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The Footprints of a Master Craftsman

By E. Vernon Jones

A document that has come to light after more than a century in the custody of his family is the diary of a Carmarthenshire artisan of many parts. Written in two exercise books during the period from 1826 to 1870, it is a rare survival of its kind from a time when education for the masses had not yet arrived and personal papers were still largely the legacy of the gentry and professional classes.

But this diarist, who spent most of his life in Llandeilo, was no ordinary artisan, for he came of good stock, had a middle-class family background and had obviously received an education. Although he earned his living as a carpenter, undertaker and cabinet-maker, supplemented by frequent excursions into the building trade as a contractor, he was able to acquit himself capably in the discharge of any commission that required a skilful hand and an inventive mind. In time he built up a business employing several men and acquired for himself a reputation as a valuer and technical adviser.

While still in his youth, he made boats and although he had received no instruction he even got round to making violins, which he taught himself to play. He constructed pumps and other mechanical devices which were used in the building of Llandeilo bridge and produced a machine for assessing the strength of the stone used. He was involved in a practical way in bringing water and gas supplies to Llandeilo and contracted to put up public lighting in the town. When the occasion demanded, he even produced an artificial leg. At the Great Exhibition of 1851, which he visited, two of his wax figures appeared clothed in Welsh costume of Carmarthenshire manufacture.

His practical abilities were complemented by an intelligent and enquiring mind. Science was extending the frontiers of daily life and he was fascinated by new developments. The Llandilo Mechanics' Institute, which he helped to establish, met in his house before it found a home elsewhere; he lectured at its meetings and became its librarian. He watched the night sky regularly and recorded the phenomena he saw. He made and set sun-dials, constructed distillation plants, collected fossils, explored caves and carried out electrical experiments.

This inquisitive man never missed an opportunity of travelling beyond his own parish and county, and everywhere he went he never failed to examine any innovation. He inspected docks, ironworks, colleries, ships and whatever wonders of the age his means allowed him. He went to Bristol to marvel at two of Brunel's masterpieces in the making — the Clifton suspension bridge and the SS Great Britain, the first ocean-going screw-steamer—and during a visit to Ireland saw the cable-laying ships that would carry the telegraph across the Atlantic.

During his working life he was always on the move from one job to another or on visits to friends and members of his family. Frequently he travelled on horseback or by coach, fly or phaeton and by rail when that facility reached Carmarthenshire. But he journeyed often on foot and walked over most of south-west Wales within an arc from Aberystwyth to Swansea. Journeys of twenty miles and more were commonplace and many of them were undertaken after a day's work. Not infrequently he walked through the night, sometimes along lonely mountain tracks. His mobility was astonishing. To help him get about he made a 'homomotive carriage', a three-wheel contraption capable of carrying a passenger. It was probably propelled in the same way as a velocipede and once, with a friend, he went on wheels over hill and dale to Builth.

The name of this remarkable man was Thomas Jenkins. His grandfather, the Rev. William Jenkins (1723-1799), had been curate of Llandilo-fawr and vicar of Mydrim and Brechfa. His uncle, William Jenkins, had been a schoolmaster and his father, too, was a man of learning. The father, also Thomas Jenkins, could not have passed on any practical skills to the son, for he was a dreamer and idealist who gained a reputation as a champion of the oppressed; he was also a poet who had published some of his work, together with translations of his own from the French. The diarist's mother, Mary, was the daughter of Thomas Lott, described on his tombstone in Abergwili churchyard as "Gent. of Carmarthen".

"Thomas Jenkins, craftsman, was born in May 1813, probably in the parish of Llanedy, but he seems to have spent his boyhood, certainly his youth, at Brynymaen across the Teifi valley from Llanddewi-brefi in Cardiganshire, where he probably learnt his trade. He was but thirteen years old - in 1826 during the reign of George V - when he resolved to keep a diary, which he commenced with the following entry:

"I was induced to commence this diary of the principal events of my life owing to an unaccountable circumstance which happened to me and which I shall relate simply as it happened. I am not prone to superstition although living in, I should think, the most superstitious part of the country. I was always taught by my parents to disbelieve all the stories of ghosts and goblins which are so prevalent a source of terror in many a secluded locality to this day.

"It was one fine moonlight night in the month of September this year. Having been rambling about the neighbourhood I returned home at 12 o'clock. All had retired to bed. Having lit a candle and placed it in an iron candlestick I went into my room and fastened the door, then placed the candlestick, together with an apple (which I intended eating on going to bed) on a bench which was occasionally used for holding cheese. Sitting on the side of the bed to take off my shoes I could see the light of the candle flashing on the wall. I looked round and to my great surprise, there was the candle and candlestick vibrating back and fore with the apple under one edge of it. It then struck me that there must be someone in the room which I then searched very carefully but unsuccessfully. Feeling my feet cold and having my stockings on I went into bed but could not sleep for some time wracking my brain as to how the apple could have got under the candlestick. I again felt my feet getting so warm that I took off my stockings and laid them on the bed. Getting up next morning and making the most diligent search possible the stockings were nowhere to be found, and they were never discovered afterwards."

Any thirteen-year-old who could write like that in 1826 and remain so calm in the face of the supernatural was no mean lad. But only one other entry was to equal this in its detailed description; most entries are but a few words. Indeed, his resolution was slow to materialise and at first did not outlast the month, for the only other entries for the year were:

Sept. 14th Eclipse of the moon began 6 p.m.
Sept. 16th One of the calves drowned.
Sept. 28th The sow littered 7 pigs. She ate three of them.
Sept. 30th Two more of them died.

Yet the first of these entries is significant, for it indicates his early interest in astronomy.

The year 1827 passed with but a single entry, telling us that on January 3rd the ground was covered with snow. The following year is not remembered at all, yet it was in 1828 that his mother died. The year 1829 starts promisingly with the record that on New Year's Day "father and self dined at the Club-feast, Tregaron", but there follows six months of silence until another feast is noted on July 14th, when the "sow died owing to drinking too much whey". Only four other entries are made for the year, the first to say that on October 10th "John Jones the Tailor, and self went to Aberaeron for a load of coal". In these early years the last entry of the year is a rudimentary stocktaking. Such an entry for 1829 was made November 13th: "Died 2 cows, 8 sheep, 8 calves, 5 lambs and 4 pigs. Killed 1 calf and 4 sheep. Paid to labourers £7 14. 1."

Renewed resolution came with the commencement of the next decade. Yet he never made regular daily entries, being content to make a record only when interest required and doubtless when time allowed, for it is evident that Thomas Jenkins was constantly busy and the wonder is that he found the will to keep a record at all. But the entries for 1830 are still relatively few, and of interest among references to the usual farming activities are those informing us that on April 16th he "Bat an iron plough at Llannon [? Llanon, Cardiganshire] for £2. 16. 0." and that he "took the boat and net to the Teifi to fish" on a day in May. In November he again went to the Teifi, this time "to see fishing for salmon with dried straw set on fire", but not without himself having "speared one fish weighing 12 lbs". His yearly farm account made on November 14th states: "Died 9 cows, 1 calf, 7 sheep, 4 lambs and 4 pigs and 1 bull, 2 horses. Killed 16 sheep and 1 pig. Paid to labourers £13. 11. 0."

1831 Early in the year he earned himself a facial scar, for on January 25th he stabbed himself in the right cheek while cutting up a sheep he had killed. Now broaching eighteen years of age, he finished making a boat on March 9th and called her Sophia. A month later he noted that "a heavy shower of hail fell this morning, most measured 1½" in circumference". "Warsaw, the capital of Poland fell" is the entry for October 10th, which seems an unusual observation by a youth in the heart of Wales until one realises that his father had published poems under the title Addresses to Poland from the Mountains of Wales, a tribute to Polish struggles for freedom. The year's record ends with an entry on Christmas Day: "Died 3 calves, 5 sheep and 1 Iamb. Killed 1 bull, 1 pig and 15 sheep. Paid to labourers £4, 6. 1."

1832 "Fast day" is the brief entry for March 21st, one of few for 1812. In that year on November 12th he "agreed with Elinor as head servant at £4, 4. 0. and flannel for one shift". The following day he "agreed with William Lewis as head servant for £6. 6. 0. and ground to set a bushel of potatoes". The last entry for the year, on November 20th, is: "Died 2 calves, 2 sheep and 1 lamb. Killed 3 pigs and 2 sheep. Paid labourers £19. 0. 10."

1833 From an entry on February 13th we gather that his father was "at Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, surveying that parish under the Tithes Computation Act". In July the father was in Carmarthen for a week or more and it may be that the purpose of the visit was to complete arrangements for the move from Cardiganshire. At any rate, on October 4th there was "a sale of all the stock and crop at Brynymaen, 17 cows, 2 bulls, 8 calves, 83 sheep and lambs and 4 horses. Kept 4 horses and furniture." By October 11th the corn, ten stacks, had been brought in and on the 28th of the month there were "sent a wagon and cart-load of furniture to Carmarthen, father having rented Penrhose Cottage". [There is a Penrhos in Springfield road on the north side of the town, but there is no means of knowing whether this is the same]. Other loads of furniture followed on the 1st, 8th and 15th November, and on the 23rd his sister, Julia, "went to Carmarthen in Dd. Morgan's gig". The entry for November 29th, when he "agreed with Ann Evans, Cefncoed, as servant at £2 10. 0.", is significant, for it was this girl who became his first wife. Ann followed his sister to Carmarthen on November 30th.

The Christmas of 1833 must have lingered long in the memory of Thomas Jenkins. On December 24th he left for Carmarthen, where he "arrived at 8½ p.m. Christmas Eve. Fireworks in every street", but he did not get to bed until four o'clock the following morning, there being "too much noise about the streets to go sooner". The Christmas treat was dinner at the Creselly Arms, King Street but we are not told whether he dined alone. His interest in celestial observation is again revealed by an entry for December 26th: "Eclipse of the moon began at 20 past 7 p.m., Continued 'til past 11 p.m."

Thomas Jenkins left Carmarthen on December 27th and arrived back at Brynymaen at eight o'clock the following morning. His father seems to have stayed at the old home over Christmas, but left for Carmarthen on December 31st and at 11 p.m. the same day "Evan went with a load of furniture to Carmarthen". Thomas Jenkins, the son, went with him as far as Olmarch, but a mile or two, and "then stayed up all night". Poor Evan — was he denied, or did he have an opportunity of celebrating New Year's eve furtively elsewhere on the way?

1834 The move from Brynymaen seems to have been completed on January 3rd, when Thomas left with the last load of furniture at 6 p.m. and reached Lampeter at 10 p.m. to put up at the Drovers' Arms. He was up again at three o'clock the following morning to complete the journey to Carmarthen by 3 pm. "Evan Jones and Maria Barlow came with me," January 9th saw a minor disaster. Evan, who had already fetched one load a couple of days earlier, was sent to Cwm-mawr for another load of coal, but failed to complete the journey because the "cart-wheel broke on the road near Nantercaws". There must have been sufficient public honesty to prevent plunder, for two days later the stranded load was recovered when "Evan and self went with another cart for the coal, brought the broken one home behind the other". In March Jenkins "shot a snake near Cwmernant [Cwmoernant] 2ft. 9ins. long being the first I ever saw".

May 9th Went to the Quay to see a ship launched.
May 12th John Thomas, an old labourer of ours, upwards of 84 years of age, came from Cardiganshire on foot to see us.
June 3rd was a day out, for he went with Julia and Ann to Llanstephan in a boat and returned in the evening. Perhaps it was the last outing for sister Julia, for within a few months she was to die of dropsy at the age of twenty-five. In November Thomas Jenkins "made a small lathe for turning", which may have been his first, but it was certainly not the last. On Christmas Day he "dined at Mr Davies's in the Backway" (now Richmond Terrace) but whether he was accompanied by his family is not stated.

1835 The year started with a fine day, and the entries continue:
Jan. 3rd Ann went to Cardiganshire on my mare to see her parents.
6th & 7th Election of member for the Borough.
Jan. 9th Ann returned.
Jan. 19th Election for the County, Trevor 2209. Williams 1939. Jones 1851. [The Hon. George Rice Trevor, later 4th Baron Dynevor, and Sir James Hamlyn Williams, Edwinsford were elected, John Jones, Ystrad, Carmarthen being unsuccessful].

For nearly three months there is silence until entries resume:
Apl. 12th 'The George the Third' convict ship was wrecked off the coast of Australia. There were on board at the time 294 persons of whom 134 perished and of these 128 were convicts.
Apl. 20th Ann taken ill in the smallpox.
May 9th Ann left her bed after suffering severely.
May 14th The convict ship 'Neva' bound from Cork to Sydney in Bass Straits, 224 persons, chiefly female convicts, perished. May 27th Went to Lammas Street to see the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the new church [St. David's]. Dreadful thunder storm at the time of the laying of the stone, the Old Hundred being sung. The music of Nature and Man blending made the scene awfully grand.
The same day "Ann was taken ill in the pleurisy".

Seeking recreation on a day in June, young Jenkins went "with Father to fish for pike in the pools above Abergwili" and "took one of 4½1bs". On June 18th he was moved to record that "Wm. Cobbett M.P. for Oldham died at his farm in Surrey aged 73". The year was unfortunate for Ann, who was again "taken very ill" on June 28th, but she had recovered sufficiently to leave her bed within a fortnight.
June 28th Got up at 3 p.m. to earth potatoes. Worked until 7 a.m. The weather very hot.
Aug. 1st Found 1 oz. coffee on the pavement in King Street. Received for turner's work 8/3½d.
Aug. 5th Halley's comet was first seen at Rome after an absence of 76 years.
Aug. 7th Ann taken very ill in the colic.
Aug. 11th. Fine day. Left for Llandilo 8 a.m. Passed through part of 6 parishes viz, St. Peter's, Abergwili, Llanegwad, Llangathen, Llandyfeisant and Llandilo. The harvest in very forward state, wheat carried in several places, barley and oats cut and some in stacks. Arrived at Llandilo at 10½ am. In going down Bridge Street met, to my great surprise, Wm. Lewis, our old servant, from whom I had much of the Cardiganshire news. Returned 7½ p.m.
Aug. 12th Went to the fair, several shows. Saw a Giantess, a Hottentott woman, a flaxen-haired negro, 2 serpents, crocodile, alligator, porcupine, lemon-crested cockatoo, sand sloth, jackal, Muscovy cat, American sea-serpent, boa constrictor, etc., etc. Saw a woman raise 300 lbs by her hair.
Aug. 17th Went to Llandilo with a cart for mahogany and a clock etc. Left Carmarthen at 4 a.m. Returned at 6 p.m.
Aug.. 31st Got severe cold last night.
Sept. 1st Much worse, took ½oz. salts and senna.
Sept. 2nd Very bad headache, took 4 gr. calomel.
Sept. 3rd Took 14 gr. jalap this morning.
Sept. 4th Better.

