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Jones Family of Maesybidia

Maesybidia - Front Page Western Mail - Welsh Homes

Saturday 7th October, 2020

Without my Grand-Mother Hetty Ann Garfield and Maesybidia my family research might never had started ......... the house is documented in the Book the Welsh House by Dr. Irowerth Peate as one the Carmarthenshire finest examples.  In 1971 the Carmarthen Journal did a feature on Maesybidia, the article refers to Major Francis Jones, who was an Archivist in Carmarthenshire and also held the office of Wales Herald of Arms Extraordinary, he ascertained that one of the earliest occupiers of the house was John Jones on whom the premises were settled on in 1963.  The article also states 'as can be anticipated there is a ghost story attached to such an old house, apparently the ghost who likes Maesybidia is a long dead Welsh Prince who stayed there a few days while visiting Dynevor Castle on his way to Pembrokeshire.' 

Home to the Jones family was the Brechfa Valley, Carmarthenshire towards it border with Ceredigion, my Mamgu Ann Jones was proud of her Camarthenshire roots and would regularly remind her family that she was 'Ar a Ffin' on the border and not from Ceredigion.  The river that flows through the valley is the Cothi which rich in fish known as Sewin  a Sea Trout much like Salmon and much sought after when in season. 

After the Great War 1914-18 the Brechfa Forest was developed today there is more than 15,000 acres of forest.  The forestation swallowed many of the farms including Letty-llwyn-chwyth.

The first language of the residents of the Brechfa even at the millennium is Welsh.


I spoke to Major Frances Jones before his death asking help to find the original deeds of Maesybidiau but unfortunately he couldn’t help although in his article he stated that the property had been settled on John Jones, it was hoped that his research papers (which he had lost) would have proved the link with Johnes family of Dolau Cothi.


I am still searching for the deeds and believe them to exist somewhere, my Mother and visited the Forestry Commission they having taken much of the land in the Brechfa but that to was of no avail.  We appealed in Western Mail but with no success.

Maesybidiau today is a picturesque cottage nestling on the west bank of the Brechfa Valley alongside the Cothi River, which is renowned for its fishing. Tourist who visit the Valley are captured by its fine beauty and serenity. It is one of the Counties finest if not perfect examples of a Welsh Long House. In olden days the long house was usually split into two sections by a large open fireplace, acting as a dividing line, on one side the family lived and on the other domestic animals were housed, this was so at Maesybidiau were the fireplace remains with an open bake oven on one side and brewers corner on the other. The doors are of solid wood with wooden latches, the floor is covered with finered and black Welsh tiles, the beams are of oak in one of the upstairs rooms are of an unusual design know as cruck architecture. It is said to be haunted by a Welsh Prince who was once a visitor in days long ago.


After reading the article in the Carmarthen Journal I spoke with Major Francis Jones but unfortunately he couldn't recall his research notes and my search for the original deeds continues to date.  To read the article please click here I apologize for the quality

After sending off to Somerset House and obtaining a copy of the 1841 census for Maesybidia my journey began .......................

The story begins in the hills above the small seaside village of Llanstephan on the Towy Estuary in Carmarthenshire, South West Wales in the Spring of 1790 not Maesybidia but Penpicillion Farm the home of the Rosser family,

All the family are at home and sitting around the fireside, William Rosser his Wife Esther (daughter of John Edward of Llangynog) have enjoyed a supper in the company of their four daughters, Esther, Anne, Jennet and Mary and son John.

William is the master Penpicillion his grandfather built the current farmhouse in 1707. But Penpcillion has been in unbroken family possession since the reign of Queen Mary (1558), it changed from the family name of Jones to Rosser by the marriage of John Jones only child a daughter John Jones of Pistyll, is recorded as a Yeoman, Army General an excellent shot, Royalist and faithful Jacobite. The Rosser family also lived at Trehyddion a few miles away, they have long connections with farming and the sea and their descent has noble French blood, William is recorded as a Farmer and Gentleman, Mariner and Coal Merchant and he is now the proud master of Penpicillion. William’s daughter Jennet is in love with a gentleman by the name of Rees Jones of Maesybidia, Abergorlech, it is Jennet’s dearest wish that Rees will be allowed to become her sweetheart.

