The Owners And People Of Island House | 1778 – 2020

Island House Restoration LTD have been able to trace the Owners and People that have lived in Island House from 1778 to the present day from factual sources discovered by our team of researches using many resources to do so in these very challenging times where there is no access to local archive services.

  • March 2020

    Island House Restoration Ltd

    After long negotiations with Carmarthenshire County Council exploring all manner of avenues for a possession to be made to save this historic building Island House Restoration Ltd completed the purchase with the intention of restoring the building with the help of many expert advisors whilst the work is carried out and everything documented to show the restoration at various stages of the project.

  • 2004

    Roy Granville David Thomas

    The executor of the estate of David Walters.

  • 1997

    David Walters

    David Morlais Walters was the only child of Dudley and Dorothy Walters, he was born in July 1953 and lived at Island House along with his parents who had moved from Llangain, Carmarthenshire when he was 11 years old.

    David passed away in May 2004 at the age of 45.

    The whole of David’s estate was bequeathed to members of his family of which one was the executor of the will Roy Granville David Thomas.

    The will was never executed and subsequently the building which was already in a dilapidated state of repair deteriorated greatly in the lifetime and after David’s death in 2004. In 2012 Carmarthenshire County Council ordered that the building should be shored up with scaffolding to protect public safety and to keep as much of the house intact as possible as it was of great significance to the Township of Laugharne and had been awarded a Listed Building Status of Grade II* by CADW on the 25th of September 1986.

  • 1964

    John Dudley David Walters

    John Dudley David Walters (Dudley) and his wife Dorothy Eleanor Hannah Walters moved from Pant Yr Athro, Llangain in the county of Carmarthenshire and purchased Island House, Laugharne on the 19th of October 1964, Pant Yr Athro was a mansion-sized house and is nowadays a Hotel and Restaurant. The purchase price for Island House was £4,250.

    John Dudley David Walters died on the 29th of March 1993, his wife Dorothy only outlived her husband by 4 years as she passed away in on the 10th of September 1997 leaving the property to their son and heir David Morlais Walters.

  • 1943

    Caleb Rees

    Caleb Rees bought Island House for £1,800 from Mary Rose Richards on the 15th of November 1943, he is stated as a retired civil servant from Newport Monmouthshire.

    He was a well-educated man, after attending a village school in Pembrokeshire he went to further his education at Port Talbot Intermediate School where he was given a scholarship to Cardiff University College in 1899 where he won the Gladstone Memorial Prize whilst studying English, he graduated in 1902 with first-class hons. He then attended several different degree courses ending up with an M.A degree in 1909.

    The group rehearsed in the grounds of Island House. 

    Back Row: l to r Mrs Rees (Island House),Flora Griffith, Mary Roberts, Caleb Rees (Island House), Joyce Brown, May Lewis, Gwen Wilkins (Teacher Gwennie).

    Middle: Margaret Edwards, Mary Harries, Nonn Bradshaw

    Front: Elsie Edmunds, Romayne Richards, Rene Wilkins

    Seated in chairs: Left – Doug Bradshaw, Right – Dai Rees

    In 1912 he was appointed as an inspector for schools for the counties of Brecon and Monmouth and also the borough of Newport and later on becoming the deputy chief inspector for Wales.

    Caleb was born in 1883 and passed away one the 9th of January 1970 only 8 days after his wife Laura Gertrude Powell whom he married on the 28th of August 1922.

    Above is an aerial photograph of Island House taken in 1948 whilst Caleb Rees was the owner of the property, you can clearly see how the garden was kept in an immaculate condition with vegetable patches on either side of the garden, greenhouses along the front wall, a circular feature at the rear of the house and paths around the whole garden.

    Before Caleb Rees sold Island House to Dudley and Dorothy Walters he annexed part of the land shown in the plan below in around 1962 and built a house in what was part of the grand garden of the property, upon the sale in 1964 to the new owners he put a covenant in place that the land and new house could be purchased back off Caleb within 10 years of the sale of Island House in 1964.