On Sept. 9th he "went to see the races at Alltygog" [White Mill]. Towards the end of the month he was on his travels to Cardiganshire, leaving Carmarthen at 9 a.m, on the 23rd and visiting several places, including Lampeter, Llangeitho and Tregaron, at which latter place he had tea with "Mr and Mrs Edwards, Druggist".

He stayed nowhere more than one night and reached home again on September 30th. During this peregrination he "called at Derryormond—Lewis Jones, Dd. Jones, Llettydu and self went to the top of David's column. It was commissioned by Mr Jones of Derryordmond and stands on an eminence. The base is 15½ feet square, column tuscan, the entablature lifts 8" square on the surround with iron ballaster. 150ft. high with a winding stair of 195 treads".
Oct. 2nd Went to Abergwili fair.
10th 9 p.m., Halley's comet is now visible about 2 degrees north of most northward star of the pointers—constellation ursa major.
Oct. 19th The comet is now visible in N.W. by N.
In December he "was taken very ill in the colic" and suffered "great agony from the cramp", but recovered after a week during which he "suffered very much". In the middle of the month he recorded that his father returned from Blaenafon, but gives no indication of his mission.

1836 On New Year's Day "he dined with Aunt Price" [Sarah Lott of Priory Street, Carmarthen, widow of the Rev. Thomas Price, Vicar of Llangunnor]. Thomas Jenkins had many uncles and aunts, one of whom, William Jenkins, died of apoplexy at Southampton on March 19th.
May 3rd Left for Haverfordwest with Wm. Thomas 15 minutes past 1 a.m. Got to Narberth at 12 noon. Saw Uncle John Jenkins for the first time. Went with him to see the town and churches, St Thomas, St Mary's, St Martin and St Prendergast. [It is possible that this uncle was the father of David James Jenkins, master mariner and shipowner, who became Member of Parliament for Penryn and Falmouth].
May 4th Slept last night at the 'Black Horse' in Bridge Street. Left at 11 a.m. Home 11 p.m., feet sore, the weather being very warm. Spent 4/3½d.

May 15th A very large and visible eclipse of the sun, beginning (meantime) 1.51 p.m. Greatest adumbration 3.19. End 4.39. A cryptic entry marks June 17th: 3L—x ae. It seems that Thomas Jenkins used the abbreviation L, or lives, to indicate the length of pregnancy. This entry therefore means that Ann Evans, the servant and later the diarist's wife, was three months pregnant.
Sept. 25th Went to Cunlleth [Cefn-laith lies off the Pentre-hydd road about half a mile beyond Pentremeurig, Carmarthen (correction)] to one Wm. Jones the Tailor. Being overtaken in a fog in going I lost the road keeping too much to the right after passing the Mill this side Cwm. I rode several miles past Pant-y-cendy 'til I came to the Carmarthen to Newcastle Emlyn road [presumably near Bwlchnewydd] from thence I returned and with great difficulty found the house, it being by this time 9 p.m. Arrived home at 10 p.m. [He seems to have gone round in a circle of about ten miles, whereas Cefnllaith is about two miles from Carmarthen].

On October 18th he left on yet another of his Cardiganshire expeditions, visiting Lampeter, Capel Bettws, Llangeitho, Tregaron and Brynymaen, and returned home on October 22nd. On the last day of the month "Mary was born". This was his daughter by Ann Evans.

1837 Early in the year, another lucky find is deemed worthy of note, for on January 30th he "found a silver sixpence opposite the Town Jail". February 4th saw a notable transaction, for on that day he "sold a violin to William Jones, Tailor [of Cefn-llaith?] for a silver watch 10/- and 5/- cash". It is probably safe to assume that the instrument was the result of his own handiwork. He made a number of violins and it is recorded that one specimen had the following inscription inside it: "This violin was made by Thomas Jenkins jun., son of Thomas Jenkins, Brynmaen, Llanddewi-brefi, Cardiganshire, who, never having seen any work of the kind done, and without any kind of instructions, made this, his second attempt, he having made one a few months ago, on which he can now play several tunes, also untaught, in the 19th year of his age. This face was put on at Brynymaen March 19th, 1833."
May 15th Went to Llandilo to paint a house for Mrs. C. Hughes.
May 18th Saw a tapeworm with Mr Williams, Druggist, which measured 27ft.
May 20th Returned to Carmarthen.
May 22nd Went back to Llandilo.
May 24th Grand illumination in honour of the Princess Victoria becoming of age [her eighteenth birthday shortly before succession to the throne on June 21st].
May 28th Went to church at 11 a.m. with Mr Hugh Evans. Dined together at Mr Evan's, then to the 'Half Moon'. From there at 3 p.m. to see Dynevor Castle together with Mr Evans, Mr Thos. Rees and the two Misses Reeses of Capel, Miss C. Harris and Miss Thomas 'Half Moon'. Called at Mr Lockyer's the Gamekeeper, and he accompanied us with the key of the castle. Had a pleasant walk around the park. Returned at 8p.m. Took tea at the 'Half Moon'. Mr and Mrs Thomas behaved very kindly. Supped at 12, quite delighted with the walk and company.
May 29th Ann came up from Carmarthen with some bread, tea and sugar for me, and returned in the evening.
May 30th Finished painting the inside of Mr Evan's house.

After spending a week-end at Carmarthen, Jenkins returned to Llandilo on June 5th, when "Ann brought the mare to send me as far as Broad Oak".
June 11th Went to see Carreg Cennen castle together with two of Mr Williams the Druggist's young men. Got a candle and lantern at the farm to see the cave which is under the castle and is about 159ft. long and has a fine spring of clean water near the further extremity. Returned by Mr Lawford's house. Went to see his collection of stuffed birds.
Evidently missing Ann while he was away working, Thomas Jenkins, one suspects, engineered a convenient arrangement, for on:
Nov. 7th Ann went to Llandilo where she agreed with Mr Thomas, Druggist [Thomas Jenkins's cousin-in-law] for £4. 5. O. a year and returned in the evening.
Nov. 17th She went to her service.
Nov. 21st Brought Mary home from the 2nd nurse to Mary Margan's [Mary had been removed from her first nurse in February and in the meantime had been vaccinated by Mr Evans, Pant-y-cendy].
Nov. 24th Sold a silver watch to Wm, Jones, Tailor for 15/-. [It hard to resist the suspicion that Wm. Jones was buying hack the watch he had given in part-exchange for the violin].

1838 Thomas Jenkins's financial position was evidently improving, for on March 17th he went to Llandilo "in a return chaise", for which he paid 1/6d, and three days later returned to Carmarthen by the same means at a cost of 1/2d.
Apl. 24th Took a room to work in at Greenfield for 9d per week. [He had already taken lodgings in Rhosmaen Street]
May 4th Taken very ill in the influenza.
May 7th Got out of bed for a few hours.
May 29th Gave up the room at Greenfield.
June 8th Ann left her service in Llandilo and came to Carmarthen.
June 12th Went to Llanstephan together with Ann, Mary and Mary Morgan. Returned by the evening tide.
June 19th Ann went back to Llandilo.

During this period he travelled frequently between Carmarthen and Llandilo, where he was attending to contracts or delivering jobs he had turned out. On June 20th he took a "cart to Llandilo with a clock and case for Mr Williams, Druggist, and 2 glass cases for B. Morgan, Druggist". A supply of mahogany he purchased at 1/6d a foot was used to fit up a new shop for Mr J. Williams. Sometimes he walked the journey, on other occasions he took the mare, and twice within a week he afforded himself the luxury of travelling from Llandilo to Carmarthen by coach at two shillings a time, one of the journeys being on the 'Monarch'. But all the time he watched the heavens and on June 28th he recorded: "The planet Jupiter suffered an occultation by the moon. The immurtion taking place at 29 minutes past 10 p.m. and the emmurtion at 19 minutes past 11. There also happened an occultation of chi Leonis, a star of the 4th magnitude, its emmurtion from behind the moon taking place the moment of Jupiter's immurtion". During this period he had been using lodgings at Rhosmaen Street, but he vacated these in September to go "to David Davies, Cooper's, near the George Inn" [the 'George' stands where George Street and George Hill meet; it later became the Vicarage and is still known as the Old Vicarage].
Oct. 22nd Walked to Penycoed. From there through Llanddarog and Porthyrhyd to Foelgastell. Went on horseback to Gelliwen and back to Foelgastell at night. Had about 4 miles very dark and wet road.

Oct. 23rd Went to Llangennech fair to try to sell 2 horses. Took tea in returning at Cil Ddewi.
Oct. 24th Slept at Foelgastell last night. Went to Coedmawr for the saddle, from there through Rhyd-y-ffynnon gate [two miles south-west of Ffairfach on the Cross Hands road] to Llandilo. Returned by Foelgastell to Carmarthen.

A new experience came on November 20th, when he "took an oath before the Commissioners of Insolvent Debtors as a witness, being the first time of my taking an oath". Two days later he went with Ann to Llandilo, where she "went to service at John Lewis, the Stationer". Before the month was out, he received grave news which necessitated a hurried journey:
Nov. 30th Went to Carmarthen on horseback, having heard that Rogers, the Attorney, had taken under a distress warrant.
Dec. 2nd Rescued the mare from his stable about 10 this morning. Rogers sent to threaten me with proceeding if I do not return her, but he knows better. Had I acted otherwise I should have had great difficulty in recovering her.
Dec. 3rd Left at 4 a.m. Rode the mare to Llandilo.
Dec. 14th John Lawrence put in a distress for rent at Penrhose Cottage.
Dec. 16th Walked to Carmarthen this evening.
Dec. 22nd Left do. at 4½ p.m. Walked to Llandilo. Very dark night, the road wet after last night's rain.
Dec. 25th Dined and took tea at Mr Thomas, the Druggist. Went to chapel at 6 p.m.
Dec. 30th To church at 3 and chapel at 6 p.m. Made 260 picture-frames this year. Received £44. 17. 3. Paid £47. 16. 1.

1839 Affairs at Carmarthen were now serious and Thomas Jenkins was making frequent journeys there to try and straighten things out and doubtless comfort a hapless father:
Feb. 27th Went to Gelliwen for Mrs C. Hughes. From there to Carmarthen. John Lawrence distrains a second time at Penrhose Cottage, he took the furniture to the 'Harp' [in Lammas Street].
Feby. 28th Slept last night with father at his lodgings in Priory Street. Took the things from the 'Harp' to Aunt Waugh's. Mr Aitken paid 1/6d for their place at the 'Harp'. [Aunt Waugh, nee Letitia Jenkins, sister of the diarist's father, married Benjamin Waugh, Governor of Carmarthen Gaol, d. 1827. A mural tablet in St Peter's, Carmarthen commemorates both]
Mar. 1st Slept last night at Aunt Waugh's. Left at 5 a.m. Walked to Llandilo. The new market opened.
Mar. 3rd Went to the Methodist Chapel school at 9 a.m.
Mar. 6th Went to Gelliwen to measure some trees for Mrs C. Hughes, and to Middleton Hall. From there to Ty-ucha to see some trees the wind had uprooted. Back through Llandebie.
Mar. 9th Mary Morgan brought Mary up, and they returned in the evening. Went with them as far as the 'Halfway' where John had brought a horse to meet them.
A fortnight later his unquenchable curiosity sent him up the valley:
Mar. 24th Went to Pont-bren-araeth [between Ffairfach and Bethlehem] to see the house built by Wm. Powell Esq. A. D. 1762 and where he was afterwards murdered by a hand of ruffians in the year 1770, for which 8 of them were killed by the hangman at Hereford and hung in chains. I was taken very ill with sore throat in returning.
Mar. 31st Better. Wrote a letter for Ann to her father in London.
Apl. 19th Ann walked to Cardiganshire to see her sister before her leaving for London, went with her as far as Taliaris.
Apl. 20th Walked to Carmarthen. Stayed at father's at Pensarn.
Apl. 22nd Went on horseback to Llangeitho.
Apl. 23rd Slept last night at David Rowlands. Ann returned with me through Lampeter and Llansawel to Llandilo.

His travels during these months, largely on foot, were prodigious and it is amazing that he found time and energy to carry out all the jobs he was called upon to do. These tasks took him to Golden Grove and Cwmamman — where he painted houses for Thomas Jones, Cefnfforest and William Jones, Raven Inn — and Llangadog, and, in between, affairs in Carmarthen constantly called him there. And still he found time to go dashing up to Cardiganshire when occasion required. At last came the decision to do the honourable thing:
July 6th Went to Bettws Lleucu, Cardiganshire with Ann.
July 7th Having now some prospect of being able to maintain a wife, and having determined that that wife should be Ann, I got the Banns published this morning in Bettws Lleucu Church for the first time. Paid 1/-. Slept on the settle at Ann's father's.
July 8th Slept at do. Walked back to Llandilo.
July 13th Walked to Cardiganshire.
July 14th Banns published the second time. Slept at Bettws Lleucu.
July 15th Slept at Bettws Lleucu. Walked to Llandilo.
July 16th Walked to Cwmamman to paint.
July 20th Walked from Cwmamman to Bettws Lleucu, 36 miles. Heavy rain all the way.
July 21st Banns published the 3rd time. Slept at Capel Bettws.

His peregrinations continued relentlessly during the following weeks until:
Aug. 17 Walked to Capel Bettws. Took with me 20/8½d.
Aug. 20th Married to Ann at 8 am. by the Revd. John Lewis at Bettws Lleucu Church. Paid 5/-.
Aug. 21st Slept in father-in-law's house last night. Went to Derryormond and returned in the evening.
Aug. 22nd Went to the Teifi above Trecefyl bridge [Tre-cefel is on the Lampeter road about a mile southwest of Tregaron] to gather bull-rushes.
Aug. 23rd Went with Ann [to her grandmother] to Llanstantffraid. Sea very rough. Went to bathe.

The honeymoon over, Thomas Jenkins walked back to Llandilo on August 27th, leaving Ann behind.
Sept. 9th Left Llandilo at 11 p.m. in Dd. Rees's wagon for Swansea. Heavy rain all night.
Sept. 10th Arrived at Swansea at 8 a.m. went to bathe in the sea. Left Swansea at 3 p.m. with Dd. Davies. Walked through Llangyfelach, Cross Inn [Ammanford] and Llandebie. Home at 12 night.

On October 16th he walked to Capel Bettws to see Ann, carrying with him a "large swing glass for Mrs Lewis of Glyn". At last he was able to get a house in Llandilo, renting from Caleb Jones at three shillings a week and on New Year's Eve he and Ann slept there for the first time.

