Daniel Jones (c1760-1836) was Curate at Badsey and Wickhamford for a 20-year period from 1788-1808 during the tenure of the absentee Vicar, the Reverend George William Auriol Hay Drummond. During that period, Reverend Jones conducted 43 weddings at Badsey, the first one on 31st July 1788 and the last one on 25th April 1808.
With such a common name as Jones, it had not previously been possible to trace Daniel Jones’ origins, though we can say for certain that he was not connected to the other Joneses who lived in Badsey at the time. However, recent information from Val McKenzie in our Visitors’ Book reveals that his roots were in Cardiganshire, as he and his eldest daughter are mentioned in two wills which may be seen online at the National Library of Wales.
In July 1797, Jane Thomas of Brynhope in the parish of Caron bequeathed “unto my granddaughter Jane Margaretta, the daughter of the Rev Daniel Jones, the sum of twenty pounds at the age of 21 years or the day of her marriage which shall first happen”. The only other bequest was to “the Society” (thought to be the Methodist Society). Jane Margaretta Jones, at that stage, was aged twelve and had seven younger siblings. Jane Thomas died in 1800, her will proved on 13th March 1800. In a will made the following year, Jane Thomas’ nephew, Nathaniel Jones (1766-1801), a surgeon of Caron, after leaving items to his wife, brother, uncle, nephew and cousin, concluded his will by saying:
I also give one pound annually for the term of the next five years for the supporting of the Methodist Society at Rhydfendigaid. Likewise I desire my executor to pay the legacy left in the will of the late Jane Thomas my aunt for the same purpose. I also order my Executor to pay the legacy given by the said Jane Thomas to Jane Margaretta, daughter of the Reverend Daniel Jones of Badsey when it becomes due.
The Methodist Society referred to in both wills relates to Rhydfendigaid Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel which was first built in 1794.
From these two wills we can conclude that Daniel Jones was either the son or the son-in law of Jane Thomas of Brynhope, Strata Florida, Cardiganshire, and, from his age at the time of death, he was born about 1760. Findmypast reveals that a Daniel Jones, son of Thomas Jones (no mother named), was baptized at Strata Florida on 20th July 1759.
Daniel Jones, unlike his relatives, did not embrace Methodism but remained a member of the established church. He does not appear to have been educated at Oxford or Cambridge. The Church of England Clergy database lists a Daniel Jones as Perpetual Curate at Strata Florida, diocese of St David, in April 1784.
Daniel Jones married Elizabeth in the early 1780s. They were living in Aston Somerville, Gloucestershire, when two children were born: Jane Margaretta (1785-1860) and John (1786). Reverend Jones arrived in Badsey in 1788. Four more daughters and two sons were baptized in the village: Sarah (1788), Elizabeth (1790), Nancy (1791), George (1793), John David (1795) and Charlotte (1797). Sarah was baptized on 29th July 1788 shortly after his arrival in Badsey. In the baptismal register, “The Rev D Jones” has been written in bold ink against each child’s entry.
The family was able to move into the new Vicarage which had just been built, being completed in 1786. Reverend Drummond, who had been appointed to Badsey in 1785, had found the old Vicarage “in such wretched repair, that after a great part had fallen in, I was induced to pull it down and build a new stone house, which I sashed and slated … At the same time I dug a well in the premises, which was very much wanted.” There is no evidence that Drummond and his new young wife ever lived in Badsey, so his Curate was able to benefit from the new dwelling-place. Reverend Jones was allowed to live there rent free, and to take the surplice fees, in addition to which was paid a stipend of £35 a year.
The Clergy of the Church of England database lists a Daniel Jones who was licensed as Curate at Aston Somerville on 31st August 1790, so it is likely that Reverend Jones of Badsey also undertook duties in the parish where he had lived for a few years.
A newspaper report in Berrow’s Worcester Journal of 1st November 1792 commented on a fruit tree being in full blossom in the garden of the Reverend Mr Jones, and also that there were strawberries in blossom.
Reverend Jones was not impressed by the state of the parish registers when he took over. At the end of the baptismal section of Badsey’s first parish register, 1538-1785, he wrote: “For the year following look into the new Register which begins Jan 1st 1785, DJ”. There is then a note which says: “It is to be observed that the Register Book was not filled regularly since the year 1768 owing to the Rev William Rawlins late Minister … his neglect but a true copy of the transcripts was kept yearly and at the desire of the parishioners I have taken upon me to fill it up which I have done in 1789. D Jones, Curate under G Drummond, Incumbent.”
Reverend Drummond was drowned at sea in December 1807. His Curate, Daniel Jones, who had brought stability to the parish for the last 20 years, left a few months later. It is uncertain where he went next but, in a newspaper report of 1836, he was described as “many years curate of Haddenham and Cuddington”. These were parishes in Buckinghamshire, part of the diocese of Oxford.
Reverend Jones died at Cuddington in February 1836, aged 76. In his will, made in 1833, the beneficiaries were his wife, Elizabeth, his two daughters, Jane Margaretta Jones and Sarah Couleridge, and a grandson, William North. No mention is made of his other children, so it is not known what happened to them.
With thanks to Val McKenzie for pointing us in the right direction for finding out more about Reverend Jones' early life.