.

Between 1809 and 1813 he served as a Lieutenant in H.M Ships Majestic and Redpole, and on 6 May 1814 was appointed in the same rank to the Monmouth or any ship where the flag of Admiral Foley might be flying. Promotion came on 22 October 1814 when he was made Commander of the Reliance, and in the following year he became a Captain in which rank he was to retire later.

The few letters that have survived offer some glimpses of naval affairs during the latter part of his service. On 5 February 1812 he wrote from HMS Monmouth, off the Downs, about "the melancholy fate of the St George, and the Defence, only eighteen members of their crews having been saved after they had foundered in a storm; the body of Captain Atkins of the Defence had been washed ashore, which was to be buried, "by order of the King with the honours of War", and about seventy more bodies were also recovered, but the bodies of Admiral Reynolds and Captain [?Ginon] had not been found. The bodies of two females were washed ashore, and, from her dress, one was believed to be the Admiral's daughter. The St George went down in deep water at Boston on 24 December. He noted that his father had been appointed High Sheriff, which would mean a great deal of work should parliament be dissolved in course of the year.61 Later in the month he wrote to tell his father that "the fleet at this anchorage have subscribed two days pay for the benefit of the relations of those that were lost in the St George and the Defence, and it is expected that such a subscription will be made throughout the Navy; heavy gales have damaged several ships; the Admiral, a heavy man, fell from his horse the other day, but is much better"; "smuggling is carried on to a great extent at this place, several of them of late have been taken"; he expects that Grismond [who was home at Cwmgwilil is as good a sportsman as he is a soldier particularly after the daily practice he takes, but he (the writer) has "knocked down a few snipe this winter"; adding, "I don't think his Royal Highness the Prince Regent so determined a man as what was thought he would be when the restrictions were taken off; it is generally thought here that if the Catholics are not emancipated there will be disturbance in Ireland, such a business would be very unfortunate at the present moment".62

The Monmouth was still off the Downs when he wrote to his father on 15 May 1812. He has learned that Grismond is still at home, but supposes that the affair at Badajos will soon occasion his departure to join the first battalion; when he does go it would be a good thing to get him recommended if possible to General Picton "who appears to be a rising character in the Army and might be of great service to him"; he was sorry to see Mr Thomas Tucker's name in the list of severely wounded, who, he has been informed, is to be one of Picton's aides de camp; it is said promotions will take place on the Prince Regent's birthday, and "I should like very much to be included, pray have you any interest as High Sheriff? I shall be much obliged to you if you will have the goodness to speak to Lord Cawdor about it when you see him"; everybody is quite in a gloom about the assassination of Mr Perceval.63

The last surviving letter from him was sent to his father from the Admiral's Office, Deal, on 8 June 1814. He tells him of "the landing of the allied Sovereigns in England the day before yesterday, and certainly was a most gratifying sight"; the Admiral received them at Dover, taking the writer with him as aide de camp; "before our arrival there we could see the Impregnable with the Royal standards of Russia and Prussia flying at her mastheads, standing over from Boulogne under a press of sail with the squadron following. Dover was then filling very fast besides 3000 troops that had marched in under the Earl of Rosslyn from all quarters were flocking in so that by 5 in the evening the crowd was immense. The tide having ebbed too much in the harbour for the Monarchs to land there, it was set that they should land on the beach directly under one of the forts called Archcliff; a stage provided for the occasion was accordingly placed there, and the troops were stationed in two lines from thence to Mr Hector's house which was prepared for the Emperor, and again from thence to the York Hotel where the King took up his residence. At 5 the Impregnable with the whole Squadron anchored in the road, at 6 the Sovereigns shoved off in the barge accompanied by His Royal Highness and followed by all the boats under two Royal salutes from the ships. The yards were manned and three cheers given at the same time. When they were about half way on shore a general cheer from the immense crowd welcomed them to the British shore, and upon landing they were received, under two Royal salutes from all the batteries, by Lords Rosslyn and Yarmouth, the Russian and Prussian Embassardors, General Barlow and a great many military officers, Admiral Foley and a great many naval officers. The Sovereigns appeared much pleased at the attention shewn them. They conversed and shook hands with a great many people very cordially. The Emperor is a very fine looking fellow about 5 foot 11 in height, very square about the shoulders, well made, and pleasing in his manner. He looks younger than he is, and struck me at first sight to be in his countenance not unlike what Mr Davies of Penylan was 20 years ago. The King is taller but thinner in his person than the Emperor. He looks about 40, was dressed in his uniform and has very much the appearance of a soldier. I was also gratified with the sight of Blucher and Platoff the Hetman of the Cossacks. They are both fine looking old men. Blucher was particularly well received by the soldiers as he passed between the lines. They all cheered him and as many shook hands with him as could get near him. They stopped at Dover that night, and set off for London early next morning."64

After leaving the Navy he returned to Carmarthen. Like all his family he was a Whig, and made a brief incursion into politics, when in the Reform election of 1831 he contested the Borough against the Tory John Jones of Ystrad. Feelings ran high, and as a result of the rioting that broke out soon after the poll was opened, the borough sheriffs declined to make a return, and on 30 April certified they had been unable to execute the writ "from the uproar, tumult and violence which prevailed", whereupon the House of Commons directed that a new election be held. As a precaution, a large force of constables was drafted to maintain order, and a force of dragoons quartered in Llandeilo. Nevertheless violence continued during the polling but not to the extent at the former poll, and on 25 August Jones was returned with 274 votes to Philipps's 203.

On 1 February 1808 J. G. Philipps had married Frances Eliza Hawford, his address being then given as Furnace House, Carmarthen, and it was there that they were still living in 1835. Later they settled at Ystradwrallt near Nantgaredig. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant in 1821, was a Justice of the Peace, and served the office of Mayor of Carmarthen in 1817 and again in 1836.