1840 On January 8th he was at Brynhafod "to stretch some pictures for Major Jones". A week later he left on another overnight journey to Swansea in Rees's wagon to buy materials, which included tin foil and mahogany veneer. February 4th was a day of mixed fortunes, for he "found a sixpence opposite the Cawdor's Arms" and received notice to quit his dwelling, "Mr Caleb Jones having rented the house to Jones the Saddler". The result turned out to be an exchange, for on February 10th, the day Queen Victoria married Prince Albert ("rejoicing and illumination"), he took three rooms of Mr Jones, Saddler at three shillings per week. There followed a bout of influenza, but by March 8th he was off to Carreg Cennen castle with Ann. The same day, at 1 p.m., when "Mr Williams, Surgeon of Glancennen's wife and daughter were returning from church in a phaeton, the horse took fright in Bridge Street and ran with them over the parapet of the bridge. Mrs Williams died on the spot. Miss Williams died in about 11 hours at the 'Crown', and the boy who was driving them was taken up senseless. The horse was killed on the spot, and the phaeton dashed to pieces." Two months later Jenkins undertook a hazardous commission, for he walked back from Carmarthen after a two-day visit, bringing with him "£89. 7. 6. for Mr Gwilliam from the bank". Joy and sadness came in June, when a second child, George, was born, "being 142 clear days". The following day, June 7th, his Aunt Waugh passed away.

Thomas Jenkins now seemed to he meeting with increasing prosperity, largely as a result of his activities as a funeral undertaker. In October he took on a journeyman at eighteen shillings a week and on the 19th of the month he "took the house of Caleb Jones", who had so rudely sent him packing early in the year. At the end of the month he "took a workshop in the 'Castle' field [behind Rhosmaen Street on the east side] at 1/- per week".
Dec. 5th Made a shell and coffin for Mrs Lewis of Gwynfe, covered with black cloth.
Dec. 8th Attended the funeral to Gwynfe through Llangadock. Myself and Mr Thomas, Draper, on horseback. The Revd. J. W. Pugh and Revd. Mr Davies, Llangadock in carriage. 4 bearers on horseback, 2 abreast the hearse. T. Lewis and his brother in their carriage. Dr Rees and Mr Bishop in carriage. A chaise with the men and servant maid left Llandilo at 11½ a.m. and returned at 8 p.m.

1841 This was an adventurous year for Thomas Jenkins:
Apl. 24th Went at 6 p.m. together with Dd Davies, Peter Jenkins and John the Mason to Cilrychen Cave [near Llandybie, which he recorded was discovered on December 13th 1823]. I took a pistol and Peter brought his clarinet. Spent 3 hours inside. The total length including all the branches is 301 yds. We returned at 12 night.
May 1st Went at 6 p.,m. together with Dd. Davies, Peter Jenkins, Philip Griffiths and Wm. Williams 'Rose and Crown' to see Llygad Llwchwr cave. The entrance is about 10 ft. above where the river leaves the rock. We entered at 8 p.m., the entrance is narrow and rather dangerous. After proceeding 51 ft. I tied the end of a ball of twine to a stalactite pillar there being so many windings and passages. We then proceeded to a stalactite pillar 5 ft. long from the floor to the roof and 3 ft. in circumference.. Each having a candle we passed through several narrow passages 'til we came to the river. The cave here is about 30 ft. from the water to the roof, the river is about 15 ft. wide. Not being able to proceed further we returned after having gone through all the different passages I could find. We came out at 1 a.m. The distance from the entrance to the water is 567 ft. Arrived home at 3 a.m.
June 7th This day a census of the population of the United Kingdom was taken. I enumerated the Rhosmaen anal New Inn district containing 55 inhabited houses, 8 uninhabitable and 2 building. 106 males, 124 females. Total 230. The population of Llandilo amounted to 1345, 132 more females than males. Decr. 2nd received £1. 1. O. [his fee].

Early in July there was a visit to the theatre at the King's Head, hut he must have looked forward with much greater excitement to the journey to be undertaken a fortnight later. On July 22nd he embarked on a week's trip to Bristol and Bath, leaving Swansea at 9.30 a.m. in the 'County of Pembroke' steamer. He got very sick, but managed to see St Donat's castle, the Steep and Flat Holms and the lightship, before anchoring in King's road at 6 p.m. and reaching Bristol at 8 p.m. Two days later, having lost the train, he walked to Bath, but succeeded in making the return journey by rail, a journey which impressed him for its speed, for he "got to Bristol in 20 minutes — 12 miles".
July 25th Slept at do. [Bristol]. Went in the morning to Clifton and St Vincent's rocks to see the piers for the new suspension bridge. The roadway is to be 230 ft. above high-water mark. The piers are 70 ft. high. There is now an iron bar 3" diameter and 800 ft. long stretched across with a basket sliding by ropes along it. The distance between the piers is 630 ft. Estimated cost when complete £57,000. In returning we [his companion was Dd. Davies] went to see the iron steamship 'Great Britain' now building, the total length of which is 325 ft. width 51 ft. depth of hold 33 ft. Burden 3,600 tons, 1,000 horsepower. There are to be 360 beds for passangers and 6 masts. [The Great Britain was launched on July 19th, 1843 by Prince Albert. This historic ship was brought back from the Falkland Islands in July 1970 and is once more a showpiece at Bristol].
Before returning home on July 28th Jenkins "bought some mahogany, hair-seating, plate-glass and turning-tools".

Another domestic move came in November, when Jenkins took over the house formerly occupied by Mr Thomas, Timber Merchant, which he rented at sixteen pounds a year. This house stands in Rhosmaen Street between Barclay's Bank and New Road; in the present century Carey Morris, a local artist, lived in the house, which is now occupied by Joy's gown shop. On Christmas Eve he afforded himself a present by ordering "the 'Magazine of Science' in monthly parts" and doubtless waited with impatient excitement for The first of them to arrive. A highly satisfactory year he brought to close by going "to the Watch Night at the Wesleyan chapel".

1842 Taking on apprentices and journeymen was no new thing to Jenkins and borne along by increasing prosperity he moved on March 11th from his workshop near the Wesleyan Chapel [on the west side of Rhosmaen Street] to the "new workshop which Mr Thomas [his landlord] has built for me, and for which I am to pay £1. 0. 0. a year". At the end of the month he went to meet George Peel, Esq. at Llwyn-y-berllan, where he had earlier made an inventory of the household furniture and farm stock, "to see that the furniture etc. were all right before Captain Fendal leaves" and received ten shillings for his trouble. There must have been a big influx to the little town on March 30th, when meetings of the "Methodist Association began" and that night two, preachers from Breconshire slept at his house. On April 16th his grandfather died at Carmarthen in the hundreth year of his age. This was his mother's father, Thomas Lott, "Gent, of Carmarthen".
Apl. 22nd Slept together with Uncle [William Lott of Cardiganshire] at the 'King George' [Carmarthen]. Attended grandfather's funeral to Abergwili, together with Father and Uncle in a chaise. Grandfather's remains were taken from the hearse to the grave, the church being taken down to rebuild.
Apl. 23rd Went to see a vessel now lying at the Quay [Carmarthen] fitting out for New York with 200 emigrants. Dd. Thomas and his family are going out in her. Returned this evening.

His lathe had now become inadequate or else too delapidated for further use. At any rate, he started making a new one on May 10th and a week later he walked to Carmarthen with patterns so that Mr Moss could make the necessary castings for it. A quick profit on the side came along on June 22nd, when he bought a violin for 4s. 6d. and sold it to Mr D. B. Evans for 5s. 0d. In July, twelve squares of glass arrived from Bristol and later in the month he "got 50 cards printed", presumably to announce a flourishing business. The same week he walked to Carmarthen and paid Mr Moss £1. 0. 10½. for the lathe castings. In August he "fitted up a theatre at the 'Castle' for Mr Durrant" and three dayts later attended as a spectator with Ann, George and some friends. August 21st was the occasion of an outing to Grongar Hill with a friend. In the middle of September he recorded, with much satisfaction no doubt, the completion of the new lathe at a total cost of ten pounds.

Ann, who was now expecting her third child, got domestic help in the person of Caroline Davies, who agreed as servant in November at £1. 15. 0. a year. A lift in a gig in December took Thomas Jenkins to Cross Inn, from where he walked to the Raven Inn at Glanamman to value some shop fittings, a commission he finished by nine o'clock in the evening. "When I left the night very dark and foggy. Met 5 drunken fellows on the Black Mountain who were very insulting. Got home at 11 p.m." On Christmas Day was born their third child, who would be called Sarah.

1843 Now in his thirtieth year, Thomas Jenkins made a significant contribution to the cultural life of Llandilo, for on February 13th "D. B. Evans and self opened an Institution at my house to be called the Llandilo Mechanics Instructing Institution".
Mar. 14th Having been commissioned to purchase furniture at the late Mr William Jones's sale in Spilman Street [Carmarthen] by Mr J. P. Lewis, I left on his mare in the morning. Bought a mahogany 4-post bedstead, blue moreen hangings, complete £8. 0. 0. Sideboard £2. O. O. Dressing table 12/- etc. Returned in the evening.
Mar. 17th Took father-in-law's cart for the furniture. Bot. 9 mahogany chairs of Mr O. P. Thomas, King Street for 16/- and returned in the evening.
Apl. 3rd Delivered a lecture at the Institution on the Mechanical Powers.
Apl. 7th Made 2 chiffoneers for Mr J. James, no ends or backs £5. 5. 0.
Apl. 17th Mr Price's body was found in the river near Dryslwyn, having been drowned in crossing on horseback opposite his house, Llwynmendy, the 4th April. [Llwyn-maendy is about eight miles up the valley on the Ffairfach-Bethlehem road opposite Manordeilo].
May 19th I was elected on the committee of the Institution, being 3rd on the list.
June 7th Being informed that my father was very ill, I borrowed a horse of Mr Evans, the Clergyman and rode to Carmarthen.
June 8th Sat up all night. Left at 6 a.m.. Father a little better. Heavy rain and wind.
June 9th Sent new bedstead to father. Paid Rachel for carriage 1/-.

There now begin to appear a few references to the activities of 'Rebecca', the first of which records that on July 9th "a detachment of the 4th Light Dragoons arrived here, having been sent for owing to people breaking down the turnpike gates in the neighbourhood under the name of Rebeccaites". These soldiers were quartered at the Cawdor Arms in Rhosmaen Street; later, soldiers of the 41st regiment of foot were quartered at the George Hotel and elsewhere. Llandilo was thus something of a military station at this time. Of special interest is the diarist's entry for July 10th, which states: "Father came here in a phaeton with Mr H. Williams, and returned in the evening". It is known that the elder Thomas Jenkins was employed as a solicitor's clerk at this stage in his life and the strong suspision is that his companion on this visit to Llandilo was no other than Hugh Williams [evidence of the friendship is provided by the entry for Sept. 3rd, 1843 below], widely believed to be a prime mover in the Rebecca protests. A month after this visit the son recorded in his diary on August 9th: "The 'Walk' gate [on the Carmarthen road out of town] and house was taken down to the ground last night by the Rebeccaites, with soldiers billeted at the 'White Hart' and 'Walk' on both sides, so much for soldier vigilance."

Amid all the excitement, the younger Jenkins was pleased to go with a friend on July 11th on an excursion to the top of Trichrug [1,361ft., between Bethlehem and Gwynfe], where "the air being clear we had a most delightful and extensive view of the country on all sides". Compensation came for Ann on August 6th, when she "bought a gold ring of Christmas Moser for 7/6d. and the old one which was broken".

Aug. 19th Went to Carreg Cennen cave, from there to Palebryna [this name is not properly legible; the Ordnance Survey map identifies Pal-y-Cwrt in the area described] on the hillside about ½ mile higher up than Llygad Llwchwr. Went in about 300 ft. together with B. Morgan and E. J. Griffiths. Found it very low and dirty excepting one place where it was very spacious. From there to Llygad Llwchwr cave, borrowed kettle and cups at Cwrt-bryn-y-beirdd, made a fire and took tea before going in. Spent about 4 hours inside. Having taken a pistol with me, the report it made rivalled the loudest thunder [the effect of the clarinet taken on an earlier expedition was not described]. Got home by dusk.
Aug. 29th Went, together with B. Morgan, Wm. Griffiths, Dd. Davies and Philip Griffiths to Cilyrhychen cave. From there to the cave at Pant-y-llyn [westward over the hill] where, 30 years ago, from 14 to 20 human skeletons were found in quarrying for limestone. It now extends only 30 ft. having been quarried off.
Aug. 30th Ann walked to Carmarthen, having received a letter from my step-mother [the only time she is mentioned, though the marriage probably took place in the middle of the 1830s] that father was expected to die. He had an apoplectic fit last Tuesday week in Llanstephan.
Aug. 31st He breathed his last at Pensarn 3 o'clock a.m. in his 69th year. Walked to Carmarthen this evening.
Sept. 1st Ann, Sarah and self slept at the 'King George', Priory Street. Ann and Maria Barlow [probably a natural daughter of one of the Waughs] returned to Llandilo.
Sept. 3rd Sunday. Left Carmarthen with poor father's remains together with Mr Hugh Williams and bearers, in two boats. Arrived at St Ishmael at 5½ p.m., father expressed a wish to he buried there. We laid him down on the north side of Mr H.. Williams's brother's grave on whom he wrote the 'Sailor's Grave'. [The poem was dedicated to Lieutenant William Williams of the Brazilian Naval Service who died in 1832 in the 37th year of his age; he was the second son of Hugh Williams, Esq. of Machynlleth, and an elder brother to Hugh Williams, Esq., of Carmarthen.]
Sept. 4th Got back to Carmarthen at 1 a.m. Slept at the 'King George' and to Llandilo in a return chaise, Paid 1/6d. The coffin covered with black, cost me £6. 0. 0. with funeral expenses.
Sept. 12th Went to Llygad Llwchwr cave, together with B. Morgan, I. J. and W. Griffiths, Wm. Jones and Wm. Davies. Having taken a rope-ladder with us we entered at 9 a.m. and having crossed the river inside by the aid of the rope-ladder we discovered two branches where no human being had been before. In one there is a plank of stalactite extending from roof to the floor, which when struck with a hammer emits as fine and loud a noise as one of the largest bells in Llandilo steeple, from which we christened it the Bell Cavern. Came out at 3 p.m. and took tea near the entrance. Arrived home at 7 p.m. highly gratfied with our day's discovery.
Sept. 27th Made a pump for the intended Llandilo new bridge, 7 ft. long, 5" bore and 12" stroke.
Sept. 30th Made a working model of an hydraulic servo pump and presented it to the Institution. [The Mechanics Institution was now well established and representatives of many social grades, including solicitors and other professional people, sought election to its committee, while its benefactors included the local gentry and one of the County M.Ps.]

Three weeks later he gave another lecture on mechanical powers to the Institution, and on October 26th he used his technical skill to produce "patterns for a machine for testing the strength of stone for the new bridge" across the Towy at Llandilo. Christmas Day he celebrated by going with two friends to Carreg Cennen castle, where they "found 3 Roman copper coins in the earth beneath the rock on the south side", two of which were presented to the Institution.

