Plas Pencraig is an old estate manor above Llangefni on the Penmynydd side and close to the playground where I used to pay as a child. There I used to play on the swings and fall hopelessly in love with local girls, again and again and again.
I had paid scant attention of Plas Pencraig in all the years I lived in Llangefni, other than the celebration of the Investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales. We ate jellies and were given a pack of ’Ich Dien’ pencils.
It wasn’t until I encountered the Terrible Twins as visitors to Anglesey Hidden Gem that the subject arose and was made worthy of investigation.
The Terrible twins are Andrew and Gordon Weare.
How Llangefni still quakes at the memory of their childhood escapades.
I post photographs of the two guys at the bottom of the page and direct you to Anglesey Exiles for Gordon’s vivid articles of childhood on Anglesey.
It was Gordon’s reminiscences that clung somewhere in my unconscious mind. There, the interest would have remained vague had I not happened across a grave in a beautiful Anglesey church yard at Llanedwen near Brynsiencyn opposite Caernarfon.
So I took the photograph and sent it to Gordon and Andrew, never imagining the fuse that I had lit and the enthusiasm with which they would tackle the mystery of Clare Thesiger Daniell of Pencraig and her connection with Plas Pencraig.
Please take a moment to notice the timescale in which the mystery was solved. It really is impressive. But that’s nowhere near as impressive when I tell you that Gordon now lives in Warrington, Otago, New Zealand and Andrew in Anchorage, Alaska.
Them Pesky Kids solved the problem from across the world. Gordon from the Antipodes and Andrew from ‘The Last Wilderness’.
So, let's see how they progressed from childhood memories and a well-cared for gravestone to identification and stories.
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 16:19:30 -0400
Dear Guys, This evening is absoutely beautiful and earlier I decided to head for Llanedwen Church to take a few photos. It's the obvious high spired church you can see from Caernarfon.
My Mum was with me as the font of all knowledge on Anglesey people and she came across this singularly modest little grave. Mum remembers her at the hunts around Gwyndu by Llynfaes, where they used to change their horses and take a snifter for that which ails you.
Do you have any memory of her? Might have moved on, though, by the time the Terrible Twins arrived in Llangefni.
Interesting. Clare must be the last resident/owner of ye olde Plas Pencraig I suspect, so we missed her by a hair's wotsit ?
I asked my sister, "Who lived there originally?" Picturing in my Alzheimer-threatened mind a Brigadier, as these types so did.
Hunts? As a boy rambling the local countryside I did come across a pound load of Beagle dogs, all I can recall. I note they had sheep skeletons in their midst. I remember a widow Mrs Oliver, lived on Penmynydd road, when she died there were a lot of Zulu type spears in the dump c/o her husband - Major Oliver.
And a touch more towards town - same road - a tall, military type man, with a moustache, his wife drove a convertible Riley car, black and a real beauty. He had 2 daughters, or at least one, very pretty girl, a tad older than me, and they always rode horses around Pencraig. Sensible shoes and tweed types.
Date: 14/06/2010 22:00:42 GMT Daylight Time
My sister said she believed a family, living the nearest to Plas Pencraig, in a new bungalow (built in my day) facing the Coed Pencraig on the corner nearest the Plas. Two girls lived in there, I can see them now, quiet folks they were, they are in my olde school photo of 1959 when I was ten.
They have some connection. Relation? In Service? The last time I saw Plas Pencraig in 1997, it was a cachu brown colour! Was white in my day, must've been really beautiful in its prime, it was so when I was there.... orchards, summer house, lilly pond, rabbit warrens and well of dwr (water)!
Inside the 1st orchard gate was a stone bowl, built into the wall. Then I saw it inside the door of St Cyngar's eglwys (church). That's the same one for certain. Someone told me it may have an anglican significance. A ritual handwash? Lovely in summer for sure.
