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The Household Accounts of an 18th Century Mansion


One of the very extensive and valuable collections of family papers deposited at the Carmarthen Record Office is that belonging to the Rice or Rhys family of Dynevor Castle or Newton, as it used to be called until about 1782.

The castle of Dinefwr was the capital of the territory which at one time formed the principality of Deheubarth. From 1277 onwards Dinefwr was a royal castle in the custody of the constable answerable to the King's justice of West Wales. Some memorable events occurred in its long history. It was in the possession of the Black Prince in 1343, it resisted a siege by the forces of Owain Glyndwr in 1403. But when Leland the Elizabethan antiquary visited Dinefwr in 1523 the castle had become ruinous. One era in its history had come to an end and the other was about to begin. The most famous personage associated with Dinefwr is Sir Rhys ap Thomas who held it as one of his residences along with Abermarlais and Carew. But when speaking of the house that ultimately came to be known as Dynevor Castle what is meant is the fifteenth century manor house of Newton probably built by Gruffydd ap Nicholas, and a 'neuadd' which drew praise from poets who enjoyed its welcome and hospitality. When Sir Rhys ap Thomas died in 1525 he was succeeded by his son Gruffydd. The latter enjoyed royal patronage, he was a member of Prince Arthur's household until the first Tudor Prince of Wales died in 1502. After an interesting career as a courtier and soldier Gruffydd died in 1521. He was succeeded by his only son Rhys ap Gruffydd who became heir to his grandfather's vast estates. Rhys became involved in the political rivalries and intrigues of the time and was executed for high treason on 21 December 1531. His estate passed to the Crown under the Act of Attainder which was passed immediately after his death.

It was his son Griffith Rice 1528-1592 who received from Queen Elizabeth I a restoration of status and some of the lands which had once belonged to Sir Rhys ap Thomas. He made the manor house of Newton his home which originally comprised a hall, chamber, little chamber, study, store tower, containing a low vaulted chamber, and a chapel. In addition there were a kitchen, larder, buttery, bake-house, brewhouse as well as a barn, stable and porters' lodge. Griffith Rice married Eleanor a daughter of Sir Thomas Johnes who a few years previously had been granted Abermarlais. Griffith became High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire in 1567 and 1583. With regard to the house there is no way of knowing whether it was substantially altered between 1560 and 1660, although it is probable that either Griffith Rice or his son Sir Walter Rice, M.P., considerably improved or even rebuilt the modest 15 century house mentioned above.

Sir Walter Rice, c1560-1636, married a daughter of Sir Edward Mansel of Margam. He was M.P. for Carmarthenshire from 1584 to 1585 and for Carmarthen borough from 1604-1611. It was Sir Walter's grandson Sir Edward Rice, 1632-1663, who built the new manor house of Newton. The house was enlarged and it is possible that the kitchen block forming the north side of the inner courtyard was converted from the earlier manor house. Edward Rice died unmarried and was succeeded by his brother Walter, 1634-75. In 1660 or so the fine decorated plaster ceilings and the staircase in the main block were made.

Griffith Rice of Dynevor lived from 1664-1729 and his marriage with Catherine Hobby in 1690 changed the family's finances dramatically for the better. Catherine was co-heiress with her two sisters to the valuable Neath Abbey estate. Griffith was M.P. for Carmarthenshire from 1691 to 1710. In the period about 1720 alterations and additions were made to the house at Newton; a wing called the Buildings, was added to the south side and this included a set of rooms known as the Harpers' rooms. As will be seen later there are records of numerous payments to harpers and fiddlers who no doubt occupied these apartments. The interior of the house was refurnished and the main rooms panelled with pine wood.

Lady Cecil Rice Griffith Rice was succeeded by his grandson George, who was Member of Parliament from 1754 to 1779, and Lord Lieutenant of the County for twenty-four years. He made the stable or outer yard when he built a new range of stables or coach houses. George Rice held important government offices and was helped through the influence of his father-in-law Lord Talbot, sometime Lord Steward to the Royal Household. George had married Lord Talbot's only daughter Cecil in 1756. Cecil was an only child and the ultimate heiress to three valuable estates. In 1780 Cecil's father was created Baron Dynevor with remainder to his daughter, and so, on his death in April 1782 she succeeded to the title Baroness Dynevor, and also assumed the name of de Cardonnel by Royal Licence in 1787 pursuant to the will of her mother. When George Rice died in 1779 his widow continued to live at Dynevor and was responsible for many improvements to the house and park. Some of her accounts are mentioned later in this article.

The eldest son of George Rice and the Baroness was George Talbot, who was born in 1765 and resumed the paternal name of Rice in 1817. He served as Member of Parliament for two years before his mother's death in 1792. As the third Baron Dynevor he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of the County, a position which he held for forty eight years until his death in 1852. Towards the end of his life he lived mostly at Barrington in Oxfordshire — another Talbot house — leaving the administration of his estate to his son George Rice-Trevor, a protagonist of the Tory cause in Carmarthenshire. Rice-Trevor 1795-1869 was the sixth and last member of the family to be elected M.P. for Carmarthenshire. He took a leading part in the campaign against the Rebecca Riots in the 1840's. After succeeding to the title in 1852 he redesigned Newton, or Dynevor Castle as it had been known since 1782. The house was refaced with grey stone, the towers at the four corners were raised, new windows were put in, and the porch and Venetian Gothic style balcony facing the garden front were added.

