Bersham and Adwy Schools – Headmistresses & Teachers

Transcribed by Annette Edwards.

Annie Foulkes

Annie Foulkes was the Principal Teacher between 1870 and 1872.

Annie was born about 1843 in Mold and was the daughter of Thomas Foulkes born Halkyn  who was a master mason and his wife Maria born Mold.

By 1861 Ann was already a Pupil Teacher and still living with her parents and younger sisters in Mold.

Eleanor, one of her sisters had married William Griffiths of Ruabon, and in 1871 Annie was a visitor at their home in Morton, Rhos on the night on the census. By now she is a Certified School Teacher.

Mary Dall

Mary was born about 1856 in Slamanan, Stirlingshire. She was the daughter of William C and Margaret Dall, William was employed as a Goods clerk for the Railways.

Mary moved to Wales with her younger sister Maggie and was engaged as the Schoolmistress at the Bersham and Adwy Girls School in December 1877, prior to then she was the Mistress of Tabor Hill Infants School.

From the School Log Books it seems that Mary met her future husband James Phennah due to his visiting the School as part of his duties as the relieving officer.

In the autumn of 1881 she married James, the son of Thomas and Ellen Phennah who lived in Wrexham. Mary gave up her teaching and had a daughter Evelyn and son Reginald.

James died in 1899 and in 1904 Mary married again to Algernon Snell.

 Mary died in Cheltenham aged 81 and is buried with her first husband James Phennah in Wrexham cemetery.

In the 1881 census, Mary and Maggie are lodging in Lloft Wen Adwy, both are described as `schoolmistress`. When Mary was ill, Maggie took her place for a time at the School, as she was already employed in the area as a Schoolmistress.

Maggie married Rev James Anderson Beattie, who was also born in Scotland and they became Reformed Church Missionaries in India, where Maggie managed the Women’s Teacher Training School.  In 1914 she and James spent a year’s leave in the USA, where James had been a pastor early in his career.  In 1915, as the first leg of their return journey to India, they embarked on the Lusitania bound for Liverpool.  When it was sunk, James drowned but Maggie survived.  She completed her journey to India and continued at the school until she retired in 1921.  When the school moved to a new building in 1919, it was named after James Anderson Beattie.

Sarah Parsonage

Sarah was born about 1855, and according to the 1861 census she was the daughter of Edward Parsonage, a grocer born in Wrexham and Jane his wife, a dressmaker born in Hawarden. At the age of 16 Sarah is living with her widowed mother Jane and is already a Pupil Teacher at the British School.

In 1882 Sarah married Charles Dodd, also a schoolmaster and had four sons of which three became very famous in their own fields.

Charles Harold Dodd was born in Wrexham on 7 April 1884. In 1930 he became Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis in Manchester and  was made a freeman of the Borough of Wrexham in 1963. He died on 25 September 1973.

Percy William Dodd was born in 1889. and studied at Jesus College, Oxford as an Open Classical Scholar in 1907. He died on 20 May 1931 and  left a substantial sum to the college in his will.

Percy was described by the Scottish classical scholar Alexander Souter as an “enthusiastic investigator” of Roman Britain, whose published report of excavations in Yorkshire were “a model of their kind”.

Arthur Herbert Dodd was born at Wrexham in 1891. He was appointed lecturer in history at Bangor in 1919. In 1952 a committee was formed to produce a history of Wrexham. A.H. Dodd was appointed editor of the work Arthur was made a freeman of the Borough of Wrexham in 1963. Dodd died 21 May 1975 at Bangor.

Edward Ernest was the second youngest son. When his brother Percy died in 1931 his address was in Bangor. The administrators of his will were his mother, Sarah and Edward Ernest Dodd, his schoolmaster brother. In 1911 Edward Dodd was described as a Classics Master and was boarding at Beaumaris. It’s highly likely that he would have been at Friar’s School, Bangor.