14/06/2010 22:45:43 GMT Daylight Time
HI WIL unwaith eto, not quite a UK sounding name is Thesiger. Sounds German/Dutch. The H being silent I guess. The corner cottage, new, (then), had its back to the Theatr Bach, p/s I was at school and in the same class in Jnr school as Andrew Fisher, son of the late George Fisher, head maths teacher at Ysgol Gyfun nee Uwchradd.
15/06/2010 01:14:41 GMT Daylight Time
The name Thesiger smacks of some big wig family..connected possibly to Plas Newydd, Marquis of Anglesey. Also some French bigwigs going back to the French revolution...a name ......Thesiger Penryn emerges to underline a Welsh theme..so I shall pursue further....more soon..Nos da!
Date: 15/06/2010 02:02:22 GMT Daylight Time
We have a noted army officer..name of "Robert Bromston Thesiger Daniell" born 1901 died aged 95 in 1996. The twin handles of ..'Thesiger Daniell' strongly suggest a connection... Looks like two surnames conjoined here..Thesiger and Daniell.
Next? Posh folk did this. Like Sir William Smith-Forbes-Smith...Jolly evah sew, what?! Haw Haw...
But what could that name be doing in Anglesey.. and "Plas Pencraig"?
A law court judge? A magistrate? Plas Pencraig?? The thlot plickens. ..outline of a body drawn in chalk upon the oak flooring..Big Whigg handles they be.
Thesiger...can that be a Scottish origin name...mmm? mmm? and added mmm? Still sleuthing. And the spelling of Daniell with no 'e' at the end...probably have a traceable line into the 1600's I'll bet..if only....the straws of genealogy could suddenly reveal all...
Date: 15/06/2010 22:12:45 GMT Daylight Time
Clare Thesiger Daniell, 1900 to 1993 'Of Plas Pencraig' ? I found in the Orbituary column of the Independent:- Robert Bromston Thesiger Daniell, 1901 - 1996. And as I visualised he is a Brigadier! With a distinguished military record and a DSO.
And it says:- 'Raised on Anglesey'! - All it says. 'Thesiger' is a Scottish name, I believe, and have peerages. As do the Daniells'. And, as is so common, an American branch. ‘Raised on Anglesey’ is all it says. But is this the missing link? Who therefore were their parents?
Who built Plas Pencraig would be the answer, and what year?
Bob Daniell, was the first man to enter Hell's Belsen - crashing his tank thru the wooden, wired gate. His account of his first impressions of Belsen are mind boggling.
He obviously loved nature, re. his comments on bird & animal life in India - an Anglesey boy’s trait?
Born in London, went to school in Norfolk (How do you get 'raised' in Anglesey then?). In those days the big wigs became either army officers or bishops, lived in Plas' which they called modest.
If they ever lived in them at all, more common then for Dad to never be home. Not unusual then. It's the same today but for different reasons. Got it on my g00gle searchilator.
Date: 15/06/2010 23:12:42 GMT Daylight Time
Only a sprinkling of RAF (and possibly ex RAF) families were there at Plas Pencraig when we arrived, and it seems they arrived at the same time. I noticed that the grave was in VG condition.
Then, if they are military bigwigs, we have to take WW2 into account. And I am certain these military types had residences in London. Nice flats/houses in the West end, possibly supplied by the army.
One of our lot - Henry Edwin Weare had a house in Hereford, built by his father who was Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria (military advisor). He was in the Napoleonic wars with Osborne.
Sent: Wed, June 16, 2010 7:52:47 PM
HI WIL, DREW,
I cannot be 100% certain it was Brigadier Bob Daniells ? Probably was.
Just hard to say how old I was, to get an idea of Bob Daniels' age. He was born in 1901, and upon reading the bones, it seems likely I guess. He had fair 'civilian' hair, no Queens Regulation 'aircut there me boy! Hard to say it wasn't him nevertheless.
Saw the back of his head mostly. Ask Mum Andy... see if she recalls ? He was part of the personel in the Belsen Relief effort, I see a few Taffs there too, med students. What a vomitous nightmare, beggars belief.