A list of the farms and lands of the Cwmgwili estate, made in 1821, shows its extent to be as follows:
Abergwili parish. Cwmgwili demesne, Cwmgwili Mill, Danyrhiw, stable at Abergwili, Rhydwyalchen, Rhydyrhaw, Trefynis, Pentrefynis fields, Machroes, Tir y Graig, Grug House, Baily glas, Glantowy, Cwmhowell, Rwythfawr, Fald fields and Parkcapel, Capel bach, Foes Mawr.
Newchurch parish. Blaenige, Falefach, fields in Folefawr, Llechigon, Pistillgwyon and Godrewene, Waunllane issa, Clynmelyn slangs, Bwlch Tomlid, Pantau, Henallt (part), Ffynnon Wiber, Penllwyncrwn.
Merthyr parish. Place y parke, Cwmdyhen, Nantypair, Park y berllan, Tir y banal.
County of the Borough of Carmarthen. Henallt. House in town (Mr Tardrew), Weir and fields (Dr Morgan), Cots and fields.
Llanegwad parish. Ddolwyrdd.
Llanpumpsaint parish. Bedw bach, Derimisk, Derwen groes.

Captain J. G. Philipps died in April 1869. He had the following children:

  1. John George Hawford Philipps, born 19 February 1809, entered the army, served in the 61st Foot, and attained the rank of Captain. He lived sometime at Sarnau, Meydrim parish, and at Ystradwrallt, and was a magistrate; married Elizabeth only child of Edmond James, R.N.; he died on 15 November 1864, aged 55, and was survived by his wife who died on 23 May 1886, aged 71. They had five children - (a) John George Philipps, born on 31 August 1846, died on 22 March 1854. (b) Vaughan Lloyd Philipps born at Sarnau on 14 April 1848, admitted to the Middle Temple on 18 April 1868, became a magistrate, and a lieutenant in the Carmarthenshire Artillery Militia: he died on 26 January 1885. (c) Elizabeth Philipps, died an infant in 1849. (d) Emma Ellen Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 19 August 1850, married in 1879, Antony William John Stokes of St Botolphs, Pembrokeshire, lived for some time at Ystradwrallt, and had issue. (e) Elizabeth Frances ("Lilla") Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 5 January 1851, died on 11 July 1883.
  2. Griffith Grismond Philipps, born 28 November 1811, entered the Royal Navy, served as a Lieutenant in the Royal William, the Cornwallis (1838), Seringapatam (1839), Hecate (1845), Acheron (1847), Merlin (1855), and on 26 May 1856 was appointed Commander of HM Sloop Scout, and later retired in that rank. When in Carmarthen he lived at Ferryside65 By his wife, Georgina Wilkinson of Barbadoes, whom he married in 1852, he had five children: (a) Fanny Philipps, married on 18 January 1877, J. H. Sandwith, R.M. (b) Georgina Elizabeth Emma Philipps, married on 20 August 1879, R. Manning Driver of Cromwell Road, S.W. (c) Magdalen Philipps. (d) Griffith Grismond Philipps, Lieut. R.N., married on 30 April 1895, the youngest daughter of William Arthur of Wellesburn, Compton Clifford, near Plymouth. (e) John George Philipps.
  3. Grismond Frederic Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 22 November 1815.
  4. Emma Eliza Philipps, born 1814, married John Jeffreys de Winton of Maesderwen, Breconshire, and had issue.
  5. Lloyd Price Philipps, captain in E.I.C.S. He married a daughter of Thomas Tardrew, druggist, of Guildhall Square, Carmarthen.
  6. George Vaughan Philipps, entered the Royal Navy, and on 3 May 1853 was appointed Lieutenant in H.M.S. Royal William. He married, firstly, a Miss Galley, and secondly, a daughter of Nicholas Brabyn of Llanelli.
  7. Herbert Folkes Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 11 July 1817, buried on 2 June 1843.
  8. Cecil Elizabeth Philipps, eldest daughter, unmarried in 1850.
  9. Georgina Catherine Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 2 August 1820.
  10. Mary Anne Philipps, privately baptised in London on 19 October 1831, publicly at Abergwili on 12 August 1832.
  11. William Thomas Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 20 February 1822.
  12. Charles Henry Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 16 January 1824.
  13. Edmund Garland Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 7 July 1825.
  14. Lloyd Rice Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 5 March 1827. He lived in Abergwili village, married Maria Anne and their daughter Augusta Louisa was baptised on 26 October 1866.
  15. George Vaughan Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 30 November 1829.
  16. Elizabeth Grace Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 5 August 1834.

Grismond Philipps, 1792-1850
Grismond Philipps, younger son of John George Philipps and Anne (Ball) his wife, was baptised at Abergwili on 12 February 1792, and educated at Lewis Turnor's school at Bradmore House, Hammersmith. A letter he wrote to his father on 7 June 1806 is interesting for its account of the school curriculum. He tells his father that he pays attention to arithmetic, geometry, composition, and versification, and "Latin I am of course required to study every day. The authors I read are Ovid's Metamophoses and Terence to which my attention has been regularly directed during this half-year. I therefore, flatter myself that I have not laboured without deriving very considerable benefit. And to French I have not been less attentive, conscious that I cannot, with any degree of credit to myself, leave a school where I have had opportunities of acquiring a thorough knowledge of it, without having availed myself of them. And since I constantly read French into English, and write French exercises every afternoon, I do not think that you will hereafter find that I have neglected the advantages I have. And since I daily read French, I have some hope that I shall acquire a good accent and proper pronunciation. The French master is very particular with us in this respect".

At first his father had intended to send him to Oxford, but it was decided later that he should take up a military career. In July 1809 he was gazetted a 2nd Lieutenant in the 23rd Regiment, the purchase money being £450. In August he reported to Horsham Barracks, and was briskly engaged in buying uniform and other necessaries of an officer's life. These included a bed £14 14 0, boots and shoes £4, pantaloons £1 14 0, mess fees £3 3 0, great-coat £4 14 0, feather 2s 6d, gorget 10s 6d, furnishing his room £4, and jacket and trousers for his servant £1. He found that mess cost a good deal of money £2 4 0 every week, 14 shillings for dinner, is 6d every afternoon for wine, and is for breakfast. On 12 September he wrote to his father that they had received very bad news from Flushing, all the soldiers were sick except 40, and that he expected to be sent to join the regiment. On 11 October the regiment was ordered to march in a few days' time from Horsham to Colchester, and Grismond asked his father for money to help to pay a mess bill and marching expenses, but on 29 October he wrote that as so many officers were sick the regiment would not march till the following Spring.

