A Glamorgan Family History
Roger was enumerated on only one census - that of 1841 - which offers minimal information. He and Sarah are recorded as living at Nantmoel Uchaf together with their son, John and his young family. Roger is described as being "Independent", i.e. not reliant on parish relief. He actually ministered at Baran for 38 years until his death in 1843, but in his "Short History of Gellionen Chapel and Baran Chapel", Haydn Thomas records that, due to ill health, Roger was assisted in his ministry from 1840 by Rev. Rhys Price, who succeeded him. In his last years his memory began to fail him to the extent that he needed to read his sermons. However, as Rees and Thomas describe:
"....ond y fath oedd serch ei bobl tuag ato, fel yr oedd yn well ganddynt ei glywed ef yn darllen ei
bregethau na chlywed llawer un mwy doniol yn eu traethu gyda'r hyawdledd mwyaf."
.......but his people's love towards him was such that they would rather hear him reading his sermons than listening to many amusing ones that are related with the most eloquence.
At the time of Roger's death the congregation at Baran chapel numbered about 180. His death certificate records that he died of "disease of the brain" on 29th April 1843, at Nantmoel, 2 months after his 69th birthday. The informant, present at the death, who registered this information on 3rd of May 1843, was his son-in-law, Howell Jones of Llechartfawr. Howell was the husband of Roger and Sarah's youngest daughter, Jane. I can not as yet find any obituary or evidence of a will attributed to Roger. Inheritance of Nantmoel was probably settled on Roger's son, John when he married.
The ministers at his funeral were: Mr. John Davies, Cwmamman; Mr. William Thomas, Glais; Mr. Rees Powell, Cross Inn; and Mr. Daniel Griffiths, Neath. Mr. Powell and Mr. Griffiths preached from:
John, chapter 2, verse 20:
But you have the unction from the Holy One and know all things.
and 2 Chronicles, 24, 15 and 16:
But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died.
And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house.
A year lafter Roger's death, in 1844, Sarah also died. Roger and Sarah were buried together in the graveyard at Baran Chapel.
Their memorial headstone reads:
In memory of the Rev. Roger Howell, Nantmole in this parish and was Minister at this place upwards of 38 years, died April 29th 1843 aged 69 years.
Byw i mi yw Christ a marw sydd elw.
(For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain; Philippians 1:21)
Also Sarah Elizabeth relict of the above Rvr. Howell died July 17 1844 aged 70 years.
I have fought the good fight
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|Transcript of Sarah's will|
|"This is the last Will and Testament of me Sarah Elizabeth Howell of Llychart fawr in the parish of Llangyfelach in the County of Glamorgan Widow. I give devise and bequeath all my real and personal estate unto my five daughters Ann, Sarah, Rebecca, Elizabeth and Jane in equal shares as tenants in common and to their respective heirs executors administrators and assigns to be enjoyed and disposed of by them as separate property free from marital control and their respective receipts to be sufficient discharges for all monies which may be paid to them by virtue of this my Will. And I appoint my said daughters to be executrices of this my Will in writing whereof I have herunto set my hand this second day of December in the year of our Lord One thousand and eight hundred and forty three."
(copy of original Will obtained from National
Library of Wales)
|Tracing Sarah's ancestry|
|After Roger's death, Sarah lived at her youngest daughter, Jane's home at Llechart fawr. Her ability to sign her name suggests an educated woman. The wording of Sarah's bequests to her daughters, i.e. that they should be "free from marital control" also implies a feminist tendancy that was not the norm for the period in which she lived. The will was witnessed by David David and William Edmond - both of Swansea. It was proved at Carmarthen on 18th November 1844 by the oath of her second daughter, (my 3x great grandmother) Sarah Bowen of Lletty'rcrydd.
On 27th July 1844, a notice of Sarah's death appeared in the Cambrian newspaper:
"On the 16th inst., suddenly at a farm called Llechartfawr, in the parish of Llangyfelach, Mrs Howells, the widow of the late Rev. Mr. Howells, Baran. She was an affectionate wife and mother and sincere friend. Her conduct through life was characterised by Christian piety, and her death was peaceful and resigned."
|Roger & Sarah's grave alongside the memorial to Howel Roger & William John Rhydderch|