Jones family history

Dr John Jones (1813-1895) (great grandfather)

Dr John was the fourth child and second son of John and Louisa, born in Walton upon Trent and baptized in Llangarron on 12 October 1813.   He took his M.D. at Edinburgh University and practised as a physician.   He was also a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Hereford (High Sheriff in 1839). i   His gravestone in Llangarron churchyard, a large and elaborately ornamented affair, proclaims that he was “of Langstone Court in this county and Llancayo Monmouthshire”, showing that at least some part of the Llancayo estate still belonged to the family in his lifetime.

He married Emily Edith Oakeley from Lydart, near Monmouth, in 1847, aged 33/34.  Their marriage was the occasion of the last substantial addition to the house.   My uncle told the story that when Dr John proposed to her, she commented that there was no bathroom at Langstone.   He said there was no room for a bathroom.   “Then I can't marry you.”   “Then it will have to go on the roof.”   And there it is: the first bathroom at Langstone, a flat-roofed pebbledash box set into the roof of the 1827 service wing, with access through the back wall of the 1700 staircase.

They had 10 children, all but one of whom survived into adulthood: Emily Edith Constance (1848-1922), Mary Louisa (1849-1904), Julia Theophila (1850-1924), John Walton (1851-1901), Beatrice Edith (1852-1936), Theophilus Henry (1853-after 1905), Catherine (1855-55), Thomas Joseph (1857-1935), Parnell (1858-?, buried at Weston super Mare on 9 January 1931) and Richard Ebenezer (1860-1937).   Julia, Beatrice, Henry, Joseph, Parnell and Richard are all shown as still living at Langstone in the 1881 census (with two domestic servants, Mary Ann Evans and Elizabeth Gwynn).

Dr John was reportedly a kind man to his patients, dispensing medicines free to the poor, but a strict disciplinarian at home.   Frank Lane (local farmer and the present occupant of Llangrove Cottage) told me his grandfather used to live on Welsh Newton Common and, as a boy, drove his pony and trap down to Monmouth (probably in the 1880s) to fetch medicines to be dispensed at Dr John's surgery at Newton Lodge.   Does this mean that Dr John lived there after the death of his older sister, Jane Collins, in 1884, leaving his son, Thomas Joseph, to live at Langstone?

My father heard that if any of the girls misbehaved, they were locked in their rooms.   If any of the boys misbehaved, they were locked out of the house.   Constance, the eldest child, says in As I Remember that she “used to creep at odd moments into the library, where my father often sat, and kneeling by the end of a long table, read with fearful joy in a thick green book of Anecdotes”. ii   “There were a lot of books in the house of one sort or another, but what with those we must not touch on peril of our lives, and those that no one could possibly want to read, there was not so very much left.”   Novels were not smiled on in that early Victorian household.

Emily Edith (Oakeley) was born in 1821 and baptized on 18 February 1821 at Mitchell Troy.   She died on 26 January 1906 and was buried at Llangarron on 31 January.   Constance says that her mother played the harp very well (presumably the mid-19th century Erard harp that is still here): she was a pupil of Chatterton's (John Balser Chatterton, born in 1805, Professor of the harp at the Royal Academy of Music in 1827, Harpist to Queen Victoria in 1842, died in April 1871). iii

In 1861 Dr John took the whole family (with a governess and two maids) to Stellenbosch in South Africa for four years, returning in summer 1865.   Constance records that her father was very fond of driving a carriage and horses “and having been for some years in the Cape, drove loose rein downhill, to the terror of some of our friends, but we never had any serious accident, though many near shaves.” iv

My father had many stories about the family which were not written down before he died in 2012.   One of my ancestors driving to Hereford met a neighbour at the top of Callow Hill and challenged him to race all the way.   When they got to the old bridge, the neighbour's carriage went in the river.   Was that Dr John who won?

My father also had a story that there was much drunken rowdiness at Langstone and that is why the oak double doors to the lobby to the first floor front bedrooms have heavy metal bolts on the inside to protect the sleepers.   The family fortune is also said to have been lost by gambling and drinking.   I don't know when.

Louisa (second daughter) married William Tudor Thorp of Charlton Hall, Alnwick, Northumberland on 16 June 1875, died on 29 February 1904 and was buried in Ellingham churchyard.   Julia (third daughter) married Revd Edward Gilmore Austen (the son of George Powell Austen, a former Captain in HM Army) on 19 April 1902 at Llangarron.   John Walton (eldest son), born in June 1851, graduated from Clare College, Cambridge in 1873, was Rector of Llanddewi Skirrid from 1880-1901 (his father, John Jones, was Patron at the time) v and was buried at Llangarron on 22 May 1901.   His youngest brother, Richard (my grandfather), immediately followed him as Rector of Llanddewi Skirrid. Beatrice (fourth daughter) was buried at Llangarron on 31 October 1936.

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     i     Walford, E., The County Families of the United Kingdom, 2nd edition, 1864, page 559   (return to text)
     ii    Jones, E.E.C., As I Remember, A. & C. Black Ltd, London, 1922, page 8   (return to text)
     iii   http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/July01/britinst.htm, 2nd paragraph   (return to text)
     iv   Jones, 1922, pages 15-16   (return to text)
     v    Bradney, J.A., A History of Monmouthshire, Vol 1 Part 2a, The Hundred of Abergavenny, Academy Books Limited, London, 1991, 1991, page 281   (return to text)