Like many young subalterns he found his pay inadequate to support his inclinations, and had to apply to his father on numerous occasions for assistance. On 29 August 1810, Lieut. Col. William Wyatt, commanding the 2nd Bn 23rd Regiment, wrote to John George Philipps saying that he trusted there would be no further necessity for Lieut. Philipps to make demands on him, for "he has promised to he more cautious in the future. I consider £80 for the first year is adequate for a young gentleman entering the army, but after the first year I do not think a subaltern can do with less than £100 . . . . Lieut. Philipps's debts have arisen from imprudence and not vice".

In 1810 he was posted to the 1st Battalion, then due for overseas service in Wellington's army. In the following year he was fighting in the Peninsula, and on 19 May 1811 wrote from "Field of Battle near Albuaria". 66 "Dear Father, I have only just time to inform you that the army under the command of General Beresford (to which our Regiment was attached) had had a severe engagement with the French under the command of Soult in which they were entirely defeated with the loss of about 8000 men killed and wounded having left the latter in our hands. I have escaped unhurt thank God for it, as it is Wonderfull to me how I did. Our Brigade consisting of the 1 & 2 Batt of the 7th Reg and our own was ordered to charge a column of the enemy which we did in a most Gallant manner. We advanced to within about twenty paces of them without firing a shot when our men gave three cheeres, and fired, the enemy broke in great confusion. We followed them, but were obliged to retreat as their cavalry were going to make a charge on us. The Brigade entered the Field two thousand five hundred strong and we can now only muster 700 men, the strength of our . . . . may . . . . a slaughter . . . . been. The British Tre . . . amounted 7000, and .... killed and wounded . . . . will then the baseness of the ... . as I am obliged to enter the . . . . and write on my knees . . . . every time to say that from the fatigue I have undergone I have been obliged to borrow 50 Dollars to buy a horse and have . . . . a bill upon for the money with I trust you will have the goodness to accept . . . . give . . . . remember . . . . Mrs Evans . . . . I am / Dear Father / your dutiful son / G. Philipps."

At the end of the Peninsular War the Regiment returned to England, and the young lieutenant enjoyed some well-deserved leave at Cwmgwili until the re-emergence of Napoleon brought an abrupt halt to his enjoyments. On 19 March 1815, the adjutant Captain John Enoch, wrote informing him that orders had been received to hold the 23rd in readiness for embarkation for foreign service, and that Lieut Philipps was to proceed immediately to join battalion headquarters at Gosport. In the event, the battalion was engaged at Waterloo, suffering 100 casualties, including the Colonel killed, but Grismond escaped unscathed. After the peace, the regiment returned to England and in 1820 was stationed at Horsham and Lewes, and we find Grismond writing to his brother, John George Philipps, for money to meet his pressing occasions. He retired with the rank of captain and came to live at Cwmgwili.

When he married, on 11 July 1822, at Llansaint church, he was living at Croft Cottage, Llanllwch, within the parish of St Peter's, Carmarthen. His wife Catherine was daughter of John Warlow, a well-to-do wine and brandy merchant of Haverfordwest, and Catherine Picton daughter of John Picton of Poyston near Haverfordwest and Cecil daughter and heiress of the Revd John Powell of Llandough, Glamorgan. Mrs Catherine Warlow's brother was the renowned General Sir Thomas Picton who fell at Waterloo. Grismonds' father-in-law eventually bought Castle Hall near Milford, to which he retired.

By the prenuptial settlement dated the day before the wedding, Grismond settled Glantowy, Ffosymaen, Tir y Graig in Abergwili parish to the uses of the marriage, and assured £300 per annum for his bride in lieu of dower during widowhood. The trustees were the Revd Edward Picton of Iscoed (brother of the General), David John Edwardes and Henry Lewis Edwardes Gwynne both of Rhydygors, and the bridegroom's brother, John George Philipps.

Later they moved to Cwmgwili. Grismond Philipps kept diaries, and those for the years 1833-1849 have survived, providing interesting glimpses of the life of a country gentleman of that period. Although brief, often terse, the entries are sufficient to reveal the writer as kindly, humane, and conscientious, devoted to his wife and children, and enjoying a happy domestic life. Fond of the open air, he was a tremendous walker and often went on foot to Carmarthen and back, to Abergwili church, and to see tenants and friends in the district.

As a county and a borough magistrate he was closely concerned with administration of justice and county affairs that came within the ambit of Quarter Sessions held alternatively at Carmarthen and Llandeilo. There was as much civil as criminal business at the Sessions in those days. He attended often as a Grand Juror at the Assizes, and waited on the judge. On 3 March 1833 he attended the judge to St Peter's church, and afterwards dined with him at Mr Jones's house, Ystrad; on the following day he gave evidence against "the rioters", George Thomas and Woolcock, but the jury acquitted them; and on the day after, he dined with the borough Grand Jury. Complaints about "judge's lodgings" are by no means new. On 16 July 1834 we are informed that the Quarter Sessions engaged new lodgings for the judge, "he having complained of the old". Some alarm must have been caused in court on 11 July 1837, when Grismond was a Grand Juror, and he reported in the diary that "the Judge had a fit". On these occasions the Grand Jurors dined together at some hostelry, the "Bush" for instance (1840).

