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SCHOOLMASTER


His father. William Coverley was the young master of the first day school of which we have any knowledge in the district. It was held in what later came to be known as the Turn pike cottages that stood where the Treforris Lane branches off the Upper Conway Road. A commissioner under the “Inquiry into the State of .Education in Wales” visited the school in 1847 and gave a most creditable report on the work being done there. It was in striking contrast to what was reported for the great majority of schools throughout Wales. He died a young man of only 21 years of age just when the scholars were moved to a new school at what came tie be known as the gas works school opened in 1848. The fourth in this top row is John Hughes, Grosvenor House, stonemason, a master of his craft. These two young men, Coverley and John Hughes, came to be responsible for the erection of Jerusalem C.M. Chapel—an ambitious structure built by direct labour, Coverley was architect and clerk-of works and John Hughes was of foreman over the builders. The next, fifth in this top row is David Parry. Roe, brother to John Parry; “Hotel” He went to America where he lived to be 103 John, brother to Benjamin Coleman, is next to him. The fair haired bands- man, third from the end, is William Roberts. Isycoed, who lived to the ripe age of 93. having become the Rev. W. Rheidiol Roberts, Welsh Congregational minister at Abersoch, Bryn-gwran, and other places. Next again Is Edward Watson Jones. Tyddyn Du, a brother to the William Francis Jones, Tudno House. These brothers would be uncles on her mother’s side to Councilior Mrs. Glynn Williams. A grandson to Edward Watson Jones is now at Tyddyn Du. Finally, at the right end of the to row is Robert Thomas- of Tremynfa, now Norbrit, He succeeded John Jones at the butcher’s shop –later Walford’s He came from an old Pant y afon family. The first on the left in the bottom row is John McClement, a brother to Philip McClement and to Miss Mc Clement, Bankfield     

 GYMANFA FOUNDERS

 Next to him is Samuel Williams who also gave a life’s service unpaid of course as pre centor and teacher of singing at Horeb Chapel. Jointly with the Rev. Penllyn Jones, Old Colwyn, J.P.Griffiths of Conway and the writer’s father, the Rev D. P. Davies of Penmaenmawr, Samuel Williams was one of the founders of the Welsh Congregationalists Gymanfa Ganu for Conway Valley and district, established 70 years ago. Third at this bottom row from the left is David, son of David Williams of Treforris. Next to him is Thomas Roberts, father to Mr. R. H. Roberts, the organist at Jerusalem Chapel, and himself keenly Interested in singing. Working as settmaker at the local quarries he broke a limb and was laid up at his home for several months when he was twice honoured by visits from Mrs. W. E. Gladstone in the company of Mrs. C. H. Darbishire.

TRUANTS

The drummer is Naphtali. son of Nansi Jones who lived at what Is today “Penstone.” Caring for her donkeys on hire at a stand in the town provided happy employment for a few schoolboys whose absence from their lessons so grieved the master, according to his logbook. The drummer’s distinctive name identifies him as one of five boys guilty of playing truant on September 6, 1863. according to an entry in that book.
Naphtali’s sister  Margaret married Moses Thomas of Frondirion Bach, a picturesque white-washed cottage where now is the house Clynnog. Their son Robert, came to he the drummer of the local band over many years. Right of the drum in the bottom row is Thomas Roberts, Crimea, and later of Upper Maenan. a cousin to William Rheidiol Roberts above him John Sloan Is next to the last on the right. He lost his life on the railway near Penmaenmawr station. The last on the right is Rowland Roberts, Island View, who here looks much the same as he did 60 years later.

SMALLPOX

At the date of this photograph, the band held their practices in a room over the stables where today is the depot of the local council by the old National School. This
room served as “isolation ward” in 1872 and was occupied by four patients afflicted with smallpox. They were ministered ‘to” by Dr. Robert Hughes and by Ellen Jones, wife of Edward Ishmael Jones, “Billposter and Town Crier” they were the parents of Mrs. Wilson Roberts —and others. Fortunately the four patients recovered.
The band at this date were being taught by a Mr. Watts who came over weekly from Caernarvon. As mentioned earlier the Conway band were under instruction from James Blisland Hughes, ‘Iago - Bencerdd.’ born at Ysgubor Gerrig, Trefriw. His distinction as a musician merited his Inclusion in the recent Dictionary of Welsh Biography. His gravestone lies not many yards away from that of Evans Evans, leuan Glan Geirionydd, poet and composer of some of the best and most popular of Welsh hymns, In the graveyard of the old parish church at Trefriw, of which village both were natives.

By Ivor E. Davies

 

Weekly news 19 Aug 1965