A Glamorgan Family History
John Howell Roger:
Roger's father, John Howell Roger was born about 1743, probably at or near Nantmoel Uchaf farm. As described, his family had a long association with the Gellionen Presbytarian chapel and the few surviving records from Gellionen are the main source of what little is known about John's early life. From the evidence of these records, he was one of at least 8 children (3 sons and 5 daughters) of Howell Roger, Nantmoel and like his siblings was named in the patronymic style of the day to show his association to his father.
The 1767 list of the Chapel's Members records "John Howell Nant Moel" on it's 2nd page, above the name of his brother, William. The list also includes his father, Howell Roger on the 1st page and records that Howel Roger's wife at this time was named Margaret. There are no marriage records for Gellionen as, under the stipulations of Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1753, marriages could only be performed by Church of England clergymen. This forced Non-Conformists to marry in their local Anglican parish churches, which for the Howell family might be those at Llangyfelach or Llanguicke and later, Clydach, St. John.
Llangyfelach parish records show a marriage between a Margaret John and a Howel Roger on 24th April 1741. This seems appropriate for John Howell Roger's birth in 1743. From a memorial later attached to an outside wall of Baran Chapel, it is known that Howell Roger was the son-in-law of John William Rhydderch who had lived all his life at Nantmoel Uchaf. It is not clear however, whether it is Margaret who was the daughter of John William Rhydderch (the styling of her name suggests it is possible) or Mary, who (as Howel's will describes) was his wife at the time of his death. Since the wording of John Howell's entry in the 1767 member's list demonstrates he was already associated with Nant Moel, one possibility is that Margaret and Mary were sisters.
|(Verse taken from the transcription of Baran chapel's M.I.s by Glamorgan FHS)|
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|On 29th November 1771, John married Roger's mother, Rebecca Jones at Baglan parish church, Glamorgan. I have been unable to find a record of Rebecca's birth in the parish records at Baglan, suggesting her family were also Non-Conformists. Baglan was probably the nearest Anglican church to Rebecca's home chapel or meeting house.|
|From 1774 (the earliest legible record) until 1781, John Howell is recorded in the Land Tax Assessments for Rhyndwyclydach as the tenant of Pwllfa Watkin farm. After 1782 he is recorded at Tyn y berth, which his father, Howell Roger has vacated to become the occupier of Nantmoel Uchaf. John was succeeded at Pwllfa Watkin by a Thomas Howell who is recorded there between 1782-1794. This is possibly his younger brother.
As previously described, John and Rebecca's first child (described as such in Gellionen's baptism register) died in infancy and their second son, Roger was born in 1774. Rees & Thomas' statement in "Hanes Eglwysi Annibynol", that Roger was born at Pwllfa Watkin is therefore supported by the evidence of the Land Tax records. There are no further baptism entries for any children of John and Rebecca. The next official sighting of John is in his father's will, dated 2nd August 1794,where he was bequeathed:
"...all the sheep I shall die in possession of on the Tenement of Nantmole (sic), on condition that he shall pay yearly to Mary my beloved wife the sum of five shillings and also five shillings to my son William."
|The will does not directly mention John's inheritance of Nantmoel Uchaf itself, but this was perhaps implicitly determined by his status as the oldest son and may earlier, have formed part of his marriage contract with Rebecca. At the time of the annual Land Tax assessment in 1801, the occupier of Nantmole usha (sic) was recorded as the newly widowed, Mary Roger, (wife of Howel Roger) whilst the new proprietor was shown to be John Howell (aka John Howell Roger). The following year's record shows that John had now taken up residence at Nantmole usha (sic) - moving from Ty'n y Berth - which was now, in turn, occupied by his son, Roger Howell.
John remained at Nantmoel and played an influential part in the foundation of the new Baran chapel that was built at Nantmoel on land that he leased to the chapel members. Although he wasn't a minister himself, John occasionally preached both at Gellionen and at meeting houses in the district. In "Hanes Eglwysi Annibynol II", authors, Rees and Thomas note that he was very careful to encourage his son, Roger's religious beliefs and to ensure that he had an appropriate and rounded education. John may also have been involved in the theological school that appears to have been based at Nantmoel. He died on 8th February 1809, aged 66. I have not been able to find any will attributed either to him or his wife, Rebecca who outlived him by 19 years.
Unfortunately, after her marriage, there are no other official records of Rebecca's life, apart from a record of her admission to communion at Gellionen in 1771. This is typical of the age. While women were no doubt very influential in their own homes and family circles, this was not usually extended to public life unless they managed their own affairs either as spinsters or widows.
John and Rebecca were buried at Baran alongside John's younger (? unmarried) brother, William. Their memorial bears the following inscription:
In memory of JOHN HOWELL ROGER who
departed this life the 8th day of February 1809 aged 66 years
Also of REBECCA the wife of John Howell and Mother of
Roger Howell Minister at this place who died March 24th 1828
Likewise WILLIAM HOWELL ROGER having
been afflicted for many years died May 14th 1829 aged 84 years
"Canys mufi a wn fod fy mhrynwr un fyw, ac y saif yn y
diwedd ar y ddaear"
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