Like all his forebears he was closely associated with Carmarthen, and served as Mayor in 1827 and again in 1833. He was already a county magistrate, and on 4 November 1833 qualified as Borough magistrate. He sat on the Borough bench on 2 January 1834 when Mr Price the saddler was fined £8 and costs for buying hides from the wreck of the Brothers of Liverpool; and on 11 February Grismond and the Revd Edward Picton of Iscoed, rode to inspect the Brothers, where they "took up some of the wreck". The magistrates scrutinised very carefully all administrative matters and appointments brought before them, and on 25 April 1834 for instance refused to confirm the appointment of the general overseers for St Peter's parish because they considered them unsuitable.

It was a time of agricultural distress in west Wales, which culminated in the Rebecca Riots, aimed principally at turnpike gates and tolls which were particularly burdensome for the farmers. Grismond Philipps felt the impact of the economic difficulties and there are several references to the rents being "slow coming in". He was on the Bench at Carmarthen on 2 November 1833 when two men were fined for refusing to pay tolls. He had been closely associated with road improvements, and the diaries record his attendances at Turnpike Trust meetings between 1836 and 1846, held at Carmarthen, Pensarn, Llangyndeyrn, Llanelli and elsewhere in the county. Matters did not improve, the grimalkin Rebecca raised her viper-wreathed head, and riots broke out. On 19 June 1843 Grismond noted that there was "a tremendous row" in Carmarthen and "the military sent for a troop of the 4th Light Dragoons". Matters were not improved by the slowness of the authorities in trying to resolve grievances, and when the magistrates met in Carmarthen on 22 and 23 June to discuss "the state of the country", Grismond noted "nothing done". These words also follow several meetings of the Trusts which he attended. An example of the attitude of the disaffected appeared in a Welsh notice affixed to some buildings in Felin Wen near Abergwili, which read, in translation:
"Notice. We as children from our childhood have heard our respected mother give her opinion on several things, and it is Justice she wants and will have. The notice is given to any person or persons that takes any farm before asking and getting leave from the present holder, that his life and property will be in danger. For that, let all persons after this notice take care that they do not take Ty Llwyd, Abergwiliy, &c. Furthermore be it known to the Landlord that he must lower his rents as other respected great men do; if not we shall see him according to our promise. [signed] Charlotte and Lidia. Castle Newidd. Awst 5/43".

On 16 March 1846 he walked to Carmarthen to attend a Board Road Meeting "respecting moving the gates. Nothing done", but when he went to a similar meeting on 1 July following he was able to note "the gates were removed on Monday".

The liaison between the gentry and the forces of law and order is reflected in Grismond's diaries. Time and again he dined at the messes of the military units that had arrived to quell disorders, and often entertained officers to dinner at Cwmgwili and invited them to sporting pastimes — shooting, hunting, fishing, horse-racing, etc. Thus, on 1 July 1843, Colonel Love and the officers of the 4th Dragoons called at Cwmgwili where "the haymakers were alarmed at their appearance". On the following day he returned the call, and two days later "went to see the cavalry exercise". On 22 February 1844 Lieut Keightley of the 76th Regiment called, on 27 September Lieuts Holding and Deacon of the 13th Dragoons dined with him, and on 16 October 1845 Captain Hamilton and Lieut Clutterbuck of the 37th Regiment; on 29 August, accompanied by his two daughters he drove to a picnic at Kidwelly given by the officers of the 6th Dragoons; and on 12 November he walked to Carmarthen to dine with the officers of the 37th. On 10 August 1846 he and his son, young Grismond, dined at the mess of the 37th, and on 12 September he called on the dragoons. On 14 June 1847 he noted that Capt Hammersley's troop of the 1st Dragoon Guards marched into Carmarthen, and on 16 October following he called on the officers of the 43rd then stationed in the town.

Such attachment was natural in a former regular officer, and whose son had entered his father's former regiment. He entertained several old comrades at his home. On 3 November 1841 he recorded that "Morden an old brother officer" had dined at Cwmgwili, and on 18 December 1844 he "heard from my old friend Dean of the 23rd"; on 18 October 1849, Major Enoch of the 23rd arrived and stayed a couple of days, and on Monday 19 November he recorded, "The Colours of the 23rd Regt in which I served [were] placed in Carmarthen church, escorted by the 14th Regt and 5th Dragoon Guards", and when he went to that church on the following Sunday he tells us that he "sat under the Colours of my dear old Regiment the 23 RWF". The authorities had been extremely slow in sending him medals to which he was entitled, but on 12 February 1849 he noted that he "received my Peninsular medals", and on the following evening proudly "went to the Ball [at Carmarthen] with my Peninsular medals on".

Voluntary work took up much of his time. He attended numerous parish and vestry meetings at Abergwili. He had reason to regret his attendance on 4 April 1833 to appoint overseers — "Dined there, and smoked a pipe which made me very ill". He was an active member of the Board of Guardians and took part in improving the poorhouse, and on 4 July 1836 attended the first meeting of the Board at Carmarthen. His humane feelings are reflected in his conduct in April 1847, when he attended meetings at Abergwili to discuss ways to "assist the poor to set potatoes", and personally went around the parish "to collect for the poor".

A good churchman, he attended both Abergwili and St Peter's churches. Accompanied by his wife and children, he sometimes walked, sometimes rode in the carriage, and when a sermon was particularly good, noted the text in his diary. On 3 February when the Revd Mr Jones "read himself into Abergwilly church", he noted "an excellent sermon". He was particularly impressed with the Revd Mr Bevan who preached at St Peter's from Timothy 16. 15. on 7 April 1833. When the weather proved forbidding he sensibly stayed at home, but by no means neglected religious observances — 'dyletswydd teulu' as old Welsh folk called it. When obliged to stay at home on Sunday 1 December 1833, he "read prayers to my children and wife"; on Sunday 24 January 1847, the weather confined the family to the house, and "I read prayers at home to the children"; and Sunday 10 September 1849 was a "wet day, no church, read prayers at home". He was conversant with Welsh, and recorded being present with his family in Abergwili church on 9 November 1834, when the service was conducted in that language. On Sunday 18 March 1849, accompanied by his five daughters, he walked to St Peter's church, Carmarthen, and afterwards Mr W. R. H. Powell of Maesgwynne, the High Sheriff, walked back to Cwmgwili with them. When staying with friends and relations, such as at Iscoed and Haverfordwest, he never neglected Sabbath observance, and on one occasion (30 March 1834) rode from Haverfordwest to a service at St Davids Cathedral, sixteen miles away. On 27 May 1835 he was at Carmarthen to see the foundation stone "of the new church laid", being somewhat discomfited by "a severe thunderstorm during the ceremony"; and on 6 October 1842 walked to the town "to hear the Bishop's charge". An old custom is recalled by the entry for Wednesday 10 October 1849, when, together with his children, he walked to St Peter's church, being "a fast day and humiliation for the cholera" (known in the days of my youth as cyfarfod ymostyngiad). The Bishop of St Davids and other clergymen, were frequent callers at Cwmgwili.