Over the centuries many changes took place and what was once a medieval manor house later emerged as a splendid Victorian mansion. Capability Brown landscaped the Park and Fenton, on his visit in 1809, said, "Everytime I visit Dynevor I find fresh beauties". A herd of distinctive white cattle grazed in the Park for centuries; fallow deer have been a feature of the place. Dynevor was thus the mansion house of a large estate, its owners constituted one of the 'power houses' of West Wales, and it was the centre of a thriving community. The following examination of the accounts will, it is hoped, show something of the activities of this community and what life was like in a Carmarthenshire noble household in the latter half of the eighteenth century.

Month by month one can trace the activities on the farm and in the mansion house. Most of the menfolk were occupied with general farm and labouring tasks during October 1757, and the women followed the usual occupations of washing, ironing and work in the house. There is one seemingly curious entry which recurs, namely, the payment of ld per day for six weeks to a woman for watching the 'stone horse' in the park — in other words, watching the stallion so that he did not roam about freely before the proper time came for him to 'cover' the mares of the neighbourhood. In addition to daily routine tasks November 1757 saw repairs to the 'Back Stable', that is, thatching, digging and levelling for the renovations. This continued for months and several men were occupied, until March in the following year, digging stones at the Llanfawr and Penbre quarries. In addition a new cowhouse was erected and the work of cleaning it ready for use took eight men a total of fourteen working days.

In January 1758 two men spent 9½ days in carrying 'saplings and quick setts'; one woman spent 6 days 'washing, making candles and doing the salt fish', while two men spent two days 'killing ye pigs'. 'Watching the stone horse' continued and is referred to month by month until April, when two men were employed to watch. Spring time tasks became evident in February 1758 when 'mould' was carried into Chapel Field — an important part of the agricultural calendar, as eight men spent a total of 69½ days on this task alone. Five men spent 36 days 'spreading ye dung and molehills in ye fields and meadows'. Moreover trees had to be cross sawed and lopped.

In March 1758 threshing, fetching straw and carrying hay to the parks had to be done. Some of the threshing was carried out at Llandeilo at 'Thos. James', while at home two men spent 4½ days brewing and three men took 3 days to 'putting down hurdles'. In April there were a few additional tasks, such as 'levelling ye ditch' in 'Kae Ffynnon', brewing, hauling timber, mending the pumps, hedging and 'cleaning the fields and meadows' as well as 'watching the colts in the meadows'.

In May we have the following main entries — shearing sheep, cleaning 'cae ffynnon' after 'ye collier'1, carrying 'mould', 'sawing for ye carts', 'cleaning ye fields' and hedging. Carrying 'mould' continued in June, along with the 'cross sawing of wood to burn', carrying straw, cutting hdges, brewing, cleaning the fields and by now, hay-making was in full swing, with four men working 11½ days 'mowing the fields' with five women helping to clean the fields after them.

In July 1758 the accounts refer to the time 'when my Master was here'; the work of digging for the new stable went on, along with carrying straw, mending the road from the meadows to the house, brewing and most important of all — mowing, raking and 'beating muck in the fields' as well as cutting nettles about the house, nineteen men working 30 days on these tasks. During the same period nineteen women worked 18 days cleaning after 'ye mowers'.

During August 1758 a variety of tasks were completed, such as, carrying 'the tythe', killing sheep and selling mutton, thatching hayricks. Among tasks for the womenfolk there were seasonal matters to be concluded, such as 'making Jellyes and preserving Cherries', which took one woman five days and one other day to preserve peaches. In September we read that the cart 'horses were shod; in addition, brewing, carrying out rubbish, threshing 'tythe' corn, trimming hedges and herding in the meadows were continued.

It is of interest, too, to discover from the following table2 of disbursments the number of workmen and labourers at Newton during this period, the peak periods of activity and the wages paid:

Month Days Worked No. of Worker Wages from Men Women Total Wages
1757 Oct., 250½ 27 3d-6d 19 8 £6. 6. 3½
Nov., 110 20 3d-7d 17 3 £7. 4. 8
Dec., 57 15 5d-7d 14 1 £2. 6. 8
1758 Jan., 125 15 3d-7d 14 1 £3. 1. 5½
Feb., 188 21 3d-8d 16 5 £4. 19. 3½
March 190 14 6d-8d 14 - £4. 10. 1½
April 122 16 3d-6d 9 7 £2 10. 6
May 88 15 3d-6d 7 8 £2. 1. 1½
June 132 11 3d-6d 5 6 £2. 10. 3
July 85 44 3d-6d 16 28 £1. 16.9
Aug., 63 11 3d-6d 8 3 £1. 10. 4½
Sept., 84 5 3d-6d 7 1 £1. 11. 10½

Surviving from this period is a bill3, rendered to 'George Rice Esq. for going to London with ye Coach Horses, March 25, 1751' which details expenses in travelling to London, lodging there, and making the return journey.

