My great grandmother, Mary Ann Puleston, was born on 21 October 1831 at Plasnewydd, Garth, Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd, Denbighshire, Wales. She was the third child, and only daughter, of John Puleston and Mary Jones. She was baptised in Llanfair DC on 23 October 1831:
Mary Ann Puleston
On 26 March 1861, Mary Ann (described in the marriage certificate as age 28, Spinster, living at Berth, Llanbedr, near Ruthin, daughter of John Puleston deceased, Farmer) married Evan Jones (age 30, Bachelor, Builder, living in High Street, Bala, son of Robert Jones, Builder) in the English Independent Church, Ruthin, Denbighshire, Wales "according to the rites of Lady Huntington's Connexion" (a rite of a branch of the Methodist Church championed by Lady Huntington). The witnesses were Hugh Richard Pughe and Anne Jones.
Plas Newydd, Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd, Denbighshire, birthplace of Mary Ann Puleston
EXTRACTS FROM "A PATCHWORK OF PULESTONS" BY MRS SUNTER HARRISON
"MARY ANN PULESTON (JONES)
Born in 1833, the only daughter of John and Mary Puleston of Plas Newydd Farm, Llanfair D.C. She married Evan Jones of Bala on 26th March, 1861. The marriage certificate gives the following: Evan Jones of High Street, Bala aged 30 years bachelor. Mary Ann Puleston of The Berth, Llanbedr near Ruthin, aged 28 years, spinster and daughter of John Puleston, Farmer. They were married at the English Independent Church, Ruthin.
John Puleston, Farmer of Plas Newydd died 1 March 1850 and it appears that his widow moved to the Berth, Llanbedr. Mary Ann came there for the birth of her son John Puleston-Jones. Mary Ann and her husband Evan Jones had five children:
- John Puleston-Jones, later the Reverend John Puleston-Jones.
- Robert Lloyd Jones, Architect and Civil Engineer.
- Henry Puleston-Jones, Bank Manager.
- Mary Emily Puleston-Jones, who married the Reverend David Ward Williams.
- Jane Augusta who married Mr.T.G. Roberts, M. A.
Mary Ann took the bardic name of Mair Clwyd, she was a member of the Welsh Gorsedd and a well known and accomplished Welsh poetess. At Denbigh National Eisteddfod in 1860 she beat the renowned Welsh poetess, Buddug, a sister of Golyddan of Denbigh.
She was buried at Bala with her husband."
In fact, Mary and Evan had a total of 8 children, 3 of whom died in infancy. For details, see Evan Jones.
The following is from Evan's entry in A Patchwork of Pulestons by Mrs Sunter Harrison:
"After his marriage to Mary Ann Puleston they lived for a few months at "The Berth", in the Vale of Clwyd, home of Mary Ann's mother. Here their son John Puleston Jones was born in 1862, later in life known as ' the blind Preacher '. From the 'Berth' Evan Jones and his wife and infant son went to Bala to live for about a year at a house named "Tremarran" in Tegid Street, just opposite the Welsh Presbyterian Chapel. They then moved to a house named "London House", in the High Street, Bala. The ground floor being a shop where Evan Jones sold a variety of goods, household and building materials. They were at "London House" for about ten years, during which time their son met with the tragic accident which resulted in his being blind for life. Mary Ann's mother came to live with them at "London House", where she died in 1867 and was buried with her husband in Llanfair DC Churchyard. From "London House" the family moved to Mount Place near the Grammar School."
Mary Ann and her husband, Evan Jones, spent the first year of their married life at Berth, her mother's home in the Vale of Clwyd
MARY BECOMES A BARD
On 11 August 1860, the Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register reported Mary's appointment as a bard at the Denbigh National Eisteddfod:
1881 AND 1891 CENSUSES
The 1881 census records the family as living at 12 Mount Street, Llanycil, Bala, Merioneth, Wales (for details, see Evan Jones). In September 1887, they were living at Mount Place, Bala in September 1887 (letter dated 1887 from their son Robert Lloyd Jones), as they were at the time of the 1891 Census. Soon afterwards, they moved to Bodrenig, Arenig, near Bala, where they lived the rest of their lives, although they also kept Mount Place.