1844 New Year's Day saw Thomas Jenkins busy fitting up his "machine at the bridge for testing the stones". A few days later he was obliged to spend "the evening at the Hall waiting to have my bill paid for making the machine". He received £1. 18. 0. A few months later he was devoting his attention to more traditional devices:
Apl. 25th Set a sun-dial in the churchyard. Wood for post and labour 18/-.
Apl. 26th Went to Edwinsford to compare the dial time there with the one I had set up, found it 4½' after.
Apt. 27th To Golden Grove. Found the dial there 5' before Edwinsford dial lat. 52 deg. 6 mins. Golden Grove 51 deg. 32 mins. Fitted up a surgery for Walter Jones.

In the middle of May little George was sent off to school, but where, we are not informed. At the end of the month Thomas Jenkins was busy again in connection with the new bridge:
May 30th Made two square hand-pumps 15 ft. long, bore 4½" for the bridge, £l. 4. 0. each exclusive of wood. Made also a horse pump 9" diameter of 5 ft. stroke, lined the working part with sheet iron with sliding piece at bottom. Total length 27 ft. Complete £5. 0. 0. Piston 63 superficial inches, water raised at each stroke 2 cubic feet — 3456" — 12 galls. and 72".
June 8th Paid my rent due March last £8.10.0.
June 10th Made another pump for the bridge 8½" in diameter.
June 21st Set the two pumps to work by a 3-horsepower steam engine. Length of pump stroke 4 ft. Quantity of water raised per minute 234 gall.
June 27th Made a 10" square pump to work by horsepower.
July 1st Set a sundial for Dr Rees in his garden.
July 6th Made an elm coffin for Wm. Price's son aged 4 years. Coffin complete 9/-.
July 12th Set an iron pump 14" diameter and the 10" wooden pump to work by another 6-horsepower steam engine.

Within a week Thomas Jenkins was off with a friend on holiday, a walking tour of south-west Wales:
July 18th Left, together with Joseph Williams, at 4 a.m. Breakfast at Aunt Price, Carmarthen. Walked through St Clears, Llanddowror and got to Tenby at 9 p.m. 30 miles [this must be from Carmarthen]. Took tea at the 'Ring 0' Bells'. Pd. -/8d.
July 19th Slept at the 'Three Mariners'. Horrid. Had no soap to wash with. Paid for bed -/4d. Walked through Lamphey to Stack-pole Court — 12 miles. Went to see the house, took a bathe in the sea and took tea of J. Cleaver's lodgings in the village.
July 20th Slept and took breakfast at John Symonds's house. Walked through Pembroke to Pater, 5 miles, to the Royal Dockyard. There are now 12 ships on the stocks, one of 120 guns and two war steamers. Went back to Pembroke to see the castle and returned to Hobbs Point the Irish Mail Packet Station. Left by a boat, which we hired for 3/-, to Milford, 5 miles. Took tea at Mrs Wade the 'George and Dragon'. Paid -/9d. Saw the place where George the 4th first landed in Wales Sept. 1821, there is a brass plate laid in the step where he first set his foot.
July 21st Slept at do. Paid for bed -/4d. and breakfast -/9d. Left Milford at 3 p.m. Walked through Steynton, Johnston and Haverfordwest to Woodstock where we took tea. Continued our walk all night and got to Cardigan at 5 a.m.
July 22nd 35 miles. Took breakfast at the 'Crown and Anchor'. Pd. -/7d., proceeding on to New Quay 19 miles and took tea at the 'Star'. Paid -/9d.
July 23rd Slept at do. Paid for bed and breakfast 1/-. Took a cruise in a sailing boat together with Mrs Thomas, my cousin, who we happened to meet there.
July 24th Slept at do., and after breakfast went by boat to Aberaeron 4 miles. Walked through Llanddwyaberarth [Llanddewi-Aherarth] to Llansantffraid. I took tea at Ann's aunt's house. From there through Llanrhystyd to Aberystwyth 16 miles.
July 25th Slept at the 'Temperance House'. Paid bed and breakfast 1/-. Walked to the Devil's Bridge, 12 miles, very heavy rain.
July 26th Slept at the 'Hafod Arms'. Paid tea, bed and breakfast 4/6d. Went with the guide to see the bridge which is one arch of 29 ft. span, and 120 ft. above the stream of the Munach. It extends from rock to rock over the old bridge which is attributed to His Satanic Majesty, but in reality built by the monks of Strata Florida 750 years ago. Walked 5 miles to Hafod, now the seat of the Duke of Newcastle. There is a fine marble monument in the church in memory of Colonel Johnes's daughter. Walked on through Yspytty Ystwyth and Ffair Rhos to see the ruins of Strata Florida which is situate 1 mile to the left of Pontrhydfendigaid, the only remains are one fine arch and part of a wall. Walked to Tregaron, took tea with Uncle William Lott at the 'Crown and Anchor', then on to Derryormond. Went to the top of the Pillar at 10 p.m. Got to Lampeter at 11 p.m. 23 miles.
July 27th Slept at the 'White Hart'. Paid for bed and breakfast 1/-. Went to see St David's college and walked through Llansawel to Llandilo by 8 p.m.

In August came the turn of Ann and the children, George and Sarah, who left for Carmarthen on their holiday at 1 a.m. on the 8th, returning "from the Ferryside" on August 19th. While they were away, Thomas Jenkins completed yet another mechanical device for aiding the construction of the new bridge: this time a pile engine 27 ft. high, the ram of which weighed 1,000 lb. This machine involved fifteen days' work for which he received £2. 5. 0. Early in September, he was busy making "three coffins for S. Stephens, the Smith's children. Two having died on Sunday and one today of scarlet fever. Aged 9, 6 and 3 years. Wood and labour £1. 8. 0." A few days later he was making yet another coffin for a five-year-old lad who died from the same cause. The same day, September 9th, he finished "a coracle that may be taken to pieces and made up again, for Llygad Llwchwr" at a cost of 10s. 6d.
Sept. 10th Went, together with B. Morgan, Dd. Lewis, John "Thomas, Walter Jones, Puddicomb and Owen Jones to Llygad Llwchwr. Entered the cavern at 8½ a.m. and after turning to the left at right angles to the main branch and getting down over the rock by the rope-ladder over the stream, we made up the coracle and proceeded down the stream over very deep pools through several magnificent caverns where man never dared go before. Came out to daylight at 12 p.m.
Sept. 18th Set a 14" pump to work by the large engine instead of the 10" square one.
Sept 20th Put up a beer engine at the 'Castle' inn for Wm. Jones.
Oct. 4th Went to Greenhill to repair and line a phaeton [he later made a shaft for £2. 0. 0.] for the Rev. J. W. Pugh.
Oct. 21st Illuminations and fireworks in honour of Lord Dynevor, having been married 50 years.
Nov. 8th Suffered great pain from a bit of cast-iron getting into my eye in turning a pair of sugar mill rollers for Mr Gravell. Walter Jones attended and applied leeches to allay the inflammation, the first time I ever had them applied — they did a vast deal of good. Nov. 28th Went to Swansea in Davies the Plough's market cart and returned at 4 p.m.
Nov. 29th Engaged Thomas Demelton as french polisher at 12/-.
Dec. 2nd Laid down 4" oak planking on 12" square bearing beams for the south abutment of the new bridge.
Dec. 3rd The foundation stone was laid this evening at 3.15 p.m. 4 lbs., of beef and 1 pint of ale and ½ oz. of tobacco given to each workman to the number of 40.
Dec. 25th George went with Edward Price to the park and returned shivering.
Dec. 26th At 12 noon my poor boy went to bed very ill in the scarlet fever.
Dec. 27th George worse, sent for Walter Jones, Surgeon.
Dec. 28th Worse. Red pistules began to appear. Dec. 29th Still worse. Sent for Dr Prothero who ordered his head to be shaved and bathed with cold salt water and leeches applied to his temples. Continued bathing his head from 2 p.m. 'til Dec. 30th 6 a.m. Inflammation reduced. Swallowing difficult. Continued bathing his throat with hot flannels 'til 5 p.m. I went to bed at 8 p.m.

1845 The year commenced sadly for the Jenkins family : Jany. 3rd It pleased God for some wise end to relieve my dear boy from his suffering at 11½ p.m. I shall never see his like again. God grant that I may become resigned.
Jany. 4th Peter made his coffin of inch oak, covered with grey cloth.
Jany. 7th The remains of my dear boy laid in earth at 4 p.m. near Uncle Thomas Lott's grave in the upper churchyard. Aged 4 year and 6 months yesterday. Sarah was taken ill in scarlet fever last Saturday the 4th [but by the 18th she had recovered].
retort.thumb.jpg Jany 24th Having saved some tin amalgam in silvering glass [he supplied mirrors] I made a retort something of the following form. (1) small iron pot. (2) sheet-iron cover. (3) gun barrel. (4) Box containing cold water. (5) basin to receive the mercury. Having charged the pot with 5 lbs. 9 ozs, amalgam, and luteing the joints with blood and lime I placed the retort in a small furnace in the garden. Product: Mecury 1 lb. 12 ozs. at 5/6. Tin 2 lbs. 8 ozs. at 10d. — £0. 11. 8½. Refuse 10 ozs, Loss 11 ozs. Total 5 lbs. 9 ozs. Paid for iron pot and cover, £0. 2. 2. Time, £0. 6. 0. — £0. 8. 2.

For some reason not explained the Mechanics Institution was obliged to leave the George Inn — how long it had been there is not indicated — and on March 24th Thomas Jenkins let two rooms to the Institution "at £9. 10. O. including firewood, lighting, cleaning rooms and attending library". The following day the Institution moved "from the George inn back home". At the end of the month the household was increased by three lodgers, Mary and Sarah Walters, Ffynnon-ddeulog at ten shillings a quarter, and Mr. T. T. Williams [Printer] at 2s. 6d. a week. On May 20th a subscription of twenty shillings towards rebuilding Llandilo church is recorded, and on the same day Uncle and Aunt Jenkins [Rev. James Jenkins, rector of Llanfoist, Abergavenny] arrived for a fortnight's stay.

The earlier sadness after the death of George was now replaced by new joy in the birth of another son, James, on June 21st "Barnaby fair day". All the time Jenkins was busy making coffins, often for babes and children, and in between he was doing all sorts of other jobs like buying a "12 ft., walnut tree of Dd. Bowen, Parklan", laying carpets, etc. for Dr Andrews of Glanbrydan, and putting up "a large chimney glass" at Llwynhelig.
Aug. 28th Went, together with T. T. Williams, Dd. Davies and William, through Llangadock to Spain, new Iron Foundry, through Llanddeusant to Blaensawdde. [There is a Spain Cottage on the Llangadog-Brynamman road beyond Pont-ar-llechau].
Aug. 29th Slept at do. Went at 6 a.m, up to see the Beacons and Llyn-y-fan. Spent the day on the mountain. The small lake is full of fish and said to be 260 yards deep.

Irresistably, he was away again with friends early in September "to see a newly-discovered cavern at the lime quarries" at Rhiw-wen [on the Black Mountain] but, unimpressed, they continued over the mountain to Brynamman "to see Mr Perkins's coal works" and to take "tea at the White Hart". Late in November off went "a 24/- post office order to London for 28 lbs of cocoa beans". Meanwhile, ideas for a new contraption were taking tangible shape. Already he had brought back from Spain foundry some castings for a turnip-cutter, which had been made to his own patterns at a cost of 7/1½d:
Nov. 29th Made a turnip-cutter for Mr Jones, Cefn-tir-esgob, with 18 angle knives on my own plan. Received for it, exclusive of wood and flywheel, £2. 10. 0. Made a blast fan 16" diameter, 4 blades 6" wide, the prime mover of 32", worked by hand, drives another wheel of 6" turning another of 16" which drives the fan pulley of 4" at 1200 revolutions per minute.

Jury service at the Court Leet occupied him on December 12th.

1846 Early in the year he again set about making a turnip-cutter and in the middle of January he walked to Spain foundry to order the necessary castings. In February there arrived from his cousin, Ann Waugh, a volume of his "poor father's poems, edited by herself". Ann Matilda Waugh was a poet in her own right and published at least one volume of poetry, The Wreath of Gwent. Daughter of Benjamin and Letitia Waugh, she later married the Rev. Francis Chambre Steel, rector of Llanvetherine, Monmouthshire for over fifty years.

Relaxation included visits to Middleton Hall and Tregib House to see the gardens. In between, on February 20th, he was engaged on the important task of drawing "the elliptic line for the new bridge, full size", with "span of 145 ft. Raise 38 ft." Late in March the cocoa beans arrived "from the London Genuine Tea Company" on the day that he sent a chimney-glass, which he himself made, to Swansea to be gilded at a cost of forty shillings.
Mar. 28th The Welsh poet, the Revd. Daniel Evans, B.D., better known by the bardic appellation of Daniel Ddu, committed suicide by suspending himself by his handerchief at his residence Maesmunach, near Lampeter and Apl. 2nd was buried at Pencarreg much regretted by all who knew him. The last hymn in his 'Gwinllan y Bardd' was sung at his funeral.
Apl. 7th Walked to Cross Inn to meet David Walters. Went together by rail to Llanelly to purchase iron for the construction of the bridge. Ordered 92 tons. Went in the afternoon to see Mr Neville's copper works and iron foundry.
Apl. 8th Took tea and slept at John Francis, the 'Ivy Bush'. Breakfast at Thomas Morgan 'Oddfellows Arms'. Left by train at 9 a.m. Walked from Cross Inn to David Walters's house, where I took tea. Home at 6 p.m. Spent 4/8½d.
Apl. 20th Finished making templates for the centre of the bridge of 1" boards for every piece of timber to be used in each couple and commenced the centre.
May 1st Went, with E. J. Griffiths, to Cwmcib [about a mile east of Tregeyb, Ffairfach] to measure the ground for an intended iron foundry. 0a. 3r. 23p.
May 8th Commenced putting the first framing together for the centre of the new bridge.
May 13th Went with Morgan Morgans to Llanelly to purchase more timber for do.
May 14th Slept at Llanelly and left by the 6 a.m. train. Returned at 10 a.m. Bought for self American birch 59 ft. at 1/6.
May 28th Edward Price and self took a clock-case to Spain foundry for Wm. Prosser and returned through Llangadock fair.
June 6th Morgan Morgans agreed to give me 21/- per week for superintending the making and erecting the centreing [of the new bridge].
June 14th Went with B. Morgan in a gig through Carmarthen to Llanstephan . . . . Crossed the ferry at 2 p.m. and walked through Kidwelly and by Trimsaran Ironworks to Llanelly.
June 15th Slept at the 'Ivy Bush' and bought 900 ft. of timber for the bridge centreing. Left by rail for Cwmamman and walked from there home.