In his Orbituary in the Independent, gives an outline of his military career. Dubya.
Date: 16/06/2010 12:23:49 GMT Daylight Time
Blokes, Romans ( pssst ! 'Countrymen !) "I....Know !" Pencraig Estate Accounts..Cymru Archives.
The Estate of Plase Pencraig consisted of 186 acres on the outs'kirts (with'in knickers'-?) of the town of Llangefni.
In 1867, it was owned by Sir Richard Waldie Griffith, descendant of a Griffith family of Penrhyn near Bangor, and in Gwynedd, whose members sought their fortune in Ireland way back in Elizabeth 1st reign. Many a family association with military and of Irish marriages.
When Sir Richard Waldie Griffith died (about 1879) - without issue ( of 'The Victor', Dandy, Beano, Topper )- his interest in the Pencraig Estate went to his Aunt (name?) who had married one Colonel BRAMSTON Smith of Dublin.
After their deaths (he in 1890, she in 1907) the Plas Pencraig Estate passed to their daughters. The elder married a Lt.Colonel Phibbs of the Royal Irish Fusiliers. The younger daughter married a Captain Newman of Cork.
By 1916 the Estate "seems" to be in the possession of Mr. H.T. Daniell of London who married Mrs. Phibbs' daughter 'Maude'.
The Estate was sold in 1952 . ("This was because the "terrible twins' moved in next door and peed into their Lily pond," said an Estate spokesman") It is now the site of Pencraig Housing Estate and a college, Coleg Pencraig.
S'all I can scramble up folks..Drew
16/06/2010 13:14:51 GMT Daylight Time
Hi Wil,...Fill ya boots with whatever you want...Cymru Archives..probably in Bangor Uni ?? I wish I knew more ..But hey! we got those names lined up nicely!!
Now, there was, according to my Mum, a "Brigadier" who attended St Cyngar's Church when Mum forced us kids to look all nicey nicey for the neighbours on a Sunday - instead of plaguing the neighbourhood with terror..It is ten past 4 am for me here.
All those Irish Army marriages and then off into Anglesey or Gwynedd to hide from their fornic -m indiscretions. For example, T E Lawrence's father!!
Date: 16/06/2010 20:55:45 GMT Daylight Time
Some pieces from ( Sir Bernard ) Burke's Landed Gentry about the Estate of Plas Pencraig, its peers.
Several members here drown with the wreck of the Rothsay Castle about 1832.
Another was a chaplain in the Crimean wars..and etc. Still we have a neat pile of somethings, and being Landed Gentry herein were therefore well documented..very little paucity of info..Unlike Irish records !!*&^!@!!%#@ bluty awful.
Hope this reaches you intact and keeps you happy. Publish and be dammed, Wil bach!! Drewi
Date: 16/06/2010 22:45:30 GMT Daylight Time
HI WIL ac ANDY,
The name Bramston I have noticed is also spelt BrOmston, as is typical of any scribes listing names etc.
I have seen a photo of Brigadier: Robert Bro/amston Thesiger Daniell in the Belsen website.. names involved in the initial cleaning up of that blight on humanity, Belsen. He looks a gentleman.
Seems Plas Pencraig Estate passed thru many hands, not surprising (Locality? ) - as was the case in Ireland? The Plas appears to be relatively new in structure? That antiqueness, eg bottle-bottom windows etc, seem a far cry. Times gone by.
While I am at it, I mean't to add - as a kid one boring Sunday in St Cyngar's, maybe Easter, I do recall a Brigadier sitting in the front row, with a military, skirt-coat and a gold lanyard etc.
With him in the front row (naturally) were the Ffermwr (farmer) and his gwraig (wife) from Dafarn Newydd (Roger and Nellie Jones).
I remember my Mother saying 'He is a Brigadier and is staying at Dafarn Newydd'. I recall looking at DN farm from the road, there was a more modern addition to the actual farm house ? Gordon.
