The Jones family

Ellen Elizabeth Jones (1876-1935)

Nellie Jones was the first daughter of Elijah William Jones and Charlotte, daughter of James Lewis and Eleanor Rees of Llanbister, Radnorshire. Her father was born in 1840 at Llanfihangel Nant Melan in Radnorshire, now Powys, and his father was Richard Jones, a farmer at The Forcey, who married Ann Powell.

When Nellie and Henry Douglas (Harry) Sinclair were married in the parish church of Battle, on St. Patrick’s Day, Harry ‘wore a bunch of shamrock in his button hole, not only as his country’s emblem, but also in honour of the heroism and sacrifice of his fellow-countrymen for Queen and Empire… The bridal pair left, amidst showers of rice and confetti, about 10 o’clock for Brecon station en route for the Isle of Wight where the honeymoon is to be spent.’ This newspaper report was followed by a long list of wedding presents!

Nellie’s father was the Farm Bailiff for the Penoyre Estate and he and his small family lived at Pyscodlyn Farm in Cradoc, a village a few miles from Brecon, Powys. In the 1820s, the estate was owned by the Reverend Thomas Watkins, who was succeeded by his son, Col. Lloyd Vaughan Watkins. Colonel Watkins spent £33,000 building an imposing new house in 1846-48, but the cost of the house and grounds bankrupted him and the estate was sold at auction to Mr Rhodes in 1868, who rarely visited. In 1874 it was sold to Baron Cleasby and remained in that family’s ownership until his granddaughter, Mrs McClintock, died in 1939 and  it passed to Merthyr Corporation in 1947, after which the house became a school, and later a nursing home. Much of the park is now the golf course at Cradoc Golf Club.

It was during the time that Cleasby owned the estate that Elijah was the Farm Bailiff. In 1868, when the total acreage of the estate was 1385 acres, a large park surrounded the house, and to the north it was bordered by ‘luxuriant woods’ according to one visitor in 1870, although by 1874 Rhodes had started clearing them. Parts of the northern plantations were clear felled during the Great War. Penoyre was a stop on the country-house circuit and the gardens were heavily staffed and intensively managed in the High-Victorian style. This, then, would have been Elijah’s domain as the bailiff, requiring him to liaise with the family about all aspects of the estate, and in particular the management of the woodland plantations.

The description of Penoyre has been given because it could explain how Nellie came to meet Harry – one from a tiny rural Welsh village and the other from industrial Belfast. The timber may well have been the reason, because after they were married and settled in Wembley, Middlesex, Harry established a very successful timber business. Elijah may well have provided him with an abundant source of timber from Penoyre, which would be desperately needed a few years later during the 1914-18 war. If Harry had already started trading in timber while in Belfast, purchases from the Penoyre Estate might have meant occasional visits to Cradoc and, of course, the opportunity to meet the young Nellie.

Winifred Ann Jones (1888-1969)

Nellie’s younger sister, Winifred Ann Jones, was born at Glanusk Farm, near Brecon. She married Royden Parry Price of Brecon and they had five sons and one daughter. Ivor and Owen were twins and Ivor moved to the USA and worked as a juggler on the West Coast. He married twice and has one son and one granddaughter. Owen remained in Swansea, married Iris, and has a son and a daughter, and two grandchildren. Brychan also moved to the USA, married, but had no children, Gethin married Laurna and they had a daughter, now living in Australia, and Gwyan married Irene and had five children.

Four of five Price ancestors left Cilmery, near Builth Wells, Radnorshire, and emigrated to Pennsylvania in the seventeenth century, but one, Evan Price, who was born in 1819 in Llangathen, Carmarthenshire, remained. Evan’s son was another Evan, and he married Elizabeth Parry. Royden Parry Price was their son. The wider Price family meet annually in Pennsylvania at a ‘Price Family Picnic’.


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Cradoc, early in the twentieth century. The local forge is left foreground.

Harry and Nellie Sinclair, without any of their five boys in sight!

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