Cefnllys Church  - St. Michael's - photo courtesy of Peter and Jackie LongleySolving a mystery ... James Edmund Drew - b. 1825
Click on the Cefnllys Church image to track analysis.

It was stated (May/June 2002) to David Ward by Carol McGlasson in America that she has a great grandfather, James DREW who was the son of James Edmund Drew - b.1825 in Radnor. This news precipitated a series of researches - now resolving in a general agreement that the lines are linked by cousins of the same name and same birth year - both lines descended from John Drew and Keziah Beaumont.

David Ward - who is descended from the Drew family of Cefnllys, Radnorshire wrote (June 2002) - to Carol as follows:-

"I am a bit puzzled. My great grandfather was Vincent David Drew, baptised at Cefnllys, Radnorshire on 26 June 1831. He was the son of Thomas Drew and Margaret Sheen, who were married in 1817, at Glascwm, Radnorshire. Vincent David had an elder brother called James Edmond (sometimes spelt Edmund), who was baptised at Cefnllys on 10 April 1825, and married a Jane (possibly Probert) in 1850. After that I lose track of James, but from your information he seems to have migrated to USA.

However, David Drew-Smythe states that his g.g.grandfather was James (? Edmund or Edward!) Drew, who appears in the 1881 British census as "gentleman", living at Gore House, Hatton Road, Harlington, Middlesex (outskirts of London). This James Drew gives his birthplace as Cefnllys, 1825! From photos, there are also facial similarities between this family of Drews and my own aunts and uncles."

dds 7/8/02 - This picture shows James (Probert) DREW (USA) and has Henry James DREW-Smythe inset. HJDS's mother was Ada Josephine DREW, born c. 1864 in London to a James Drew who himself is stated as being born at Cefnllys and was aged 55 - and therefore born in about 1825 - at the time of the 1881 UK census. He was married to Sarah Ann NIAS, mother of Ada Josephine DREW and grandmother of Henry James Drew SMYTHE.

David Ward continues ... "The 1881 census also gives a 68 year old John C. Drew, hosier, born (circa 1813) at Llandrindod Wells, Radnorshire (not far from Cefnllys). His wife Ann (67) was born in Davenport, Iowa, USA. In 1881 they were living at 96, Fleet Street, London.  

What's going on here? Did James Edmond move to USA in 1854, make his fortune, and then return to live as a "gentleman" in London? If so, he must have left his son James (your g.grandfather?) behind in USA, and found a new wife called Sarah (born circa 1826) back in England. The eldest child in the 1881 census was Ellen Jane Drew, born about 1862, so quite late in life.  

There is a tale in my family of a disputed will, in which a fortune was left by a Drew who died in London. Supposedly, my own great grandfather, Vincent David Drew, contested the will, and so lost a lot of money in legal fees, having to sell his farm, and ended up labouring for his neighbouring cousins. I wonder if this is relevant to James Edmond's apparent sudden wealth?

The papers relevant to this have all disappeared, but I was told by an uncle that the name Holmes was involved, and someone who moved to Canada (mistake for USA?).  

Also, in her will, my g.g.grandmother, Margaret Drew (Sheen) left all her children substantial money or land, with the exception of James Edmond, who only got five pounds!"

Updated August 2002 - Carol to David (Ward) writes as follows: [May is a [proven] cousin (of David Ward) in the United Kingdom.]

I am writing to let you know what May has been able to find out about my great great grandfather James E. Drew. First of all I would like to tell you that we [David Ward and Carol McGlasson] are cousins. May says I am a third cousin once removed.

May was able to locate a birth record for my great grandfather James, the son of James Edmund Drew. It shows he was born 11-14-1851 at Trawsdir Cefallys [Cefynllys]. His mother's name was Jane Probert. She [May]was also able to find a marriage certificate for James E. and Jane Probert. They were married 8-24-1850 in the Parish Church of LLandegley according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England.

I will give you the information for James first. His age was listed as "of full age", he was a bachelor, occupation was farmer. His residence at the time of marriage was Nanty [Nantdu] in the Parish of Cefallys [Cefynllys]. His father's name is Thomas Drew and his occupation was farmer.

