Dowlais Stables – an additional comment

Many thanks to Victoria Owens, a keen supporter of this blog for the following piece that she sent as a comment on my previous post. As it is so interesting I thought it was worth sharing with everyone and deserved a post in its own right.

In January 1835, following Josiah John Guest’s return – unopposed- as Merthyr Tydfil’s MP, he and Lady Charlotte hosted a ball in the granaries above the Dowlais stabling to celebrate. Charlotte organised the decorations, which included patriotic transparencies proclaiming ‘W.R.’ [William Rex] and EGLWYS Y BRENEN [Church and King] drawn by the clerks from the ironworks office and hung where they caught the light. Josiah John’s Arms -‘with a Lyre and a fleur de lys’ according to the Merthyr Guardian, but when had he acquired the right to an heraldic device? – were chalked on the floor. The Rev Evan Jenkins, Rector of Dowlais, lent the Guests the church chandeliers, evergreens bedecked the walls and the band of the Cardiff militia provided music. The local gentry, whether or not they shared Guest’s political views, came in anticipation of a good party. By all accounts, the weather was vile, with thick snow delaying the London mail coach. In consequence, the local paper had much fun at the expense of a party of urban sophisticates who arrived too late for the fashionable quadrilles and had to make do with country dances ‘like Sir Roger de Coverley and Boulanger’.

(Information from the Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian, Glamorgan, Monmouth, and Brecon Gazette, Saturday 24 January 1835 and Lady Charlotte Guest, Extracts from her Journal, ed. the Earl of Bessborough (John Murray: London, 1950, pp 37-38, 19 – 20 January 1835).

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