Jennet tells her family about Rees’s family, his Fathers relatives are gentleman farmers and have court connections, his Mother’s Father is a gentleman farmer and two Aunts are married to Vicar’s one at Abergwilli and another at Llandysul.

Hearing of this John Jones, Rees’s father feels he should visit the Rosser family to discuss the future of the young sweethearts, the proposal is put forward to William Rosser who feels that he should discuss and seek advice on the matter with his friend Colonel Ravenscroft of Laugharne, and a letter is drafted. Click here to read copy of letter from William Rosser to Colonel Ravenscroft

It would be almost two years after the attempt to agree a marriage settlement that Rees & Jennet married

Llanstephan - Llansteffan

On the 3rd February, 1792 Rees Jones of Maesybidiau and Jennet Rosser of Penpicillion were married at the Parish Church, Llanstephan.

Twenty-seven years to the day of the marriage of William and Esther (nee Edwards

daughter of John Edward (died 1752)of Llangynog) Jennet’s parents.

The marriage was witnessed by Jennets sister Mary and Rees’s Uncle John Francis of Penygraig, Abergwili.

It would have been a day of mixed emotions for Esther Rosser it was her wedding anniversary but William (Rosser) had died in 1791.


Lineage below from the Lord Rees to Dafydd (1330) was supplied by the National Library of Wales to view letter please click here

The Lord Rhys (1132-97) - Rhys ap Gruffydd - Prince of South Wales

The Lord Rhys was one of the most successful Welsh Princes, and after the death of Owain Gwynedd the dominant power in Wales.  In 1158 The Lord Rhys captured Llandovery Castle and when retaken by the Normans Henry II stripped Rhys of most of his possessions.  In 1165 Rhys made an alliance with Owain Gwynedd and thwarted another invasion of Wales by Henry IIHe was able to win back most of his lands including Llandovery.  1171 Rhys made peace with Henry.  Following the death of The Lord Rhys fueds developed between his four sons over his lands.  Llandovery Castle changed hands five times in four years.  In 1211 Rhys Gryg captured Llandovery with the help of the Royal troops of King John of England. 

The Lord Rhys great grandson was Rhys ap Maredudd ...... Rhys ap Maredudd  took a local army to meet young Henry Tudor on his way to defeat King Richard III at Bosworth in 1485. Rhys carried the Red Dragon standard of Cadwaladr on the battlefield, and some poets insisted it was he who killed Richard. There is no way we can prove this, but the family did well out of the Tudor victory. 


                         Rhys Gryg










                             Dafydd (born around 1330)

                  unfortunately a gap of three centuries

                                    l                                                                                                 John Lewis of Letty-llwyn-chwyth

Griffith Jones - Gent of Llanybydder                                                                                                    l

                         will proved 1644                              ........................................................................................................                

                                    l                                               l                         l                         l                                       l

Rees Jones - Gent of Llanybydder                                Mary                 ANNE                  Sarah                               Elizabeth

                                    l                                            married                     married                  married                                      married

Griffith Jones - Gent of Llanybydder                        Rev.Davies            John Jones        *John Francis                 1st.Rev.Rice Williams

       Administration granted 1714                              Abergwilli             Maesybidia        Penygraig, Abergwilli      Llandysul

                                  l                                                                            l                        l                              2nd. Thomas Thomas

 Rees Jones - Gent of Llanybydder                                                             l                 John Bpt.21.11.1775        Upper Penybanc

     l                            l                                                                             l                                                       Abergwilli

 John                      Evan                                                                         l                                                         l

Born 1715                 Born                                                                         l                             Louisa -married- Rev. Nathaniel Rowland

 -married-                                                                                                 l

........l......................................................................................................... l

Anne Lewis daughter of John Lewis, Letty-llwyn-chwyth                                                    * Witnessed Rees & Jennet's Wedding


The Children of John and Anne (lewis) Jones 

       of Maesybidie - Abergorlech, Carmarthenshire


    l                            l                          l                       l                             l                                l                              l               l

David                     Lewis                 Sarah          Rees - Ricy               John                          Ann                     Evan         Mary

1751                      1755                  1764          1745-1810            1768 Llwyncelyn             1773                     

Penygraig            Llettyllynwith                          married               married                        Pentre Davis