The following are some of the handwritten notes by Mary in her diary:
"1906 March 20 - Augusta [Mary's youngest daughter] was married in Capel Celyn to Thomas G Roberts. We did not celebrate a wedding. We simply took an ordinary dinner in the breakfast room after they came from Celyn at noon. The [qwas priodas?] & the minister & the registrar were all that were with us & in the kitchen the maids & Mrs Edwards Bron y Graig & the coachman. Then the young couple had tea & went off by the 3 train to Chester & on next day to Gwersyllt & her sister. I gave a supper that night to some quarry people.
On Monday March 26 we had a kind of luncheon tea in the dining room, mostly people from Bala - Viz, Mrs Dr Williams & Mrs Parry Glantegid, Mr Alun Jones, Mrs Alun Jones, Mr William Jones, Mrs William Jones, Mrs Hugh Williams The College, Mrs D E Jones, Mrs Evan Williams, Mrs Morgan Rhaidr, Miss Parry & her cousin Miss Hughes, Mrs Lizzy Morris & Mrs Jones Trawsfynydd, Mrs Robert Davies, Rev Robert Davies, Mrs Henry, Mrs Evan Edwards, bride, bridegroom, all of us as a family numbered 6. We did not formally invite but told Mrs Alun & Mrs William Jones &c that we gave 3 days for any that liked to come - Bala to come 1st day & heavy snow on the ground or many others would have come. We did not like to invite people that had not sent presents so had to leave it an open reception.
On Tuesday 27th a repetition of Monday, only different guests - Mrs Ellis the farm, Mrs Williams Foreman, Mrs Roberts Firgrove, Mrs Abel, Miss Jones Lynant, Mrs Watkin Jones, Mrs Howell Hughes, Miss Jennie Roberts, Mrs Roberts Wergloddu, Mrs Evans Gwerngen[o], Miss Williams Celyn, Miss Morris Graig yr [occhin], Miss Ellis Farm, Mrs Evan Edwards, John Thomas Jones, Mrs Henry, Mrs Robert Davies, Miss Roberts Celyn, Mrs Parry Ciltalgarth, Mr Payne, Mr Croom-Johnson [Managing Director of The Arenig Granite Co. Ltd.], bride, bridegroom, all of us as a family numbered 6.
Wednesday 28th - Chiefly Band of Hope - Mrs Jones Bwlchy[m]arth, Miss Maggie, Mrs [G?] Jones, Pantyrhedin, Bobbie Jones, Ritchie Jones, Mrs Evan Edwards, station no. 1, station no. 2, Percy no.3, Susie, Thomas John, William Evan, Miss Ellis Farm, Margaretta, Enoch Hughes, Helena, David Owen, Dilys, Nell Firgrove, Emily, Norman [her grandson?], Essyllt [her granddaughter], bride & bridegroom, family numbered 4.
Food much alike on the various days - a luncheon tea about noon, then a sweet tea or again a supper tea, as all did not come the same hour.
The following came on casual days - Mrs Davies Seren, Mrs Evans Seren, Mrs Anthony, Mrs James Crossing, Mrs Roberts, Mrs Lewis Moelfryn, Inspector Morgan, Mrs Owen Rectory, Dollie Davies, Mrs Jones Brynifan, Miss Lloyd, Mr Jay Jones, Mrs Watkin Jones, Miss Jones Tynant, Miss Hughes stores. Many people came for tea or supper over various days before & after the marriage, bringing their presents.
1906 - From April 1st Mrs Roberts to have Fir Grove for 4/- a week till she has 5 lodgers.
May - We have had Magazine [presumably the building in Arenig Quarry in which the explosives were stored] rent 5/-.
June 8 - Mr Banes paid Quarry rent £10-0-0.
Mary Edwards, who was Evan and Mary Ann Jones's housekeeper at Bodrenig in 1910
1906 July 23 - Maggie gave notice to leave in a month. I have had a great deal in the last few weeks of trouble & anxiety as well as much extra work.
