Archive for September, 2011

Further information on the Robin Hood, the Gregories and playing marbles

September 20, 2011

I have recently received an email from Harold Clarke concerning some of the items posted on this blog. I know that some visitors are researching their family history so I am quoting the salient points of Harold’s email below. My thanks to him for this information.

“I have some information to add. In The Kelly’s Directory for 1901 it shows Jabez Gregory living at Fairfield Handbury Road and William Henry Gregory, Boot Maker, also living in Handbury Road. It would have to be a big coincidence if the two were not related, Jabez being the same that kept the Robin Hood and the coal mine. Jabez I believe to be the son of Benjamin Gregory born in Somerset and his wife Ann. Pentwyn Slope situated near Abersychan first opened 1843 and closed in 1917. It seems to have been owned at the time of closure by Jabez listed as J Gregory and Co Ltd. It had four men working there, two underground and two on the surface. It is listed as mining old coal. The actual location I believe to be to the rear of the present cricket pitch although there is some evidence that it could be near the viaduct  close to the Robin Hood as I have another mine known as Pentwyn Slope owned by Oliver Richards from Snatchwood with two men working below in 1908.

“If Jeff Oates has done any more research I would certainly like to hear from him as we have an overlap in dates. I have John Curtis as landlord in 1901. He married twice having eleven children, maybe twelve. I know, as previously stated, that one of the Curtises married Albert Powell so I have The Curtis Powell family through to the 1930s as landlords. Somewhere in there fits Jeff’s grandfather who had to be named Oates in 1911. I will get the pub records. 

“As I was writing the above, I don’t know why, but the following occurred to me: “KNUCKLEDOWN BARFULLOCK” pronounced as one word, meant knuckles firmly on the ground and the marble had to roll before hitting the target marble.” 


I also received an email from Elizabeth Sefton who accidentally came across the blog (as so many people do) whilst looking for information on Pontypool Japan Ware.


“I enjoyed reading about the Gregories. I have very fond memories of the shop and the owners. My parents always insisted on my three sisters and myself having good leather shoes on our feet. And the Gregories were invaluable to my parents to make sure we got the best. We lived in Edward Street Pontypool. I used to get so excited when I had new shoes (still do actually). I loved everything about getting them. The walk to the shop, the smell of new shoes as you walked through the door, the fuss I got from Mr and Mrs Gregory, looking at the little shoes in the glass cabinet in the front of the shop, the seats, stools with mirrors, and stacks of boxes of shoes in the fitting room, having my feet measured, choosing my shoes and last but not least watching Mr Gregory adeptly packing our shoes in brown paper tied with string. Sometimes I would be allowed to wear my new shoes home, so Mr Gregory would put my old shoes in the box and pack them in the same way. 

“Years later, when I had children of my own, the tradition of going to Gregories for good leather shoes continued but for both my sons the memories are of the young Mr Gregory (Anthony) who taught my two sons to tie their shoes with the two loop bow method, which my youngest son (now 33) has continued to use. I am glad this site popped up whilst I was looking for information about Pontypool Japan Ware. Lovely memories!! Thank you.”


As a result of Elizabeth’s letter, I phoned my cousin, Anthony Gregory, to let him know that his lessons on tying shoes with the two loop bow method were still bearing fruit. I told him about Harold’s information, above, and he said that Jabez Gregory was a distant cousin. W.H. Gregory was Anthony’s grandfather. I remember him as I met him on a couple of occasions when I was a young lad.

Anthony also said that the Gregories hailed from Pilton in Somerset so that ties up with some of Harold’s information. He further told me that Bob Trump, referred to in a much earlier posting on this blog, was the great uncle of Michael, Anthony and Vera. Apparently there was a Keith Gregory who had a shop in Freehold Land. I know nothing about him but if anyone remembers the shop I’d be pleased to hear about it.

Another member of the Gregory family was Owen Gregory who, at quite a young age, had a shoe shop in Osborne Road, Pontypool. Whilst I was doing my book signing at the Pontypool Museum last November, a gentleman approached me to ask for another of my books “Pontypool Memories”. He said he had already bought one but he wanted another to send out to Australia to Owen Gregory who is now living there. Apparently he knew Owen and spent some time with him when visiting Australia.