Sarah and Charles are buried together in Ruabon Road cemetery; Charles died at Clovelly Cottage, Wrexham and was buried on November 3rd 1928 at the age of 73. Sarah died aged 86 at a Nursing House, Bangor. Caernarvonshire and was buried on September 9th 1940.

Emily Jones

Emily Jones was born about 1857; she was the daughter of John Jones, a coal miner and Eliza. In 1871 she was a pupil at Elizabeth H Sadlers Private School on King Street, Wrexham.

Emily was still unmarried and living with her parents at Heol Maelor, Adwy in 1901, she had a brother John, also a teacher.


Sarah Jane & Emily Evans

Both were the daughters of Ellis and Elinor Evans. Ellis was a leadminer from Llanbedr and his wife was a milliner and dressmaker from Gwernafield Flint.

Emily was born 15th May 1863 and Sarah born 2nd June 1866 at Coedpoeth, they and their siblings were all were baptised at a Wesleyan chapel.

Ann born 13 8 1861, Ellis born 20 1 1869, Agnes born 1 3 1871.

By 1891 when they were living Talwrn Rd, Ellinor is a widow, Emily is an Assistant School Mistress, Sarah has no occupation and younger son Ellis aged 22 is a railway clerk

Winifred Moss

Winifred Moss was born in 1866. Her parents were George Moss a carpenter from Llanarmon and Elizabeth, nee Pugh, who was born in Brymbo. Sadly her father died on 7th March 1866 aged 53, shortly before Winifred was born.

By 1871 Elizabeth and her six children were living at Lloft Wen, Adwy. Samuel 15,George 13 Thomas Henry 11,Alice 9, Abraham 7 and Winifred aged 5

Winifred never married, she died aged 70 and was buried in Coedpoeth Cemetery on 30th December 1936.

Elizabeth Jane Taylor

Elizabeth Jane Taylor was born in Coedpoeth in 1862. She was the daughter of John Taylor a stonemason and his wife Elizabeth who came from Llantisilio. They had four other children Samuel,Anne.Catherine,and Harriet. They lived  at the Masons Arms pub for nearly 30 years. Her elder sister Anne Taylor married Joseph Wilcoxon who later became a member of the Bersham School Board.

Elizabeth Jane died in 1884 at the age of 24.   

Harriet Ann and Elizabeth Davies

Harriet Ann was born in 1850, Elizabeth about 1852, they were both born in Adwy, Coedpoeth and were the daughters of Edward Davies, a tailor and Harriet his wife who came from Bangor, Flints.

There were also three sons, William, John, and Edward, and in 1881 the family were living at Offa House, Adwy. Harriet Ann is described as an “Infant School Mistress.”

All the children were well educated, as Harriet’s brother William also became a teacher and spent some time in Llanrhiader, and his brother John was a solicitor’s clerk at the age of 15.

Sarah Ellen Price

Sarah Ellen was born on 15 April 1861 in Brymbo, she was the daughter of Noah Price and Hannah his wife who was from Hope.  The family ran a grocers and bakers shop on High Street, Coedpoeth.

Her brother David James also became a baker and kept the family business on High Street, there were three other siblings who died very young.

They were a Wesleyan family and Sarah Ellen was baptised at Rehoboth Chapel, where many of the family were buried.

Sarah Ellen married Peter Jones Roberts in 1890. He was a Wesleyan Minister born in Barmouth. He had also been a Pupil Teacher.

 The family moved to the Barmouth area, and later to Caernarfon, by this time they had six children.

Laura Jeffreys  Michell

Laura was born at Minera in 1884; she was the daughter of Sampson Michell and his wife Martha Ellen nee Moses.  Martha was also a schoolteacher and was born in Prescot.

Sampson was born in Llanfihangel and was a lead mine agent at the Park Lead Mining Co, Minera.  His family had original come from Devon, to work in the lead mines. Sampson died aged 33 in April 1888. In 1915 Laura married John E Griffiths at Minera.

Sarah Ellen and Clara Kitto

Both were daughters of Samuel and Christiana Kitto who had both come from Cornwall. Samuel had come to Coedpoeth to work as a foreman in the lead mines, as did many other Cornishmen at that time.