On July 23 I hired Ellen Roberts to come here in a month or so. Wages per year to be £11-0-0.
Rate for 1907 & 1908 £11 10 0 per annum.
Aug 27 - Ellen Roberts scalded her foot. Went home in about a fortnight on Sept 6th. Lizzy came here Sept 16th. Left work Oct 14th 1907.
Ellen took up work Tuesday 15th 1907.
Ellen went home on or rather scalded her foot on the 27th day of August and went home in a fortnight. Was out of our employment for 7 weeks at 7/6 per week £2-12-6. This we handed to Ellen and will deduct from next quarter of her wages amounting to £1-11-0.
October 1908 - My brother Sir John Puleston was taken seriously ill suddenly but had been an invalid off & on all the years & died on the above date & was buried in Llanfair [Dyffryn Clwyd, Denbighshire] Friday following."
An old engraving of Bala Lake
The 1911 census for Llanycil records the widowed Mary, age 79, of Private Means, living at Bodrenig with her granddaughter Mary Essylt Puleston Jones, age 17 and Mary Anne Edwards, her servant (pictured above). They had a visitor staying with them on the night of the census, Edward E Hughes, a 25 year old Calvinistic Methodist student:
1917 ARTICLE ON THE PULESTONS IN Y CYMRU
The following is an English translation of extracts from an article on The Pulestons in the April 1917 edition of the Welsh magazine Y Cymru:
"When these children [Mary Ann and her brothers, John and Edward] were young they moved to Plas Newydd and, soon after, the present Plas Newydd was built. About the same time a new house was built at Pentre Coch at the expense of the Pulestons and in about thirty years we find Sarah Puleston, the last of the family, old and decrepit, coming to live at the house of her niece (Mair Clwyd) at Ruthin, being provided for by her nephew (Sir John Puleston).…
[Sir John Puleston's] two talented daughters were now taking their course of education and went over to Brussels to complete it. Mr and Mrs Puleston went across now and again to stay with them and on one occasion Mair Clwyd and her husband accompanied them. Their eldest daughter (now Mrs Ward Williams) also completed her education in Brussels…
Mrs Mary Anne Puleston Jones (Mair Clwyd) who was born at Plas Newydd, Llanfair DC October 21 1831, is a sister of the late Knight [her brother, Sir John Henry Puleston]. She received the best education that her parents could afford to give her, and being endowed with strong mental disposition, her mind unfolded at an early age, so that she came to be regarded, when quite young, as one possessing exceptional aptitude for literature and poetry. An eisteddfod was held at Denbigh in 1860 under the auspices of the Gwyneddigion and Chairmanship of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, Baronet, MP. This Eisteddfod extended over four days from August 7th to the 10th and was a very noted Eisteddfod. Prizes to the amount of seventy eight guineas, offered for compositions in prose, poetry and music, were withheld at this Festival. The adjudicators were Eben Fardd, Emrys Cynddelw, Dewi Wyn o Essyllt, Dewi of Dyfed , Owen Alair, J Ambrose Lloyd etc. The Rev J Emlyn Jones (Ioan Emlyn) won the twenty guineas for an Ode on the Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost, which was the subject for the chair. The Rev Morris Williams MA (Nicander) won the forty guineas for a poem on an open subject and he had chosen The Anointed. The young bard Golyddau was in this contest and he had chosen Jesus for his subject and his sister Buddug was competing on another subject - the two were the children of Gweirydd ap Rhys, the eminemt historian and lexicographer. Derfel Tegai, Ioan Arfon, Risiart Ddu o Wynedd, Iorwerth Glan Aled, Gwilym Cowlyd, Gethin, David Griffith Bethel and J O Jones, Ruthin, won prizes at this Eisteddfod. A prize of five guineas had been offered to women for a song on the Virtuous Daughter, which was not to exceed a hundred lines in length, and the following is what Eben Fardd, Emrys and Dewi Wyn o Essyllt said of the productions sent in by women: "Of the eight compositions sent in, the one signed "Sarah Felicia" is the best. It is a pretty song, dignified and refined. Many of the beauties and excellent qualities of the virtuous daughter are unfolded in it. We unanimously award it the prize." When the winner appeared, it proved to be Miss Mary Anne Puleston, who was warmly applauded by the audience. She was compelled to take a seat on the platform with the bards who heartily welcomed her. "Buddug" was the second best. "Mair" was further on invested or ordained as poetess at the Gorsedd by Clwydfadd and Emrys, and at the same time, Dewi Arfon, Gwilym Cowlyd, Meilir, Glan Alun, Derfel, J D Ffraid, Buddug, Carwad, Llystyn, Taliesin Hwaethog, Risiart Ddu o Wynedd took their degrees. It was at this Gorsedd that Dewi Arfon expressed himself as follows:
Yr Ardes a'n ddyffryndir - a'r werydd.