25 Llandovery 6 Horses hay & Corn 0. 2. 6
Hostler 0. 0. 6
26 Brecon 6 Horses hay & Corn 0. 10. 0
Hostler 0. 1. 0
Hay 6 Horses hay & Corn 0. 2. 6
Hostler 0. 0. 6
Smith 0. 1. 0
27 Kingston 6 Horses hay & Corn 0. 9. 0
Hostler 0. 1. 0
Smith 0. 0. 8
Ross 6 Horses hay & Corn 0. 2. 6
Hostler 0. 0. 6
28 Gloucester 6 Horses hay & Corn 0. 9. 0
Hostler 0. 1. 0
Cirencester 6 Horses hay & Corn 0. 2. 10
Hostler 0. 1. 0
Smith 0. 1. 8
29 Farringdon 6 Horses hay & Corn 0. 9. 0
Hostler 0. 1. 0
Smith 0. 0. 6
Dorchester 6 Horses hay & Corn 0. 2. 10
Hostler 0. 0. 6
30 Henley 6 Horses hay & Corn 0. 10. 0
Hostler 0. 1. 0
London 1 Horse 5 Nights at 1/8d per night 0. 8. 4
4 shoes for do. 0. 2. 0
Hogs Lard 0. 0. 2
Hostler 0. 1. 0

5 Windsor 1 Horse hay & Corn 0. 0. 6
Hostler 0. 0. 3
6 Henly 1 Horses hay & Corn 0. 1. 4
Hostler 0. 0. 3
Abbingdon 1 Horses hay & Corn 0. 0. 6
7 Farringdon 1 Horses hay & Corn 0. 1. 2
Cirencester Hostler 0. 0. 3
1 Horses hay & Corn 0. 0. 6
8 Gloucester 1 Horses hay & Corn 0. 1. 2
Hostler 0. 0. 3
Ross 1 Horses hay & Corn 0. 0. 6
9 Hay 1 Horses hay & Corn 0. 1. 2
Hostler 0. 0. 3
Brecon 1 Horses hay & Corn 0. 0. 6
Llandovery 1 Horses hay & Corn 0. 0. 6
Turnpikes going to London & Coming Back and Maidenhead ferry 0. 10. 4
Board wages While I was away (viz. 4 days in London for 4/-. 6 days going to London and 5 days returning at 2/- per day 1. 6. 0
£6. 12. 3

18 July 1751 Jo Griffiths' Bill going and returning from London £6.12.3.

Reed the 18 July 1751 of Geo. Rice Esqr by hands of John Owens ye full contents of bill within and all Demands.
mark of J. Griffiths.

After a gap of some years, the records show that in 1783 quantities of mown grass were sold as hay from Newton. About 48 acres were cut and sold for the sum of £54.2.6. From March to August in the same year the following livestock was sold:

March An 'esplayed'4 heifer £12. 0. 0
April 4 oxen 43. 0. 0
1 cow 6. 0. 0
2 oxen 12. 0. 0.
1 yearling bull 2. 10. 0
June a wether 0. 13. 0
a large wether 1. 5. 0
August 6 oxen at Llandeilo fair 48. 0. 0
2 rams to kill 0. 18. 0
£126. 6. 0

In the summer of 1784 the following item occurs: £7.19.8½ for wool sold from July to August, including coarse wool, lamb's wool, part of which was given out for a woman to spin for Lady Dynevor. Another important commodity in the estate's economy was lime, and surplus quantities were sold, e.g. 690 teals5 @ about 6d per teal, realising about £17.15.0. But to produce this quantity of lime 145 teals of coal, costing £3.10.8, had been supplied by David Edwards and William Jones, and the wages from men producing the lime amounted to £7.17.6. Accounts of 'tack'6 in 'late math'7 during the autumn of 1784 show that a total of 110 cows, 2 bulls and 12 oxen were pastured at the fallowing rates — cows @ 18d per week, bulls and oxen @ 20d. By October 1784 the income to the estate from tack pasture was £34.14.9.

From Christmas 1783 to Christmas 1784 sales of corn amounted to 73 teals of barley, sold for £56.19.1½, of which a small quantity of the best quality, that is 3 bushels, fetched 16/6 @ 22/- per teal. 'Second barley' was sold for 12/- per teal and was used for feeding dogs, fowls and pigs. During the same period sales of wheat totalled 21 teals, 1 bushel and 3 pecks for £29.10.3 and of this the best quality wheat was sold @ 38/- per teal.

New livestock purchased at this time included:

1 cow bot. of Thomas Thomas £5. 0. 0
2 oxen bot. of Mr John Morgan Carrier 7. 10. 0
1 draught mare 7. 0. 0
1 draught horse 6.10. 0
1 cow and calf 7. 0. 0
£33. 0. 0

At Christmas time 1784 the livestock position at Newton was:-

  Died Sold Killd Left
Ox 8 yr old May 1784   1    
3yr estrayed heifers   2   1
2 cows of the old stock   1   1
1 Ox bot. of Thos. Williams   1    
1 Ox bot. of John Dd. Jones   1    
1 White Heifer 2 yr old May '84       1
1 Bull calf 1 yr old   1    
1 Calf       1
2 Oxen bot of John Morgan   2    
1 draft mare bot       1
1 draft horse bot       1
1 cow and calf bot of Jn Griffith       2

Mr. William Roderick the bailiff was able to produce the following figures for the year ending Christmas 1784:-

