I found this gorgeous Wedding photo (large 12 x 10 inches on card frame) at Matford Antique and Collectors Fair on 28 September, the groom is handsome, the bride is beautiful and don’t they look such an attractive couple together, obviously from an upper-class family. A huge bonus of having their names and the date of marriage on the back!
I couldn’t work out what the first word of the second line was, but after reading up about the family while I was researching it all became clear. Although I have made a small family tree for the couple on Ancestry, Direct link here:Spence Jones Colby Family Tree I thought I would share with you some of the wonderful accounts of the family that I have found and not just their family history.
A Google search found this for the family at Ffynone: Wikipedia says ‘The name predates the mansion and its Welsh name, Ffynnonau reflects the existence of a number of wells in the district.
The Ffynone estate belonged at one time to the Morgan family of Blaenbwlan, from whom it was purchased by Captain Stephen Colby in 1752. The house, completed in 1799, was repaired in 1828 by W Hoare and Son of Lawrenny. In the 1830s the estate extended to 237 acres in Manordeifi parish with further lands in adjacent parishes. The parkland around the house was some 30 acres. There were many additions and improvements over future years to both house and estate.
The property was passed down the Colby family to John Vaughan Colby, whose wife in 1902 commissioned architect and garden designer Inigo Thomas to remodel the house and lay out the terraced gardens, which was completed in 1907.
John Vaughan died in 1919 and, having no sons, left the estate to his daughter Aline Margaret, who had married Captain Cecil John Herbert Spence-Jones, son of the Dean of Gloucester, in 1908; the marriage was a notable occasion, reported in great detail and an occasion for local celebration, despite there being no guests at the wedding and no reception owing to the bride’s mother’s state of health.
Spence took the additional surname of Colby by royal licence in 1920 and subsequently sold the property in 1927 to a Glamorgan businessman.
The house, in 20 acres of woodland, was bought and restored from 1988 onwards by Owen Lloyd George, 3rd Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor and his wife, who is credited with saving the house. After the death of the 3rd Earl in 2010, the house was put up for sale with an asking price of £2.5 million‘.
In August 2019 it was up for sale for £1.95 million re article in the Times.
What a wonderful looking place! If you look at that double door bottom centre, it matches perfectly with the doorway where Cecil and Aline were standing for their Wedding photo above.
The couple had two children Alfred David John in 1909 and Louise Aline in 1910.
Cecil was a military man, a Major in the Pembroke Yeomanry. Here’s the couple above on the 1911 census with their two young children.
From the Camarthen Reporter on 10 July 1908 at the library of Wales, I came across this is an astonishing account of the celebrations after the wedding when the couple went back to the Grooms home.
WARNING, it includes an account of foxhunting, horrible, but common occurrence back then.
“REJOICINGS AT PANTGLAS MAJOR AND MRS. SPENCE-JONES’ HOMECOMING. The vicinity of Llanfynydd was given over to much rejoicing on Thursday last when Mrs. Spence- Jones entertained the countryside at her beautiful residence. Pantglas, to mark the homecoming of her son (Mr Cecil Spence-Jones, captain in the Rifle Brigade and major of the C Squadron of the P.I.Y.) and his bride (nee Miss Colby, Ffynnone). Brilliant weather favoured the auspicious occasion, and much bunting was displayed.
The mansion itself was gaily decorated with Union Jacks and streamers of flags” whilst on the drive near the house had been erected by the head-gardener (Mr. Saddler) and his staff a very fine triumphal arch, bearing the motto, “Hir oes a dedwyddwch,” and “Long life and happiness.”
It was composed of evergreens, relieved with many flowers, rosettes, and varicoloured flags. Near the New Cross, a garland stretched across the road. Cressellv Cottage was decorated with flags of all nations, whilst at Delfryn (the residence of Mr Griffiths, the sub-agent of the Pantglas estate) and Brynderwen, a very large arch of evergreens and flags had been put up bearing the motto, “Long life and happiness to Capt. Spence- Jones and his bride” on one side, and a Welsh inscription on the other. At Aelybryn, Mr Scurlock displayed a garland of flags with appropriate mottoes, whilst the cottages down to Cross Inn and on to the Pantglas Arms, were gaily dressed with flags, at the latter place Mr and Mrs Griffiths displaying a fine garland with the usual greetings. During the afternoon there was loud cannonading, and about 3 o’clock a number of members of the C Squadron assembled at the main entrance to the Park, with a large number of tenants and others, to give the gallant captain and his bride the warm welcome they had in store for them. There too was the Llandilo Volunteer Band (under the conductor of Mr Wm. Howell) ready to play them home, but they were disappointed.