Like all Welsh gentry of that period, Grismond Philipps farmed. Accordingly, he could sympathise with his tenants during difficult times, knowing from personal experience the results of bad harvests, low prices, the costs of feeding stuffs and other necessaries. Neither could a tenant impose upon one who "know it at first hand". He conducted mixed farming, grew crops of wheat, oats, barley, and hay; kept sheep, pigs, and calves for the market and for home consumption; grew fine crops of potatoes and turnips; but the main emphasis was on cattle. The entries in the diaries indicate the scope of his activities and are particularly valuable to students of economic history since he often includes prices. Thus, on 21 May 1833 he bought a cow and calf at a sale at Towy Castle, but "on coming home a stallion kicked the calf, which was killed by a butcher on the spot", and adds feelingly, "I got 5 shillings for it"; on Sunday, 14 July 1833, "the bull broke out of the field and alarmed Davies", and in September wisely sold the lively animal for £5; he attended the pig-fair at Carmarthen on 13 August 1833, and at the Alltygog sale on 4 September bought ten mows of wheat at 19 shillings each; on 17 January 1834 he bought 20 sheep at 13s 4d each; his fondness for attending fairs took him regularly to Abergwili, Carmarthen, and Mydrim. The entry for 15 April 1842 contains this interesting piece of information — "John Brown's fair held at Abergwilly, the Corporation of Carmarthen (where this fair was usually held) having raised the tolls". He made a careful note of happenings to his cows — "Nancy and Deborah took the bull", "Polly calved a she-calf", "Margaretta calved a female", and so on. In 1835-6 he bought a cow at Goode's sale for £8 15 0, a "bait horse" for £16 15 0, and a chestnut mare for £21. He attended Agricultural Meetings at Carmarthen, and competed in cattle shows; on 2 October 1846 he took cattle to Abergwili fair, but as prices were so low, brought them home again; on 9 June 1846 he "ringed the bull's nose"; and on 2 August of the following year thatched a haystack, but a week later had to open it because it had "heated too much", a hazard of old-time farming.

He was interested in afforestation, and planted numerous trees in hedgerows and around Cwmgwili to provide shelter for man and beast in wintry weather, as well as several plantations which in due course would have commercial value. In 1835 he sold trees in Cwm wood for £40, and four years later sold a quantity of bark to a tanner. He was particularly fond of flowers and flowering bushes which he planted around the house and in the garden. In February 1833 he was busily engaged in pruning the rosebushes and in January 1836 planted rhododendrons and lilac in the shrubbery. He produced a home-made weed deterrent, and in 1833 noted in his diary, "Grass or weeds springing up amongst gravel or in courtyards may be destroyed for years by mixing a pound of sulphur and a pound of lime in a couple of gallons of water, and pouring this liquor over the weeds".

His recreations consisted mainly of field sports — fox and otter hunting, beagling, shooting, and fishing. The Carmarthenshire packs with which he hunted met at Maesycrigie, Bronwydd Arms, Pantycendy (Capt Evans' hounds), Glangwili, and other places. He notes on 13 February 1833, hounds found near New Inn and "ran him into Cardiganshire", and on 27 March 1846 hounds met at Glangwili gate and killed a bag fox after a fast run of twenty-five minutes. In Pembrokeshire he hunted with Edwardes of Sealyham and with Mr Roch of Butter Hill's hounds (1835). On 22 February 1833 after dining with Mr Rees of White House they went coursing together and killed two hares, but Grismond found it "bad sport", and "Mr Rees very dull"; in October and November he hunted with Howell's beagles and saw fourteen hares killed. On 1 October 1833 he went shooting and killed a pheasant; and in December 1844 he went rabbit shooting at Iscoed where "little Bean the spaniel bit me when taking a jay from him". Most of his fishing was done on the Gwili, Towy, and Teifi, and his best catch seems to have been 19 sewin taken in a weir on the Gwili on 20 August 1845. He attended race meetings at Carmarthen, Haverfordwest, and Newgale, and in April 1833 attended the steeplechase at Cheltenham when he happened to be there on legal business. Occasionally he was present at a private match, such as that on 20 January 1847 when his son Grismond's horse ran unsuccessfully against Mr Davies of Penallt's mare.

To ward off indoor tedium he played at cards, and when in Haverfordwest, at billiards. The sums he won or lost at these diversions were very small, ranging from one to six shillings. I suppose we can include bets in this category. Making bets on all sorts of matters was then a popular pastime, usually made after dinner, sometimes in order to settle an argument. On two occasions in 1833, when dining at Cwmgwili, Mr Goode (the estate agent) bet £5 with Mr B. Davies of Maesycrigie, that the rental of the Glanbran estate in 1807 or 1808 was £5000: at another dinner there, Mr Goode bet Mr B. Davies that Mr Llewellyn's glasshouse was longer than his garden; on 9 November 1834, the inveterate Mr B. Davies bet Mr Philipps six bottles of champagne that Mrs (?Hitton) had not had a child by her present husband; on 28 April 1835 Mr Saunders of Glanrhydw bet Mr Philipps a dinner "for the present party" that there would be rooks fit to shoot on 29 of April.