ThomasJenkins.thumb.jpg In July, Wm. Henry Terrell of the firm of Terrel & Sons, 3 Charlotte Street, Bristol died at the Cawdor Arms, Llandilo after breaking his leg and Jenkins was engaged to attend the body home, a journey which included passage, 7s. 6., by the steamer Lord Beresford from Swansea. At Bristol he stayed at 34 Welsh Back and having discharged his duty he returned by rail to Gloucester, fare five shillings. There he looked round the cathedral before catching the Abergavenny coach via Ross and Monmouth, fare eight shillings. At Abergavenny, he took supper with Mr and Mrs Wheeley at Llanfoist House before spending the night at the home of his uncle, James Jenkins. Next day he took the coach for home, having first received from Mrs Wheeley ten shillings "to give to Sarah and Jane", his children. Mrs Whiteley, his cousin Anne, was the daughter of the Rev. James Jenkins; she married Robert Wheeley Esq. of Pentre, Abergavenny, and a daughter of this union, Lucy Anne, married Ferdinand Capel Hanbury-Williams, squire of Coedmawr.

After this four-day expedition to Bristol at a cost of £2. 0. 8., Thomas Jenkins was travelling again within a few days, this time to visit Ann and the children who were spending a fortnight's holiday at Llanstephan, where he slept "at their lodgings on the sands". He returned home by boat, three hours, to Carmarthen and continued on foot to Llandilo. Within a week he departed on another visit to Llanelli; to buy "29 baulks for the bridge centreing". A week later, on July 29th, he went "with Morgan to Llanfihangel [one can only guess which one] to see a bell-tower which he is building and for which I drew the plan". Next day there followed a journey to Pontardulais and on "to Lliw forge to order some iron-work for the cranes at the bridge". He returned through Llanelly, where he bought more timber for the bridge. August 3rd saw little Sarah start at "Miss C. Harris's school at 10/- per quarter".
Aug. 16th Sunday. Richard Cleaver, aged 7, son of John Cleaver, painter, fell off the temporary railway used to carry stone over the river for the bridge and was drowned [the body being recovered two months later near Llanarthney].
Aug. 17th [An oil painting of the diarist by David Evans, dated August 17th, 1846, is still extant. But Thomas Jenkins, then thirty-three years of age, makes no mention of it in his diary.]
Aug. 21st Erected a derrick crane for raising stones for the arch [of the bridge].
Aug. 31st Uncle and Aunt Jenkins came from Llanfoist.
Sept. 1st A cricket began chirping in the kitchen, being the first I have heard in the same house as myself.
Sept. 2nd Dreamt that the chain of the crane broke and came down with a rattling noise and, starting from sleep, Ann asked me what was the matter, when I told her. This evening the chain did break and ran over the pulley with the same noise I heard in my dream. Three or four of us had a narrow escape.
Sept, 3rd Commenced fitting up the centreing for the arch.

The death of his uncle, William Lott, Surgeon, at Tregaron occasioned much travel. On September 29th, he left by Mail at noon for Carmarthen, where Aunt Price gave him £5. 10. 3. towards the funeral expenses, and returned to Llandilo on foot by 9 p m. At 4 a.m. next day he was off by phaeton to Lampeter, where he took breakfast, 1/6d, at the Black Lion. Hiring a horse for six shillings, he reached Tregaron at 12.30 to attend his uncle's funeral at 2 p.m. He was back at Lampeter by 8 p.m. and, undaunted, walked on to Llanybyther for supper with his cousin, but not without visiting Daniel Ddu's grave at Pencarreg. Next morning he walked back to Lampeter to meet friends, Mr and Mrs B. Morgan, with whom he returned to Llandilo. Even he was much impressed by this effort, "having travelled in the last 3 days 130 miles and spent 18/5½d".
Oct. 22nd Very high flood. Part of the centre carried off. There were five men on it at the time and they were all precipitated with the falling timbers into the flood. Two were taken out immediately, one got up by a rope over the parapet of the old bridge, and two were carried by the river on some of the timbers to Cilsane where they were got out much exhausted.
Oct. 23rd The management of the bridge was transferred from Morgan Morgans to Mr Haycock, Morgan having contracted to build it for £5,870 and having now expended £7,000 of which he is to receive £6,500. Haycock to receive £4,000 additional and the materials of the old bridge.
Nov. 11th The old bridge having been damaged by the late flood and cracked through, went with William Williams to Cilgwyn where we purchased 1,000 ft. of beech timber for making a coffer-dam around the damaged pier.

1847 On January 18th Thomas Jenkins left home with a companion at 3.30 in the morning to travel via Pontardawe to Neath, which they reached at noon. They continued through Pont-rhyd-y-fen to reach Lanvey Ironworks at 3.30 in the afternoon. After an overnight stay they walked through Cwm-bychan, Aberafon, and over Briton Ferry to Swansea, where they slept at the Beaufort Arms. The first stage of the return journey was by Price's van to Pontardulais, from where they completed the journey on foot. The purpose of this journey is not indicated, but reference to the ironworks suggests that it may have been in connection with supplies for the new bridge. A month later, on February 17th, Jenkins and one Alfred Thomas "measured the work done by Morgan Morgans at the bridge which we find, by a fair valuation amounts to £10,080. 3. 1."
Mar. 24th General fast day, ordered owing to the famine in Ireland and Scotland. Mr Morgan and self went through Porth-y-rhyd to Llangyndeirne lime quarries. From there to Pontyberem iron works. Returned at 10 p.m.
Apl. 2nd Good Friday. Went together to the top of Garngoch [site of ancient camp near Bethlehem]. Took tea at Wm. Hopkins, near Bethlehem. From there to Pen-y-goilan flag quarry [north-west of Bethlehem near the river Towy].

Three weeks later he "set up a portico in the Tuscan order in front of the Castle inn at a cost of £9. 0. 0." In June his wife and children were enjoying their annual fortnight's holiday at Llanstephan and this gave him the excuse to visit the seaside, too; he walked to Carmarthen and continued "by the Castle gig to Llanstephan". Additionally, it was an exercise in economy, for two days later he walked all the way back.
June 25th Left at 3 p.m. with Morgan Morgans to purchase timber for Edwinsford new bridge (for which I had drawn the plans), and to meet Ann and the children at Carmarthen.
June 26th Slept together at the 'New King George', Priory Street and returned with Eliza King in a phaeton. Paid for phaeton, gates, etc. £0. 11. 9.

In July, he combined business with spartan pleasure when he journeyed by Price's van to Swansea to buy mahogany "for Mr Morgan's new shop". He stayed overnight at the Ferry House and enjoyed a "bathe in the sea at 4½ a.m." August 7th was the occasion of what must have been a very special order — "330 ft. of roofing felt for Dr Prothero's coach-house, of Thomas Jno. Croggon, 8 Laurence Poultney Hill, Cannon Street, London for which I sent a P.O. order to the amount of £1. 7. 6."
Sept. 16th Went to Llanwrda in the Castle's phaeton together with Ann, Miss C. Lewis and Mrs Ambrose, to fit up Aunt Jane's furniture [Miss Jenkins had kept the Post Office near the George in Llandilo]. Had a most providential escape from two runaway horses and a cart. The horse we had would not feel the whip, so after crossing the road from side to side 5 times the horses and cart passed within a few inches of the phaeton.
Sept. 21st My cousin, Jane Waugh, returned from Russia after an absence of 7 years. [What story lies behind this entry is entirely lost.]

On the last day of the month "Aunt Jane, Jane Waugh and Maria Barlow left for Llanwrda". Here they lived in what was known as The Buildings or the Hall, which must have been what have since been known as the Cornwallis Almshouses for gentlewomen in reduced circumstances provided in the eighteenth century by Lady Cornwallis. Aunt Jane was sixty-six years of age at this time. Jane Waugh, also a spinster, was younger, and Miss Barlow had been brought up in one or other household of the Jenkins family.

That Thomas Jenkins was a builder, too, is now evident, for in October there is reference to the "other new house which I built for Mr David Lewis". Later in the month he was at "Edwinsford to mark out the timber for the new bridge".
Oct. 26th Took Peter, Ben Jones and David Davies to Edwinsford to commence the timber work for the bridge.

Oct. 27th Took lodgings at the 'Swan', Talley, and returned at 9 p.m. Very dark and wet night with heavy rain.
Oct. 29th Went to Edwinsford.
Oct. 30th Returned this evening having laid all the beams on the piers.
Nov. 4th Walked to Edwinsford.
Nov. 5th Finished planking the roadway and returned 9 p.m.
Nov. 10th Having framed the hand-railing for the bridge, got them taken on a wagon to Edwinsford.
Nov. 11th Got a wassail bowl made at the 'Swan', the Revd. D. L. Jones joining.
Nov. 13th Returned home.
Nov. 16th Peter and self went to Edwinsford.
Nov. 18th Fine moonlight, frosty night. Borrowed Mr Price's boat. Peter and self boating on the lake [Talley] from 7 to 9 p.m.
Nov. 19th Completed the bridge at 1 p.m. and went with Peter to Llansawel fair. Returned at 7 p.m. My contract with Morgan for labour only - £20. O. 0.

1848 The year started tragically for Thomas Jenkins, who was now called upon to bear a loss even greater than that which struck the family three years earlier.
Jany. 1st Morning fine, frost evening, rain and thaw. Ann was put to bed at 3 p.m. attended by Dr Rees and gave birth to a boy at 9½ p.m.
Jan. 2nd Sunday. Went, at Ann's request, to Dolaugleision, she having promised Mrs Davies that I should dine there today, Sarah [Miss Sarah Davies, Aberdauddwr, of whom more later] having been sent there yesterday. Returned at 4 p.m. Soon after I returned my poor Ann was attacked with severe pain in the right leg. Sent for Drs Prothero and Rees to attend her, at 10 p.m. pain less severe.
Jan. 3rd Ann very ill.
Jan. 4th Same.
Jan. 5th Worse.
Jan. 6th After a night of intense suffering my dear Ann left me at 10½ a.m, alone in the world. Jane Waugh came from Llanwrda.
Jan. 8th I was taken very ill in influenza.
Jan. 9th Worse.
Jan. 10th No better. Little James very unwell. I was obliged to nurse him all day, he would go to no one else. The remains of my dear girl were laid in the same grave as our little George. I was not resigned to his death 'til now I've lost his dear mother. I was too ill to follow her to her last resting place.
Jan. 11th No better. Put the poor baby out to wet-nurse at Rhosmaen with Jane [lacuna] at 2/6 per week.
Jan. 12th A little better, but quite exhausted in body and mind. Obliged to nurse poor James every day, he will not leave me for a moment.
Jan. 14th Today, thank God, I am able to commence work again.
Jan. 21st Sarah [Davies] brought home from Dolau very unwell.
Jan. 22nd She was very ill all last night but better today, and I trust that I feel grateful to the Almighty. Paid Dd. Gwilliam burial fees 5/-, to Nurse for attending Ann 14/-, Surgeon's bill £3. 2. 2. - £4. 12. 2.
Jan. 27th Sent set of tea-things to Miss S. Davies which Ann had exchanged for some which she had bought. The centreing was lowered from under the arch of the new bridge today.
Jan. 30th Sunday 9 p.m. The centre was carried off by the flood and thrown down in a mass. Went to Rhosmaen to see my poor motherless baby.
Feb. 3rd I was taken very ill in the pleurisy. Took a Dover's powder.
Feb. 4th Very bad. Applied a mustard poultice.

By February 20th he had recovered once more and was able to attend "service at the Church, the last before it is taken down to rebuild". A week later he attended at the Shire Hall, "it having been licensed for the purpose during the rebuilding of the church". Within a few days he took a worthwhile walk to Carmarthen, for "Aunt Price very kindly presented me with a 5-pound note.
Mar. 16th I have been foolish enough today to lose 2 hours seeing a fox let before the hounds at Gurrey-fach gate, and followed them to the old mill in the park. It was the first foxhunt I ever went to see and I am pretty sure it will be the last.
Mar. 25th Received £3. 10. 0. for altering the stove-pipes and putting them to draw at the prisoners' cells at the Shire Hall, after all those parties connected with the first erection had failed.
Mar. 27th Fitted up a theatre at the 'George' for Mr. Fenton.
Apl. 3rd Commenced fitting up a draper's shop for Mr J. Roberts at the house on the churchyard corner.
Apl. 18th The quarry opened in the churchyard [for the church rebuilding?] gave way and buried five men, four saved, but one after remaining buried for two hours taken out a corpse. Great carelessness on the part of someone. Now the quarry will have to be abandoned without procuring any stones worth using from it. Apl. 19th Suffered from toothache for first time in my life.

His reputation was now spreading farther afield, for in May he sent "a plan and elevation for two shops and dwellings to B. Davies, Druggist, Aberafon", to quarter-inch scale, for which he charged ten shillings. Soon he succumbed once more to the lure of the caves:
July 14th Went to Llygad Llwchwr cave together with Revd. John Lewis, Messrs. D. Lewis, R. W. Lewis, H. Bundy and J. Roberts. Left coracle inside. Entered 10 am. Out 4 p.m. Thermometer in the shade outside 68 deg. Water 49 deg. Quantity of water discharged per minute 450 ft., — 23,325 lbs - 12 tons 11 cwts. 12 lbs. - 45 hogsheads. Holywell discharges 84 hogsheads per minute.

Over the hills on August 12th, when he "went, together with T. T. Williams, to Carreg Cennen castle to meet a company of the British Association from Swansea". On a day early in September he set off at 6 a.m, to walk to Llanwrda; after dinner he went "to the top of Tabor Hill [north-east of the village] with Aunt and Jane Waugh". A week later he "began to fit up a verandah at Bryncithin", two miles north of Llandilo, a task he completed on October 19th at a cost, for labour only (35 days), of £9. 5. 0. On November 3rd he recorded that he had "made a circular saw 9¾" diameter for the lathe".
Nov. 12th Sunday. Dreamed last night that I was called to Dynevor Castte to make a coffin for a female, and having made it I thought it saw too small and at 2 p.m. today I was desired by Dr Prothero to go over and measure the remains of Mrs. Catherine Powell, aged 56, who died suddenly at 1 p.m.
Nov. 13th Stayed up last night and commenced making a shell at 12½ a.m. Took it to Dynevor at 5 p.m. Attended the inquest. Verdict — Died by the visitation of God.

One of the last commissions for the year was "an inventory of household goods, candle machinery and shop fittings" belonging to the late Mrs Mary Harris.

