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Memories of Pentre Draw

I wonder how many residents of Pencader, both young and old, have heard of Pentre Draw. It is part of the old village where most of the tradespeople lived. You take the road that leads to the church. First you come to the Old Independent Chapel; at one time it had a stable for four horses and was also the local Concert Hall. Then you reached the railway bridge, no longer there, where you sheltered from the rain. Next you saw Lewis the Blacksmith’s Workshop where you could buy hoops for sixpence and a shilling. On the other side of the road, there is still a stone built garage where the horse-drawn hearse was kept. I only saw it used about 6 times.

Over the bridge you come to Arddol House and Mill owned by Mr. Thomas Lewis, one of four in the area with a stone built house for the weaver on the other side. Next you come to a row of houses where Mr. Sam Davies, the local carpenter lived and in one of the others Miss Winnie Davies, teacher. She looked after the new intakes and standard one, a job she held for nearly 40 years.

Slightly off the road is the small-holding of Troedrhiwfer. The house is now derelict since no-one has lived there for over 30 years. Then you come to the school, with a house attached where Mr. James Davies the headmaster lived in the 1930s. The yard had been tarmacked and there were flushing toilets. Behind the school was the old castle, long covered by grass. I have no knowledge of a dig there. Slightly off the road was St Mary’s Church and a little further on, the manse of the Independent minister, Mr. T Lloyd Jones, Ffynnon Fair. It is now a private house.

Castle Road was next, where the local tailor lived. Across the road was Mr. Tom Jones the saddler’s workshop. He made all the harness for the cart horses. In Castle View a retired tailor lived and next door a retired postwoman. Then came College House, a four bedroomed house then with some connection with the woollen trade before 1925. Next on the list was Coedmor Shop, owned by two sisters, Misses Lizzie and Annie Jones. They sold everything except dairy and bakery products. It was the local tuck shop.

After this came Green Vale, where the local butcher, Mr. Stanley Evans, and his family lived. It had a slaughter house as well. Then you come to Cader Vale, in one part lived Mr. Evan Dan Davies, (Evidan) one of the best trout fisherman in the area. He used to go rabbiting as well to feed his six children. Further on was Mr. Tom Rhys Williams the cobbler’s shed. He used to make his own soles for the clogs cut from local timber. It was a meeting place at night to discuss local gossip. Next you come to a ruin of a cottage where the conductor of the famous Mormon Children’s Choir was born. The family emigrated to America. There are a few hymns that he composed in their hymn book. Afterwards you come to the poultry farm, Ysgubor, looked after by the cobbler’s wife, they had 60-80 chickens – it was there I saw chicks being born in an incubator. How things have altered. This was during the early 1930s.

Happy days and memories of childhood.

(The writer spent most of his childhood in Pencader)

First published in “Clecs” in June 2011