Message Board




Can anyone remember a John Evan Thomas.
July 2014
Delighted to find your informative website and I wonder if you can help.

I am at present researching the life and works of the Brecon born sculptor John Evan Thomas. Born in Brecon  in 1810, he trained under the talented Francis Leggatt Chantrey in London.  His early works can be seen in Brecon Cathedral, fine funerary monuments, and his statue of the Duke of Wellington stands in front of St Marys in Brecon.

Perhaps his finest achievement was a work which was first shown at the Abergavenny Eisteddfod in 1848 which was inspired by the spirit of Welsh nationhood and culture and titled The Death of Tewdrig . Its composition probably owed much to the encouragement of  his friend and patron, Lady Llanover.  Later it was shown at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and now is in Brecon Museum where we hope it can take pride of place when the Museum reopens.Thomas continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy until 1870.

In 1840 he had married Mary Gunter who came from a distinguished Abergavenny  family. Thomas moved back to Wales in 1857 and bought a house at Lanspyddid , serving as a magistrate and in 1862 became a deputy lieutenant of the county. In 1868 he was high sheriff of Brecknockshire. He died in London on 9 October 1873 and was buried in Brompton cemetery though there is a memorial to him in Brecon Cathedral.

Why I have contacted you is in the hope that there may be someone in the community who can help trace his home in Llanspyddid and perhaps uncover something of his life in your village. I would be more than happy to come and talk to anyone who is intersted in discovering more of his life and works so that he can be remembered properly as one of Brecon's  and Llansyddid's famous sons.

Yours sincerely, Willaim Gibbs, Chair, Brecknock Art Trust
Tracing the FARMER family in Brecon My name is Wayne Farmer. I'm currently living in North Yorkshire, and i am trying to trace my family tree which i believe originated in Brecon. I've manged to trace it all the way back to a Jeremiah Farmer, gunsmith, living in Brecon in the 1780s, his son Thomas, also a gunsmith, was married at llanspyddid in about 1811. Thomas' son Benjamin was a saddler in Brecon and amongst other things was Town Crier for a while and owned the Kings Arms for a period. If anyone could help me with any info on these people, or help me trace the family line even further back then please e-mail me at
Much Thanks
Wayne Farmer
E-mail recived from Doug Prosser dated 26th June 2009

Dear Barry,

As a Funeral Director I visit many church yards; on Wednesday I visited your church yard to look-up my ancestors gravestones and what a surprise I had to see such a well kept church yard. I have seen church yards kept by councils and highways departments but not one of them compares to yours, I must congratulate whoever is doing this had work the vicar and the parishioners  must be very proud. It’s a credit to your little community. Doug Prosser Funeral Director    

Can anyone help Richard Thomas
Hello Barry

I've just returned from your area after trying (unsuccessfully) to ascertain the burial place of my Price ancestors who, in the latter half of the 1800's lived at Berth y Beili Farm in Modrydd.
My great-grandmother's elder sister was Elizabeth Jane James who married William Richard Price in 1896 - he is listed in residence at Berth y Beili Farm - she was once a school-teacher at Libanus.
I've tried Libanus and looked at your MI's for Llanspyddid and cannot find anything
Does anyone know of any other burial grounds/churches where Modrydd residents would have been buried or does anyone with long-standing ties to your area know of this family.

With regards and thanks
Richard J Thomas

Richard can be contacted at

Can anyone help Tamara Danese

Dear Barry,

I am the Italian grand-daugther of a family who used to live at 22 Heol St Cattwg about 20 years ago, Cyril and Irene Williams.They are no longer alive now, unfortunately, but I still keep Llanspyddid and Brecon in a very special place of my heart, where I have my happiest childhood memories.

I don't know if you can help me, but I would love to be in contact with some of the people who might  still remember me and who might still live there, in my beloved little Welsh village.

Do you think you could help me out, by leaving a message on  your board?
My e-mail is

Might as well try and see what happens!
Thanks for your interest

Tamara Danese


Updated - 11th May 2009

Dear Barry,

just wanted to let you know how useful your notice board was to me.
I had to wait for some time after my message was affixed, but responses finally came and now I have some precious contacts in the village.
Thanks a lot and a special thanks to Mrs Nita James, who was so kind to give me precious info about my family.

Kind regards
Tamara Danese


Can anyone help Kate Rimmer
Hi Barry,
  I was wondering whether you could post this message on the Message Board, please?  If it's not the kind of thing that you would put up on there, then I am sorry for bothering you.
Love the website!  My great-great-great-grandmother Esther or Hester Williams was born in Llanspyddid about 1812, or at least she says she was on the censuses.  I see that your church holds the baptism records and I wonder if her baptism might be on the page after the sample "1807" one that is shown on the site?  Her father was William Williams (a carpenter), but I don't know who her mother was and her baptism would tell me the mother's name.  Is there anybody who could very kindly look to see if her baptism is in the records, please?  I would be very grateful. 
Kate Rimmer.
Llanspyddid Junction with A40 We will be holding another meeting to discuss the draft petition on Thursday 24th January, 7.30pm at St. Cattwg's Church. Kirsty Williams AM will be in attendance. All welcome.
Llanspyddid Junction with A40 There will be a meeting at St. Cattwg's Church on Tuesday 21st November. 7.30pm to discuss how to improve safty at this junction. All welcome.
Wine and Savoury Evening " Vera and David Davies would like to thank all those people who supported the Wine and Savoury Evening on 20th July 2007. We were most grateful for help given by members of Saint Cattwg's Church and others and for the support given by those who came along in the poor weather. Dispite the weather we were able to enjoy a fine get-together and a good chin-wag. We were able to raise the sum of £325 for the Church Funds."
Coffee Mornings

It is proposed that we should provide coffee and fellowship in the church after Morning Service on the first Sunday of each month. All villagers are most welcome to join us at 12 noon, commencing on Sunday, 4th March 2007.

Thank You

We would like to thank Doug Prosser (funeral director) who has kindly repaired 2 crosses free of charge – they are the two identical crosses on the south side of the church, to the right of the footpath leading down to the church from the village.

Access to Church

We are currently looking into improving access to the church from Heol Sant Cattwg. This should make it easier for the disabled and we are also planning to put up a handrail alongside the access from the A40.

Our Website

'Practical Family History' magazine will be featuring our website with particular reference to the 'Gravestone Index' under Web News in their June edition.