1849 A fine frost lay on the ground as Thomas Jenkins set out early on New Year's Day. "Spent a very happy day, one of the happiest I have had for a long time in the charming society of Miss S. Davies", a visit which was to be followed by the frequent exchange of letters with Sarah Davies of Aberdauddwr, which lies alongside the Lampeter road about two miles northwest of Pumsaint. After spending the night at Aberdauddwr, Jenkins walked on to Llanybyther:
Jany. 3rd Slept at the 'Black Lion'. Went to the top of the steeple and to see the church. It contains sittings for 203. Took breakfast and dined at cousin's [Cousin Betsy Lott had been living in the School House for some time].

Leaving Lampeter at 3 p.m. he walked to Carmarthen, where Aunt Price gave him 12s. 6d., which he probably found useful in paying for the Revd. Mr Marsden's poems, six shillings, to which he had become a subscriber. The church at Llandilo being still not available because of rebuilding, his youngest son, Thomas, was baptised on Sunday, February 14th at the Shire Hall.
Apl. 6th Good Friday. Hired a horse and gig at the 'Castle' and went with B. Morgan by Llanwrda to Caio. From there over the hills to Maes-y-haidd to see Henry Harris, the Astrologer, of Cwrt-y-cadno. He is in a decline, can't live many weeks [he died in a fire when his home was destroyed in 1862]. Went by Bronnant and Dolaucothi to the old Roman mines at Ogof-Caio, then to Aberdauddwr where we had tea and enjoyed the evening very much. Home at 10 p.m. Spent 8/7d.
Apl. 9th Sent letter SD. Went together with T. T. Williams and B. Morgan by Cennen Tower to Trichrug to collect fossils. Very cold day. Went to the 'Griffin' inn, Gwynfe to see new brickyard, back by Spain and took tea at Pont-ar-llechau. Home at 7 p.m.

At the end of the month Jenkins made yet another machine, this one for grinding chocolate. Young James was sent to Miss Lockyer's school on May 1st. Next day Jenkins "took Peter to paint Edwinsford bridge" and "walked from there over the hills to Aberdauddwr". June 5th saw the removal of the Mechanics Institution back again to the 'George'. A few days later Jenkins bought 201b of tin amalgam at fourpence a pound and distilled it to produce 61b of mercury and 10lb of tin. A flying visit to Aberdauddwr on June 28th, when he set off on horseback at 3.30 in the afternoon; tea en route at the Edwinsford Arms, and return by 11.30 p.m. In August a domestic job involved "the front room upstairs", which was skirted, papered and carpeted at a cost of £5. 7. 3., and Miss C. Harris received payment of seven shillings for one quarter in respect of Sarah's schooling. A new and unwelcome experience befell him this month, for he had a tooth extracted, an operation which he referred to as "the first sympton of old age"; he was then thirty-six. Late in September young Thomas was brought home from the nurse, the cost of her services amounting to £11. 4. 6. and a few days later Thomas Jenkins, senior "took the office of Librarian at the Mechanics Institute from September 29th at 26/- a year". The 9th, 11th and 12th October found him attending a "sale at Glanbrydan for Gwynne Hughes Esq. at 5/- per day" and as a result he was busy packing furniture there a week later.

Having received news of the death of his uncle, James Jenkins, at Llanfoist at the age of seventy-three, Thomas Jenkins set off on October 28th at "5½ a.m. by Mail for Abergavenny", where he arrived at noon and got a little discount by finding a sixpence on the bridge. He slept at the home of his cousin, the Rev., William Jones, rector of Llanillen and the next day "went to Llanover, the seat of Sir Benjamin Hall" (whose best known memorial is Big Ben). During his stay he made a list of books for his Aunt Jenkins and "soled two pairs of shoes with gutta percha" for the rector and his wife; he also visited the Wheeleys at Pentre House. He returned home on November 5th, leaving at 6 a.m. by coach, a "tremendous storm of hail and sheet blowing in my face all the way". Disembarking at Llandovery at 4 p.m., he completed the journey on foot. He spent £l. 11. 0, in cash, but the total cost of the trip with the inclusion of time lost he calculated to be £2. 4. 3.
Nov. 13th T. T. Williams and self set up the church organ at the Mechanics Institution.
Nov. 16th Made an electrical machine, cylinder 13" long x 11" on gutta percha pillars.
Nov. 19th Made a coffin for David Dyer Griffiths, aged 11 weeks, son of E. J. Griffiths, covered, complete £0. 18. 0.
Nov. 21st Attended the funeral. No service performed, Mr Griffiths being of the Baptist persuasion.

Before the end of the month, Jenkins was back in Abergavenny "removing furniture for Aunt [Jenkins] from Llanfoist Rectory to town". During this visit he "dined and took tea at Mr Wheeley's, Pentre House" and went to Llanillen to hear a lecture on electricity, for which he paid sixpence.
Dec. 10th Aunt gave me £5. 0. 0. and old clothes to the value of £4. 5. 0. and I spent, including time, coach fare, carriage etc. £7. 2. 11. leaving me a gainer of £2. 2. 10½. Booked a box and bag at North Wagon office.
Dec. 11th Left at 5 a.m., pitch dark. Began to dawn at Crickhowell. Got to Brecon at 11 a.m., and by coach to Llandovery. Took tea at Llanwrda and walked home by 9½ p.m.

Thomas Jenkins now completed one of his most ambitious contrivances. On December 21st he recorded that he had "made a homomotive carriage with three wheels", but there is no indication of how long this took him, nor is there any specification, a strange omission by one who usually recorded dimensions and other data. The following day he tried it out on a journey to Carmarthen, leaving at 5 p.m. and arriving at 7.30 p.m.
Dec. 24th Left [Carmarthen] at 12 [presumably in the carriage]. Went to Allt-y-gog to get chair patterns, then through Nantgaredig, Brechfa, Abergorlech, Llansawel and Pumpsaint to Aberdauddwr at 8½ p.m.

He stayed a couple of days at Aberdauddwr over Christmas — this seems an unfatherly absence from home at this time of the year, but it is significant that he never referred to any Christmas festivities apart from the noisy occasion in Carmarthen — and made a record of the fact that Miss Davies had a stone with a cross cut on it which was "supposed to have been part of a stone called Carreg a tair groes from which Llanycrwys derives its name".

1850 The ground was covered with snow on New Year's Day, but this did not discourage him from going "with B. Morgan in the car to Llansadwrn". He was now finding the car a useful means of transport, for in the middle of the month he used it to go to Swansea, 24 miles, leaving at 11 a.m., and arriving at 3 p.m. He stayed two nights, sleeping at the Ferry House.
Jany. 18th Took breakfast with the Revd. Evan Davies, M.A., Headmaster of the Normal College. Went with him to see the potteries, the iron-ship building yard, the 'Augusta' a new screw steamer and the Royal Institution. Left at 2 p.m. Home at 8 p.m. Spent 5/5d.
Jany. 29th Sent letter to SD. Fitted up a mahogany seat and front to water-closet at Tregib, £3. 16. 0.

From the entry for February 26th we learn that he "made a Leyden Jar 12? high by 5 with 1700? internal surface of metal". In the middle of March he used his car to go to Llanwrda, Llandovery and Myddfai. When he used it some days later to go to Carmarthen there was a storm of hail and snow in his face all the way. Returning two days later on March 25th, he still got home in two and a half hours despite four inches of snow on the ground. April 18th was the occasion of a "steeplechase over Dr Rees's fields, being the first exhibition of the kind at Llandilo".

Now began a sad episode, for on April 20th he received news that Miss Sarah Davies was very ill. Expecting that she would die soon, he made several hurried journeys to Aderdauddwr, but as it turned out Sarah suffered a lingering illness for a year or more. With the threat of bereavement removed, Thomas Jenkins turned his mind to fresh adventure:
May 2nd Accompanied Mr R. W. Lewis to Cennen Tower [within two miles north-east of Carreg Cennen casle; built by Dr Frederick Pridham, d. 1846 and buried in Bethlehem chapel graveyard] where Mr T. T. Williams joined us. Went along the Black Mountains range by Llwchwr lakes to the lately discovered cavern near the lime quarries. Found fine specimens of various coloured ochres in the junction of lime and millstone grit. Returned by, and took tea at, the 'Griffin' inn.

But three weeks later, having received a message from Sarah Davies, he "left at 7 p.m. in velocipede", arriving at Pumpsaint at 11 p.m. He stayed for a few days, during which he carried Miss Davies into the garden, she not having been out for five weeks. Back home before the end of the month, he attended a lecture on Phreno-mesmerism by Davy and Jackson. Soon, however, there was renewed anxiety regarding Sarah Davies:
June 5th Went with Dr Prothero for Miss Davies to Aberdauddwr. She and her mother returned with us in his carriage. Got 2 post-horses at the 'Castle', returned at 3 p.m.
June 7th Sat up 'til 4 a.m. Miss Davies could get no sleep. She spent a very anxious night, not having slept the two previous nights. Went to Treglas, Wm. Owens, Shoemaker, nr. Llanarthney to estimate repairs for Mrs C. Hughes.
June 10th Took SD in phaeton on the Carmarthen road.
June 21st Sent 100 postage stamps to Evan Jones, Cardiff in payment for the 'Cymraes' for Miss Davies.
June 24th Took Miss Davies over Cilsane bridge in phaeton.
June 28th Went to Gollen-wyn, Myddfai in homomotive, then to Llandovery. Went to Llanfair-ar-y-bryn churchyard, saw Williams, Pantycelyn's grave.

By September Sarah Davies appeared to be making a recovery and was able to go on longer outings by phaeton, one of these being to Golden Grove to see the gardens. On September 8th B. Morgan accompanied him "to Pant-y-llyn and Garn, where we found the buckthorn tree growing abundantly". A few days later he was using his car to go to Llandovery and Myddfai, and to Llangadock fair on the way back. His next journey in the homomotive was to Llangadock, six and a half miles, which he completed in fify-five minutes. The rebuilding of Llandilo church was now finished and on October 9th he made four collecting boxes, at one-and-six each, no doubt in readiness for the first service in the restored building, which he attended the following day at 11 a.m., when the Bishop preached from John Chap. 4, verse 24. The same day Thomas Jenkins "cleaned and planted flowers on Ann's grave".

Early in the following month he "commenced subscribing to John Thomas's Clothes Club", and on the last day of November he "made 12 vesta lamp pillars for the church", where he "set them up and lit the lamps this evening at 10 o'clock."

1851 Early in January, young James was sent to William Morgan's school at two shillings a quarter and the following day Sarah, his little sister went to Mrs. Davies's school at five shillings a quarter. In the following month Jenkins was entrusted with a challenging commission which was probably new to his experience:
Feby. 25th Made 2 wax figures for William Lewis, Llandyfan, from models of his son and daughter, Ann etc., dressed in Welsh costume of his manufacture to send to the Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations [the Great Exhibition of 1851]. Cost of making, exclusive of clothes, £4. 2. O. Packing box and carriage to London £2. 5. 0. Received for the whole £6. 16. 0.
Feby. 27th Sat up last night to finish and pack the figures. Anne Lewis and David Davies, Cooper, and John Williams stayed to assist. Left with the box for Swansea at 6 a.m., saw it off by the S.W. Railway. Paid carriage to London. Weight 2 cwt. 2 qtrs.

In March he cast 681b of brass bearings from an air-furnace he made in the back kitchen at a cost of 4/7½d bricks, 1/6d firebars and 3/6d labour.
Mar. 24th Took Sarah Davies to the 'Coach and Horses'. Mr. Gwynne Hughes and his Lady arrived at Tregib. Illumination and fireworks.
Mar. 26th Distributed 50 enumeration schedules. Sarah Davies and and her mother returned.
Mar. 31st Enumerated 41 inhabited houses, 1 uninhabited, 74 males and 80 females.
On April 4th he was "up all night casting brass, being the second night without rest". Ten days later he recorded that "Sarah Davies attained her 21st year at 6 this morning".
May 5th 7 p.m. Sarah Davies after suffering from cough and difficulty in breathing, became perfectly free from pain. I was supporting her in nearly a sitting posture, she said 'Now I am dying, call Mother.' I desired her brother, who was in the room, to call his mother from the next room. She then said 'Mother, I am dying. Don't vex yourselves after me mother, if you do you displease me. Blessed be the Lord for taking me. I am going to a place of bliss. I now see Heaven open before me, together with my Saviour and the God I worshipped from my youth. A description of what I now see is not given me to reveal to you if it were in my power, but some things are given me to reveal for your good. Never more doubt the existence of the future state. Oh! where are those who doubt? I wish they were here now.' Speaking to me, she said 'You see God revealed in this creation, in the beautiful flowers, in hill and valley, in all around you. If not enough, all is now clearly laid before me and I have authority to tell you never have the slightest doubt again.' She then told her mother and brother never to forget my kindness to her. 'But the Lord will reward him and his children when my body is reduced to dust. Much that I tell you I speak not of myself, but I have authority to tell you. You may think from many things you do or may hear me say, that I am deranged but I am not indeed.' She then advised us respecting our future conduct in life, and desired me not to forget her mother, and saying she wished her father had been present to see her dying. She then said 'The sun is setting and it is getting dark, but it will soon be light again,' [and] offering up a short prayer and singing several scraps of hymns, [she] desired that she should be buried at Bethel, Cwmpedol, in the brook near which chapel she had been baptised when 12 years of age. Said what was to be done with her clothes, books, letters etc., requested that I should make her coffin and design for headstone, and that the little flowers she was so fond of in life should be planted on her grave. All of which I promised to do. She then took us each by the hand commencing with her mother, telling me that I was the best friend she had on earth, and that I and her brother Evan were to have a lock of her hair to keep, and then desired each of us to kiss her, and not to give way to sorrow when she was gone. She asked Ellen, my servant, if she had seen anyone dying so happily before, and said 'You may all die thus if you do as I have told you.' She did not forget the children but kissed each, desiring them to be good to their father. 'I have now told you all, do not forget, so I shall lay myself down to die,' stretching her arms over the bed-clothes and playing her fingers, she continued with her eyes closed for about 5 minutes when, opening them she said 'I am not to die now. I shall yet see my father.' I told her we had not sent for him, and asked if we should do so. She said yes, but it did not matter when, that the Almighty had promised that she should see him. 'And perhaps I may see Evan, too. Stay a bit.' Closing her eyes for a few seconds she said 'Yes, I shall see my brother too.' (I then sent for her father to Gelly, and her brother from Swansea.) She said 'I shall live as long as I now wish. Do you know what inspiration is?' I said I knew the meaning of the word. 'Well' said she, 'I am now inspired, I could tell you anything. I see all your faults past and present, every one of you. I can now see myself clearly. Where is Dr Prothero? I could tell him something of my disorder that may be of benefit to him. I shall now recount my own faults.' Speaking to me, she said 'I ought to have married you two years ago, I ought indeed, but I am following your poor Ann to the grave so I have been no comfort to you. But what is this world with all its pleasures, its beautiful flowers, with man lord of creation, his quarrels and his wars spoiling the face of the earth. If he saw what I now do how different would he act. My past life is laid out as a map, it is as one day, but it is getting dark again, I have sinned.' I said 'No, you cannot sin now.' She said 'Yes, I have indeed, by saying that I should be talked of in ages to come (a remark she made when she said she was inspired) but it will get still lighter yet. Here you see me receive the reward of my transgressions. This is my hell. There is no more pain for me but what I suffer here, and that won't be long. I am only now beginning to live.' It was about 9 o'clock. She seemed to enjoy intense pleasure, saying that she was perfectly free from pain, she was clapping her hands and breast, and singing praises to her Redeemer, and thanking and blessing us for our kindness to her, desired us to thank the Revd. J. W. Pugh and Dr Prothero for their kindness to her. Soon after, the cough came on again.
May 6th She spent a sleepless night. Her father came about 8, and her brother Evan about 11 a.m. At 6 p.m. after suffering much in the course of the day she desired us to kiss her again and wishing us goodbye said she had no further wish to live, and desired me to place her in an easy position to die. Shortly afterwards she asked me how long I thought she had to live, that she was anxious to go. I said about ½ an hour or ¾. She said 'Thank the Lord', and at 7 p.m. she breathed her last.
May 7th Made her coffin, oak, covered with grey cloth and padded. Placed an account of her death in a stone jar in the coffin.

