Thomas began work on the day after his arrival at Palé, engaging men to work and arranging to move from the Inn of Bryntirion situated at the foot of Palé’s drive, where he had spent the first night in rooms arranged for him by Mr Dickson of the Nurseries, to the nearby Brynbwlan farmhouse farmed by Mr & Mrs. Ellis. Within five days he had decided that he was ready for his pregnant wife to join him, and had planned for the purchase of a large quantity of trees and shrubs.
January 23rd Saturday I went back to Chester for my wife and I ordered about £100 worth of trees and shrubs. My wife and I came here for good on the 25th of Jany. Monday 1869. [£100.00 probably worth £4,000 – £5,000 today]
There are few journal entries for the first few months of 1869, but on the 26th March a notable event is recorded – the birth of a first child, Thomas Alexander. [Thomas and Mary had married in December the previous year. Slight raise of eyebrows from editor/transcriber!]
Four days later, Thomas secured a permanent post at Palé:
March 30th Tuesday. I engaged to be Mr. Robertson’s permanent gardener. Mr. & Mrs. Robertson were leaving for London; they told me that several wanted the place, but that they would much rather that I would take it; and that I would be at liberty to make myself comfortable. [Mr and Mrs Robertson owned a house in Lancaster Gate, London, where they resided for several long periods each year.]
By the end of April Thomas records walks in the area with friends. Unfortunately he does not record the friends’ names or details. Descriptions of walks form a substantial part of the journal through the rest of his life.
The full journal entries from January to April 1869 here