Abergwili                                                          Jennett Rosser     Esther Rosser                Income of £1.per day rent

there is a possibility that two brothers married two sisters




                                                                                                                    l   to view the Rosser line please click here

                                                                                                                    l   Jennet daughter of William & Esther Rosser Penpicillion

                          The Children of Rees and Jennet (Rosser) Jones                                  

of Maesybidie - Abergorlech, Carmarthenshire

Jennet & Rees married at Llanstephan Parish Church 03.02.1792

                                                   Witnessed by John Francis (Rees Jones Brother-in-Law) & Mary Rosser (Jennet's sister)

        Sarah           Evan                ** John               Mary             William              David     Hetty     Thomas      Ricy (Rees)      

      1790-1840    1793-1850          1794-1865        1796-1811      1798-1835             1800       1803     1805-1806    1807-1845

                          Emigrated to America   Inherited Maesybidia      Spinster         Emigrated America          Bachelor    Spinster                                Emigrated America    

                   In all four children emigrated to America Evan, William, Ricy & Thomas

Sarah born 1790 died 1840 married William Thomas Graig born 1772 they had four children John, Evan, Jane & Sarah

Evan born 1793 died 1850 farmed Near Llandeilo died New York of Apoplexy buried Poughkeepsie, New York, married Ann born 1800 died 1884 born Wakefield Yorkshire, £200 dowry - We are still contact with this line and will expanded the information further on

** John born 1794 died 1865 married Esther (Hetty) Davies of Llystin Farm, Brechfa born 1791 died 1872 – this is my line

Mary born 20th September 1796 around eleven O'Clock in the evening and died 18th August, 1811 Age 14yrs.

William born on Friday evening between eight & nine O'Clock June 8th 1798 married Fathers servant and emigrated to America, died 7th July 1835 Age 37 years 23 days buried Mobil, Alabama, had two children Jane & Evan.

David born March 20th 1800 about half a hour past eight O'Clock on Saturday night died a bachelor

Esther - Hetty born on Friday the 2nd September 1803 between 5 & 6 O'Clock in the evening

Thomas born 1798, died 1838 emigrated America – drowned in River NYC, buried in a Vault Poughkepsie, New York State.

Ricy (Rees) born 1807 died 1845 was a Justice Clerk married a milliner from London, emigrated to America, had two Children, Thomas Jefferson and Evan. Worked as a Justice Clerk and died Ottumwa, Iowa – and had two sons, Thomas Jefferson born 1829 London and died in 1876 in New Jersey, USA married Rose Dunn born 1858. Evan born 1832 London and died 1854 NYC borough of Poughkeepsie of yellow fever.

Much of the information above came from the Journal of Rees & Jennet Jones Great Grandson Ricy Howell Jones he was the son of their Grandson of their son John and son of their Grandson Ricy Davies Jones who left Wales with the Saints (Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints - Mormon's) in search of his Zion - his son Ricy Howell Jones came to Wales in 1886 for his Church Mission.  While in Wales he kept a journal and asked many questions which give us many answers - luckily his great nephew Owen J Olsen (Utah & California) viewed the journal and made many notes, the whereabouts of this journal today I don't know - to view information on Ricy Howell Jones please click here 

To View the family tree complied by Owen J. Olsen and Harry Jones descendant of Evan 1793-1850 who emigrated to America please click here. 

Owen Olsen visited Wales unfortunately although I corresponded with him we had not made contact at the time of his visit, he visited descendants of Evan Jones 1819-1899 and Jane (Jones) Roberts 1824-1865.  Harry Jones and Harry Jones Jnr. visited and my parents Jack and Margaret Thomas visited and stayed with him in America (Florida)

Please click here to view and read the last will and testament of Rees Jones of Grondre

I wonder what thoughts losing so many children to the New World - America felt like to Rees and Jennet and this was going to repeat itself with three of the children of their John also crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the New World



                                      ** John Jones    - married -    Esther Davies of Llystin Farm, Brechfa

                                                  Born :  1785                          Born : 1791

                                                  Died  : 1886                          Died : 22.09.1872


                                                                                 John and Esther married 9th June, 1815

                                                                            St. Michael's Church, Llanfihangle-Rhos-y-Corn

St. Michaels Church, Llanfihangel-Rhos-y-Corn is high in the mountains towards Llidard Nenog this jewel as stood for 700 years and in early June the grave yard is full of blue bells and pink London Pride, services are still be held there today