Grass sold for Hay from Newton demesne £54. 2. 5
Cattle sold 126. 6. 0
Wool sold 7. 19. 8½
Lime sold 5. 16.10
Tack in 'latemath' 34. 14. 9
Barley sold 55. 15. 12
Wheat sold 29.10. 3
£314. 5. 1

Against this income there were the following expenses:

Cattle, sheep, etc., bought for Newton £33. 0. 0
Oats 16. 4. 3
Workmen's wages 57. 11. 7
Lands in hand part of Newton demesne year ending Michmas 1783, yielding 117. 13. 6
£224. 9. 4

The disbursements of Lady Dynevor from Christmas 1787 to February 1789 illustrate the household expenses at Newton. Not least amongst the responsibilities were the frequent demands of the neighbouring poor on the generosity of the family. Thus poor people and employees received during this period:

26 yards half cloth @ 21d per yd £2. 5. 6
17Ό yards for men's coats @ 2/6 2. 3. 1½
38 yards of flannel for the poor @ 9½d 1. 10. 1
John Pogson's Diet a Year and Nine months, £5 per ann: 8. 15. 0
Subscription to the Widows of the Clergy 2. 2. 0
William Pogson — a pair of shoes 5/6, hat 8/- as well as other charity expenses for the benefit of the same person 11. 7. 10
for 'cloathing' poor children 2. 13. 4
John Howell ? of a years charity due to his father Feby. 1760 at which time the old man died 1. 13. 4
Doctor Davies, Carmarthen, visiting the house keeper three times 6. 6. 0
Wm David towards burying his son 0. 5. 0.
John Jenkins for a Coffin for Bob Weaver's boy 0. 10. 6
Dr Thomas what he did for watching Bob Weaver's boy 0. 7. 0

Some of the charitable gifts came about through the wills of members of the Rice family: e.g. Maria Rice of New Windsor in the county of Berkshire, spinster, had bequeathed in her will dated 21 January 1763 "the sum of one Hundred Pounds . . . to be applied by him [her nephew George Rice] . . . twenty shillings . . . yearly arising from the Interest of the said One Hundred Pounds — in putting two poor children either Boys or Girls of the parish of Llandilo or about Newton in the county of Carmarthen to school, until they shall he fit to be placed out apprenticed". As a result of this bequest one beneficiary was a William Pogson, who benefited thus:—

8 Feb. 1783
£ s d
One quarter for Llangathen Lame boy in Arithmetic to Mr Jones 0 5 0
3 Quarters and 3 Weeks for William Pogson in Arithmetic to Mr. Jones 0 16 6
Advance to settle Wm. Pogson with Jno Samuel, Tinman and Glazier 10 0 0

Responsibilities concerning charities and worthy causes continued for some years and included payment for the schooling of pauper and handicapped children. Back in 1784 the following sums of money were spent:-

£ s d
For the Lame Boy's Scooling 0 2 6
For Mrs Nathan for a Quarters Scooling for Wm David and David Rowlands girls 0 5 0
Mrs Nathan for John Tobias children's schooling 0 7 6
For Wm David's daughter and books 0 12 6

Later on, in April 1791, a payment of 6 guineas was made to Dr Davies of Carmarthen for visiting the housekeeper three times. In July a further two guineas was paid to Dr Davies. It would appear that the doctor's treatment was not entirely effective as Lady Dynevor paid in November of the same year the sum of £5—19-O for the housekeeper's expenses at the fashionable health resort of Llandrindod Wells.

In June 1788 a donation of live guineas was made to the Agricultural Society, and 5/- as a year's allowance to William Thomas "for cleaning the Pugh (pew) in Llandilo Church". A further £1-16—5 was spent on repairs to the chancel of Abergwili Church, and a contribution of 12/6d for 500 tile stones for Llandilo church. On December 21, 1796 a second subscription of £10—10—0 was made towards the Organ in Carmarthen Church [i.e. St. Peters]. Earlier, on 29 October 1791, a payment had been made to Peter Williams fur two dozen Bibles costing £7—4—0.

Happy occasions were celebrated with due merriment — harpists and fiddlers were employed at the mansion and bell ringers from Llandilo to Carmarthen were given ample opportunity to show their skill at special times, such as at New Year 1788, when the following sums were paid:—

£ s d
David Richard and the Harper 0 5 0
Will: Bowen " " 0 2 6
The Lannon (Llannon) " 0 2 6
Will : Richard Fidler 0 2 6

Later on, towards the end of January, 2/6 was given to "David Richard Fidler playing for the servants' Dancing" and during the same month Solomon the harper, Michael the piper and the Glanbran boy and the "fiddler" were each given 2/6d. A bill of £1-16-0 was met for the tenants' dinner on 7 January 1789. In July and August 1796 the ringers were given one guinea on each of two occasions — at the birth of Miss Cardonnell and "when my Lord came to the country". On one occasion, namely 3 Sept., 1788 groups of ringers at Llandeilo, Carmarthen and Kidwelly received one guinea each.

On 12 January 1789, similar payments were made to the Carmarthen and Llandeilo ringers on account of Mrs 'Dorriens' wedding. (Mr. Dorrien had assumed the name of Magens at the time of his marriage on 16 Dec. 1788 to the Hon. Henrietta Cecilia Rice, eldest daughter of the Rt. Hon. George Rice and Cecil Baroness Dynevor).

