Closer to the Pamplins

 Angel in Rûg Chapel, © Copyright Mike Searle and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Angel in Rûg Chapel, © Copyright Mike Searle and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

During 1880 Widower Thomas had been walking with Frances Harriet Williams, niece of his friend William Pamplin, who lived with her parents in London.  See details of their walk here.

A sad event in early 1881 brought Frances Harriet – and presumably her parents Frances and William Williams – back to Llanderfel.  Frances Williams was William Williams’ second wife.  He had previously been married to Sarah Mason and they had a daughter, Sarah before her death in 1841.  Sarah had apparently been living with the Pamplins in Llanderfel, and died there in February 1881.  The photograph of Sarah, below, was taken in Denbigh.

Sarah Williams, 1841-1881
Sarah Williams, 1841-1881

Feb 1st Thursday Miss Williams, Mr. Pamplin’s niece died [Sarah Williams, daughter of William Williams & his first wife Sarah Mason. Half sister to Frances Harriet] Miss Williams was an old and valued friend who will be much missed by all who knew her.  2nd (inserted later)I went to Rûg and met Miss F.H. Williams.

8th Very rainy & stormy so that the river rose to a high flood.
9th Miss Williams buried at Llandderfel – fine.


13th I and Miss Williams went to Llandrillo church

20th I and Miss Williams went to Rhosygwalia church and from there up to Aberhirnant pool, and from there home by Maeshir and Bwlchhannerob. [A round trip of about 8 miles, if they walked both ways].


22nd Tuesday. I went to Ruabon to see Miss Williams off to London.

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1881: A cold winter

Thomas kept records of weather an temperatures, but only included them when there were exceptional events, such as the long cold winter of 1880-81.

The cold of January 1881. Two or three degrees of frost the first week. [Table of temperatures inserted here.]


January 26 Wednesday. This day will rank as one of the coldest days ever known here. The thermometer registered 8 degrees below zero [N.B. Fahrenheit – ed.]. It has been remarkably cold and frosty since the 8th of the month. The frost has been intense with a deep snow. The Dee is nearly all frozen over and a great part of Bala Lake.

28th Friday  Thawing nicely all day. One of the most severe frosts ever known here has now ceased. It was with the greatest difficulty we could keep the water running in the house. The ice on the reservoir was 7 inches in thickness and the frost got into the ground to the depth of 12 inches. We had 30 to 40 degrees of frost for over a week. Water pipes and gas pipes froze in the large towns through England, trains got snowed up and many other inconveniences occurred..

See here for more information on the winter of 1881