Sunday, December 9, 2018

Christmas Eve 1841, Llanfoist, Wales

It isn't much, but another missionary journal from my 4th Great-Grandmother, Elinor Vaughan's era in Llanfoist tells us:
“My next appointment was at Llanfoist where I found a steady and attentive congregation. This is a dark and sootey place owing to the vast amount of coal and iron works here.” 

James Palmer Reminiscences, circa 1884-1898 LDS CHL MS 1752_f0001_00071. 

This source must be based on a contemporaneous journal as there are dates that would not be remembered unless recorded somehow. James Palmer occasionally traveled with Elder John Needham who baptized Elinor Jenkins Vaughan on 17 December 1841, just one week before the Christmas Eve meeting in Llanfoist. Elder Palmer also helped establish the Branch at Llanthony in the Black Mountains and was the first missionary to preach in Abersychan in June 1841, apparently without much success.

Elder Palmer is credited with the first recorded baptism in South Wales. His Reminiscences records that on either the 23rd or 30th of November, 1840, he baptized John Preece and William Williams in the River Monnow at Skenfrith, Monmouthshire. It just so happens that I took pics there on my visit last Good Friday, not knowing about this history (even though it's recorded in Truth Will Prevail: the Rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles 1837-1987 (University Press, Cambridge, UK 1987), p. 240, as well as the Reminiscences at p. 13.)

The River Monnow at Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, Wales. First baptisms in South Wales near here.
Hey, Skenfrith has a castle! I had to go there. The very small village is to the right, the Monnow is to the left.
Llanfoist seems like a pleasant and green place now, but it was just downhill from the ironworks at Garnddyrrus. There were also extensive, coal-fired limestone kilns in Llanfoist in those days. They were probably working on Christmas Eve.

You can see the limestone kilns in this marker. The Vaughan home was just above No. 13. I haven't yet determined where the Davies home was where services were held for members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

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