John Jones of Maesybidia married Esther Davies, daughter of John and Margaret nee Evans of Llystin Farm, Llanfihangel-Rhos-yr-Corn. Brechfa, and Esther on the 9th June, 1815 at St. Michael’s Church, Llangfighangel-Rhos-y-Corn witnessed by Thomas Evans of Cefn Ffordd and David Davies and officiated by the Reverend John Griffiths


Who was Esther Davies firstly my Great-Great-Great Grandmother the daughter of John and Margaret nee Evans of Llystin Farm, Llanfihangel Rhos y Corn in the Brechfa Valley just a short drive from Maesybidie.  Llystin Farm is still standing but is probably a more modern house now than the one Esther Davies grew up in. 


Llystin Farm House


View of the Valley


Llystin Farm is situated a short distance out of the village of Brechfa on the road to    Abergorlech and Maesybidiau, it sits in an idyllic situation on the breast of the mountain

with panoramic views of the beautiful Brechfa valley, it is currently farmed with beef, sheep and cereal and its fine stone outbuildings are converted into holiday cottages.


Before we continue on with the children of Maesybidiau born to John and Esther, I would like to tell you a little about Esther, Esther was born and lived at Llystin Farm, Llanfighangle-Rhos-y-Corn in the Brechfa Valley her parents John Davies and Margaret nee Evans, Esther’s brother Daniel who was born on the 16th September, 1793 and married 7th March, 1819 Sarah Thomas at Llanegwad, Carmarthenshire they had seven children living with them at Llystin recorded on the 1841 census and an Agricultural Servant by the name of David Lewis, Llystin was large farm and no doubt there was more day labour also employed. The children’s names were John, Sarah, and Lettie, all shown as born 1826 and Anne 1829, Daniel 1830, Mary 1835, Diana, 1837.



                       Please Click here for the story of Esther's brother

                                             Daniel's journey to America


John and Esther (Davies) Jones farmed Maesybidia they had three sons two of whom would leave home for the New World - America - five daughters one Margaret who also went to America ...................... I suppose this is really were my story began, when my Grandmother Hetty Garfield was alive she spoke constantly about her Grandmother Ann, how she had hunted in Talley was educated in Carmarthen spoke three languages and her Uncles, brothers and sisters who had gone to America, my grandmothers cousin Lizzie Mary Thomas had letters written to her Mother Hetty (Thomas) Richards from America, in 1972 my cousin Eiryl Garfield said he was going on a visit to America and it all began and still hasn't stopped !

John Jones is recorded as owning three farms Maesybidia, Bedw Bach both on the outskirts of the village of Abergorlech and Gondre which was nearer to Llandybydder ...... Maesybidia 40 acres, Bedw Bach 70 acres and Gondre was 70 acres


                                                                 John                   - married -            Esther Davies

                                                                                           9th June 1815

                                                                 Born  1785                                       Born 1791

                                                                 Died  18.12.1865                              Died  22.09.1872


   Born  1816

   Died  1857

  Newton, Iowa


John J Evans


  Born Llanybydder

Buried Newton, Iowa



   B. 1819




  Sarah Lewis



B. 03.04.1821


Stockton USA


Elizabeth Phillips



Buried Oakland USA


Born 01.06.1824 

D 26.10.1865



John Roberts



Buried Llanegwad


  Born 1826

  Died 16.02.1911



 Dafydd Thomas

 Born 1828

 Died 1881

 Both buried     Penyfai Chapel Nr.Bridgend


   Born 1828

  Died 15.02.19  Utah


1st Ann Howell

2nd Margaret Morse


  Born 1834




Joshua Thomas


Born 1836




John Jones


My line continues from Ann Born 1826

click here for more information

Ann Jones - married - Dafydd Thomas

Hetty - married - James Richards           Mary Jane - married - Micah Miles



An interesting account of a journey from Brechfa to Utah

Taken from from the Brigham Young University Welsh Mormon History web site written

aboutthe samejourney made by Ricy Davis Jones and his mothers brother and family

click here to read