    Plan of the annex of the property by Caleb Rees in around 1962

    Caleb, as we have mentioned above, died in 1970 only 6 years after the sale to Dudley and Dorothy Walters which most likely meant that the covenant he had placed on the new property was probably void meaning that the house he built would be bequeathed to his family.

  • 1940

    Major Thomas Picton Rose-Richards

    Major Thomas Picton Rose-Richards and his Wife Mary Rose-Richards bought Island House from Thomas William Morgan on the 25th of June 1940 for the sale price of £1,250.

    Major Thomas Picton Rose-Richards, had served throughout the Great War, and had become a Mid-War MP for Breconshire, before retiring, and moving to Island House on the 25th of June 1940 along with his wife Mary and son Thomas Essery.

    Thomas Essery Rose-Richards who went by the name of Tim was a Sub-Lieutenant in the Fleet Air Arm and was born in Swansea on the 6thJune 1902.

    Tim was a well known racing driver, he had entered Le Mans five times, finishing in 3rd place in 1931, 1932 and 1933. He also raced in Grand Prix, finishing fourth in the 1934 Dieppe GP with a Bugatti T51, and third in the 1935 Eifel Voiturette GP driving ERA R1A. 

    Tim won a coveted BRDC Gold Star in 1935, and this resulted in him being remembered in the BRDC Hall of Fame, at the famous Brooklands. 

    When War broke out, Tim volunteered into the Royal Navy. From the Navy, he became a Flight Lieutenant in the Fleet Air Arm, serving at HMS Daedalus on the South Coast, with 765 Squadron. 

    The Squadron flew the Supermarine Walrus. This was a single-engined ‘flying-boat’, which was used as a search and rescue and reconnaissance aeroplane. 

    On the 7th October 1940, during the Battle of Britain, a German Bomber was forced down in the English Channel. 

    Thomas and his aircrew were sent to rescue the downed crew, in their Supermarine Walrus. As they came down to prepare for landing, their aircraft was raked by machine-gun fire from a German Heinkel, which sent them spinning into the sea. 

    Thomas was reported missing 7-8 miles south of Anvil Point. None of the bodies were recovered, and so Tim is commemorated on the walls of the Lee-On-Solent Memorial, Hampshire. Tim is not commemorated at Laugharne.

  • 1937

    Thomas William Morgan

    Thomas Morgan bought Island House on the 3rd of November 1937, he is said to be of Great House in Laugharne and was in business as a Fish Merchant.

  • 1902

    Major Claude Vyvian Congreve (Schneider)

    Major Schneider of the Indian Army and his wife Mary Hudson Congreve (originally of Leeds and the daughter of Mr Thomas Titley) married in 1902 and took up residence at Island House in 1903, it is noted elsewhere that Major Congreve changed his name from Schneider to Congreve when WW1 broke out but this doesn’t seem to be the case as in the local newspapers from this period see him change his name in around 1909.

    In 1908 it is reported in a local newspaper under the heading “Drainage Scandal” that the owner of Island House was Mr Thomas Titley and the occupier was a Major Schneider, later on in another news article in 1909 it states that a Major Congreve is living at Island House and they were actually two of the same as the Major had a double-barrelled name “Congreve-Schneider” if the name was changed at this period of time it is not known why as the great war did not break out until 1914.

    Major C.V Schneider was the son of Brigadier General John William Schneider, John Schneider was born in 1824 and entered the Bombay Army in 1840. He was in a number of campaigns (Mahratta War 1844-45; the Indian Mutiny 1857 and the Abyssinian War in 1868). He was Judge Advocate General from 1868-72 before becoming Resident in Aden from 1872-77. He then commanded a Division in the Bombay Army 1877-82. He became a General in 1888 and some time along the line he got his Knighthood. He died in 1903.

    From the National Probate Calendar 1903: SCHNEIDER sir John William of 8 Queensborough-terrace Middlesex K.C.B. General in H.M. Bombay Army died 27 May 1903 Probate London 23rd June to Dame Amelia Euphemia Schneider widow and Stewart Melville Congreve Schneider major in H.M. Army Effects £16,429 6s. 4d. Resworn October 1903 £17,437 5s. 9d.

