Welsh Journals

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Captain Frederick and his wife chose, whenever it was available, to take lodgings in the house in Bonsall Row occupied by a family named Watkins. The Bonsall family, after whom Bonsall Row was named, took their surname, in all probability, from the village of Bonsall situated in a dry valley a mile south-west of Matlock. This part of the Derbyshire Pennines is dotted today with old lead mines, many of them worked in Roman times. Some of the Bonsalls of Derbyshire migrated south to mining districts in Staffordshire and later to the Shropshire lead-mining country around Shelve, some twelve miles south-west of Shrewsbury. It was from either Staffordshire or Shropshire that a Thomas Bonsall came to the lead and silver mining hinterland of Aberystwyth. With the blood of lead-mining ancestors of many generations in his veins, as well as years of personal experience, it is not surprising that Thomas Bonsall prosper- ed-making a considerable fortune as well as a good marriage. He was knighted and in the same year elected High Sheriff of Cardiganshire, as 'of Fronfraith', his mansion and estate-two miles east of Aberystwyth, and close to the Gogerddan mansion of the older established Pryse family. One of the descendants of Sir Thomas was Dr. G. R. Bonsall who built Edlestone, an attractive house (now the H.Q. of the Royal Commission for Ancient Monuments: Wales) which adds an air of distinction to the north end of Queen's Road in Aberystwyth, just as does Sandmarsh (once the home of civil engineer, SirJ. W. Szlumper, Kt., J. P.) to the town end of the road. It was 1803 before the Joneses once again holidayed at Aberystwyth, and by then Morgan Evans of Llwynbarried had died suddenly in March 1802, at the early age of 49, leaving a widow and three teenage children. Their guardianship Mr. Evans had entrusted to his widow and his sister, Anne, and her husband, Captain Frederick Jones. In April 1803, the Captain's oldest surviving brother, Thomas Jones, the artist of Pencerrig, also died, leaving his estates to be shared between his two unmarried daughters, Maria (aged 23) and Elizabeth (22). Though the girls were no longer minors, Frederick and Anne felt some responsibility for them, because although they were both illegitimate they were obvious prey for fortune hunters. Only when their Llwynbarried nephew and nieces had returned to their boarding schools in Worcester did the Joneses feel free to take a short seaside holiday, the diary entries for which read: '11 September. With Mrs J. to Aberystwyth, Bonsall Row 15. Ye Ladies of Penkerrig arrived and ye Miss Beavans 20. To Rhayader 21. To Llwynbarried'.