A droir yn gyfardir,
Duffyn Clwyd i Ffrainc gludir
Cyn yr a can o'r tir.
Mair Clwyd was married to the late Alderman Evan Jones, architect and builder of Bala. They settled down at Mount Place, Bala, to wait the erection of Bodrenig to which they moved some thirty years ago. Mr Jones was full of life and service with all parochial and county affairs, and was a member of the County Council from its inception, where he was of great service. He passed away December 23 1909. The two were blessed with six children, two daughters and four sons. The Rev John Puleston Jones MA of Pwllheli, a man universally known to all Welshmen as a preacher and scholar of the first rank. Mr Robert Lloyd Jones, architect and civil engineer at Fairbourne, near Barmouth; Mr Henry Puleston Jones, manager of the City and Midland Bank at Ffestiniog; Edward Puleston Jones, who died when young; Mary Emily Puleston, wife of the Rev D Ward Williams, Summerhill, Wrexham, and Jane Augusta Puleston, wife of Mr Thomas G Roberts MA of the Welsh Education department London who was presented to Queen Victoria on the occasion of her Majesty's visit to Wales.
Mair Clwyd now resides at Plas Bodrenig, full of mental energy and spirit, in the midst of the wilds of nature - the heather and the ferns, where the voice of the grouse, the nightjar, the whistling of the ring ousel, and the croaking of the ravens are heard. Her mind is now as keen and lively as ever, especially in regard to religious matters. A literal demonstration is found in her of what is said of the consecrated children of heaven: "Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing." The house of God is uppermost in her mind, and she and her husband provided a place for their neighbours to meet and worship, and seven years ago the present pretty and convenient chapel was erected on land gratuitously given by Mr and Mrs Jones.
After Mr Jones' day, Mrs Jones took on herself the responsibility of regularly procuring the services of preachers for Sundays and to keep her house open to lodge and feed them. Hers are the lodgings for the itinerants, wherever they come from, with full welcome at all times. Mair Clwyd can bow before the Throne like Nehemiah of old, and say like him with confidence: "Remember me, O my God, concerning this and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for the offices thereof."
Poetry has had to give way to Botany for many years, and she is an expert in the field of British ferns. I had the honour of inspecting her excellent collection of ferns at the Ffestiniog Eisteddfod in 1898, for which she easily won the first prize. There are many ferns in her collection that are exceedingly rare. She carried away the prize in the same manner at the Liverpool Eisteddfod. She was also rewarded for a collection of ferns at the Grosvenor Museum and was invested by the Duke of Westminster. She won a silver medal for the best collection of flowers at Rockferry - a great achievement from a locality so destitute of flowers, such as barren Arenig proves to be.
I conclude by wishing "the days of heaven on earth" to the honourable mother, until she crosses to her promised kingdom."
As indicated at the end of the above article, Mary was very interested and knowledgeable about botany, especially ferns. The Reports of the Chester Society for Natural Science, Literature and Art list "Mrs Evan Jones, Bodrenig, Bala" as a member of the society for 1898-9 and several subsequent years. My father told me that she wrote a book on ferns, but I have not been able to verify this.