    The Major occupied the Island House from 1903 and died there on the 17th of February 1923, within this time it seems like a lot of people were coming and going from the house as it is reported that several names pop up so it may be a case that part of the house or some of the rooms were rented out to individuals.

    The mother of Major Schneider Dame Amelia Euphemia Schneider was listed in the newspaper as passing away (16/03/1915) in Laugharne, She was the widow of Sir John Schneider, K.C.B., and daughter of the late Colonel Chas. James Colley Davidson, Bengal Engineers, she left an unsettled estate of the gross value of £867, of which £813 is net personally.

  • 1900

    Captain Thomas Jones

    Captain Thomas Jones bought Island House in 1900 from Mr Percy Hughes-Garbett when he dismantled the Laugharne Estate via auction held at the Browns Hotel for the sum of £1,000 and it is said it had a rentable value of £75 per annum. Captain Jones at this time was said to be from Llanelli but he noted in the newspaper during a court case about the water leading through his land which was contaminated from the slaughterhouse that he had lived in Laugharne practically all his life except when at sea.

    It is of our thinking that Captain Jones bought Island House with the view of renting it out to tenants as the Schneiders were residents of Island house from 1903 for quite some time onwards although he may have taken up residency between 1901 until that time.

    In 1905 Captain Jones bought Balmoral Villa in the village of Pendine at an auction held at the Beach Hotel for the sum of £250 where he then took up residence, after he established himself in Pendine it would seem that he then sold Island House to Mr Thomas Titley who was the father of the wife of Major Congreve (Schneider) Mary Hudson Congreve.

  • 1885

    Percy Llewellyn Garbett (Hughes-Garbett)

    Percy Llewellyn Garbett was born in Middlesex on December 10th 1852 to the Reverend Edward Garbett and Elizabeth Garbett (Lewis – Daughter of John Lewis of Henllan), Reverend Garbett was born on December 10th 1817 in Hereford and his wife Elizabeth was born around 1826 in Henllan Pembrokeshire.

    Percy married Caroline Gordon Lennox Fyfe in 1882 at the age of 29, Caroline was from St Pancras in Middlesex, they went on to have 2 daughters together of one of them used the name Abra Faith Hughes-Garbett which would have come about from Mary Abra Hughes Skyrme (Wienholt) from whom he inherited the estate from in 1885, Maybe as part of the condition of the inheritance of such a valuable estate it was a condition set out in the will that he prepended the name Hughes to his given name of Garbett thus making it Hughes-Garbett.

    In the last will and testament of Mary Abra Hughes Wienholt one of the executors was listed as the brother of Percy namely Montague George Hubert Garbett, apart from the land she bequeathed Percy she had a personal estate of £1,450 2s which equates to £187,000 in todays money with inflation.

    Percy from the records we have found worked in insurance for the New Zealand Insurance Company and was manager in their Calcutta office.

    From our research Mr Hughes-Garbett Returned to Laugharne briefly in 1886 as it is mentioned in the Newspaper that he had won several sections of the Laugharne Farm And Garden Show of that year, he then returned to Calcutta to carry on in the insurance position he held there.

    Carved Monogrammed Marble Shield situated in the ballroom of Island House upon the grand fireplace

    The next time he shows up in the local news was in 1890 where we think he then took up residence at Island House, he and his wife Caroline seem to have been very charitable as you can see from this extract taken from the newspaper called “The Welshman” in January 1890:-

    “CHRISTMAS TREE AT ISLAND HOUSE – On Tuesday last Mrs Hughes-Garbett invited the wives and children of all Mr Garbett’s tenants to tea and Christmas tree at Island House. In spite of the inclemency of the weather between fifty and sixty assembled at 6 o’clock. Tea was served to the guests on their arrival, after which a curtain was withdrawn, revealing to the delighted youngsters the Christmas tree, which was decorated with flags, bonbons, coloured lights. The presents, which were numerous and had been very carefully selected, were displayed on tables around the room. All had two or three presents each, in addition to which there was a bran pie into which each had several dips, and each time obtained a prize. At nine o clock the party, which had been a most delightful one, separated, but, before doing so, three hearty cheers were accorded to Mrs Garbett.”