Date: 16/06/2010 22:52:38 GMT Daylight Time
I remember him having a big schnozz..maaybe a 'purple' boozer face..Brigadier "Daniels" may have been mentioned by Mum. I wonder if he was the Belsen Tank'd Crusader?? Mum would notice things like "He put ten shillings into the collection plate".
Date: 16/06/2010 22:54:30 GMT Daylight Time
Wil, Gordonsky..Fascinating dang history !! An honour to be the guys in the know too...fascinating stuff...great stuph..
Date: 17/06/2010 15:42:50 GMT Daylight Time
Brigadier Robert. B. T. Daniell. for picture see. Brigadier Robert. B. T. Daniell
This will get you the picture ..drewi
LLANGEFNI PRIMARY SCHOOL 1959
This little time capsule was sent to me by Gordon a month or so ago and according to him he and Andrew are in it. A recent email from Andrew says they're not. ARRGHH!
I hope they're not going to fall out about it. At least I can recognise our mutual friends, Ger Dei (Geraint Davies) and Huw Ginelli. The former last on the top row on the right. The latter little boy is on the front row left, second one in.
If you're in the photograph or recognise someone, please let me know. You'll help make the day of others. CONTACT ME
Ronald and Reginald Kray had nothing on these two lads. Friends in Llangefni with whom I have talk to about Andrew and Gordon Weare either shiver uncomfortably or laugh with unbridled joy.
Both these guys left their mark on Llangefni and it remains a important place in their memories of their formative years.Gordon writes:
My father was a navy petty officer (as all my family were before), he met and married my Holyhead mother during the War. My late Dad came out of the Navy in 1953. We were living in a submarine base at Gosport, on the other side of Portsmouth harbour, where my father was born, but the Weare's are actually Bristol people). After short spells at odd addresses, Bangor, Valley we ended up in a new council house at No 17 Pencraig.
The rest is Llangefni history, before the lads set off to make their own investigations of the World, its people and experiences. Both are diagonal poles apart geographically but in constant connection via the Interweb.
Gordon writes about his memories of Plas Pencraig on an article attached to my ANGLESEY EXILES page.
If you want to get in touch with the lads then please use my CONTACT ME page.
Andrew and Mariah at the University Lake, Anchorage
with the Beast, Sable..Aussie cattle dog...June 12 2010
This is not a picture of Gordon Weare.
I'm awaiting a photograph any day now. Thanks to both Gordon and Andrew for this troubling image.
Until then, here is a photograph of Nikita Krushchev enjoying one of those Cold War themed Private Dacha Evenings.
What a babe!
I wonder if J Edar Hoover was also there wearing one of those off-the-shoulder taffeta numbers.
Will we ever know?
If you have any ideas let me know.
Gordon and Andrew Weare's memories of Llangefni and of the characters they knew and saw have been a joy to unravel email after email.
If you have memories, thoughts or observations about the lads or Plas Pencraig do get in touch.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Plas Pencraig Lodge
Hi there, Wil, Does anybody remember the old lady who lived in the lodge gatehouse at the bottom end of the woods? We, as kids then, used to play …
Hello Folks, I am looking at ' Sir Richard Waldie Griffith ' said 'owner' of the estate of land, 180 odd acres, called 'Pencraig' circa 1867. He …
Do not know if this has anything to do with the above. However here goes. I was checking on 1911 census Ireland and discovered a Sarah Bromston and …
Drew Not rated yet
Front row, sitting, second from the right is Martin Jones the Llangefni Printer's son (W. O. Jones). I believe he took over there. The Printers …
Plas Pencraig Story Not rated yet
Syt mae Wil? I read the Plas Pencraig Story with great interest, I was surprised because of two connections I have with the place. Firstly, my sister …
Plas Pencraig, Llangefni in 1959, Not rated yet
I grew up on the new Pencraig Estate and watched it all being built on what was, when we arrived, total countryside. Pencraig housing estate evolved …