Eddystone House and the Eddy Family.
Deleth Hannaby told Eileen Williams about a lovely old house called Eddystone House, built 1899. If you turn off the Wrexham Road and go up Aberderfyn Road it is the white house to your left, just opposite the farm. Eileen took photos of it and posted the above one into our Facebook Group, “Old Photos and Memories of Rhos & District“. Sandy Lewis, Annette Edwards and I found loads of details on genealogy websites and I wrote it all up. I accept that there are gaps in this story – John Eddy seems to have vanished for a while – and I know names and dates can be boring, but if you skim those bits I feel sure you will find enough to give you food for thought as you pass that lovely house next time you wander up Aberderfyn Road.
James Eddy (Snr) was born circa 1808 at Redruth, Cornwall. I found a James Eddy Christened at St. Justin Penwith, Cornwall on 28th February 1808. Only problem is that was fifty miles away from Redruth. Maybe it was the birthplace of one of his parents, or maybe it wasn’t the same James Eddy.
In 1838 a marriage was registered between James Eddy (Snr) of Redruth and Sarah Ellis of Ruabon.
During the 2nd Quarter of 1840 the birth was registered of James and Sarah’s daughter, Anne Eddy. Ann was baptised at Ruabon on 1st April 1840.
The birth of James and Sarah’s daughter Harriet Eddy was registered during the 4th Quarter of 1842 in the district of Wrexham. Harriet was baptised on 7th November 1842 at Ruabon. Three weeks later, on the 28th November 1842, Harriet was buried at Ruabon. Her death was registered during the 4th Quarter of 1842 in the District of Wrexham.
On October 6th 1843, in the Parish of Ruabon, J. Edwards baptised James, son of James (Snr) and Sarah Eddy. James Eddy (Snr) was a Coal Agent and they lived at Aberderfyn.
Little James must have died because on 16th February 1845, in the Parish of Ruabon, the officiating minister, P. M. Richards, baptised a second James, son of James and Sarah Eddy. James (Snr.) Eddy was described as an agent and they lived at Aberderfyn.
On 2nd September 1845, in the Parish of Ruabon, the officiating minister, P. M. Richards, baptised John, son of James and Sarah Eddy. James Eddy (Snr.) was described as an Agent and they lived at Aberderfyn.
Although both boys were baptised in 1845 that does not mean they were the same age. Children were often baptised a year or more after their birth.
In 1845, James (Snr.) and his wife Sarah were living at Aberderfyn Cottage (later to be known as Eddystone House), a property they rented from Frederick West, for whom James Snr. worked as a mining engineer. The cottage was part of the Ruthin Castle Estate.
During the 4th Quarter of 1847 the birth was registered in the Wrexham District of Arthur Eddy. Arthur was baptised on 3rd January 1848 at Ruabon and was the son of James (Snr.) and Sarah Eddy.
In 1851 the family was still living at Aberderfyn Cottage near Rhos. James (Snr.) was employed as a Mineral Agent. Their daughter Ann was 11-years-old; their son James was 7-years-old. Walter (apparently John was also known as Walter) was 5-years-old and Arthur was 3-years-old. Their house servant was 17-year-old Elizabeth Clarke.
On 2nd March 1853, at the Wynnstay Arms, Ruabon, James Eddy was presented with a splendid gold watch and appendages with a suitable inscription. The watch was manufactured by T. Heywood, Watchmaker of High Street, Wrexham. For many years Mr Eddy had acted as engineer and Mine agent for the Hon. F. West and more recently was employed by the Westminster Mining Company. Mr Eddy also carried on a coal mine on behalf of himself and partners. he had made many friends, who had subscribed to his presentation that night. Mr James Eddy had recently been appointed by a London company to take the management of a gold and silver mine in New Canada, South America and was about to depart.
On 29th January 1856, James Eddy was writing from Dalton in Furness to the Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser to tell them of a gold mine he inspected on the Isthmus of Panama. He was not impressed by what he found. He had arrived at the gold mine on the 19th May 1853, with a staff of twenty-five men. In only a few days the greater proportion of his staff were taken ill and in the space of a week James had buried six of them. By the 26th of June 1853, ten of the remaining nineteen men were ill and the remaining nine were hardly able to bury the dead and attend to the sick. He was alerting the newspaper readers of the dangers of falling into poverty and death while searching for gold. James vowed never to return.