Sarah Ellen was born in Coedpoeth in 1876, by 1901 she had given up Teaching was working as a Stationers Clerk. On 2nd April 1907 at Minera Church she married Daniel Lloyd who was a School Master

Clara was born in 1879, she never married and died from Influenza aged 34, she was buried in Coedpoeth Cemetery on 1st January 1914.

Her mother Christiana lived till she was 80 and was buried with Clara on 14th July 1919
There was another sister Emma Louisa Kitto born in Minsterley in 1868. On 9th August 1905 at Minera Church she married Philip Jones a School Master, sadly Emma died in October 1906.

Edith and Bertha Wilcoxon

The daughters of Joseph Wilcoxon and Annie, previously Taylor. Joseph was the Chairman of the Bersham School Board.

Edith was born in Coedpoeth in I883. After passing her examinations she went on to Cardiff, and completed her training to become a teacher. She married Albert Rogers in December 1915. Edith and Albert moved to Wallasey where she continued teaching for many years. Edith died at the age of 99.

Bertha was born in Coedpoeth on March 19th 1890

Later she became the headmistress of the Council School at Frondeg that had been officially opened by her father on October 1st 1894. During her teaching career Bertha also taught at Pentre Council School and at Westminster Church of England School at Hoole in Chester.

Bertha commenced as head teacher at Frondeg on March 4th 1913 and at the time of her resignation on February 25th 1919 she was the Headmistress.

In late November 1915 she married Thomas Hughes. Sadly Bertha was knocked down by a car and died instantly, she was only 40. On April 20th 1930 she was buried in Coedpoeth Cemetery.

Myfanwy Gwenhwyfor, and Morfudd Anghared E  Jones

Myfanwy was born in Coedpoeth in 1874; she was the daughter of Griffith J Jones and his wife Jane. Griffith was the Headmaster at Bersham Boys School for many years.

In  1899 Myfanwy married Jonathon Price, he was a watchmaker and jeweller and in 1901 they are living in 12 High Street, Coedpoeth with their young son Mwyndeg Prys.

Myfanwy died aged only 41 and was buried with her parents in Coedpoeth Cemetery on 6th September 1915

Morfydd Anghared was born about 1877. In 1901 she married Edward Davies Hughes,  by 1911 they were living in Pwllheli.

Adah Loiusa Pulpher

Adah was baptised 5th October 1873, at Raunds, Northamptonshire. Her parents were Jabez and Susan Pulpher. Jabez was a Shoe Manufacturer. Adah was already a Pupil Teacher in 1871 before she moved to Wrexham.

In 1898 Adah married Goronwy Idwal Jones of Coedpoeth at Christ Church, Chester, and by 1901 they had moved to Bootle.

Lilian Jean Thom

Lilian was born in Hetton le Hole, Durham 1871

She was the daughter of James Thom born Scotland and Jessie; in 1891 the family are living at Eppleton House, Hetton le Hole. Her father is also a Teacher, and younger sister Anne Ella is a pupil teacher.

Lilian returned to Durham and married in 1902 to William Godlee Rickman and by 1911 they are living in Hunslett. Yorkshire.

Agnes Jones

Agnes was born in Minera in 1864; her father Joseph was a Blacksmith and his mother Mary 

came from Manchester. By 1871 the family were living on Ruthin Road, Coedpeth and had a confectionery and smallware shop.  Agnes had an elder brother Philip who taught at the Boys School.

In 1894 Agnes married Robert Owen from Beaumaris Anglesey. They had children Mary and Philip both born in Coedpoeth, but by 1901 they had moved to Kirkdale, Liverpool where Robert was employed as a joiner.

Hannah and Mary Rogers

Hannah was born in Wern, Esclusham about 1857, the daughter of Thomas Rogers a coal miner and Jane his wife who was from Brymbo.