On 21 July 1893, the Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard reported Mary's success with her ferns at the Bala eisteddfod:
On 29 July 1898, the Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent reported the following prize won by Mary:
DOCUMENTS IN GWYNEDD ARCHIVES
The Gwynedd Archives at Dolgellau contain the following documents relating to Mary:
a Conveyance dated 28 April 1914 between (1) Mary Ann Jones of Bodrenig, Bala, Widow, (2) Robert Lloyd Jones of the Land Valuation Offices, Fairbourne, Barmouth, Valuer, (3) Evan Williams of Tawelfan, Bala, Surgeon, (4) the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Ruthin, co. Denbigh, by which the Corporation agreed to buy for £140 "all that property known as Crispin Yard situate in the town of Ruthin, bounded on the North side by Clwyd Street, on the East side by the Old Mill property, on the South side by the property now or recently belonging to Col. Cornwallis West & on the West side by the river Clwyd", being 1192 square yards, together with the messuages and Cottages and buildings thereon" The Conveyance recites that:
- "under and by virtue of the will of John Puleston late of Plas Newydd in the parish of Llanfair D.C. in the County of Denbigh, farmer, dated the first day of November 1849 and proved in the Bangor Consistory Court on the 25th day of February 1851 the said Mary Ann Jones became seized in fee simple free from incumbrances of an undivided 1/3rd...and the said Robert Lloyd Jones was seized in fee simple of 2/3rds" of the land"
by an Indenture dated the 20th day of March 1909 between Robert Lloyd Jones and Owen Jones (of Arenig Street, Bala, Greengrocer)", the latter lent £350 to Robert secured by a mortgage on his 2/3 share of the land.
DEATH AND BURIAL
a draft, dated 1916, Exchange of land, an undated Plan and an Incremental Value Duty Form, dated 11 April 1916, between (1) Mary Ann Jones, Bodrennig, in the parish of Llanycil, widow; Rev John Puleston Jones, Pwllhelli, co. Caernarfon, Minister; Robert Lloyd Jones, Fairbourne, Land Valuer; Henry Puleston Jones, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Bank Manager; Rev Ward Williams, Grey Holt, Summer Hill, Wrexham, Minister; Mary Emily Williams, his wife; Thomas Griffith Roberts, M.A., 28 Cranville Road, Stroud Green, London, Clerk in the Welsh Education Department; and Jane Augusta Roberts, his wife; and (2) the Urban District Council of Bala. These relate to the exchange of freehold land adjoining the Gas Works (containing 280 square yards and coloured red on the plan) conveyed by the family to the Council and adjacent land (containing 288 square yards and coloured blue on the plan), together with the wash house thereon, conveyed to Mary Ann Jones.
Mary died of "Senile Decay" on 18 July 1918, age 86, at her home at Bodrenig, Arenig, near Bala. The opinion of Counsel, Mr Clement Davies of 2 Mitre Court Buildings, Temple, London, dated 15 April 1919 advised that, as the value of her estate was so small (she had only a life interest in the estate of her late husband), it was not necessary to prove her will.
On 2 August 1918, Mary's obituary appeared in The Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard:
Mary Ann is buried in the Churchyard of Christ Church, Bala with her husband. Entry number 164 in the Burials Register for Llanycil Parish (now in Gwynedd Archives, Dolgellau) records that Mary Ann Jones of Bodrenig, Arenig, Bala was buried on 20 July 1918, age 86 years, certified by Morris J Jones. Evan and Mary's gravestone is an obelisk of polished dark grey granite (presumably from their quarry at Arenig). The inscription reads:
"Evan Jones, Bodrennig. Yr hwn ar hunodd Rhagfyr 23, 1909 yn 80 mlwydd oed.
Beth bynnag a ymafael dy law ynddo i'w wneuthur, gwna a'th holl eghi. Pregethwr IX.10.
Hefydd am ei briod Mary Ann Jones. Yr hon ar hunodd Gorffennaf 18, 1918 yn 87 mlwydd oed.
Digonnaf ef a hir ddyddiau; a daghosaf iddo y iechydwriaeth. Salm XCI. 16."
Their gravestone is next to that of their son, the Rev Dr John Puleston Jones and his wife Annie.
Copyright: Haydn Puleston Jones, 2006-16