The bride and bridegroom arrived by motor-car rather earlier than expected and made the journey home quietly. However, when told that the opportunity had been lost, they marched in procession down to the mansion, and on seeing the subjects of the day’s rejoicings, standing on the steps, under the magnificent verandah, smiling a welcome at them, they burst into loud cheering.
If Capt. Spence-Jones ever had any doubt as to his popularity with all classes in the district in which he now resides, that reception should have dispelled it. Major and Mrs. Cecil Spence-Jones at once went down and after greeting the people personally took them to see the handsome plate which had been presented to them on the occasion of their marriage.
The gifts were displayed on a table on the terrace, and included a magnificent silver tray, weighing some three hundred ounces, inscribed with the arms and crest of Pantglas, and bearing the inscription, “Presented by the Pantglas to Major Cecil Spence-Jones on the occasion if his marriage, 10th June 1908” a massive silver cup from the out-door staff of the estate; a silver cream jug and sugar basin by the indoor staff, which matched the fine old Georgian coffee pot and milk jug presented by the officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the C Squadron of the P.I.Y.; a large silver rose-bowl on an ebony plinth, presented by the officers of the Pembroke Imperial Yeomanry, pretty silver dessert dishes, presented by Aid. H. Jones-Thomas, Penrhos, and friends in the district, and a pair of silver pepper boxes in case, presented by the indoor staff of the Deanery, Gloucester. Inside the spacious and finely decorated dining-room, which it is interesting to note if the largest in Wales, were displayed some of the gifts presented to Mrs Cecil Spence-Jones, and amongst those that claimed special attention was a very heavily embossed German tankard presented her by the tenants of Ffynnone home estate. Quite a work of art, the old tankard is made of silver-gilt, the bodies of the in the design, which represents the killing of a bear, being worked in silver. A handsome silver rose bowl, presented by the household and staff at Ffynnone, a massive tea-tray, heavily engraved, by “the tenants of the Narberth estate; and a silver vegetable dish, with divisions, and ebony handles, by the tenants of the Kidwelly estate. All the presents bore the crests of the estate, that of the “little malater” being the Spence crest, and the ‘”bull’s head” the Jones’ crest.
Pantglas a stately pile, situated in an extensive and delightfully laid out park, and commands views of some magnificent scenery. From a sporting point of view, the most interesting room in the house is the library, not because of its valuable collection of books, but on account of the trophies of the chase which are there to be seen.
Warning-Fox Hunting: During the few years that Major Spence-Jones hunted a pack of hounds in the district, any fox that deserved an honoured memory had his mask placed up in that room. There on the mantel-piece are to be seen the heads of 22 oxes, and though there are others elsewhere in the room, the visitor will search in vain to discover any two alike. Hanging on the screen is the mask with a dull-stony eye and dirty tongue, just as Reynard is brought home on the saddle, then there are the arches of 22 masks arranged to form two large arches facing you, all with different expressions, some snarling, but a realistic, and showing the cunning one at bay, with fierce teeth gloaming. This work was carried out under the direction of the popular ex-Master. Abeneath records the place where the fox was just up and killed, together with the date, so that each one tells its own tale, but with the Captain her to relate the exciting incidents of the chase, any sportsman could spend hours and hours with honest interest. One of the biggest foxes, ever that ardent huntsman, Major Spence-Jones himself has seen, is there, and his tablet records that he was killed at Garn on the 1st January 1906, after a run of one hour and twenty minutes. Another interesting tablet tells you that on the 27th January his year, after a run of seven and a half miles round” point to point, Cystanog to Iscoed, a fine specimen was rolled over. A “chap” killed a lettywen, near Cwmdu, found his way there celebrate the Major’s engagement, it being the first fox he killed after having been accepted by his bride. This bears date 5th December 1907, and Reynard was killed in the open after a run of Over one hour and forty minutes. The hardest run the pack ever had was after they put up at Hafod 11 March 1905, and was over 15 miles from point to point. The following interesting account of the ruise taken from the “Field” of the 1st April 1905: “The Pantglas Foxhounds: On Monday, the trysting-place was Penygarn, a cold, black, inhospitably little hamlet, a thousand feet high in the upper part ol Llanfynydd parish, which, once a little village, now, consists only of a few scattered cottages; another example of the rural depopulation. The early morning was rough, consequently only a small field turned up, but among them were the Hon. Miss Rice, Mr Lloyd Price, Mr O. Lloyd Price, and Mr Davies, besides a good sprinkling of farmers, al mounted on their hardy cobs—veritable hill climbers. The first order was Nantysebon gorse, where a fox had been frequently seen of late, but it was tenantless to-day, so the coverts on the side of the beautiful Cothi Vale were drawn Garblioh, Bwlchrhyd, and