Today I had planned to visit Newtown's (in Powys) Textile Museum as I'd never been before and many of my family were involved in various aspects of the trade: woolsorter, wool stapler, hand loom weaver, weaver, tailoress etc. I thought I had correctly noted the opening days but no - I got there and it was closed. Ho hum - another visit in the future?
All was not lost as, on another glorious day, I had dropped into the churches in the villages along the A483 where family members had lived in years gone by.
I started at Llanbister where my grandfather, Pryce Jones was born in 1899; I've been to Llanbister before and taken pictures of the war memorial where Pryce's elder brother, Thomas Jones is commemorated. He died in France in 1917 and has no known grave so is commemorated at Tyne Cot. I've tried to get into the church before and found it locked (or so I thought) but on this day, being rather blessed, I arrived about the same time as the curate (who explained that the church is usually open but the door is particularly stiff). It's a huge church (the cathedral of the Ithon Valley), has steps up to the front door, steps to the main body of the church, steps up to the altar. It also, most unusually, has a baptistry!
On to Llananno, the parish church for the Joneses when they were the blacksmiths at Woodside, which has the most beautiful rood screen (most of these were destroyed at the Reformation)
Llananno is set very close to the Ithon River which you can hear as you approach ther church - a welcome change to the noise of the A483!
The next parish church is Llanbadarn Fynyddd where Richard and Eliza Mantle are buried (the headstone is right next to the church entrance) as well as Richard Jones and his first wife, Mary Crowther.
On the long drop down into Newtown, I stopped off at St Paul's Church, Dolfor to take a photo of the church there - sadly, it wasn't open so I've yet to see inside. The smithy, where Timothy Jones was the smith and where his widow, Hannah married the next smith, James Mills is just opposite the church. James and Hannah are buried here (Timothy is buried at Llandinam for reasons I have yet to discover).
On the way back to Rhayader, I decided I'd have a mini-adventure and take the back road to Abbey Cwmhir. This was the birthplace f 3x great granny Sarah Richards who married the Richard Mantle born in 1787 (much like the Joneses, the Mantles favoured the name Richard and there are several of them). Adventure it was! It's pretty much a single tracked road with few passing places. Indeed at one point I had to reverse a long way to find room for a tractor to pass.
The church at Abbey Cwmhir was much embellished by the local landowners, the Phillips family; a little too much for my taste
Back to Rhayader and just enough time to work out what I should be looking at when I visit Powys Archives in Llandrindod Wells tomorrow.