When George Talbot Rice, Esquire, of Newton celebrated his birthday on 9 October 1786, 'being of age of 21 years', the town of Carmarthen was the venue of special jollification and rejoicing. To begin with three thousand bricks and sixty strikes (i.e. pieces) of timber were carted to Carmarthen 'for the making of the Shed for the roasting of the ox' and for the carriage of these materials Anne Hall was paid 13/6d. For attending the cook and the bonfire night and day Charles Davies received 15/-. The proceedings continued for at least four days and Richard Lewis was given 10/6 for "carrying coal and tending the fire at the Town Hall Carmarthen carrying the grate and gathering the bricks about the street at the Roasting of the Ox". To erect the ox roasting shed Thomas Adley, a smith, provided iron @ ld per lb for a total of £11—8—0; as well he received 10/6 for being in attendance. Jonathan Griffiths and John Rees, masons, erected a fireplace for the ox for £1—11—6. The task of slaughtering the ox fell upon Thomas David, a Carmarthen butcher, who was paid 13/2 and 3/- worth of ale. The men turning the 'spite' were given 1/-, while Mrs Davies, the cook, was paid 10/6 for one night and one day in attendance. The other items relating to the ox-roasting comprised 800 Common bricks from James Morris & Co. @ 3/3d per 100, fire wood 7/-, 16 barrels of 'Ring Coal' @ 2/8 per barrel, with an extra delivery charge of 2d per barrel. Susan Lewes provided nine empty tar barrels for the bonfire for 9/-, rope for 'carrying ye flags' 1/6d and 41b of 'Tow for raming ye guns' @ 3d per lb. Some two thousand and three thousand additional bricks had to be used @ 2/6 per 100 — a total of £2—17—6. Carriage for the latter came to 5/9d and the labourer was paid 1/2d.

While the celebrations proceeded five constables of the Borough were paid 2/6d each for "looking after the gates of ye Townhall to keep the mob off". For carrying "colours" and providing "musick on the Quay and Bonfire" the sum of £1—11—6 was paid to Benjamin Lewis, senior, and Benj. Lewis junior, Thomas Nicholas, John Nicholas, David Tobias, Henry Lewis and John Shainbry, described as 'Musicieners'. Merry-making went on throughout the town of Carmarthen and many innkeepers were paid considerable sums of money for providing ale, grog, toddy, rum, port wine, shrub and brandy. The taverns mentioned included the Six Bells, Angel, Old Plow, Hare, Harp, Blue Bell, Royal Oak, Buffalo, Red Cow, Rose and Crown, Prince of Wales, Horse and Jockey, Three Mariners, New Inn, Golden Lion, Globe, Mermaid and Three Compasses. Twenty-five bottles of port wine cost £3—2—6, while 36 quarts of ale came to 12/-. The total cost of the ale consumed during the celebrations was approximately £60 — about 7,200 pints. There are several references, too, to the price of other alcoholic beverages, e.g. a bottle of brandy cost 4/- and as we have seen a bottle of port cost 2/6d.

Numerous people would have found employment during the festivities. Thus three men received 4/- for "cleaning the Streets and Paving them where the Ox was roasted". An unnamed person was given 2/- for "Gould to Gilt the Irons of the Ox', and 5/- was another item to give "Captain Palmer and his crew for Speenyarn and ale for being Hearty on the Occation".

Wages paid from time to time show the different strata and relative status of employees. In the house itself the most importanat person was the housekeeper, employed at a salaiv of £12 per annum. Then came the housekeeper's maid, the kitchen and laundry maids, dairy maids and maids of all work. Jane Tobias, a kitchen maid at Newton in 1788, received 18d per week — payment was not made weekly but sometimes every year or half year. Elizabeth Jenkins, a laundry maid, was paid 3/- per week and 'Kitty the cook maid received £2—10—0 as 'board wages' in comparison with Polly Davies's 'board wages' of £l—15—0 for about six months, and Ann David was paid 7/6d for five weeks service in the kitchen. At the top of the scale came Mr Wm Roderick, the steward or bailiff, whose business it was to supervise household expenses and the affairs of the farm. He was paid at the rate of 7/- per week. The lowest paid of all was the maid of all work, Catherine Hopkin, whose wage was 6d a week. Indeed, many of these employees' wages were years in arrear, but as the domestics lived in and were provided with food, clothing and a roof over their heads, they had not that need for ready money as is sometimes supposed.

'Leather for the Pump' cost 2/6d, an item which occurs more than once. Another tradesman referred to is Powell the Plumber, whose bill came to £3—8—4. The local smith was in frequent demand for "shoeing horses and banding wheels", while Joan Davies was paid £10—0—0 for 'cranks for ye water engine' and William Charles 9/- for mending pumps at Dynevor Castle. In Oct. 1796 Thomas Morgans charged 12/6 for 20lb of pewter used by the plumbers at Dynevor Castle and on 12 Sept. 1796 "Wm Charles received £2—2—0 for "making a new Top Piece to the Brew House Pumps and other pipes to both pumps". John David, the smith, made "chains to tie the oxen" for £1-10—0.

