Archive for October, 2011

Further information on the Robin Hood and its proprietors

October 8, 2011

I’ve recently received an email from Brian Walker who has evidently been doing some research on the Robin Hood Inn. I know that quite a number of visitors are interested in this so I am publishing Brian’s email below. Many thanks Brian.

      “I’ve just come across your blog whilst searching for info on Twmpath school for my brother. I was particulary interested in the part about the Robin, a subject I have a personal interest in, so I thought I would flesh out what has already been written and add some clarity to some of the more vague points. I’ll start with the Gregories.
      The Robin Hood was a beerhouse in the Hamlet of Cwmnantddu on the outskirts of Pontnewynydd. In the 1880’s it was kept by Benjamin Gregory and his wife Ann ( nee Jenkins ). Ben was born in Poulton Bristol in 1835,  the son of George & Elizabeth Gregory. Two of Ben’s sisters Mercy & Catherine where also born in Bristol, another sister Sarah was born in Blaina but the rest namely William, George, Jabez, Jane, Joseph & Elizabeth were born in Pontypool.
       Ben & Ann had no children of their own but raised the daughter of Ann’s sister as their own, her name was Mary Rachel Hughes. She later became known as “Rachel the Robin”. Rachel went on to marry twice, her first husband was killed in a mining accident and she later married a Griffith Griffiths. A number of her decendants live in the Pontypool area.
      In 1890 my great-grandfather John Curtis married Mary Jane Matthews, daughter of William & Sarah Matthews ( nee Gregory )  of Lower Pentranch Farm. They then took over keeping the Robin from Mary Jane’s uncle Ben. John was a widower with a three year old daughter Cleo but he and Mary Jane went on to have eleven children of their own, all of which I believe were born at the Robin. They kept the Robin until c 1906 when they left to own the Plasycoed Inn or hotel as it was referred to. John would also later own, with his brother, the Plasycoed New Colliery which was on the opposite side of the road to the hotel and a little further up the road. In the 1923 inspection of mines it is listed as employing two men.
   Getting back to the Robin, in the 1896 inspection of mines the Robin is listed as the HQ for J. Gregory & Co Mining. This was the business address only of Mary Jane’s Uncle Jabez. I have no idea where his mine, the Pentwyn slope, was or the brickworks he also owned.
    John & Mary Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary Ethel would also keep the Robin in the 1930’s with her husband Albert Powell. With reference to the incident on the railway line with Mary Ethel: the family story was that she would rather risk her life or possible injury on the line than the certain injury she would recieve back home at the Robin. Anyway the result was she ended up with hearing loss. Albert died in September 1938 at the Robin and Mary Ethel in February 1946 at Snatchwood. I believe the Allen family took over after until its closure.
   I’m unsure of who kept the Robin between 1906 & 1930 but Kelly’s 1914 quotes an Oliver Richards as a beer retailer in Cwmnantddu and I also know of someone with the surname Treherne born at the Robin in the 1920s
    To return to the Gregories, the family have a long history with the Methodist church at the bottom of Zion Hill and by coincidence the organist of sixty years is a direct decendant of Rachel the Robin.”
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