Bardic furniture poses a question or two Has the family a poet, and doesn't know it?


The will of great aunt Emma Jane Evans nee Scott has emerged out of the ether {1}. This confirmed that cousin Joseph Gregory was indeed its named executor, even if he was described in the probate record as an ironmonger rather than in his more well-known musical role.

There are a number of other reasons why this document is of interest.

Who’s bardic chair (and desk)?

Clause 5 of the will contains this:

to Rhoda Gregory of 286 North Road Cardiff the monies owing to me from the purchaser of 7 Park Crescent Barry … also my oak sideboard and my late uncle’s Bardic Chair and desk.

To come up with a likely candidate for the chair’s previous owner, we need to look at all the possible uncles of Emma, those directly related and those by marriage too. Of the two blood relatives on her mother’s Osborne side, it seems unlikely that Daniel could have won a Bardic Chair as he died aged 19 in February 1909; her uncle Bill – William Robert born 1885 – is more possible but likely to have children who would have inherited any such object. No Scott uncles lived in Wales as far as can be ascertained.

Albert Gregory (1874-1922)

Of the various husbands of Emma’s aunts, the one candidate to leap out is Albert Gregory (born 1874), married to aunt Rosina. Although there is absolutely nothing in the database to suggest anything other than a working life in the Rhondda coal mines, his first son Albert (1896 – 1970) becomes a local minister. He also has a son Albert (born 1921) – he is crippled, but is that the only reason he is known as ‘Albert in the Chair’?! Joseph Gregory is an uncle to this younger Albert and the second son of the eldest.

There are chairs other than the prestigious poetry one presented at the National Eisteddfod, of course. Are there also more chairs awarded nowadays, for different art forms?

Another Pentecostal connection

As rounded up in the Cutlock & Co article ‘A fraud of a husband‘, other Scott offspring and the wider Osborne family had strong connections to the Pentecostal church. Here, Emma begins the list of bequests by naming “her church” The City Temple, Cowbridge Road, Cardiff {2} as the beneficiary for her “leasehold house and premises known as 41 Cathays Terrace Cardiff”. This was where she died.

Gregory cousins do well

Rhoda Gregory is the wife of Joseph. It’s intriguing that she gets a specific bequest, while Joseph is left more substantial assets.

In summary Emma allots to him:

  • my freehold house and premises at 88 Charles Street Tonypandy,
  • my desk and night commode,
  • monies owing from the purchaser of 8 Castle Street Barry and my Credit Drapery Business,
  • assurance policies on the life of my mother Amelia (Prudential, Refuge, Scottish Legal).

Do you think the night commode was a little joke? Or perhaps it was an antique.

Remnants

The final items in the will were:

  • clause 7: to Margaret Acourt my clock set and Shelly Tea Service. {4}
  • clause 8: to my sister-in-law Blodwen Thomas of 26 Glen View Tonypandy twenty five pounds.
  • clause 9: the residue of the estate to be divided equally between mother Amelia Scott and brother Stanley Scott. {5}

Presumably Margaret Acourt was a friend or colleague of Emma’s.

Not just a greengrocer and fishmonger

Up until now I had a vision of Emma and husband Owen running a modest little shop in Barry with not a lot to show for it. Now there is also a ‘Credit Drapery Business’ and three lots of premises besides the last residence. Plus some rather fine china. And evidence of strong financial planning in those life policies. So they were doing rather well it seems.

Notes

  1. The will arrived electronically from the government’s Find a Will service three months later than the quoted two week delivery time, but can’t complain at the bargain £1-50 fee.
  2. City Temple is now known as City Church, but still in Cowbridge Road.
  3. The will was signed only two days before Emma died, age 56, on 10th April 1961. Husband Owen had died 1st March 1961, age 57.
  4. A quick google finds plenty of pictures under ‘Shelley Tea Service’. There’s even a Shelley China Club.
  5. See the Scott page on Cutlock & Co for more on the family.

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