Several entries in the first quarter of 1788 show the use of home produced leather. Others refer to purchases 'paid Ben Davies the sadlers' Bill — 2/5d; a Bill for Leather for the Harness and mending do — £6—11—0'; 'for a Hyde and a half of Leather had from Mr Halliday Llanelly weighing 481b @ 12d making Harness and mending — £2—8.—0' and in April 1790 a payment of £4—17—8 was made to Henry Morley the Saddler. On 16 July 1791 David Edwards had 6/- for dressing the hide to mend the harness.

The health and well-being of farm stock and domestic animals depended very much on the skill and attention of the farrier and these entries are illustrative — '29 Dec. 1788 — William Lloyd cureing a cart mare — 10/6'; '3 Feb. 1796 Lewis Bowen's bill for Farriery — 14/6'; '12 May 1796. Paid David John for Drenching. Many employees worked on a casual or seasonal basis. The old "warrener" taking rabbits and bringing them to Newton received 13/- in November 1788. The "Ratketcher" John Jones had 4 guineas as a year's wages and his duties might also include killing crows during May and June for which his additional bill amounted to 17/6.

Local craftsmen were in constant demand. Thus in October 1788 Evan David Evan, a 'sieve maker', was paid 1/6d for a 'New Stable Sive and bottoming another' and several yard and stable brooms were purchased for 7/8d. Thos. John's bills for brooms at Dynevor Castle in February 1798 came to £1-16—0 and judging from the various bills he probably supplied between 70 and 80 during that season. The tinman came on his rounds and replaced kitchen utensils. The local ropemaker was paid on 3 Feb. 1788 the sum of £6—12—8 for rope and flax. And another ropemaker, Harry Jenkin, received 6/8d for '20 yds Hair Rope for the Drying Yard' as well as ropes for the laundry. A regular visitor to the mansion house was the clock and watch maker who came regularly to adjust and clean the clocks. Things went out of order from time to time — so the glazier had to he called in to replace broken panes, to glaze windows in new buildings and in November 1788 'Morgan Davies the glaziers' bill came to £4—13—2. The pump in the kitchen yard needed attention and "Mr Rice's dog at John Harry's being bit by a mad dog -1/2". Later on, in October, Lewis Bowen the farrier was paid £1—0—0 for 'attending the ox and Two Cows Calveing'. Moreover, the farrier was also responsible for docking tails, castrating, ringing pigs' noses and was paid 2/- "for cutting 2 litters of pigs, calves and a bull". One "Richard Williams' Bill for Cover for a mare" came to £1—3—6.

A familiar visitor to farms and mansion houses was the tailor, who would come on his rounds and stay, sometimes for a few weeks, to make clothes for the household and dependants. 'Harries the Taylor' was paid 3/- for a small job in December 1788, and the 'cloathing of poor children' cost £2—13—4 in the winter of 1790.

In January 1792, Harry John the Taylor was paid for making 'clothes for the poor'. Later, in 1793, 'Wm Harries' bill making clothes for the spinning children' came to 4/3½d. Linked with the tailor's craft was spinning and weaving. David Richard was paid 2/- for weaving flannel for horse collars. In July 1796 the 'Spinning Woman' was paid £4—7—6, being her wages for 25 weeks from 17 January to 11 July @ 3/6d. One Mary Betsy was paid £4—7—8 for 25 weeks to instruct the children to spin from Nov 1792 — May 1793 @ 3/6d per week, fire included.

An unwelcome visitor was the Exciseman, and in July 1787 the duty on 'Candles made at the home' paid to the Office of Excise came to £1—8—0, while the duty on '69 Teals of Malt made at home' was £22—15—0. In 1790 the Excise man's name was Mr Lott and he was paid £20—0—10½ duty on malt. The Kings taxes paid up to Michaelmas for the previous six months in 1793 were as follows-

£ s d
Commutation Tax 12—0-l
Houses and Windows 10-5-0
Inhabited Houses 2-13-0
Male Servants 0-15-0
Horses 0-3-0
Additional Duty on Horses 2-10-0
Carriages with 4 Wheels 14-0-0
Additional Duty on Horses 3-0-0

In spite of the multifarious activities and special skills of the different employees at Newton the establishment was not self supporting. Many commodities were bought locally, depending very much on the season. For instance, a cask of butter was bought from Griffith Rees to be sent to London. Its weight was 73lbs @ 6d per lb. and the bill came to £1-16-6. Another cask of butter (85 lbs) was purchased, for use at Newton at the same price per lb. One year later, in the winter of 1788, Rees supplied two casks of butter weighing 1551bs @ 5d per lb and costing £3—4—7, and another supplier Thomas Jones supplied 161lb at the same price. Although butter and cheese was produced in the Newton dairies, yet it was insufficient to meet the demand of the household, and resort had to be made to merchants who traded in many items of country produce, such as potatoes and even apples in addition to cheese and butter.

For the purposes of brewing, hops were obtained from London, e.g. in January 1787 the sum of £10-17—11 was paid for 2cwt lqr 191b @ 90/- per cwt. Freight, porterage, etc., were 7/- extra. In July 1790 a quantity of hops, described as '1½ pocket'8 and weighing 2cwt lqr 191b, cost £19-3—11, together with 3/2d shipping charges. Later on, in January 1791, a Mr Howells' bill for hops came to £8—2—9 and another from Unwin for 24Ύlbs cost £1—10-11.

