Memories of Summer Holidays (Trebinshun) 1915- 1932
from his aunt to Andrew Cummin (a cousin of mine who sent this email)
reporuced by permission of Joan Earwicker nee West
Mr and Mrs Davies farmed at Cwmyoy (?)Abergavenny. They had 6 children
1. William - rector of Salford
2. Albert - vicar of Aldworth (?) Glos. He married Polly Abel and had 2 sons
Albert a GP in Croydon
Arthur who worked for Westinghouse in Manchester
3. James - ran a taxi cab service in Brighton. He had one son, Tom.
4. Harriet - married Rev Price rector of Mundham, Chichester They had
one daughter: Rose who married Rev Augustus Outram. He
followed his father-in-law at Mundham. They had two sons
Edmund became rector of Mundham
John became vicar of Lake in IoW
5. Alice - ran a guest house in Westcliff on Sea
Mary-Ann - married William Watkins who ran the farm at Cwmyoy when Mr
amd Mrs Davies died. They moved to Trebinshun, Bwlch and had
Tom - died as a young adult
Will - worked on the farm
David farmed at Cwm farm, Taff's Well
He had 7 children - Alun, Tom, Jack (who took over Cwm Farm), Gwyn
(farmed at Cwmdhu, Abergavenny) Rose, Elsie & Rhoda.
Ernest - a pharmacist in Westcliff. He had two children Beryl and James
John - worked on the farm
Maud - died of diabetes
Polly - a district nurse in Dartford
Gertrude - worked on the farm
Mabel - a nurse
Beatrice - married Horace West
Memories of Summer Holidays at the farm 1915 – 1932
Joan Earwicker (née West) born 16th August 1914
Trebinshun, Bwlch, Breconshire
A farm of about 250 acres half way between Brecon & Crickhowell. It
was a mixed farm raising sheep & Hereford cattle.
The farmhouse was Elizabethan. The front door led into a large kitchen
with a flagstone floor. As you entered the door there was a large
Welsh dresser and leaning against it in the corner were a number of
shotguns used to catch rabbits. The ceiling was hung with large hams.
At the far end was a huge fireplace in which a fire was always kept
alight. All the cooking was done in large pots, pans & kettles which
hung on hooks over the fire. Pies were cooked in the oven. One side of
the fire was a large settle and the other side wooden armchairs. The
rug was made of rags of various colours. There was a large central
table where the family ate and under the window a long table where the
workmen sat on benches. Leading off the kitchen was a parlour one side
and the back kitchen on the other. The parlour had a small iron grate,
a large mahogany table, horsehair stuffed sofa and chairs. The back
kitchen had mangles and a dresser where the washing was done in a
large bowl. Water was fetched from outside where a spring had been
piped and the hot water had to be carried from the kitchen fire. In an
outhouse was a copper and a swill tub where scraps, whey etc were put
for the pigs. Steps nearby led to an orchard with a long woodpile and
Opposite the front door steps led to a cobbled yard on which were the
bakehouse and dairy. The bakehouse contained a long oven built into
the stone wall, a large trough for mixing bread and a cheese press.
The dairy contained a churn and slate shelves on which were large pans
where milk was put so that the cream could be skimmed off, put in jars
and used to make butter. Stone steps outside the dairy led to a large
room above the dairy, this was the granary where grain was stored
after threshing. Periodically sacks of it were taken to the miller to
provide flour for bread making.
The cobbled yard led to a fold bounded on 4 sides by a large haybarn,
stables, milking shed and quarters for the boar and the bull – both of
Beyond the barn was a rickyard where there was a Dutch barn and
shelters for the trap, chaff cutter, mowing machine, plough etc.
Beyond the fold was a shallow well fed by a spring which overflowed to
fill the duckpond. There were several orchards and pastures and a
kitchen garden fenced in against marauding animals and growing soft
fruit, beans, cabbages, leeks etc.
Near to the dairy was a building containing the cider press – a huge
stone wheel pulled around by a pony. It is now in the Brecon museum.
The farm owned three cottages. One nearby was occupied by Mr & Mrs
Jenkins. He worked on the farm. The other two cottages were at the
extremity of the land (Point Cottages), one was occupied by a gardener
at the nearby large house and the other by a farm worker.
