Alternative content

Get Adobe Flash player

The servants

You never know just whom you might meet when you visit Llancaiach Fawr Manor…

If you are very lucky, you might sometimes meet the master of the house, Edward Prichard.

But he’s a busy man, much concerned with business and the Civil War and so he is often called away at short notice.

Perhaps you might catch a glimpse of Mistress Mary Prichard, his wife... although she prefers to go and visit her family and friends at Briton Ferry, rather than brave the air of the valleys, as she is a rather "sickly" soul. Of course, being a devoted mother, she always takes their little daughters Jane and Mary, with her.

Colonel and Mrs Prichard

So whom might you meet? Well, there are the servants, they are always there to greet you and make you welcome!

Although we can’t say which of them you’ll meet at any time (they have their duties to perform after all!), you can be sure that there will be someone who will be pleased to show you around the master's fine house - provided that you are of good repute of course!

Just who are these characters and servants? Let's see...

Click on their positions/job description to open their history.

Land Agent/Surveyor

Land Agent\Surveyor - Stephan MatthiasStephan Matthias is often to be found conducting business for the Steward or the Colonel, somewhere about the Manor…

Stephan Matthias is the Land Agent and Surveyor of Colonel Prichard’s estates. He works with the two other Agents, Thomas Edwards and his brother Evan Edwards. He is quite an ambitious man and has come very far from his fairly humble beginnings as the son of a woodsman, living on the edge of Canton Moor.

He was very fortunate to have been taught to read and write by a generous Puritan cleric, at a free school just outside Cardiff. From these beginnings he eventually found his way into the employment of Phillip Herbert, the Earl of Pembroke (a fact that isn’t lost on other servants!). However, with the fall of the Herberts for their support of Parliament, he ended up looking for work at a hiring fair. It was fortunate for him that Edward Prichard recognised him and took him

Houseman

Houseman - Bryn LlewelynBryn Llewelyn is a long standing servant in the Prichard Household.

And he has already become a very useful and popular member of the Colonel’s staff. Having suffered many hardships and grief, he has made a new life for himself and to support his three children as well as he can.

By good fortune, his cousin Caradog (who is well known to Edward Prichard, having been village constable last year and Sexton at Gelligaer Church), recommended him for a place as houseman, the previous holder of this post having joined Charles Gerard’s Regiment of Foot after a somewhat drunken night in a Cardiff tavern.

Bryn Llewelyn is a man of sobriety and of Godly thought, therefore not likely to fall into such traps. Bryn has also found favour with the Steward, Samuel Thomas as he can read and write and can often be found in the Manor House writing accounts and other documents for either the Colonel Prichard or The Steward.

Having been married twice and still, to some degree, grieving for his last wife, he is in no hurry to marry again and whilst his children are being well cared for by his mother in Newport, he sees no need for further attachment… much to the chagrin of some of the village maidens, who see him as quite a good catch! And possibly Hannah Saer, who always has an eye for a well turned calf! But perhaps the thought of a ready - made family may not be so appealing for her. Who knows what the future might bring…

Dairy Maid

Kitchen Maid - Rachel EdmundsThe Dairy Maid would milk the cows and make the cheese and butter for the master and his family. She would also see to the husbandry of the dairy cows, goats and sheep.Rachel is the daughter of Jerimiah Edmund, a tenant farmer of Dowlais, and his wife Anne. They are a staunch Baptist family, with little time for the “flim-flam” of the Anglican Church.

Jerimiah is a business acquaintance of Iestyn Proude, the cattle drover, who often takes cattle to market for him, usually at a good profit.

Iestyn was aware that Ann Thomas was in need of a new maidservant at Llancaiach, and recommended Rachel as good, hardworking and not much given to looking in a fanciful way at young men!

Although Rachel is an ordinary Chamber and Kitchen Maid, she has found favour with the Colonel’s daughters but more especially with the Mistress for her quiet and unassuming manner. Never hurried, seemingly unflustered, she goes about her work without any disturbance to the Colonel or his wife, which is, as far as Milady is concerned, exactly how it should be with the “megrims” she suffers!

Undercook

Children's Maid - Anne GibbardAnne comes from Abergavenny and is daughter to a carpenter, Walter Gibbard, who has done work for the Prichards and heard that there was a need for a new undercook. This is an ideal position for Anne as she has great skill in the kitchen and the bake house. Anne’s mother died when she was young and so it fell to her to look after her younger brothers and run her fathers household, though now they have all grown and left home. As Anne comes from a large family, with five brothers and numerous nieces and nephews she has found it very difficult to leave everyone behind, but has made many friends in the Colonels household.

Anne has a brother, two cousins and an uncle who have to fight. One of her cousins died in 1643 at Gloucester. Anne is tired of war and scared that her younger brothers will join the army.

Anne has much interest in candying and preserving, which finds her favour with mistress Prichard who has a very sweet tooth! You will find Anne working in the kitchens, preparing food for servants or making sweetmeats and dainties for mistress Prichard. She also keeps an eye on the head cook Bleddyn ap Thomas, who, though a very good cook, also has a great liking for strong ale and fine wines.

Chief Dairy Maid

Chief Dairy Maid - Enid SamuelEnid Samuel is often to be found busying herself around the Manor…

Enid Samuel is the Chief Dairy Maid, and very skilled at her work.  She makes cheeses, butter and cream, not only for use in the household, but to sell in the cheese-market in Caerphilly, so adding to the Colonel’s profits.