On Thursday, 15th December 1859, tragedy struck when James (Snr.) and Sarah’s 12-year-old son Arthur Eddy was tragically drowned at Standing Tarn, Dalton-in-Furness. Witness Joseph Borwick Jnr. of Dalton told how he had been with Arthur and several other boys when they went to Standing Tarn with the intention of sliding on the ice. After they had been there a short while, Arthur spotted another boy at the other side of the tarn and decided to go across to him. Joseph asked him if the ice would bear his weight and he replied in the affirmative, then started to cross the tarn. Half way across, the ice broke and Arthur fell into the freezing water. Mr. Ashburner and Mr. Boutlon, of Dalton, were out shooting in an adjoining field and saw the occurrence. They sent a message to Arthur’s father, James (Snr) Eddy, who arrived promptly and ordered a raft to be constructed. Sadly they were too late to save Arthur’s life. His body was recovered at about three o’clock after being submerged for three hours. An inquest was held at the Wellington Hotel on the 16th December and a verdict of “Accidentally Drowned” was returned. Arthur’s death was registered during the 4th Quarter of 1859 in the District of Ulverston. He was buried at St. Mary’s Churchyard, Dalton-in-Furness on 21st December by the Rev. J. M. Morgan, Vicar.
By 1861, Mineral Surveyor, James Eddy (Snr.) and his wife, Sarah, were still living at Dalton, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Their daughter, Anne Eddy, was aged 21 and their son, Walter, was aged 15. Both children had been born in Denbighshire. On the day of the 1861 census, their 17-year-old son James (Jnr.) was listed as being a lodger at Mary Hood’s Boarding House in Dalton and so was 15-year-old Walter J. Eddy. This takes a bit of explaining and I can only guess at an answer. It is possible that the two brothers were living at the boarding house and Walter had been seen by the enumerator and then seen by a different enumerator when he was visiting his parents’ house. Both brothers were working as Timber Merchant Clerks. James continued to work as a clerk as an adult. The name “Walter J. Eddy” may also be a reference to the fact that John Eddy was also known as Walter Eddy.
In September 1862 the Ulverston Advertiser announced the discovery of a new vein or iron ore, found about half a mile out of Dalton, near to the road leading to Stainton. Workmen had cut through twelve feet of excellent quality iron ore which held promise of a first rate mine. The principal proprietor was Mr. Joseph Rawlinson and Mr. James Eddy also had a share in the mine.
The Lancaster Gazette of April 1866 mentioned James Eddy of Dalton-in-Furness as being an ore merchant.
In 1871, James Eddy (Snr.) and his wife Sarah, were still living at Dalton, Barrow-in-Furness and James continued his career as a Mineral Surveyor. On the day of this census, their unmarried 29-year-old daughter, Ann Eddy, was visiting John and Sarah Birch’s 270 acre Old Hall Farm, Woodhouse Lane, Marchwiel, between Wrexham and Bangor-on-Dee.
James Eddy was renting out his cottage at Aberderfyn to Rev. John Jones, Vicar of Rhos and it was then known as Rhos Vicarage.
On 27th March 1872, James (Snr.) and Sarah’s son John Eddy married Lucy Ann Power at St. Paul’s Parish Church, Newport. Wanford Rouse, Curate, conducted the ceremony. John and Lucy’s address was given as Bishopsgate Parade, Newport. The certificate showed John’s father as James Eddy, Mining agent and Lucy’s father as Thomas Power, Labourer. Lucy was born in Newport in 1847 and we assume that John met her when he was there in his work as a fisherman. The certificate shows him as a Master Mariner. Their marriage was registered in the district of Newport, Monmouthshire, during the 1st Quarter of 1872. This is the first recorded mention of John Eddy since his baptism in 1845. His absence from the 1851 census remains a mystery, but his later absences will most likely have been because he was at sea. We know he became a fisherman and then a ship’s rigger.
On Sunday, 21st April 1872, between five and six in the morning, the coastguard stationed at Polkerris, near Fowey, Cornwall, spotted a schooner drifting toward the Gribbin Rock. Despite all efforts by the crew the ship immediately struck on the rocks. The coastguard instantly went to her assistance and took off the captain’s wife, and laid out a kedge anchor with a view to getting the ship off the rocks at the next tide. Unfortunately this proved to be ineffectual. Due to the ship being so severely strained, she filled up with water as the tide returned and became a total wreck. The ship was the 140 tons Aurea, of Barrow-in-Furness, captained by Captain Walter Eddy and bound from Newport, Wales, for Charlestown, with coals for Mr. Nicholls of that place.
