Thursday, September 01, 2011

Forgotten Radnorians

Pictured is a Radnorian hero, Thomas Weale (1791-1863) a leader of the opposition to the Watt family's enclosure of the manor of Iscoed in the parishes of Llanyre, Nantmel and Llanfihagel Helygen.

Weale, his story is outlined - somewhat unsympathetically - in this book, refused to pay rent on the three acre Tŷ un nos which he had held freely according to the traditions of Wales - traditions which, of course, cut no ice with the British state. Early in 1830 the under-sheriff's men attempted an eviction. Initially beaten back by Weale and his neighbours, officialdom eventually succeeded in evicting the family on to the common during a snow storm and the house was demolished.

Weale, a carpenter by trade, was not overawed by this defeat and in 1836 he was sued by Watt for encroachment on his old holding, from which Weale had taken a load of hay. A Radnorshire jury found in favour of the local man, a decision the authorities declared to be perverse and which was subsequently retried in Hereford to Watt's advantage. In the meantime Weale had raised a force of a hundred men at Rhayader market who proceeded to tear down fences on former tai unnos occupied by Watt and around his ornamental plantations.

Postscript: In the 1938 Transactions of the Radnorshire Society there is an article tracking down old placenames, by one W. A. J. Weale (1883-1966). The article makes use of poetry by the likes of Lewis Glyn Cothi and Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr and the author is not afraid to disagree, surely correctly, with more well-known Welsh scholars such as Sir John Morris-Jones and Gwenogvryn Evans. The son of a Newbridge-on-Wye joiner, Mr Weale was living in Pontypridd when the article was published, although he seems to have retired to Llanyre after the war. He was the grandson of that bold defender of Radnorian rights Thomas Weale.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a daughter and grand-daughter of Thomas Weale's of Newbridge-on-wye I recognise that sense of right and wrong and standing up for themselves.