He was loyal to friends, and whenever death or other mishap befell them, was genuinely upset. He felt some responsibility for their actions, and became apprehensive when they took a step which he himself felt to be unwise. When his old friend John Davies decided to take a partner, he entered in his diary on 27 July 1843, "John Davies married this day to Mrs Jones widow of old Jones the Banker of Llandovery — God help him".

His home life was harmonious. He suffered much from gout, and as he was a bon viveur there is little doubt of the cause of that painful affliction. Mrs Philipps does not seem to have enjoyed robust health, and spent longish spells with her kinsfolk in Pembrokeshire. They were very fond of each other, and although there were occasional tiffs they were soon patched up. When confined to the house on a rainy Sunday in February 1844, he admits being "out of temper with my wife; she threatened to cut my throat; in bed early; my throat not cut"; but within a few days he was referring to her as "my dear wife". On 23 October 1846, she was out of humour with him, and he recorded "Catherine my wife calls me a fat ...(the last word defies interpretation, mercifully perhaps). He was extremely indulgent to his children, their illnesses caused him much unease, and any death in the family much anguish. The little girls were sent to a boarding school at Haverfordwest. The boys were educated in a private school at Llanstephan, and he often drove them in a carriage to Iscoed, then to the Ferry whence they crossed the estuary by boat. He took his wife and children to picnics at Dynevor and Llanarthney, to circuses and concerts at Carmarthen, on trips into Pembrokeshire, and his sons accompanied him on hunting, shooting and fishing expeditions. Occasionally some trips were made by water, as on 14 August 1847 when he took his wife and three daughters in a carriage to the bend in the river below Green Castle, "where the steamer stops", whence they sailed down the Towy to the open sea and so on to Tenby.

The family enjoyed holidays at Haverfordwest, Little Haven, Tenby, and Ferryside. During the years 1833-49, he only ventured far afield on three occasions — to Gloucester 1833 on legal business, to London in January 1840 when his son Grismond entered King's College, and in December 1847 when he accompanied his son Jack to buy the latter's uniform to go to Madras as a Cadet in the H.E.I.C. The speed with which post coaches took him may be judged from the fact that on 22 January 1840 he left Carmarthen at 5 a.m., arrived in Cheltenham at 9 p.m. and got to London in the evening of the 23rd. After seeing the Zoological Gardens and visiting the theatre, he started his homeward journey at 8 p.m. on 28 January, and arrived at Cwmgwili at 9 p.m. the following day. The travelling in December 1840 was equally fast; leaving London on the 24th, and arriving in Cwmgwili at 4 p.m. on Christmas Day.

On 10 November 1842 Philipps's friend John Jones of Ystrad (the political hatchet had long been buried) died. When the sale of Jones's effects took place on 9 August of the following year, Grismond Philipps turned up early with a purseful of guineas in his pocket. The main reason for his attendance was because a fine portrait of the celebrated General Sir Thomas Picton was listed in the catalogue. This, with some other things, he bought and proudly bore away to Cwmgwili much to the delight of Mrs Philipps, the General's niece. The portrait required cleaning and on 11 January 1847 he took it to Mr Francis, a portrait painter at Carmarthen, who had agreed to undertake the work. At the same time he commissioned the artist to paint portraits of his sons Grismond and John. After several sittings in January and February the sons' portraits were completed, and the father pronounced them "a good likeness". So far, so good. But Mr Francis fell behind hand with the rent, whereupon the owner of the house, Thomas Joseph, seized the General's portrait saying he intended to impound it until the tenant had cleared the arrears. When Grismond Philipps heard of the turn of events, he was furious and demanded the portrait as his property. Joseph refused to hand it over, and in April the aggrieved owner brought an action in the courts. The trial took place on 20 October, and a verdict was given for the plaintiff. He recorded in his diary — "In town about my picture and the trial. Sir Thomas Picton returned to me".

The diaries tell us little about the management of the estate, and contain no hint of financial difficulties. However, the deeds convey a different impression. On 21 November 1833 Grismond mortgaged Ffoesymaen, Tyngraig, and Llechigon, to William Evans of Haverfordwest, solicitor, for £1000, and by way of additional security assigned his life insurance policy for the like sum. In 1840 Evans assigned mortgage and policy to the widow Mary Lewis of Walton, Pembrokeshire, and four years later she assigned them to two farmers, William Lewis of New Moat and James Lewis of Walton East. The mortgages were redeemed in 1846.

On 3 November 1838 he mortgaged Blaenige to the widow Eliza Jones of Quay Street, Carmarthen, for £1000, which he redeemed on 6 July 1846; on 18 May 1839 he gave a bond for the payment of £200 to David Evans of Clyngwyn, Newchurch parish, and on 31 March 1840 a bond for £150 to George Williams of Ffoesymaen; on 25 April 1842 he mortgaged Vole-vach, Cwmgwili Mill, Porthdwy otherwise Cwmduhen, and Nantypair, for £700 to the widow Anne Mapleton of Carmarthen executrix of Elizabeth Cow of Carmarthen, deceased; on 3 January 1843 he mortgaged Cwmgwili Mill for £200 to David Cozens of Carmarthen, which he redeemed three years later; on 8 February 1844 he mortgaged Glantowy, Rwythfawr, Tirygraig, Machrosfach, Ffaid, Cwm, Cwmcastell fach, Penlan crwn, and Nantypair, to Thomas Parry of Carmarthen for £500, and on 28 December in the same year gave a bond for payment of £253 and interest to David Price, tailor, of Cork Street, Westminster; on 14 June 1847 he mortgaged the capital messuage and demesne lands of Henallt to Thomas Eaton of Haverfordwest, land-agent, for the considerable sum of £5,500, and on 15 December of the same year Henallt farm to the widow Mary Berry of Tenhy, for £200.

Although these incumbrances may seem considerable, the capital value of the properties far exceeded the sums in which they were mortgaged and so long as interest was paid, the mortgages could stand or be assigned until the mortgagor found it convenient to pay them off. His main income came from the estate rental, augmented by farming activities, sale of timber, and royalties from quarries, such as the one at Blaenige.