By 1873, the premises then called Tanyclawdd Cottage (later to become Eddystone House) comprised the dwelling house, stables, coach house and garden and was owned by William Cornwallis West (son of Frederick West). Thomas Hughes purchased the property in 1873 for £465 and sold it on 25th July 1874 to James Eddy (Snr), a mining captain, who had of course been employed by the Hon. Frederick West for many years. The property had been a boarding house but at this time it was being rented by Rev. John Jones, Vicar of Rhos. James Eddy (Snr) never actually lived in it.
In 1876, James (Snr.) and Sarah’s daughter Ann Eddy married George Ace. Their marriage was registered in the District of Ulverston during the 1st Quarter of 1876.
On 15th December 1876, at Garston, Walter (John) Eddy signed on as Master (certificate – nil) of the John And Henry; a ship registered at Swansea. He discharged his cargo at Limerick, Ireland and signed off on 8th March 1877; he remained on board. His previous ship had been the Sarah Lightfoot; a ship registered at Fleetwood. This may be a convenient time to mention that there was another captain called John Eddy; a younger man. To avoid confusion it is possible that John decided to use his other name of Walter Eddy for professional purposes.
On 19th March 1877, at Limerick, Ireland, Walter (John) Eddy signed on again as Master (certificate – nil) of the John and Henry. He discharged his cargo at Porthcawl, Wales on the 30th June 1877.
During the 1st Quarter of 1879, in the District of Bridgend, the death was registered of George Ace, husband to Ann.
The 1881 census showed 35-year-old Lucy Ann Eddy as Head of the Household (in John’s absence). She was a fisherman’s wife and was living at Blackistone Street, Thornton-in-Fylde, Fleetwood, in the Ecclesiastical Parish of St. Peter’s. Her place of birth was given as Newport, Monmouthshire.
Meanwhile in 1881, John’ father, 73-year-old widower James (Snr.) Eddy, was living at Nelson Street, Dalton-in-Furness and was a retired Agent. His son, 35-year-old James Eddy (Jnr.) was unmarried and working as a clerk in a local Iron Mine. James (Snr)’s daughter Ann Ace was a 39-year-old widow. James was renting out Aberderfyn Cottage to the Rev. Richard Williams, a Wesleyan Minister who was calling the cottage Wesley House.
On 19th July 1881, John/Walter Eddy was working as a seaman aboard the 29.85 ton trawling sloop Pride of the Lake (Official Number – 27942). They were employed in Deep Sea Fishing from the Port of Fleetwood. The sloop had been registered at Liverpool in 1859 and from 1st January 1870 until 1891 it was owned by William Sumner of Fleetwood and registered at Fleetwood.
At this time, the building later to become Eddystone House at Aberderfyn was occupied by a Methodist minister and named Wesley House.
James (Snr.) Eddy died on 27th March 1882 at Dalton-in-Furness. His death was registered in the District of Ulverston during the 1st Quarter of 1882. His will was proved by his widowed daughter, Ann Ace, of 4 Nelson Street, Dalton-in Furness, who was one of the executors of the will. James (Snr.) left a Personal Estate of £253 0s 9d. He left Aberderfyn Cottages to his widowed daughter Ann, who later moved from Dalton to live there.
Three years after his father’s death, James Eddy Jnr., of Nelson Street, Dalton-in-Furness, died on 10th May 1885, aged 41. His death was registered in the District of Ulverston during the 2nd Quarter of 1885. He left a Personal Estate of £30 5s 4d to his widowed sister Ann Ace, of 4 Nelson Street, who was the sole Executrix.
In 1891, 46-year-old John Eddy and 44-year-old Lucy Ann Eddy were living at Dolphin Street, Newport, Monmouthshire, in the Ecclesiastical Parish of Holy Trinity. Lucy had been born in Newport. John was employed as a ship’s rigger. In the house was 11-year-old Sarah Eddy, born at Fleetwood. Also in the house was a boarder; 32 year-old Joseph Power. “Power” was Lucy Ann’s maiden name so maybe this man was her younger brother or a cousin.
During the 2nd Quarter of 1898, in the District of Wrexham, the death was registered of 61-year-old Annie Ace, who was the daughter of James Eddy Snr. She had been the owner of what was then called Elliscales House, or Aberderfyn Hall and on her death, ownership passed to her brother John (a.k.a. Walter) Eddy.
In 1899 Aberderfyn Hall was renovated and renamed Eddystone House by its new owner, sea captain John/Walter Eddy and his wife Lucy Ann. The three Eddystone cottages were built, number one having once been the coach house.