Graig-gorse, on the Master’s own estate, but hounds failed to hie off a line until they reached Hafod Gorse, which is always a sure and, being looked after by tho good sportsman, Mr Sam Jones, who has not yet recovered from his recent illness. The fox broke at the top, ran over Dyffryn allotment. Park farm, down to Brynyreglwys, to the boundary of Troedyrhiw, just above Llanfynydd village, where he turned straight back, and again across the top of Hafod farm, passing Ynyscnwc moor and tho top of Finant, to the corner of the Figin Common. The hero who was viewed close in front by Mr J. Sivil, and went over tho highest point of Graig, crossing tho Abergorlech and Llanfynydd road, close to Penygarn, whore the pace was terrific, and it was quite impossible for the best of horses to keep near hounds, who ran over Nantysebon, Peny- bank, and Pistell-north, to the dingle above Llwyn- oelyn. Now the fox turned sharp to the left, over Carthilas and Lilvvynrhyn, down to the banks of the Cothi (which was in flood) between Cilwr and Cwn- glaw. Hero, he seemed as if he was going to cross the river, but a cold bath was evidently not to his taste, so he turned right-handed over Cwmglaw. crossed Sir James Drummond’s grouse-moor, and skirting the larch coverts above Talley village, ran past Ty Howell down to the Half-way House, near where he crossed the Llandilo and LlansaweJ road up to Maudy-issa, when, unfortunately, hounds had a Long check, no one being up, and it sometime before the line was again recovered. However, the worthy Master held the pack on, and at last that good “hound Comrade hit the line of the fox off in some rushes under the Llansadwrn road, a.nd slowly worked it out to a small dingle above Cwmsidan where ho had rested. Here the pack fresh found in all thought they must run into their fox at once. but he still had something else (these hill foxes are wonders) for he went up to the top of the Fan, along with the breast of which he made his way, then turned lown past Pantylan, crossing over to the old Deer Park at Abermarlais, rounding the wood at the bottom of it, and going up to the highest point where hounds pulled him down. The Master, who was first up, presented the brush to Mr Bailey Stevens, who had ridden to the fore throughout, the run lasting from find to kill exactly four hours and five minutes, with only one chock, hounds being helped but once.—Oil Foggie.” A plentiful supply of refreshments had been provided, Mrs Spence-Jones, with characterise liberality, having prepared meat, tea for a very large number. The Major’s valet (Mr Hill) and the servants of the household were assiduous in looking after the wants of the guests. END.
THE PRESENTATIONS. About 6 p.m. all assembled in front of the mansion, and the presentations were formally made to Major Spence-Jones and his bride. Mr, Thomas Davies, Briskynissaf, the oldest tenant on the estate, in presenting the silver tray on half of the tenants, said, first of all, had to thank the tenants for the honour they conferred on him asking him to make the presentation to the worthy agent and coming landlord (applause). He had been a tenant on the Pantlas Estate for 42 years, and he thought he could say the same as the man who had four daughters, and when one got married, said that the best was left until he got rid them all. The best was back as landlord all the time (laughter and applause). His first landlord was Mr David Jones, the father of their present landlady and nobody could beat him as a landlord. He hoped those who followed would emulate him as their present landlady and agent were doing (cheers). As far as his knowledge went of Capt. Spence-Jones, he would speedily follow his grandfather’s footsteps (applause). He was glad to see Mrs Spence-Jones spending so much of her time among them (cheers), and always looking cheerful. He thought they would all join him in thanking her for her great generosity. He wished Captain Spence-Jone and his wife a long life of complete happiness (applause). Mr Jones, Schoolmaster, Abergorlech, said that that large gathering showed their approval and appreciation of the matrimonial union which had taken place. Matrimony with its consequences was a big subject, and there were 80 many good things to say about it that it puzzled him where to begin. They all wished Major Spence Jones and his good lady every facility for walking in the footsteps of their noble ancestors—(applause)—a family whose good history and beneficient lives were well-known far and wide (cheers). He did not think they could wish them more or say anything better, and Dean Spence’s invaluable contributions to literature were ample proof of that. As for the Jones’s, their high reputation was above reproach (applause). He had had some connection with that family indirectly as long as he could remember. He had been a direct tenant of the Pantglas Estate for 26 years, and he had no grievance to bring against the family, whose beneficial influence in commercial circles was proverbial from generation to generation throughout the kingdom (applause). His acquaintance with the young wife’s family was somewhat unique. There were many there in that large concourse much older than he in years, but he doubted whether they had the privilege and benefit of knowing the great grandmother of that young lady except himself. When he was a child, he and others received much kindness from that generous lady (applause). He also remembered that another good lady lived in the district then as