But of course, in these days of war she finds that she, like others, has to lend a hand at all sorts of work about the Manor.

She is the widow of Ianto Samuel, who was a farmer and she lives in Nant-y-Fedw Farm, Bedlinog, with her son Edward and his wife and baby.  Edward lost an arm in the bloody battle for Gloucester, fighting for the unsuccessful Royalist forces.

Enid has to walk the five-mile journey every day too and from her home to work.  How she wishes that she could have a horse like Mistress Prichard has!

She often helps the cow-man during calving as she seems to have a very calming effect on the beasts in their travail’s, and of course the cow’s welfare is of great concern to her. 

She has become very friendly with this years’ parish constable Mostyn Jones… could this be cause for gossip among her fellow servants?

Music Master

Man of all Work - Evans JamesEvan James is 28 and a Royalist. Although Evan is interested in matters of religion, he doesn’t always understand the English sermons of Rector Covey as his first language is Welsh.

Currently Evan lives in the manor in the servants attic. He teaches the Prichard girls, Mary and Jane. Amongst his other duties are playing music for the family and visiting gentlefolk and soothing the mistresses nerves when she in vexed, with calming tunes.

Evan James can often be seen at the local tavern where he plays music in return for free ale.

He first began work in the manor in 1641 because of a recommendation from Jethro Snigg the Warrener who had come across him in the tavern and was greatly impressed with musical prowess.

Previous to his position in the manor Evan was an itinerant musician visiting and playing in local houses of note.

Evan earn 4 pounds and 10 shillings a year

 

Maid of all Work

Maid of all Work - Jane EllisJane is a Maid of all Works at Llancaiach, she works hard but always seems to be clean, as a lot of the servants have pointed out! She came to Llancaiach by recommendation of Maistress Proude.  John Ellis, her father is a blacksmith and the family live in Newport.

Jane has two siblings Elizabeth and Gareth. John Ellis has tried, but has yet to find a husband for Jane, young, Baptist men are hard to come by and Jane is happy at Llancaiach for now.

Due to her family being Baptists, the ‘new’ religion she, unlike a lot of women in the household can both read and write. Jane loves to learn new things from the other servants and hopes for a promotion at Llancaiach in the future.

Chamber Maid

Chamber Maid - Sarah Jane HopkinsSarah Jane Hopkins has only recently come into the Prichard household, when her husband John Hopkins took the ‘Kings Shilling’.

Sarah Jane originally took the position in the house to be safe in the company of servants, but then heard that her beloved husband John had been killed at the battle of Marston Moor.

However, John Davies, who has recently returned from fighting at the Battle of Newbury, has told Sarah Jane that he saw her husband last October and that he was talking of a woman he lives with in York! Sarah Jane has now cursed the Civil War- and her husband.

John Davies does not know if John Hopkins has survived the fighting at Newbury, but Sarah Jane thinks she is widowed, and may be looking for a man that is ‘in need of a goodlie wife’.

Still-room Maid

Still Room Maid - Verity JonesVerity Jones is a very busy woman…Verity is married to Jenkin Jones, the colonel’s Head Groom. She is Mistress Prichard’s Chief ‘Still-room Maid, making perfumes and rotten-pots (Mrs. P. calls them “pot-pourris” but Verity thinks this is pretentious – or worse – French!), and distilling all manner of beauty potions and creams for Milady.

She is very skilled in the art of soap making, so this is of great value to the Master, as soap can be quite expensive to buy.

Although Verity often complains that she doesn’t see enough of her husband, their meetings seem to be quite productive as she now has three children, two girls in very quick succession and an older boy. Her son helps his father with the horses and when they are old enough, doubtless she will teach her daughters the secrets of her distillations.

Warrener

Footman - Siencyn ap GwilymJethro Snigg is the warrener to Colonel Pritchard’s estate. He manages the Colonels coney warrens and also hunts the estate for hare and deer, with his small pack of greyhounds. The furs and meat provided go to the Colonels household surplus furs are sold to traders increasing the Colonels wealth.

Jethro has but lately come to the Colonels employment, with the death of his father in a hunting accident, who was the warrener to the Colonel before him. He has therefore literally stepped into his father’s shoes.

He lives in the small hamlet of Bedlinog with his wife Jane and sons Edward and James. He can often be seen exercising his hounds walking from his home to Lancaiach and back each day.

Jethro is fervent in his support for King Charles cause especially as his younger brother, who is also called Charles, fights for the king in the Civil War. However he does not make his feelings know within the house as he does not wish to lose favour, if loyalties change as they often do in these troubled times.

Serving man/Man of all work

Gwalchmai was born in 1599 and his family tended the river crossing at Upper Boat. He signed on with the East India Company in 1615 and two year later signed up for service with the King's ship Vanguard and fought both the Portugese and the Turks of Algiers. Finding himself between ships, Gwal took service with sir Charles Morgan in the low countries but after three years of mud and blood returned to sea again.

In 1632 he married and made a half hearted effort to work a small holding for his wife and new son but returned to the navy six years later. In 1642 the trouble began and Gwal, considering himself for a kings man returned home once more.

Unable to make a living from the small holding, he used his connections to find himself a job as a servant at the Manor and although he does not see his family as often as he would like, he is now able to send a regular wage back home to care for them.