Wine was imported through the port of Carmarthen from Bristol and thereto from the continent. It was customary to have distinctive bottles with the family's crest or monogram and examples survive to the present day. W. Jones was paid £4—10—0, the sum of money he had spent in Bristol for the purchase of wine bottles. In January 1790 Mr Herbert Lloyd's bill for freight of wine amounted to £34—19—9. In March 1792 a bill for liquour amounting to £18—12—0 was paid, and in June 1791 'five galons and a half of Spirits sent to Dynevor towards the first Dinner on acct. of the Cavalry @ 10/- per gallon' is also mentioned. At Newton brewing went on as part of domestic routine and in 1797 Thomas John was paid £1—1—0 as one year's allowance 'for Night work in brewing'.

Supplies of candles came sometimes from Williams the Chandler at Llangadog. For the candles used in 1787 and the charge for making them, Williams was paid £14—18—8. The bill for candles used in 1788 came to £12—5—7, and, on one occasion at least, a quantity of tallow was bought at Llangadog for use at Newton.

From the housekeeper's bills for December 1787 it is possible to see something of the amount of meat consumed at Newton:—

Dec. 1 Beef of David Thomas 1191b @ 3d 1—9—9
do of Williams 129lb @ 3d 1—12—3
Dec. 8 Pork 231bs @ 4½d—8/7. Quarter of veal 6/6 0-15—1
Beef of David Thomas 1681bs @ 3Όd 2—5—6
Pork 2llbs @4½—7/10½. Veal 6/9 0-14—7½
Dec. 15 Beef of David Thomas 1471bs @ 3Όd 1-19-9½
do of Williams 1451bs @ 3Ό 1—19—3
Beef's heart 2/2. Side of veal 14/6. Head 2/6 0-19-0
Pork 22lb @ 4½d—8/3. Tongue 1/6. feet 3d 0-10-0
Dec. 22 Beef of David Thomas 2001bs @ 3Όd 2—14—2
Quarter of veal 7/6. Head 2/-. Tongue 1/6 Feet 6d 0-11-6

Six livers for the dogs cost 2/- from David Thomas, butcher. When payment was made for the meat the 'weight was settled with Mrs Morris (the housekeeper's) book. During 1796 the following quantities of meat were consumed 56441bs of mutton at 4½ per lb — £105—16—6 and 18131bs of beef at an average of 5d per lb — £37—15—5, not to mention game, poultry, pork, ham, bacon, fish for which we have no precise. details.

Deer from the park also was a source of meat for the household, but from time to time this was sent to centres as far afield as Aberystwyth, Bath, Swansea, Bristol and London. Entries for 22 Nov. 1788 are: 'paid the booking of the Venison at Llandilo to Bath - 6d', paid John Tobias' expenses with Venison at Swansea - 5/-'. And again for 31 June 1797: 'paid Joan Tobias' Bill of Expenses at Aberystwyth with Venison — 12/5d'.

Supplies of fish were obtained from Carmarthen, Kidwelly and Swansea, e.g. on 24 December 1788 Will: Evans' bill for fish from Swansea was 8/l1d and another fish supplier mentioned is Mr Humphreys of Carmarthen along with one Andrew of Kidwelly.

Salt was in great demand and considerable sums of money appear in the accounts. In February 1788 £7—0—0 was paid, about twice the amount paid a year previously. At this time of the year fattened pigs were killed and ham & bacon curing played an important part on the time-table. But slaughtering was not confined to the winter months, as in April 1793 William Richards bill for slaughtering at Dynevor Castle was 8/6d. In August 1793 Thomas Rees the Butcher charged 1/- for slaughtering two sheep.

Much use was made of wild plants with curative and medicinal properties. Thus bog-berries are referred to — probably the bog bean (menyanthes trifoliata) found all over Europe and used as a tonic. In August 1788 a peck of these cost 7/-, and later, in November, Mr Brookes supplied a quantity costing 10/6. In Oct 1796 several women were employed gathering 'Haughes' (haws) and received 18/-. If this refers to 'Hips and Haws', the berries were traditionally used in western Europe in preserves, sauces and drinks, the leaves being used as a tea substitute derived from rosa pomifera.

Acorns were gathered and for 5½ bushels payment of 5/6d was made, whereas 4½ bushels of hawthorn cost 4/6d. The acorns of the species Quercus robur pendunculata (English Oak) have been used for various purposes from time immemorial as a food for pigs, and sometimes ground as flour or as a coffee substitute for human use. Again the Hawthorn or May Crataegus axycantha was variously used — the young leaves were used as a tea and a remedy for blood pressure or as a tobacco substitute, while the seeds could be used for making a coarse coffee.

A large number of items in the accounts deal with the day to day tasks of farming and managing the estate. Timber had to be sawn for partitions and pallisades. Young trees had to be planted on the demesne land. Mr Scott received £3—3—0 for trees. And when trees came to be felled and hedges trimmed a great deal was used in the house. In May 1787 David John was paid £1—4—0 "for cutting 12 cords9 of wood which were carried to the House for Use". Loppings were used for charcoal, e.g. on 4 July 1792 Walter David was paid one guinea for "burning the lopings at Dryer's wood into charcoal for Dynevor Castle". When there was insufficient charcoal available frequent purchases were made, e.g. in January 1788 "paid Tho. Williams' Bill for charcoal £1—11—6".