well, viz, the great grandmother of Mrs Delme Davies-Evan, That was rather unique (cheers). He did not regret that his lot had happened to fall amongst the same generous families happy days (applause) He had seen the fourth generation married, and he hoped to see the fifth generation in an appearance soon (laughter and applause), and if God spared he would be so very old if he witnessed the sixth (laughter) He said that he had been under the family all his life, and feared no notice to quit or and change, as his work fairly that the Captain, he wondered what she would be like, but he never had any idea that she would her and the kind-hearted lady as he believed they had in Mrs Cecil Spence-Jones (applause) He thought tho Captain had been indeed rejoiced by her (loud applause). They had always found the Captain an exeptional friend, and he deserved the good wife he had evidently got (cheers). He was a direct gentleman and of his work on the Board of Guardians and District Council, they could not complain, people of the district, and now that he had that good lady to share in his good (cheers) forward to its being doubled everything about Captain Spence Jones that stood out prominently, and that was if he promised a thing he always fulfilled the promise (cheers). He could not say the same thing about everyone (applause). LI. Moses, Maesyrhaid, paid a high tribute to Major qualities of Mrs. Spence-Jones and the Mr J. Harries, Lan, Capel Isaac, said that Capt Spence-Jones was a good sportsman, and when they spot a good sportsman they always found a gentleman (cheers) The Captain had fought for his country, caught foxes, and now he thought he had caught the prettiest and best young lady that had ever lived (loud applause)- He thanked their landlady. Mrs Spence-Jones for her continued kindness to them as tenants, and he wished the Captain and his bride long life and happiness.
The only two papers he read was the JOURNAL and the Bible (Iaughter) He was glad to notice in the report of the wedding of Captain Spence-Jones which he saw in the JOURNAL he read that his bride did not carry a bouquet of flowers, but a Bible in her hand. He hoped other people would follow the example set. They saw many brides carrying flowers which they could not afford, but let them remember that if flowers were expensive, they could get a Bible at all times cheaply (cheers). He hoped the Major would soon learn the Welsh language (hear, hear) as that was the only fault they could find in him as the agent of the estate (applause).
Mr. John Lewis the old workman on the estate then presented Captain Spence-Jones with a silver bowl. Mr. Griffiths, the sub-agent said that John had been in the service of the Pantglas estate for over 50 years. Alderman H. Jones Thomas, Penrhos, presented the silver dessert dishes on behalf of the friends and neighbours in that district. They did so because the lieu always found the Captain a true brick (cheers) and a good neighbour in the true sense of the word he made himself at home amongst his tenants. He would like to point out that Major Spence-Jones could not do what he did for the district if it was not for the support he got from his mother who was the landlady, and he was glad to her there looking so well and happy (applause) He wished her many many years of good health as Landlady of the estate. They did not wish her away. They wanted to keep her, and he was sure the Captain and his bride would be happier, the people in the district would be happier as long as she was amongst them (cheers). All sects and conditions of people had contributed towards the present. and although of small value, it showed the feeling they had for Captain Spence-Jones and his good bride..(applause)… He most heartily wishes them, on behalf of the friends, long life and prosperity and might the sunshine, as it did that day upon their lives…cheers…. Capt. Spence-Jones, who was greeted with loud and continued applause said:
“To find words which will fully express my feelings and thanks for the many valuable and beautiful presents which you have all been kind enough to present me with on the occasion of my marriage, and for all the good wishes and nice things you have said today, is in lead a most difficult task, and in thanking you at all do thank you most sincerely, and from the bottom if my heart. It is a very great pleasure to me on such an occasion as this, to find one has so many true and kind friends in the district..applause.. and I can assure you ladies and gentlemen that these all very beautiful pieces of plate will always be some of my most valued possessions—(cheers)—and will ever help to remind me of the way my many friends helped to celebrate the happiest event of my life (applause). I now offer the very best thanks to the Pantglas Tenants for their beautiful and handsome silver tray; to the Pantglas outdoor staff for their beautiful silver cup; to the indoor staff for a beautiful sugar basin and cream jug. The C. Squadron P Y already know my great appreciation of their present which they presented me with when in camp at Penally. I can also assure Mr. Alderman Thomas and the kind friends of the district who have given me two most handsome silver dessert dishes that though I mention them late, I do not value them least by any means. And now, ladies and gentlemen, I have one thing to ask you all. In the past you have been good and kind friends to my mother and myself. I ask you to continue that friendship, and to extend it to my wife (loud applause)”.
