THE "COUNTY OF MERIONETH", COLOMBO AND THE DAVIES FAMILY
Between 1877 and 1881, William Thomas of Llanrhuddlad, Anglesey - a ship broker in Liverpool - and his friends were responsible for building seven ships bearing the names of Welsh counties. The first was the "County of Flint" - an iron barque of 1083 tons - built by Doxford of Sunderland in 1877.
The "County of Merioneth" - a three-masted barque - was built in 1880 to a design by William Thomas and W.E.Jones, a ship-builder from Felinheli (Port Dinorwic), Caernarvonshire. It is reported that this ship in 1887/8, under the command of Captain Robert Thomas, of Llandwrog, Caernarvonshire, made the fastest voyage ever from Cardiff to San Francisco.
On a voyage to South Africa in 1900 and to Chile in 1901, the Captain was DAVID JOHN DAVIES, Aberarth, (His father, JOHN DAVIES, was Captain of this ship at an earlier date). An uncle of the late Mrs (Capt.) Mildred Evans, Llwynderw, was a member of the crew. When the 1901 Census was taken, neither JOHN DAVIES nor DAVID JOHN DAVIES are recorded as living at Colombo", Llanddewi Aberarth; presumably they were both at sea on the qualifying date.
CAPTAIN JOHN DAVIES (1836 1904) lived at Jamess Place, Aberarth, with his wife, MARGARET (1836 - 1905). (The house was later named Corby House".)
They had three children, namely DANIEL JAMES DAVIES (1865 - 1888), JANE MARY DAVIES (1867 - 1949) and DAVID JOHN DAVIES (1869 - 1958).
In 1895, Capt. John Davies purchased a plot of land opposite Corby House", on the seaward side, and built a house which he named Colombo". (In 1958, the name was changed to Tal-y-werydd").
DANIEL JAMES DAVIES was a seaman on the S.S. Castledale and he died on 7 July 1888 aged 22 whilst the ship was at Colombo, Ceylon. He was buried the following day in the East Cemetery, Colombo, The cost of the grave and headstone was met by the Captain of the Castledale" and crew.
The inscription on the headstone reads as follow:
SACRED TO THE MEMORY
DANIEL JAMES DAVIES
SEAMAN OF THE
S . S . CASTLEDALE
DIED 7th JULY 1888
FREE FROM ALL THE STORMS OF THE RAGING SEA
AND SAFELY AT REST TO ETERNITY"
ERECTED BY THE CAPTAIN AND CREW OF THE CASTLEDALE"
A Memorial Card produced by his parents is in Welsh and reads as follows:
Er serchog goffadwriaeth am
DANIEL JAMES DAVIES
anwyl fab John a Margaret Davies, Jamess Place, Aberarth,
Yr hwn a fu farw yn Colombo, Ceylon ar yr 8fed o
Yn 23 mlwydd oid.
ac a gladdwyd y dydd canlynol yn yr East Cemetery, Colombo.
Prynwyd bedd a chodwyd beddfaen iddo gan Captain Weatherhead,
a dwylaw y S.S.Castledale.
Ar y beddfaen y mae yn ysgrifenedig:-
Free from all the storms of the raging sea,
And safely at rest to eternity"
Translation of the memorial card:
In loving memory of
DANIEL JAMES DAVIES
beloved son of John and Margaret Davies, Jamess Place, Aberarth,
who died at Colombo, Ceylon, on 8th
and was buried the following day at the East Cemetery, Colombo.
The grave was purchased and the headstone erected by Captain Weatherhead and the crew of the s.s. Castledale.
On the headstone is inscribed:-
Free from all the storms of the raging sea, And safely at rest to eternity
(There is a discrepancy between the dates and the age on the headstone and those shown on the Memorial Card).
The headstone was made by Arthur F.Raymond, General Cemetery, Kanatta, Colombo, and a photograph of it was taken by A.W.Andrée, Hopetoun Studio, Slave Island, Colombo. The photograph and a copy of the Memorial Card, together with a painting by Godfrey, New South Wales, Australia, of the County of Merioneth" when John Davies was Captain, are in the possession of the writer of these notes.
JANE MARY DAVIES (1867 - 1949) was a dressmaker. After her mothers death, she lived at Colombo" keeping home for her brother, David John, when he was home from his voyages. She never married.
DAVID JOHN DAVIES (1869 - 1958). He served on a succession of sailing ships, including the County of Merioneth". He was referred to as Captain. It is assumed that he served as Captain on sailing ships, but records survive to indicate that on steam ships between 1904 and his retirement in 1930, he was 3rd mate, then 2nd mate and finally 1st mate. From 1904 to 1930 he served on the following ships: SYLVIANA, GLORIANA, DALHANNA, NORMANBY, ALLIE, JANE RADCLIFFE, IOLO, LLANGOLLEN, PICTON, ETHEL RADCLIFFE and LLANBERIS. The last six were owned by the Cardiff firm of Evan Thomas Radcliffe. One of the partners - Evan Thomas - was a native of Aberporth.
Capt. D.J.Davies made voyages to Halifax, N.S.; Japan; Black Sea; Argentine; India; River Plate; Montreal; East Indies, as well as to places recorded as foreign", and, as was the case during the 1914/18 War: on Admiralty Service". The longest term on one ship was 3½ years on the DALHANNA, and 3 years on the ETHEL RADCLIFFE. His Continuous Certificate of Discharge from 1904 to 1930 is in the possession of the writer of these notes.
On his retirement in 1930, he returned to Aberarth and lived at Colombo" with his sister until her death in 1949. He was made a deacon at Bethel C.M.Chapel, Aberarth in 1933 and was senior deacon when he died on 23 March 1958.
Capt. John Davies, Mrs.Margaret Davies, Miss Jane Mary Davies and Capt. David John Davies are buried at Llanddewi Aberarth Churchyard. Their names are inscribed on the white marble headstone, as well as that of Daniel James Davies, who lies buried in Colombo, Ceylon.
Notes prepared by: Dafydd M. Jones,
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