In March 1791 William Francis was paid £2—1—6 for cutting cordwood of old logs, in all 20Ύ cords for the use of the house. From lengthy and straight timbers could be saved a piece of wood for a large ladder. Again boards would be sawn for floor timbers in the extensions and renovations in the house and out buildings. All the plantations and forests were carefully supervised. Dangerous trees were felled, trees thinned and suitable trees harvested at proper times. This was the task of the woodward and during one season John Tobias was paid £2—10—0 'for being in Glamorganshire as woodward', i.e. supervising the Neath estates of the family. Sometimes trees were felled on land adjoining the river Tywi and floated down towards Dynevor. Hedging and ditching was an important winter season occupation and on 22 Jan. 1791 several men were employed for hedging and ditching, e.g. '45½ perches of hedge @ 6d'.

The overall management of the estate, the immediate home farm and demesne were carried out by the steward as we have seen. But one of the stewards' underlings was the 'beedle'. Thus, in July 1796, David Hopkin was paid three years' wages (£6) as 'Beedle to Dynevor Castle due Xmas 1794'. He had held the post 'of beedle or Biddle' to the then Newton estate since 1788 at least, at the salary of £2 per annum.

Towards the end of the 18th century, when new developments and ideas in agriculture and estate management were important, farms had to be measured and mapped, instructions given to tenants, leases examined for renewal or termination. Thus in January 1788 Mathew Williams was paid £2—2—4½ for 'measuring and mapping two farms in Landarog and one in Llanarthney together with other jobs per bill'. In July 1788 12/- was paid to Morgan Walter for 'surveying Hay for Sale at Newton'. Again Richard Hopkin received 10/6 for surveying 'Abergwili Tythes'

Lime was an important commodity for spreading over the land and for use in white washing farm buildings' still rooms, out kitchens and dairies. Also, when mortar was needed, lime was used and laths split for partitions, e.g. 7 February 1788 1600 laths were split at Newton at a cost of 3d per hundred. In August 1796 'Mr Jones Kilsane's bill for hair' amounted to 10/-. Hair was mixed with the lime mortar and used for plastering partitions and walls.

Some other items and activities may be mentioned. White clover seed was obtained from London @ 70/- per cwt. Considerable quantities of straw were required for cowsheds and stables e.g. 100 bundles @ 12/-. Lady Talbot was an amateur farmer and had in her own charge 20 'Weathers', which cost in all £8—5—0. A ferret, bought for 10/6 needed to be fed and Mrs Thomas the Housekeeper supplied 'Milk to the Ferret' for 4/3d. There were bills to be paid for threshing. For 'several game certificates' from Mr Jones Llwyd the Clerk of the Peace £22—6—2 was paid. The Gwili canal was surveyed for £10—10—0 and 'for making a Wear to turn the river Lougher from Mr. Evans' Meadow £3—0-0'. A 'Black Mountain Mutton' was bought at Llandeilo, weighing 431bs, @ 4d per lb. A bereavement in the household meant that the domestics were given sums of money to purchase garments so as to be 'soberly dressed' at at the obsequies, e.g. Mrs Thomas, Housekeeper, £5—5—0; Sally Lloyd, Housekeeper's Maid, £3—3—0; William Roderick(butler?), £5—5—0. Also two quires of black edged paper was procured from Carmarthen for 2/-. Masons and carpenters were constantly building and repairing, mending the warren wall, tiling and pointing, white washing and 'plaistering'.

Special occasions demanded extra expenses. Thus on 13 August 1795 — "gave the ringers on the birth of Mr George Rice, £2—2—0. Paid for ale out of 15 Houses, £15—15-0.

On the arrival of the Cavalry several extra bills for unspecified items came to £8—16—0. And on 21 Dec. 1798 there was 'a bill of the Expenses of the Cavalry to Pontardylais — £2—10-4'. When William Harries and William Thomas attended at Llandeilo and Carmarthen 'on account of Lord Dynevor's qualification for a Deputy Lieutenant' they were paid £1-1-0. Following the Parliamentary contest between Magens Dorrien Magens and J.G. Phillips of Cwmgwili in 1796 an item of expenditure recorded is - to 'Miss Bloom for Ribbons left unpaid at the Carmarthenshire Election £0-19-0'. Balls and levιes were held from time to time and typical is the following bill:-

Ball Bill £23-5-11
Musick 4-4-0
Hall Keeper 0-5-0
Crier of the Court 1-1-0
Bailiff 0-5-0
Trumpeter 0-5-0
Meredith (?) 0-10-6
Constables 0-7-6

Some items sound strange to modern ears e.g.:-

March 1788. Paid David Gwillim crying the Supervisor's Garden (?) £0-0-6
August 1788 Paid Harries for Rags10 for the Garden £0-1-1½
Sept. 1790 Paid the Cryer for Crying the Carrots and Turnips several times £0-1-0

Were these the last mentioned items related to the sale of garden vegetables made known to the locality by the 'cryer'? These are cryptic references indeed, and part of the fascination of old accounts about life in the Tywi valley some two hundred years ago. ...
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