Her body was taken back to Aberdauuddwr and in the morning of May 12th Thomas Jenkins 'went to see the grave, and attended the funeral at 10 a.m. At 12 strewed flowers on her grave.'

Suddenly we are pitched back into the workaday world, for the very next entry informs us that on May 19th he "received a piano-forte from Mrs Lloyd, Mandinam' [a house north-east of Llangadog with Jeremy Taylor associations]; we are not told why, but we can guess that it received the benefit of one or more of his many skills. Later in the month he achieved something of a record, for he re-turned from Carmarthen in his velocipede in two hours, a speed of seven and a half miles an hour. The promised wonders of the Great Exhibition drew him inevitably to London in the autumn, and, of course, there was the additional excuse that his two wax figures were on view there:
Oct. 12th Left at 5 a.m. Walked to Llandyfan and went together with Wm. Lewis, in his car to Neath, and left for London by the South Wales railway at 1 p.m. Arrived in London at 10½ p.m.
Oct. 13th Slept at a house near Paddington station. Went to the Exhibition and Polytechnic.
Oct. 14th Went to the Exhibition.
Oct. 14th Do. and Zoological Gardens, Regent's Park.
Oct. 17th Left at 7 a.m. together with Wm. Lewis and William Waugh. Got to Bristol at 5 p.m.
Oct: 18th Left Bristol by steamer to Cardiff. By rail to Swansea. Walked from there to Llandyfan.
Oct. 19th Sunday. Stayed at do.
Oct. 20th Returned home. Spent £3. 10. 3.

1852 Occasional cryptic entries suggest that Thomas Jenkins had illicit associations with the opposite sex. One of these associations led him to make the following entry for January 22nd: "J. T. at Llangadock. Pd. expenses 12/6d. Ordered to pay 1/6d per week." Partially scribbled through, this entry probably relates to a child born to Jane Thomas, a former servant, by Jenkins on August 3rd previous. He noted the start of this association with an entry on February 4th, 1849, when he recorded: "nt w-J".

Ever resourceful, he improved his mechanical facilities in April by making "a direct-acting steam engine for driving lathe and saws". Among his other mechanical aids, his velocipede had been a great boon to him in his travels about the county, but now he was emboldened to go further afield. In September he left with a friend just after 8 a.m. "for Builth, over the Ludlow Mountains [Cefn Llwydlo, between Llanfair-ar-y-bryn and Llangammarch]. Very heavy rain from 1 p.m. to past 5. Arrived at 8 after having taken tea at Llangammarch". On September 17th he noted that the "South Wales Railway opened from Swansea to Carmarthen", and at the end of the month he recorded, perhaps with more satisfaction, that he "sold 7 looking glasses to Lady Dynevor for 10/-." On December 1st he was busy removing and fitting up the prisoners' box in Llandilo's Shire Hall for Mr C. Popham at a cost of five shillings.

1853 The year started with "heavy rain all day, not having had 2 days in succession for the last 3 monrhs without rain". During April he "commenced working for Mrs Du Buisson, Glyn-hir", but he gives no indication of the commission. A month later he was called upon urgently to undertake corrective measures following another's neglect:
May 16th Sent for, to see James Thomas, late of the Half Moon's coffin, it having been made by David Thomas, Carpenter. Found it in a sad leaky state. Got it secured and lowered through the window and taken to the lower floor. Finished by 2½ o'clock in the morning. James Thomas was 28 years of age.
May 17th Made a water-proof tray 5" deep to fit on the bottom of the coffin which made it perfectly secure.

Although he made only one mention of the exercise, Thomas Jenkins must have spent much time collecting fossils and in the middle of August he was able to spare a box of specimens sent to the Rev. Dd. Griffiths. When he went to Gelli Bevan early in September, having recently completed a building contract there, he "found that the wife, Rachel Prichard, had died at 2 a.m., the first use of the new parlour was to place her remains in. She died of consumption, aged 22."

1854 His first wife having died six years before, Thomas Jenkins now decided to re-enter the matrimonial state, his second wife being Ann Thomas, who had been his servant since November 1851.
Feby. 3rd Got a marriage licence of the Revd. J. Griffiths. Paid £2. 2. O. Bought wedding ring of E. Parry, paid 8/-.
Feby. 5th Walked with Ann to Llanarthney [seven miles] and returned in the evening.
Feby. 6th. Walked to Llanarthney and got married to Ann Thomas by the Revd. Mr Harris. Paid 7/6d. Returned together in the evening. On March 24th Jenkins recorded that he "erected a weighing machine at the corner of the churchyard in the town" at a contract price of fifteen pounds, plus eighteen shillings for extras, all exclusive of machine and carriage. Soon he was to act as agent for Mrs. Catherine Hughes of Bank Buildings, Llandilo at ten pounds per annum until her death in October 1855 at the age of eighty-seven, following which he undertook similar duties for Mr John B. Vevers in respect of his property and rents in the Llandilo district.

1855 Feby. 14th Finished packing Mr Squance's furniture. Sent last load to Carmarthen [for dispatch by rail]. Total 82 packages. Weight 7 tons 4 cwt. 2 qtrs. Mr Squance and family left Glanbrydan [for Cheltenham]. On my return from Glanbrydan I found that a messenger had come from Carmarthen with a letter to inform me of Aunt Price's illness. Left at 7½ p.m. Walked to Carmarthen, arrived at 11 p.m. Found poor Aunt nearly speechless.
Feby. 15th Sat by her side all night. At 7 a.m. she became speechless and died at 11 a.m. aged 80. Returned home by omnibus in the evening. [Sarah Price was buried in Abergwili].

The following month, in sending money to his cousin Thomas Lott in London, Thomas Jenkins took the precaution of forwarding only the "halves of 2 £5. 0. 0. notes", sending the remainder two days later. While on a mission to Llanelly for Mrs C. Hughes the following month he seized the opportunity of going "to see the 'Queen of the West', an American vessel of 2,200 tons that was stranded a few months ago at Cefn-sidan". An evening excursion to Llygad Llwchwr with some friends in August was prompted by his curiosity about the coracle he left in the cave some years earlier, but he found it decayed.
Oct. 8th Took the bearing and level of the zinc lode in Trallwm quarry [behind Railway Terrace, Llandilo]. The floor of the quarry is 48 ft. 5 ins. above low-water in Gurrey-fach brook. The lode runs within a few feet of the railway between the quarry and Rhosmaen, and crosses Rhosmaen Street at an acute angle near the house I now live in, and passes under the lower house in Bank Buildings [a lane connecting Rhosmaen Street and New Road].

On December 11th he recorded with satisfaction that he had been "appointed Constable of the Leet Court".

1856 The year was a busy one about his daily tasks, unrelieved by sightseeing travel. Otherwise much of his time was taken in winding up the affairs of his Aunt Price. In January he went by coach to Carmarthen and "received £170 of Mr Morgan Jones being amount of mortgage on house in Lammas Street". Even his daughter, Sarah, could boast a deposit of twenty shillings "in the Savings Bank, being money she collected by saving her pence". For himself Jenkins collected a modest six and eightpence "interest on share in the Llandilo-Llanelly railway". At the end of February he "concluded the purchase of Clyn-hendy for £400 due to Aunt Price" and on the following Good Friday let the property to one William Evans for an annual rent of seventeen pounds. In July he paid "Mrs Thomas £103. 0. 9½. being in full of her 1/5th share of Mrs Price's property, having paid Thomas Lott's share before". Lott, a druggist, formerly of Llandilo and now living in Cripplegate, London, was always in need of money and had lost no time in pressing his claims against Aunt Price's estate. Just before Christmas Jenkins "went by the engine to Llandybie" and continued his journey to Swansea on foot and by rail.

1857 Early in January Jenkins "took 5 £10 shares in the Llandilo Lead, Zinc and Copper Mining and Smelting Company", an investment made possible perhaps by Aunt Price's legacy. Already he had been appointed to the company's committee, probably in recognition of his technical expertise. A big day was the opening of the Llandilo railway extension, which was celebrated on January 20th with a Public Breakfast in readiness for which Jenkins had 'put up tables at the Shire hall sufficient to dine 156 persons". Four days later he "sent a pianoforte and three packages by the first train that travelled the Llandilo railway, to A. W. Mackinson, 8 New Palace Yard, Westminster". In the summer Jenkins was again possessed by the urge to travel:
July 27th B. Morgan and self by excursion train to Neyland, then by 'City of Paris' steamer down Milford Haven to sea and back. Paid excursion ticket 6/6d. Dinner on board 2/6d. By boat to Hobb's Point, took tea at the 'Royal Oak', Pater.
July 28th Slept at do. Went to see the Royal Dockyard and Barracks. Crossed to Neyland. Walked to Milford and returned to Pater by boat.
July 29th Slept at 'Royal Oak', by train to Haverfordwest and back. Took tea at Neyland. Left at 8½ p.m. on board the steamer 'Pacific' for Cork, Ireland.
July 30th Arrived at Queenstown at 8½ a.m. Cork at 10½ a.m. By rail from Cork to Passage, and by steamer to see the 'Niagra' and `Agamemnon' steamers opposite Queenstown, they having on board the Atlantic telegraph wire ready to lay down between Ireland and America. The American ship 'Niagra' is the largest vessel now afloat. Returned to Cork.
July 31st Slept at the 'London Tavern', Cork on the Grand Parade. There is a statue of William IV, and near it two 361b. cannon taken from Sebastapol. Length 8 ft. 5 ins. Bore 6¾". Left at 11 a.m. by the 'Pacific'. Arrived at Neyland at 12 night. Took tea and stayed on board until morning.
Aug. 1st Left Neyland by the 7.5 a.m. train to Carmarthen. Walked from there home.

Jenkins still continued to visit Aberdauddwr regularly and to tend Sarah Davies's grave at Bethel, a mile east of the village of Farmers. On December 2nd he journeyed to Aberdauddwr by mail car to Pumpsaint, continuing on foot to his destination. Ten days later he "put up a forcing pump at the lead-mine".

1858 The daily round took up the first half of the year without exceptional incident. June 30th was the occasion of the Ivorites Eisteddfod, for which he erected a tent 10 yards by 22 yards, using 1,200 yards of canvas, at a cost of £10. 17. 0. for "labour only, including door-keepers, cash-takers, etc." Despite an increasing family — four of the five children of his first marriage still survived and there would be another seven from the second marriage — he continued to make arrangements for the education of his children, it now being the turn of James, his son by the first marriage, to go to Mr Macfarlane's Grammar School. Ever a man to accept a challenge to his practical nature, Jenkins recorded in August that he "made an artificial leg for Wm. Thomas, Allt, Llanfynydd", for which he charged £1. 10. 0. Now it was possible for him to go by train to Llandovery and this he did on August 7th. A fortnight later he was off to Golden Grove to receive "orders for ottoman seat and cushions of Lord and Lady Emlyn". On September 12th the Bishop of London preached at Llandilo church, but perhaps Jenkins was more impressed by the comet he observed in the north-west sky.

As an undertaker Thomas Jenkins could not fail to have had many harrowing experiences, but surely none more revolting than the case of Herbert Evans, aged twenty-nine. "The face and head of the body covered with lice and they continued alive until the day he was buried". December 6th was a day of rejoicing for the town, which was illuminated in honour of the return of Lord Dynevor and family. Jenkins made twenty fire-balls for the occasion and erected an arch at the park entrance. But merriment gave way to alarm the following day, when "Dynevor Castle took fire at 8 p.m." He helped to extinguish the flames and was rewarded with an "invitation to supper at the Cawdor Arms from Lord Dynevor", a feast which took place on the 11th of the following month.

1859 The first quarter saw a rash of fires in the area, many cow-houses, barns, stables and other outbuildings receiving malicious attention from an incendiarist, one suspects. On January 28th Jenkins "attended a meeting at the Cawdor Arms for a water supply" and was "re-appointed on the committee". In the month of May sadness in double measure came to at least one country house:
May 19th Went with Jno. Samuel to Llangadock by 6.10 p.m. train to measure shell containing the remains of Morgan Pryse Lloyd, aged 10 years, son of Captain Lloyd of Glansevin. Returned by 7.10 p.m.
May 20th Up last night making coffin to 3½ a.m. Left, together with Samuel, by 10 o'clock train. Took lead and outer coffin to Llangadock, then by cart to Glansevin. Soldered and closed coffin and returned by 1 o'clock train. Outer coffin, covered complete, £4. 10. 0.

After the passage of a week Jenkins repeated his mission:
May 27th Made oak, covered coffin for Desmond David Herbert Lloyd, aged 9 years, 3rd son of Captain Lloyd, Glansevin. J. Samuel and self went by 1 p.m. train with coffin to Glansevin, soldered it up and returned by 7 p.m. train. Oak coffin complete, £4. 10. 0.

The following month he was back in Llangadock, this time "to fit up a pump at the Telegraph inn". In Llandilo, however, they were concerned over a milder beverage, for the town was now on the eve of receiving a new water supply. On July 28th Jenkins "commenced draining near Gelli-groes [about two miles south-west of the town on the hillside beyond Tregeyb] by order of the Local Board to collect the spring-water together for the supply of Llandilo" and on September 5th he "marked out the ground for reservoir at Penlanfawr, 200 ft. x 121 ft."