In 1901, John and Lucy Ann Eddy, were living at Aberderfyn Road, in the Parish of St. John’s, Rhosllanerchrugog. (The probate details of 1903 confirm that his residence was Eddystone House.) John had no occupation and was living on his own means. In view of his death two years later we can assume he was retired on grounds of ill health. With them at the house was their 16-year-old adopted daughter, S. M. Ingle, born at Fleetwood (mentioned on 1891 census as Sarah Eddy). The “M” should have been an “H” as a later probate document named her as Sarah Humphreys Ingle. Also present that at Aberderfyn that day were their 7-year-old niece F. A. Coulding, born at Newport and a widowed cousin, 76-year-old C. Simon, born at Ruabon.
Eddystone House’s former name resurfaced on 1st October 1902 in a Memorandum of Agreement concerning the sale of 31 Broughton Road, Dalton-in-Furness for £280 by John Eddy of Elliscales House, Aberderfyn.
58-year-old John Eddy died on 27th July 1903 and his death was registered during the 3rd Quarter of September 1903 in the District of Wrexham. He was buried at Wrexham on 1st August 1903. The probate details described John as a retired mariner living at Eddystone House, Johnstown. On 5th September 1903, probate was granted to his widow, Lucy Ann Eddy, and their adopted daughter, spinster Sarah Humphreys Ingle. The effects totalled £2,307 9s 3d.
During the 4th Quarter of 1903, in the District of Wrexham, a marriage was registered between Sarah Humphreys Ingle Eddy and Matthew Henry Blackwell (born 21st April 1881). Matthew Henry’s parents were Matthew Blackwell, from Crowan, Cambourne, Cornwall and Hannah Blackwell from St. Austell, Cornwall, but then living at Chapel Street, Ponciau.
By 1911, 65-year-old widowed Lucy Ann Blackwell was living at Eddystone House, Johnstown, with her adopted 26-year-old daughter Sarah and Sarah’s husband, Head of the household, 29-year-old Henry Blackwell, a coal miner (hewer) born at Ruabon. The couple had lost one child but had a 6-year-old son called Eddy Blackwell (birth registered during 4th Quarter of 1904 in Wrexham District). They had a boarder from Wellington, Shropshire, 26-year-old Ernest Pye, a French Polisher at a Furniture Factory. There was also a general domestic servant, Mary Williams, from Ruabon. The servant spoke Welsh and English but the rest of the household only spoke English.
During the 4th Quarter of 1911, the birth was registered in the Wrexham District of Lucy Blackwell, daughter of Sarah and Matthew Henry.
During the 4th Quarter of 1913, the birth was registered in the Wrexham District of Hannah Blackwell, daughter of Sarah and Matthew Henry Blackwell.
During the 2nd Quarter of 1918, the death was registered in the Wrexham District of Lucy A. Eddy, aged 72, who died on 18th April 1918. Lucy was buried at Wrexham on 22nd April 1918. When probate details were made public her address was given as Eddystone House, Aberderfyn, Johnstown. Probate was granted to her son-in-law, Matthew Henry Blackwell, a coal miner. Of the £2,307 9s 3d. left by John in 1903, Lucy Ann left only £158 10s. This was because Sarah Blackwell was co-owner of Eddystone House.
The Blackwell family continued to live at Eddystone House after Lucy’s death and during the 3rd Quarter of 1918 the birth was registered of Matthew Blackwell, son of Sarah and Matthew Henry Blackwell.
During the 4th Quarter of 1932, the marriage was registered in the Wrexham District of 21-year-old Lucy Blackwell and Alfred O. Jones.
In 1945 Sarah Blackwell gifted Eddystone House to her daughter Lucy Jones (nee Blackwell).
Sarah Blackwell died in 1958 and her death was registered during the 4th Quarter of 1958 in the District of Wrexham. Her husband Matthew Henry Blackwell died in 1969 and his death was registered during the 4th Quarter of 1969 in the District of Wrexham.
The properties were purchased by the current owners in 1991 from Lucy Jones, who was by then a widow.
If anyone has the time to spare I am sure this family could be traced further. Many thanks to all who have helped in any way to piece this little history together. I have digital copies of every source document I used to compile this article and anyone wishing to see a specific piece of proof need only contact me via Facebook.
WRITTEN BY: Dave Edwards.
SOURCES: Census Returns; B, M, Ds; Sandy Lewis; Annette Edwards; David Roberts; North Wales Chronicle (1853); Deleth Hannaby; Eileen Williams; Margaret Jones; Lancaster Gazette (1859; 1866); Cumberland Pacquet (1862); The Royaal Cornwall Gazette (1872); .