In 1881 she is living with her parents in “Bryntirion”, Adwy. In 1889 Hannah married Thomas Ellis Thomas who was a Congregational Minister from Anglesey. Hannah died aged only 35 early in 1892

Mary was born in Wern about 1853. In Sept qtr 1880 she married Thomas Andrews at St Giles, Wrexham. Thomas was a widower who had been born in Illogen, Cornwall. On 4th June 1888 Thomas died, and was buried in Wern graveyard.

In 1893 Mary Andrews married Thomas Ellis Thomas in Chester. In 1895 a son John Euryn was born, but sadly he died aged 2 years old.

In 1901 living at “Bryntirian” Adwy are Thos E Thomas 43 Congregational Minister born Anglesea. Mary 47 born  Esclusham Above.

The Rev Thomas Ellis Thomas had married both sisters Hannah and Mary.

Mary died in 1937 aged 83 yrs, Thomas Ellis lived till he was 93 and died in 1952 in Beaumaris. They are buried together in Coedpoeth Cemetery with their son John Euryn who was buried 25th October 1897 aged 2 years 6 months    

Sarah Ann and  Mary Ellen Beckett

Sarah was born in 1857 in Penygelli, the daughter of James and Hannah. James was a joiner and grocer.  In 1871 the family ran a grocers and provisions shop in Penygelli Road, both Sarah Ann and her elder sister Mary Ellen became teachers.  There was also a younger sister Elizabeth.

In 1877 Sarah Ann married Peter Evans a coal miner, they lived with Sarah’s Mother who was still carrying on the grocery business at 4 Smithy Road, Penygelli.  In 1901 she is recorded as being `blind` she is only 44.

Sarah Ann died aged 50 in March 1907. Peter lived on till he was 83 and died in August 1937 they are buried together in Coedpoeth Cemetery with their son James who died in January 1948.

Mary Ellen was born in 1855, but never married and in 1901 is living with her sister and family, she died in 1918.

Catherine Ellinor Baines

Catherine was born in Llangollen in 1878, her father was John, a carpenter from Merionethshire, and her mother was Anne nee Evans of Minera. The family lived in the Ruabon area, and in 1901 Catherine is still living at home in Maelor Terrace, Acrefair.

Mary C Jones.

Mary was born about 1872, the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Jones. Her father was born in St Harmon, and ran a grocers shop in Smithy Road, Penygelli.

Her sister Margaret also became a Schoolmistress, and elder sister Jane was an apprentice grocer in her fathers shop in 1881.

Phoebe Roberts.

Phoebe was born in Mold about 1867, by 1871 she was living in Pentre Saeson, Brymbo, her father John,was  from Chester and was an Engine fitter at the colliery, her mother Ann Marie had been born in Sedgely, Staffs.

In 1889 Phoebe married Hugh Robert Roberts at St Giles, Wrexham and in 1890 a daughter Gertrude was born. In 1901 Phoebe is living in Bwlchgwyn with her mother and daughter.

Coralie Williams.

Coralie was born in 1886, her father was Thomas, a carter from St Asaph, and her mother was Sarah who was born in Coedpoeth. The family were Wesleyan and children were baptised in the Chapel. She had three sisters and one brother, Florence Annie, Gwendoline and Beatrice Noel, and Maldwyn Lloyd.

Eliza Anne Chowen

Eliza was born in 1879 in Coedpoeth; her parents were Henry, a leadminer, born Cornwall and Elizabeth nee Warne   from Devon. In 1881 the family were living at Williams Row, High Street Coedpoeth and in 1901 at 2 Lesters Villas. Adwy. Other children were John Henry, Philip, George,Lizzie, Mary and Frances James.

Catherine Emma Gibbons.

Catherine was born in Coedpoeth in 1863; she was the daughter of George Gibbons and Mary Ann Baker. Her father was a dentist and medical practitioner, who was born in Kenilworth.

George and his brother Charles, a lime works manager had moved to Coedpoeth where the Gibbons families became very well known, George was the School Medical Officer in the area. The family lived at Poplar House, Adwy.

Source: Transcribed by Annette Edwards.

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