1860 Having gone by train to Pontardulais on February 10th, Thomas Jenkins "walked to Pen-lle'r-gaer, Mr. Dilwyn Llewelyn, for Lord Emlyn to see the Armoury and rifle-ground". In the middle of March he finished the "rifle-stands for 64 rifles, including varnishing and numbering, for the Llandilo Volunteer Rifle Corps" at the rate of 2/5d, per rifle. Having made the necessary post, Jenkins fixed a sun-dial in Llandeilo churchyard on August 2nd and a couple of days later he erected in the church a lobby with spring folding-doors. Had he been a theatre-goer Thomas Jenkins would have been an inveterate first-nighter, for he was ever keen to see the latest and biggest:
Sept. 3rd Left 4 a.m. in phaeton. Carmarthen at 6½ a.m. Left by 2nd class train 7.2 aim. New Milford at 8.36 a.m. Went to see the 'Great Eastern' steamship, the largest ship afloat, 24,000 tons burden. Then to see the Channel Fleet lying off Milford. Went on board the 'Centurion' 81-gun ship and the 'Royal Albert' 121 guns. Left New Milford at 6.30 [arriving home at 1 a.m. and having spent 12/6d. on carriage].

In October he felt obliged to enter one Wm. Williams in the small debts court for the sum of £10. 17. 6., "the first legal proceedings I ever took against anyone". Early the following month business took him to "Dolaucothi to see John Johnes Esq. respecting some furniture required by him". A month later he received instructions to inspect the building of the new Savings Bank in Rhosmaen Street, Llandilo and the following day he got "orders from the Local Board to erect 6 Petroline street lamps and posts at a cost not exceeding 36/- each".

1861 In February he was again at Dolaucothi, this time repairing a table and other furniture, and in April he was back in his role as a man of public affairs engaged in the census enumeration and being appointed Parish Constable for Llandilo-fawr. Late in June he walked to Llanfynydd to deliver a picture and some glass to Mr John Oliver [there were three notable brothers in this family, one of whom was a promising poet who died young]. He spent the night at the Farmers Arms and the following day "dined and took tea with Mr Oliver". One Joseph Williams returned from America early in September and Jenkins "bought a cheese of him weighing 150lbs for 6d. per lb., which was made by Mrs Anthony Morris in America" and "cut up and sold it at 10d." At the end of October he was up all night making a "shell and coffin for the Revd. R, J. Hughes, M.A., Tregib, who died last night aged 37 years, the coffin being 7 ft. 3½" x 2 ft 3½ x 19" deep". Two weeks later Jenkins was in Carmarthen "to see Ebenezer Morris, one of the contractors for building the Llandeilo Savings Bank, he being in jail for debt" [Eighteen months earlier Jenkins had unsuccessfully tendered £1,111 for the job against Morris's £900].

1862 In February Jenkins was engaged in connection with arbitration proceedings concerning the Savings Bank contract, and the following month he "went to Swansea in Mr Smith Glanbrydan's old carriage and returned in his new carriage". Within a few days he was off by train to Mountain Ash, Glamorgan "to unpack and fit up a chimney glass" and did not miss the opportunity of satisfying his insatiable curiosity by taking a look at the "coal-works" in the neighbourhood. James, his eldest surviving son, now left home for Swansea in the middle of June and was soon to find work "at the Sailors' Home now building there". Within a few days his chest of tools was sent on to him by rail, from which it may be inferred that he had decided to follow his father's trade. On August 3rd Thomas Jenkins observed that "Rosa's comet is now visible and was at its nearest point to the earth on the 30th of last month". But prosperous as he may have appeared, Jenkins was not entirely free from financial anxieties, for in October he was required to give his "insurance policy for £200 to John Thomas, Timber Merchant, as colateral security for £60 which he claims of me for rent and balance of bills not yet examined". Yet his standing remained as good as ever, for soon he was "appointed Referee by the Court in the case of Howells v Evans". A big day for the little town was November 29th, when water was "first turned into main pipes of the Llandilo water-works".

1863 The year started with the laying in of household meat supplies by the killing of a pig weighing more than nine score. Towards the end of January he "signed an agreement as witness between Marsden and Shepperd, contractors on the Carmarthen and Cardigan railway".
Mar. 10th Finished laying out tables at the [Shire] Hall and Dynevor school for dinner to the poor and tea for the school-children in commemoration of the Prince of Wales's marriage to the Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Let off worth £15. 16. O. of fireworks on the 'Castle' field at 8 p.m.

Still under financial pressure, Jenkins was forced to sign a mortgage deed on his insurance policy for the debt of £60 and later he realised a £25 share in the Llanelly Railway and Dock Company for £23.
May 8th Made an oak, covered coffin for Catherine Price, who destroyed herself by cutting her throat with a fowl-carving knife, and cutting off about 3" in length of her wind-pipe and gullet, at the age of 77 years. She was the widow of the late Revd. Daniel Prytherch Price, who died May 1st, 1845, and mother to Mrs. Prothero [presumably Dr Prothero's wife]. Went to Cilycwm to give instructions about grave etc. in a phaeton hired at the 'Castle'.

In September he had a narrow escape. "Having been very ill for some days past from the effects of cold and indigestion, Dr Prothero prescribed ¾ grain of morphia. T. J. Davies made up the prescription but by mistake put in 3 grains which I took. Luckily, in an hour after I vomitted the whole back, retained my consciousness but spent a terrible night." A week later he was making a coffin for a three-year-old child who had been less fortunate, the boy meeting with an accident "by running with a stick in his mouth against another child". At the end of November came the opportunity for more travel, this time to Birmingham on behalf of Mr Lewis, malster to consult Mr W. L. Tizard concerning a new brewery which Lewis planned [the South Wales Brewery in Railway Terrace, between New Road and the School, now occupied by T. M. Williams & Son]. Boxing Day saw him making "new gates, according to my own plan, approved for lower entrance to upper churchyard per orders of Mr J. Prytherch, Bank" [manager of D. Jones & Co's bank, which overlooked the churchyard from Bank Terrace — between the top of King Street and the King's Head]. The work cost four pounds.

1864 New Year's Day was fine and frosty "after five months of wet weather". On January 18th he received instructions to make an inventory and valuation of the effects of Henry Thomas, Llwyn Madoc, Breconshire, who died at Dover over a year earlier. "The establishment consists of Mrs. Jones, Housekeeper, Butler, Mr MacCerrin, Under steward, 2 gardeners, 2 coachmen, 2 game-keepers and servant maids. Llwyn Madoc [a place of much charm in a secluded valley] is situated 8 miles from Llanwrtyd ... 4 from Abergwessin". Six weeks later, Llewelyn Thomas, only son of Henry Thomas, died in Paris, aged twenty-five.
Apl. 23rd Attended as Juror at inquest held at the 'Castle' inn on the remains of Owen Hopkins, aged 7 years, son of Sarah Hopkins of the 'Angel', who was burnt to death this evening by lighting a fire in the pig-sty with common lucifer matches. Suggested to the Coroner that it would tend to reduce the chance of such accidents if Bryant and May's matches only were patronised, which matches can only be ignited on the box.

On July 28th he "went to the 6 roads, Gorslas in phaeton to meet the Revd. Mr Harris of Llanarthney to mark out the foundations of the new school chapel", for which Jenkins had prepared plans and an estimate of £353., A fortnight later he "was appointed as clerk of the works by the Llandilo Gas Co. Ltd." and before the month was out he "made a pillow of Cat's tail typha grass from the old river in Dynevor Park as an experiment, having entertained the notion for many years past that it would be equal to down".

1865 January 4th was memorable, for that night he "lighted the first gas-light at the Rose and Crown", the next one being at Mr James, Draper.

Jany. 8th James Thomas, Attorney, died at 5.15 p.m. aged 71. Completed laying-out body by 7 p.m. Left the room in charge of nurse and servants . . . returned at 8 p.m. and found that the clothes surrounding the body had taken fire accidently and burnt the legs and part of both hands. Had I not, before I left, removed the bed hangings the chance was that the whole house would have been burnt down.

June 1st saw the "railway opened to Carmarthen" from Llandilo. A fortnight later Jenkins "laid the foundation stone of the new brewery at Trallwm for Mr Dd. Lewis of Belle Vue". "A tremendous storm from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m." on November 22nd "damaged almost every house in Llandilo". Evidently feeling that the was missing something, Thomas Jenkins "commenced taking the 'Welshman' newspaper for the 2nd time from Dec. 1st".

1866 A fire at the Medical Hall in the middle of February was "occasioned from pot of spermaceti ointment on hob setting soot in chimney on fire". His task on May 15th incurred a visit to "Talley Church with Mr James to drape in black cloth for the late Sir James Williams Drummond, who died in London, aged 53". At the funeral two days later, when he assisted with the arrangements, "there were 200 persons invited, with 16 carriages". On June 13th he noted tersely, "British Association in 'Castle' field". Although he was a good swimmer, Thomas Evans, alias Tom Bitto, took a fatal bathe in the Towy, in which he was found drowned below White House ford, he "being at the time in a drunken state". Having paid a number of visits in the previous weeks to supervise the finishing touches, Thomas Jenkins set forth with pride to walk all the way to Gorslas on September 13th "to the opening of the school chapel", where the Bishop of St Davids preached at 11 a.m. A busy day was October 3rd, when he "fitted up the market place to dine 500 persons for the Choral Union, also fitted up Hall for concert with platform etc., also made 10 wands and 6 standard boards for church and fitted aisles with benches". On October 15th he was at "Caledfwlch chapel to hang same with black cloth etc.," using 127 yds cloth, 10 yds crepe, 8 yds black muslin and 9 yds lace in readiness for the funeral of Anna Mary, second wife of Mr R. Smith of Glanbrydan. An unfortunate day for one man was November 26th, when "David Thomas, alias Dai Sponkin, fell through the trap-door from first to ground floor at Mr Lewis's brewery", injuring his head and shoulders.

1867 On March 8th Jenkins was at the King's Head brewery to "set the malt-mill to work from steam-engine" for Mr Jones.
July 25th Restored roof of Caledfwlch church to its proper place, it having given way and sloped over walls on each side 5 ins. Brought it back with iron cramp screws and secured with iron cramps and cement, without disturbing a single slate. The first proposal was to unroof the whole and restore and reslate and replaster, which would have cost about £50, but the plan adopted now has only cost £17. 0.0."

Towards the end of August it took him two days to alter the spinning-jenny for Mr Lewis at the Forge Factory, where he "put in 81 instead of 80 spindles".

1868 His task on May 2nd was to make a "covered coffin and shell for the late Miss Mary Ann Jones, who died at Cwmcoch, aged 87, sister to the late Jno. Jones M.P. for Carmarthen", burial being at Llandebie. In July he was at Llanwrtyd fitting up a new signboard for John Price, Neuadd Arms Hotel, following which he went to Llangammarch to repair a mowing machine, bringing it into "better working order than it had been before it was broken". At Llangadock on August 4th and 5th he was fixing pumps to sink foundations for the piers of the railway bridge over the river Bran.
Oct. 30th 10.30 While at supper felt shock of earthquake.
Oct. 31st Found on enquiry that others in the town had been much frightened, having felt it more severely, and it was more or less felt all over the district. At Glanbrydan the pheasants and fowls were screaming. Accident to down-train owing to engine wheel breaking near Glanrhyd station [near Manordeilo]. Third class carriages smashed to pieces, the other do. much broken. I was on the spot 10 minutes after the accident and a more complete wreck of carriages and rails I never saw. There were about 15 injured, 6 were carried to Glanrhyd farm with fractured ribs and limbs and not one life lost so far.

1869 Jany. 7th. To Llandebie about Dr Prothero's grave.
Jany. 8th Attended the funeral to Llandebie. Being a public one there were about 30 carriages, and a large attendance on horse and foot.

What might have been disastrous fires for many houses on March 11th were kept under control. The whole of the premises belonging to Mr T. Hughes, Druggist were completely destroyed. "Everyone worked with a will. The fire-engine was telegraphed for from Carmarthen, but when it arrived there was nothing for it to do". The second fire was in the house occupied by Mr W. Phillips, Superintendent of Police, but the "cellars were saved by my preventing the men from opening the trap-doors which had been attempted twice".
In March he "made a plan and elevation of stone bridge proposed to be erected over the Amman near the church", the span being fifty feet. A sad entry in April records that he made a coffin "for Margaret Jones, aged 5 months, daughter of Evan Jones, Tailor, being the third child he has lost within the last two months". July 3rd To Pantglas to complete shell for the late David Jones, late M.P. for the county of Carmarthen, padded inside with 4-fold wadding.
July 5th Made, and covered, coffin for the late David Jones, of his timber, and screwed down cover, John Samuel having made the lead coffin. J. Samuel accompanied me to Pantglas and returned in 'Cawdor Arms' phaeton. David Jones was aged 59 years. The coffin brass-nailed — 2 ozs. brass nails — and brass furniture.
July 7th To Pantglas with coffin-plate and orders for funeral.
July 8th Attended funeral in fly from 'Cawdor Arms' to Cilycwm. Left Pantglas at 10.10 a.m. Arrived at Llandilo at 12.15 p.m. Cilycwm at 5 p.m. Llandovery at 7. Dined at the 'King's Head' and returned home at 10.15 p.m.
July 11th Made oak, covered, coffin lined with zinc for John Samuel who died July 10th at 9 p.m., aged 58 years.
Three days later he attended his colleague's funeral to Llandilo churchyard, according to John Samuel's request "expressed in the presence of his family about six months ago".

In his time Thomas Jenkins did many valuations, big and small, usually for probate purposes or in connection with contract work. Now he was to receive his biggest commission for probate purposes. On Octobre 28th he went to Dynevor with one Rees Davies to make a valuation of personal effects of the late Lord Dynevor, It was a month before the task was completed and the answer turned out to be £3,996. 12. 6. Jenkins noted that there were "200 deer in the park from 30/- to 10/- each". One of the last jobs of the year, just before Christmas, was the fitting of a window in the south aisle of Llandilo church in memory of Dr Prothero.

1870 The last year for which Thomas Jenkins kept his diary. On February 3rd he assisted "in erecting a triumphal arch opposite the Castle inn on the occasion of the marriage of Mr Ellis to Miss Lizzie Gulston" (the Gulstons owned much of the land on which Llandilo stood). At the end of the month he was called out at 3 a.m., Richard Bowen Williams, late agent of Lord Cawdor, having died at the age of 82 years (he lived in the Tudor style house on the terrace overlooking the bridge). Alfred C. H. Jones, Esq. of Pantglas attained his majority on March 10th, when there were "horse races and illuminations and fireworks". In August a "valuation of the effects of Morgan Thomas, late Boots at the Cawdor Arms" proved to he £61. 6. 4. The last entry, on December 5th, is in respect of yet another valuation, this time concerning the effects of June James, Gin Shop, who died aged 35 years.

Thomas Jenkins died in October 1871 and was buried in Llandilo churchyard.

[In presenting these extracts, I have used a transcript made by the diarist's grandson, Mr D. C. Jenkins of Carlyon Bay, St Austell, who shortly expects to publish the diary in extenso.]

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