For Jane the following information was listed. Her age was listed as "minor" and she was a "spinster". Her residence at the time of marriage was Faldey [Ffaldau] and her father's name was John Probert and he was a farmer. John Probert and James Davies were the witnesses listed and John Jones was the Vicar.

Now I will let you know what May wrote to me in her letter:

"The father of James born 1825 appears to be my great great grandfather Thomas Drew of Nantdu (or Nanty) Cefnllys. I am enclosing the birth certificate of my great grandmother Hariet who would have been the younger sister of James.This shows that Hariet was born at Nanty. I also have the birth certificate of Eliza, the youngest of the 13 children of Thomas and Margaret Drew (née Sheen) who married at Glascombe on 12 Oct.1817. This is all extra proof."

"I have seen the baptism entry for your James at the church at Cefnllys on 15 April 1825. His father's occupation is "gentleman", and his abode then was Trawsdir, Cefnllys. Ten of the thirteen children were born at Trawsdir, all that is except the oldest, Margaret Beaumont Drew, who was born at Glascombe and the two youngest, Hariet and Eliza, who were born at Nanty. Nanty and Trawsdir are farms at Cefnllys, (Kevenleece)."

"From the marriage certificate we can see that Jane's father was a John Probert, a farmer from Faldey, Llandegley. From this information we could work out other details from the census years, about other members of Jane's family. In the L.D.S. version of the 1881 census index, there is a John Probert at Llandegley age 72. Fingers crossed that he is your great great great grandfather!"

She also added a P.S. to the original letter and she said:

"I have enclosed the O.S. Map for Llandegley. There is a place there still, called Ffaldau. It looks like quite a large farm, by the side of the road near the Church. Trawsdir (Trawsty) and Nantdu (Nanty) are also still there, not very far away from Llandegley. Now the big question remains, who is the James Drew, born 1825, the "Gentleman's Hosier" of Burlington Arcade in London, the ancestor of David Drew-Smythe? His marriage certificate to Sarah Nias might give us a clue, but I cannot find this marriage in the index."

Then she gave this additional information:

"Looking again at the map, I can see that the next farm to Ffaldau is Carnau. My Jenkins ancestors lived there and they too are buried at Llanbadarn Faur, close to at least three generations of Drew graves. Gwystre Farm (or Goosetree) to left corner of the map is an old Drew farm. Your 4 x great and 5 x great grandparents farmed there."

dds 7/8/02 - From Ancestry.com - PRO Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths for England and Wales. Who is this James Edmund Drew and who are his parents?
Drew, James Edmund
  Year: 1862 Quarter: September
  Record Type: Births Volume: 11b
  District: Presteigne Page: 157


Created 1st July 1837. Abolished 1st July 1877 (incorporated into Kington district). Mainly in Radnorshire, but included parts of Herefordshire.
Sub-districts : Brilley; Kington; Presteigne; Radnor.
GRO volumes : XXVI (1837-51); 6a (1852-76).

Badland (1838-70), Barland (1838-70), Burfa (1838-70), Cascob, Colva (1838-70), Discoed, Drewern (1838-70), Ednol (1838-70), Evenjobb (1838-70), Gladestry (1838-70), Kinnerton (1838-70), Litton (from 1844), Llandegley (1838-70), Llanfihangel-Nantmellan (1838-70), Michaelchurch on Avon (1838-70), Newcastle (1838-70), Newchurch (1838-70), New Radnor (1838-70), Norton, Old Radnor (1838-70), Pilleth, Presteigne, Salford (1838-70), Swydd (1837-80), Trewern and Gwythia (1838-70), Vaynor Glare (1838-70), Walton and Womaston (1838-70), Whitton.

Registers now in Radnorshire East, Kington and Leominster districts.

This may be the John Probert in question:

Dwelling: Whitegate
Census Place: Llandegley, Radnor, Wales
Source: FHL Film 1341628 PRO Ref RG11 Piece 2609 Folio 41 Page 5
Marr Age Sex Birthplace
John PROBERT M 72 M Llanfihangel Rhydithon, Radnorshire, Wales
Rel: Head
Occ: Farmer

He was alone (at the time of the census, anyway) at the property. The families nearby included LEWIS, MANTLE, DAVIES and ABBERLEY.

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