The Kidners of Llanfrechfa
by Judith Seys
My line of the Kidners went over to South Wales from Somerset in around 1810, presumably sailing across the Bristol Channel from Combwich on the River Parrett. I think that my 2x great grandfather, Christopher (b. 1793), and his brother, Joseph (b.1786), went together. They were born in Broomfield, Somerset, the sons of Christopher Kidner and his wife Mary née Sidwick. They went to the area around Llanfrechfa in Monmouthshire, which was very rural, and Joseph farmed at Henllys, Llantarnam, while Christopher was a butcher at Croesyceiliog.
Christopher was the first to marry - in 1819 he wed a local girl, Maria Andrews, at Caerleon. Baptised in August 1805 at Llangattock Juxta Caerleon, she could have been little more than 15 years old when she married and died not long after, but there is no record of her burial in Caerleon or in Llanfrechfa. Christopher's second marriage, in 1827 in Llanfrechfa, was to Ann Thomas who eventually had seven children. They lived in Croesyceiliog, at one time almost opposite the Upper Cocks Inn. Christopher rented a few acres of land from Ann Herbert and must have kept some animals and grown vegetables.
In the 1841 census he is described as a Butcher and in other records as a Farmer. In 1839, Christopher was 'taken from his bed' at his home on The Highway, Croesyceiliog to march to Newport with the Chartists; it was a very eventful day and many people died but Christopher was unhurt. He later gave evidence at the trial in Monmouth.
In 1848, he was a naughty boy and was caught stealing a kilderkin (small barrel) of beer. He and a mate were caught with it in a boat on the canal, maybe at Llantarnam. They were sentenced to 1 month's hard labour in the House of Correction, in Usk or Monmouth I expect. He lived only a few years after that and died in 1851 from 'apoplexy'. Ann died in 1854 from an asthma attack described on her death certificate as 'An act of God'.
Christopher & Ann had seven children.
The first was Joseph b 1828 who married Catherine Price in 1855. Joseph worked as a 'shearer of tin plate', and he and Catherine had seven children.
Second was Elizabeth b 1830, who married Thomas Dixon and moved to London eventually, where her descendants still live. In 1871, two of her children were staying with Jesse & Elizabeth, my great grandparents, in The Garw, Croesyceiliog.
Third was Christopher b 1833. He married Edith Perrin in 1856 and had a child, George, who died in infancy. In 1865 Edith married one Edwin Tanner at Newport, calling herself Emily to disguise her bigamy before reverting to Edith in the 1871 census. Meanwhile Christopher disappears from the census records until 1891 when he was a farm servant at Llanvihangel Pontymoile. Christopher died in the workhouse in Pontypool/Panteg in 1910.
Fourth was Jesse, my great grandfather b 1836, see below.
Fifth came Sarah b 1839. She was in service in Llangattock, near Abergavenny, and married Charles Nicholas, a wheelwright, in 1865. They moved to Blaina before 1881 and had at least six children. In 1901 she and her adult children were living in Handsworth. I don't know any more about them.
Sixth was George b 1841. He married Margaret Powell in 1863 in Pontypool area. They had several children, some of whom died in infancy. Before 1881 they emigrated, with their son Albert Llewellyn Kidner b 1871, to America. In 1996 when we went for a holiday, we came across his memorial on Ellis Island.
Last was John b 1845. He married Louisa Morgan and had several children including Ira John Kidner. Ira John and his wife Esther died in the 1960s in Wellingborough.
Jesse married Elizabeth Williams in Llanhilleth, Monmouthshire, in 1866. He must have gone up the valleys to find work and met her there. However, they settled in Croesyceiliog where he had grown up and had eleven children, five of whom died as children or in early adulthood. Jesse worked in the Tin WorksJesse and Elizabeth are buried, with three of their children, in Llanfrechfa churchyard (near the church door, a big cross on the grave). I have Jesse's family bible, passed to me from Aunt Celia (née Kidner).
The children of Jesse & Elizabeth included:
Thomas Christopher Kidner b 1872 (on the left of the photographs opposite) - Uncle Tom Kidner, died before I was born, in 1937. He and Charles Henry Kidner b 1876 (on the right), 'Uncle Charlie', lived together in The Cottage next to The Grove in Woodland Road, Croesyceiliog. I remember Uncle Charlie Kidner as always smiling. He went to live at The Waterloo Inn after Uncle Tom died. Charlie Kidner died in 1952 just days apart from Aunty Ellen Kidner, from a cancer.
Celia Kidner, 'Aunt Celia' b 1880 married Bill Evans and lived in a big house 'Brynawelon' in Croesyceiliog. They did not have any of their own children but were always very kind to me when I was a child. Aunt Celia always gave me 5/- (25p) for my birthday. One time she came and asked if I had any change as she only had a ten shilling (10/-) note! Five bob was a good present in those days.
Right: Celia, Elizabeth and Louisa Kidner
Elizabeth Kidner b 1874 married Thomas Edward George Oakley Ward b 1872, on Christmas Day 1902 at Llanfrechfa. They had four children:- Phyllis Hilda, b 1904, Winifred Mildred, b 1905, Clifford, b 1908 and Alfred, b 1914. Uncle Alf's family live in and around Croesyceiliog.
Louisa 'Aunty Lou' Kidner, the youngest, b1887, married Ted Laramy and kept The Waterloo Inn, Sebastopol. They had one son Eddie (Uncle Eddie). He and his wife, Aunty Kath looked after my brother Paul for most of his childhood.
|John Arthur Kidner b 1883 (right) married Ellen Stone of Somerset in 1908 in Pontrhydyrun Chapel. She had come over to Monmouthshire to look for work. They lived in Woodland Road, Croesyceiliog and had two daughters. The first was Edith Mary b 1910 and became my father's first wife on Boxing Day 1935. Sadly she died from Eclampsia giving birth to their first child, James, in 1937. The second daughter was Frances May b 1915. She died from TB in 1939. Uncle John died from TB in 1942 and Aunty Kidner died from a brain tumour in 1952.|
|Aunty Kidner, (Ellen née Stone), had a sad life from 1937 - 1942. During those few years, her two daughters and her husband died and her only grandchild, James, was stillborn. She looked after me and made me clothes as if I was her grand child. She was a wonderful cook and made many sweetmeats and a basket full of Easter eggs one year. Unfortunately they were nearly all marzipan and I didn't like marzipan, and still don't! She grew tulips in the front garden and one year she went outside to find some gypsies picking them, presumably to sell. The back garden was huge and how she managed to keep it under control, I don't know. Uncle Charlie Kidner used to come down from The Waterloo and do some digging but she grew vegetables and fruit bushes galore. My brother Paul and I were sent out to pick some of the fruit and ended up throwing it at each other. We got into trouble! Almost as far back as I can remember, she went to Pontrhydyrun Chapel on Sunday afternoons, to a Women's Guild Meeting. She used to take me with her to Sunday School which was also held there. Pontrhydyrun Chapel was the main place of worship in the area and still thrives.|
A number of the family are buried at Pontrhydyrun Chapel:
Other Kidners and relations are buried in Llanfrechfa Churchyard:
Last updated on 4th February 2008
© Judith Seys 2008