    Mr and Mrs Hughes-Garbett were seemingly held in very high regard in Laugharne and Mr Hughes-Garbett was the chair of many committees and judging panels around this time between 1890 until 1900 where he sold off the Laugharne estate by way of auction at the Browns Hotel in August 1900, the sale included many properties, land and farms including Island House and it is said that the proceeds of the sale was in the region of £25,000 which equates to £3,100,000 in todays money.

    In the 1901 Census it shows Mr Hughes-Garbet living at 29 Cedar Hall in London now aged 49 and is a branch manager of Norwich Insurance Company.

    Mr Hughes-Garbett passed away in 1924 at the age of 71.

  • 1828

    George Bosville Wentworth Stackpoole

    George Bosville Wentworth Stackpoole Esq. was born on 24 February 1795 in Middlesex London, he married Emma Marie Williams on 16 April 1818 in Teignmouth, Devon. They had five children in 16 years.

    Emma died as a young mother on 6 September 1825 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, at the age of 27 and he later married Mary Lewis (Skyrme) the widow of William Skyrme III and mother of Mary Abra Hughes Wienholt nee Skyrme on the 14th of October 1828.

    George must have been a man of significant wealth as from the 19-century census’s we can see that he rented several parcels of land and properties which belonged to his wife’s daughter Mary Abra Hughes Skyrme, we can not determine the exact date of his residency at Island house but the 1841/51  census shows him as a resident there and some of his children in other properties such as Cliff House and Glan y Môr.

    He died on 1 October 1863 in Exeter, Devon, at the age of 68.

  • 1823

    Mary Abra Hughes Skyrme (Wienholt)

    Mary Abra Hughes Skyrme was the daughter of William Skyrme III (1778-1823) and Mary Lewis of Henllan Pembrokeshire, Mary went on to marry Mr Fredrick Wienholt of London son of Mr J Birkett Wienholt in 1858 when she was 45 years old.

    Mary was the sole heiress of the estate of the late William Skyrme even though her mother Mary had remarried into gentry after Williams death in 1823 when she was just 10 years old.

    Fredrick passed away in Laugharne on the 14th of April 1881 at the age of 62, as he was listed as being the head of the Island House household in the 1881 census we can assume that he passed away at the said residence.

    Mary had no children herself so she bequeathed her entire estate to Mr Percy Llewelyn Garbett after her death in 1885 at the age of 72. 

    From the Tithe maps survey of the area in 1842 and the Laugharne Corporation survey of 1834 it is suggested that Miss Skyrme at the time of these recordings was in possession of around 15% of the Township of Laugharne including properties, farms and land.

    The Tithe Map below shows the extent of the land ownership of Miss Skyrme in 1842.

  • 1778

    William Skyrme III

    William Skyrme was the son of William Skyrme II and Jane Hughes, he was said to be of Laugharne and of Alltgoch, Cardiganshire and Launceston, Cornwall, he was baptised in Laugharne in 1778. 

    William married Mary Lewis of Henllan in Llandewi Velfrey in 1811 and they had one daughter together.

    He had a boat built in Laugharne and named it after himself in 1811 it was later for sale at auction in the Three Mariners on Friday the 26th of October 1821, in the newspaper article which advertised the sale the boat measurements were stated to be 52 feet 2 inches in length, 17 feet 8 inches in breadth, 9 feet 6 inches in depth and weighed 65 tons.

    In his life he held the position of the Portreeve of Laugharne in the years of 1801, 1802 and 1817.

    William also became the High Sheriff of Cardiganshire in 1809.

    William died in 1823 at the age of 43 leaving his daughter Mary the estate and his wife £600 annually.

    After William had passed away his widow Mary remarried George Bosville Wentworth Stackpoole, Mary passed away at Island House on 01 March 1856 at the age of 68, George lived until 01 October 1863 where he passed away in Exeter, Mary then inherited the estate.