His stepmother, Anne, continued to enjoy a life interest in the estate, and on 3 August 1841 joined with her then husband John Bankes Davies of Myrtle Hill, and her stepson Grismond Philipps, to grant a lease for lives of a parcel of land at Plasyparke (Merthyr parish) to William Jones of Dover Hill, Merthyr parish, tailor, who agreed to erect a dwelling house thereon.

Grismond Philipps died at Cwmgwili on 28 April 1850, in his fifty-ninth year. By his will, made at Croft Cottage, Llanllwch, on 22 July 1828, proved in London on 27 May 1850, he left everything to his wife Catherine. She died on 20 May 1854.

They had the following children:

  1. Grismond Philipps, born 4 October 1824 — see later.
  2. Edmund Garland Philipps, died on 10 March 1826, aged 8 months.
  3. Edward Philipps, born in 1828, died at Haverfordwest and was buried at 8 of the clock in the morning of 8 December 1837 at St Mary's church in that town.
  4. George Henry John ("Jack") Philipps, received a cadetship in the E.I.C. Service in the 1840s, and sailed to Madras. He became a Lieutenant in the 41st Madras Native Infantry, and obtained his company in 1862. He married and had three children (a) Grismond Philipps. (b) Alice Philipps, and (c) Blanche Elizabeth ("By") Philipps who married Colonel James FitzGerald of the Berar Commission and had a son, James FitzGerald and a daughter Cecil Blanche FitzGerald, who married George Ivon Woodham-Smith, solicitor in 1928. Mrs Cecil Woodham-Smith is the well-known historian of our day.
  5. William Philipps, born on 22 June 1832 — the "dear little William" of his father's diary — was placed in school at Llanstephan in July 1838. He settled at Llandeilo. On 18 September 1861 married Ellen Mary Powell Watkins only child of Hugh Powell Watkins of Merton, Bishopston, Glamorgan. He died on 19 May 1908, his wife having predeceased him on 19 August 1901. They had the following children : (a) Charles Henry Philipps of El Tab, Pessara, Ceylon, tea planter, who died unmarried in London on 1 October 1916. (b) Charlotte Augusta Philipps, died unmarried on 11 August 1950. (c) Arthur Edward Philipps of Fulham died unmarried, 15 November 1935. (d) John Vaughan Philipps of Bath, Chief Constable, died unmarried 1 May 1950. (e) Hugh Grismond Philipps of Llandeilo, solicitor, married Elizabeth and died on 26 September 1936. (f) William Picton Philipps of Rhosmaen, Llandeilo, Chief Constable of Carmarthenshire, married, firstly Ruth daughter of Sir Brodrick Hartwell, Bart., by whom he had three daughters; and secondly, Mrs. Valentine by whom he had John William Picton Philipps, solicitor.
  6. Cecil Elizabeth Philipps, born 14 February 1826, married on 14 February 1860 James Baillie of Enniskillen, captain 82nd Foot. He became a Major-General and died on 7 January 1901, aged 84. His wife died on 15 November 1892, aged 66. Both were buried at Abergwili. They had issue.
  7. Catherine Anne Prudence Philipps, born 15 April 1830, married on 14 March 1851, as his second wife, Walter Rice Howell Powell of Maesgwynne, landowner, progressive farmer, Master of Fox Hounds, in 1849 High Sheriff, and from 1880 to 1885 Member of Parliament (Liberal) for Carmarthenshire. Owing to his low stature he was affectionately known as "Y Dyn Bach"; he died on 25 June 1889. Their 2nd daughter and coheiress married in 1874 William Francis Roch of Butter Hill (1849-1889), by whom she had Mary Catherine Roch, ultimate heiress of Maesgwynne, who in 1907 married Wilmot Vaughan, by whom she had issue.
  8. Charlotte Maria Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 10 October 1833, married before 1860, Frederick Augustus Edwardes of Pilroath, Llangain parish.
  9. Frances Philipps, married on 31 March 1860 Arthur Henry Saunders-Davies of Pentre, Pembrokeshire, who served as High Sheriff in 1861. They had issue.
  10. Anne Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 30 January 1838, married Professor J. Brandt, M.A., on 25 April 1882 at Holy Trinity private chapel, at Pentre, Pembrokeshire.
  11. Mary Anne Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 8 March 1836.

The Later Grismonds
Grismond Philipps the eldest son, was born at Croft Cottage, Llanllwch, on 4 October 1824, entered King's College, London, in January 1840, and from there was commissioned into the family regiment, the 23rd, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. On 12 July 1842, his father noted in his diary — "My dear son Gris left his home to join his regt, the 23rd. God bless him. Went off in good spirits". In 1844-49 (and later) he served with the regiment in Canada. He retired before 1854 as a Captain and returned to live in Cwmgwili. He was a Justice of the Peace, and in 1865 was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for the county.

On 28 February 1854 he married Mary Anne daughter of Captain Thomas Bowen of Pantyderi, north Pembrokeshire, a former officer in the 10th Hussars. By the marriage settlement, dated three days before the wedding, Grismond Philipps settled the Cwmgwili estate in the parishes of Abergwili, Abernant, Llanegwad, Merthyr, Newchurch, and St Peter's, Carmarthen, to the uses of the marriage. The two most important of the properties were the capital messuages of Cwmgwili and Wythfawr. The bride's dower was £1000 and she was assured a jointure of £300 a year for life from her husband's estate. During the years 1858-60 he sold a large number of farms in order to pay off incumbrances on the estate, which amounted to over £20,000.

He died at Cwmgwili on 11 September 1891, and his widow in 1902. By his will dated 16 December 1871 he bequeathed wines, liquors, fuel and other consumable household stores and provisions, linen, china, and glass, to his wife absolutely, and bequeathed his other furniture and utensils, books, pictures, prints, and plate (including "the plate left me by Colonel Chester") to trustees to hold to the use of his wife for life and afterwards to be enjoyed by those entitled to the Cwmgwili demesne estate, and directed that Colonel Chester's plate "be kept and retained in my family as an heir loom".