Day to Day Work
The work was mainly done by my grandmother, Mary Ann Watkins (when not too old),
[Mary Ann Davies born Abt. 1842 Llanddewi Skirrid, Monmouth, England
who married William Henry Watkins born Abt. 1831 Llanfair Kilgeddin
Gertrude E J Watkins Abt. 1875 Bwlch Trewyn, Monmouth, England
?? Mabel Watkins Abt. 1882 Bwlch Trewyn, Monmouth, England
William (Will) J. Watkins Abt. 1864 Bwlch Trewyn, Monmouth, England
John A D Watkins Abt. 1878 Bwlch Trewyn, Monmouth, England ]
Aunty Gertie, Aunty May (later on), Uncle Will, Uncle John, 2 workmen
and a young boy who lived in and came from a miner's family. He mainly
waited on my grandmother, fed animals and did any odd jobs.
Grandma supervised the dairy where butter was made, everybody taking a
hand at churning. Cheese also was made periodically – a mild
Caerphilly type. Bread was made once a week. A fire was lit in the
long stone oven. It was then raked out and the loaves put in. After
that the oven was cooler and dough cakes were put in. Every day Auntie
Gerty and the young boy collected eggs and fed the chickens.
The geese were put out into a meadow through which a stream ran. Each
night they had to be shut up against the fox. They were quite bad
tempered. The chickens and turkeys roosted in trees or on rafters.
Uncle Will's work was mainly scything oats on the higher ground,
making and mending parts of wooden machinery and tending sheep. Every
Sunday morning his dogs collected the sheep into the fold and he
examined and treated each one for parasites and foot rot. Once a year
the sheep were dipped. A makeshift tank was made by damming a spring.
The policeman had to be there to see that each animal was dipped for
the right time. I think he enjoyed the job as he got a good farmhouse
Uncle John looked after the horses – shires and ponies. On the
mountain there were unbroken shire colts which were let down to the
pond for water and were rather terrifyingly wild. He also did the
mowing and ploughing with help.
Auntie Gert and one of the men milked the cows every morning about 6am
and every afternoon at about 4pm. There were only 12 milking Hereford
cows and 1 Jersey cow.
The main work was raising beef cattle.
Beer and cider were made regularly and stored in hogsheads in the house cellar.
During harvest the men took with them bottles of drink. They came home
for a good dinner – summoned by the ringing of a large bell. Tea was
taken to them in the fields – a can of tea, slice of doughcake and
bread & butter.
Only essential work was done on Sunday.
Uncle John dressed in a bowler hat and navy blue suit and Auntie Gerty
in a costume & large hat walked to church at Llangasty near Llangorse
lake. Grandma drove there in her pony and trap. A man at the Church
Farm used to turn her pony into a paddock.
At haymaking time extra casual labour was employed. One old chap,
Charlie, used to turn up each year. He slept in the barn and was given
food which he ate there. The hay was brought from the fields in a
gambo. This was like a wagon without sides which had long poles at
each corner around which ropes were tied to retain the load.
Each Monday there was a cattle market at Talybont-on-Usk. Men used to
walk the animals on the road a distance of about 4-5 miles. It was a
great meeting place for farmers who retired for refreshment to the Usk
Every Friday was Brecon market. My Grandma drove there in her pony and
trap (8 miles). There were great preparations beforehand, my Grandma
dressing herself up in her best boots & hat. She took some produce for
which she had a permanent order from a shopowner in Merthyr. She took
butter, cheese and buttermilk cheeses which were wrapped in cabbage
leaves and in great demand. She went to a local hotel where the groom
unharnessed the pony and turned it into a paddock. The trap was left
in the yard. My grandmother went shopping at the grocer, fishmonger
and fruitier and what she bought was delivered and put in her trap.
She then had lunch and drove home at high speed.
On Thursday she went to Abergavenny Market (14 miles) but just to meet
friends and have lunch.
Some memories told me by mother who was brought up on the farm.
Beatrice Alice West, born in 1883 (née Watkins).
married Horace Frederick West
My mother started school at the Church School in Llangasty near
Llangorse Lake. She walked both ways in all weathers and remembers her
very excellent headmaster – Mr Ind
When she was about 13 she went as a weekly boarder to Brecon County
High School. The girls lived in lodgings – 2 or 4 girls and a mistress
in each house. She remembers going out after school on Thursdays to
buy faggots which the butcher was making for the Friday market. Her
mother took her home on Friday after she had been to market. Early on
Monday morning one of her brothers drove her in the pony and trap to
Talyllyn station and she had only a short train journey to Brecon.
When she was 16 she took the Civil Service exam and became a clerk and
telegraphist in the Post Office. She asked to be posted to Dartford,
in Kent, where her sister (Aunt Polly) was a district nurse. [Polly
--- and my Usk granny warned me seriously not to drink the cider
when I helped with the gleaning and the stooks at harvest time late 1940ies