Cheers upon cheers followed for Captain and Mrs. Cecil Spence-Jones, and afterwards three cheers were given for Mrs. Spence-Jones, and amidst the greatest enthusiasm, the lady of Pantglas stepped forward and said:—”I must thank you all very much for your most kind presents to my son. I appreciate all very much indeed. I am very sorry the Dean is not here to make a speech for me—I am not a Suffragette (hear, hear and laughter). I can speak but very little I regret to say. I appreciate your great kindness to him; I think you have given him the most handsome presents, and I am very grateful to you for your kindness” (applause). The members of the Yeomanry then formed up to the steps, and advancing, Srgt.-Major Reid asked the Major if he would mind stepping down for the moment. “Certainly” replied the innocent Major suiting action to the word. Then came the command quietly from the Srgt.-Major “up,” and before the gallant officer could realise what was happening he was seized, hoisted shoulder high, and whilst the band played “See the conquering hero comes, he was carried around the grounds amidst the utmost enthusiasm. During the evening dancing and games were indulged. and an impromptu concert was got up on the lawn, with Mr Morgan Thomas, White Horse Hotel, Llandilo, as conductor, and Mr T. S. Puddi combo at the piano. Mr Hill, in character, gave several comic songs in admirable style, and Madam Thomas, Llandilo. gave a fine rendering of “Home sweet Home.” The Llanfynydd school children sang a glee very sweetly, and altogether a most enjoyable evening was spent. Mr Smith, schoolmaster, Llanfynydd. was indefatigable in his efforts to make the children enjoy themselves thoroughly, and Mrs. Spence-Jones distributed sweets to them before they left. The happy proceedings were brought to a close by the lighting by Mrs Cecil Spence-Jones, amidst loud applause, of a huge bonfire on the hill near the house, which could be seen for miles and miles round. Note my transcription of the article is not perfect, but you can read for free at the Wales Library website:
Direct link to the above article here: Carmarthen Article
History of Pantglas: Pantglas Hall and estate was sold in 1822 to Jones &Co, founders of the Black Ox Bank of Llandovery, which was later incorporated into Lloyds. It was sold to Carmarthenshire County Council in 1922 by the family. It is now in private ownership and operates as a large country resort with self catering lodges, as a wedding venue and more, here’s the link to their website: Pantglas Hall
I have found reference to the couple owning a London home after the sale of Pantglas at 65 Audley Street, Westminster. Then they bought Donnington Hall, Ledbury, Herefordshire. Entry in Kelly’s for 1934: ‘Spence-Colby Col. Cecil John Herbt. C.M.G., D.S.O., T.D., D.L., J.P., M.F.H. Donnington hall, who is the principal landowner. The kennels of Col. Spence-Colby’s Foxhounds are situated in this parish; Col. Cecil J.H. Spence-Colby C.M.G. is master; the pack comprises 30 couples and hunts Wednesdays and Saturdays‘
Donnington Hall, Ledbury, Herefordshire now has a very famous owner, Liz Hurley, these photos were published in the newspapers after she bought it:
One of the family’s Ancestors George Spence (Father of Generation 3 below) has a very detailed Biography, free to view on History of Parliament Online Website: Biography of George Spence
Here’s a bit more of the family tree I have started on Ancestry, with the couples daughter Louise Aline, as her brother Alfred died at a fairly young age in 1933. As far as I can see there were two sons of Louise and her husband John Davenport, so maybe there are some descendants out there who would love this photo. The family on both sides have some interesting Ancestors:
I also found a Pedigree of the family on Rootsweb: Pedigree Chart by Sir Arthur E Turner-Thomas V.C., G.C., K.G.(Wales), K.C.B.
John Lewis Davenport died in 1964, Louise Aline died in 1987. Their two sons were born in 1934 and 1937, I have found probable marriages for them in 1959 and 1979 so did they have children I wonder.
Does you know of any decendants of the family? Please get in touch if you do.
Amazingly I came across some postcard photos that were sold on Ebay back in August of the celebrations of the ‘homecoming’ in 1908 that we have the detailed description of earlier in this blog, such wonderful photos and gives you such a sense of the occasion seeing the images!
Till next time then……