They had the following children:

  1. Grismond Philipps, born November 1867 — see later.
  2. John Picton Philipps, born October 1870.
  3. Catherine Elizabeth Philipps, baptised at Abergwili on 22 May, 1855, married on 10 July 1877, Colonel Edward Hugh Bearcroft, C.B., of Mere Hall, Droitwich, Worcestershire. Their pre-nuptial settlement was dated 9 July 1877, her portion being £2000. Col Bearcroft died on 27 January 1932, his wife in December 1933. They had no issue.

When he succeeded to the Cwmgwili estate in 1891, Grismond Philipps was twenty-four years of age. Like his forebears he was particularly fond of horses and field sports of all kinds, and was a familiar figure at hunt and race-meetings and agricultural shows. He served for some years in the Carmarthenshire Artillery Militia, and afterwards in the Pembroke Imperial Yeomanry from which he eventually retired with the rank of major. Although he lived for some years in Cheltenham he remained deeply interested in local affairs and was a Justice of the Peace for his native county. In May 1897 he married Edith Margarette daughter of William Picton Evans of Treforgan near Cardigan, who, like her husband, descended from the family of General Picton. Major Philipps died on 7 October 1927, and his widow survived him for nearly twenty years, dying on 29 May 1947. They had an only son, Grismond Picton Philipps.

Grismond Picton Philipps was born on 20 May 1898, and educated at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. At the out-break of the first World War he was sixteen years of age, and three years later, in 1917, was gazetted to the Grenadier Guards with whom he served in France. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1925, and retired from the regiment in 1933. While serving with the Grenadiers he had been seconded for a tour of duty as adjutant to his county Territorial unit, the 4th Battalion The Welch Regiment, and in 1934 was promoted to the rank of major, and from 1938, lieutenant-colonel commanding the battalion. Sometime after the outbreak of the second World War he returned to the Brigade of Guards, and in 1941 became a brevet-major. His duties kept him in England, mainly at Windsor, and in 1945 he was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order for personal services to the Royal Family. Thirteen years later he received the honour of Knighthood. After the war he continued to take a personal interest in the reconstituted Volunteer Force, and from 1960 to 1964 was Honorary Colonel of his old Territorial battalion.

On 4 November 1925 he married Lady Marjorie Joan Mary Wentworth-FitzWilliam, second daughter of the seventh Earl FitzWilliam. They had an only son. The marriage was dissolved in 1949.

Sir Grismond's record of voluntary service is impressive. In 1935 he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant, in 1938 a Justice of the Peace, and later served as chairman of the Carmarthen County Bench. He was Vice-Lieutenant from 1936 until 1954, when he was appointed Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum for Carmarthenshire, offices he held until his death thirteen years later. His associations with the government and administration of the county had always been close, he having been a county councillor for the Abergwili division from 1945 to 1952. Before becoming Lord Lieutenant, he took a brisk part in political life, and for twenty-five years was chairman of the Carmarthen Division Conservative Association, and was a former President of the Council of Conservative and Unionist Associations of Wales and Monmouthshire.

In outlook, Sir Grismond was an Elizabethan, interested in most aspects of Iife, proficient in everything that engaged his attention—in fact an all-rounder. He read widely, particularly biography and history, and had a special affection for the fifteenth century on which he was an acknowledged master. He was fond of drama, music, portraiture, and the arts generally, and looked forward with delight to attending hymn-singing festivals in Carmarthen. As a founder member, and for some years chairman, of Television Wales and the West, he was able to influence and direct the cultural activities of that broadcasting body during the period of its existence. Equally, his highly successful chairmanship of the Historic Buildings Council for Wales afforded him ample opportunity for preserving some outstanding examples of our country's architectural heritage. In addition, he served as a Governor and Council Member of the National Library of Wales, and a Council Member of the National Museum of Wales, and was elected a member of the gorsedd of bards of the Royal National Eisteddfod. Both as president and chairman of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society and of the Carmarthenshire Community Council, he stimulated and advanced local interest in historical studies; he took an active part in the formation of the County Record Office, and his continued support was an assurance of its success. He largely administered the Cwmgwili estate himself, possessed a sound knowledge of farming, afforestation, and gardening, and did much to beautify the demesne lands around his historic home. To his presidency, too, the Carmarthenshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (his special concern) and the Carmarthen Chamber of Agriculture, were deeply indebted for advice and guidance. In every field that he entered he became a good shepherd.

Providence had endowed him with many gifts, but the quality for which he will be mainly remembered, was his humanity. Modest, courteous, good-natured, generous, Sir Grismond attracted the loyalty and friendship of people in all walks of life, and the Bishop of St David's statement at his memorial service that "he had walked with kings but retained the common touch" was no more than an affirmation of literal truth.

Sir Grismond Picton Philipps died on 8 May 1967, aged 69, and was buried in Abergwili churchyard. A memorial tablet, raised by public subscription, was placed above the family pew in the parish church where he had been a faithful worshipper for many years.

He was followed at Cwmgwili by his only son, Griffith William Grismond Philipps, born on 19 May 1935. Educated at Eton, he served as a second-lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards. On 17 May 1964 he married Ingrid Gφtilda daughter of Med. Dr. von Sydow of Sweden, and has the following children:

  1. John George Grismond Philipps, b. 30 July 1965.
  2. Marianne Sioned Philipps, b. 13 Feb. 1967.
  3. Charlotte Ingrid Philipps, b. 24 Aug. 1969.
  4. Ebba Serena Philipps, b. 4 March 1971.

The significance of the survival of this ancient family through many generations of change, vicissitudes, even dangers, does not rest alone on its capacity to surmount the challenges it was called upon to face, but rather on its steadfast adherence to the ideal of voluntary public service, which remains the hallmark of excellence and the imprimatur of all goodness.
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