Ystradgynlais History

Reverend Fleming Gough

Rector of Ystradgynlais & Squire of Ynyscedwyn

Fleming Gough was the youngest of three sons, and five children, of his father William Gough and his mother Christiana, née Fleming. He was baptised at Saint Briavels church, Gloucester on 11th January 1758, implying a probable date of birth in December 1757. He would only have been a young child of three and a half when his father, Captain of the 44-gun 5th rate ship Penzance died aboard her at Quebec in July 1760.

Fleming Gough's older brothers were Richard, born in 1752, and William born in 1755. Richard would in time inherit Ynyscedwyn estate, changing his name to Richard Gough Aubrey in doing so. William died young, but the details of this are so far unknown. He had two sisters, Elizabeth, who certainly remained unmarried by 1794 and probably died so, at an as yet unknown date, and Ann Harriet (baptised Anne Henrietta) who was born in 1754 and would die unmarried in 1821.

Fleming Gough certainly seems to have remained on the family's Gloucestershire estates for most of his first decades. At this time his surviving uncle, James Gough Aubrey would have held Ynyscedwyn estate, and become Rector of Ystradgynlais from around 1780, confirmed in 1781. 1780 is the same year that Fleming Gough is ordained to the diaconate of Saint Briavels church. In 1782 he is appointed as a priest to Steeple Ashton, though perhaps in the role of curate rather than as vicar.

In 1785 Fleming Gough married Martha Taylor, who was born in 1755 and was the daughter of William Taylor (or Taylour) of Chalford in Gloucestershire.

By the time of the birth of their first children, Fleming Gough is living in South Wales. There is a Masonry certificate (Free Masons) admitting him to Gnoll Lodge, Neath in 1787, a year after his brother Richard. Fleming and Martha's eldest child, Harriet was baptised at Margam church in August 1788, Fleming's name being recorded for some reason as 'Phlomon'. Their next child Susannah was also baptised at Margam, on 14th June 1790, Fleming again being recorded as 'Phlomon'.

By the time of the birth of their third child, William Fleming Gough in June 1792, Fleming Gough is residing in Briton Ferry, and might indeed have been curate there. A fourth child, Richard, is recorded as born on 31st December 1797 and baptised on January 29th 1798 at Briton Ferry.

By this date, Fleming Gough had become Rector of Ystradgynlais (with Coelbren) and Rector of Cilybebyll in succession to his uncle James Gough Aubrey, who died in September 1796. The advowson of Ystradgynlais, the right to appoint the Rector, would have been in the hands of his elder brother, Richard Gough Aubrey.

Church Career

Ordained 1780, Died 1835

Fleming Gough was ordained to the diaconate of Saint Briavels Church in Gloucestershire on Sunday 24th September 1780, as evidenced in Ynyscedwyn estate paper D/D Yc 1207.

National Archives record D/1/14/1/18 are ordination papers from 1780 and 1782, including for the latter year "Fleming Gough, Steeple Ashton (priest)", Steeple Ashton being a parish in Wilstshire near to Trowbridge. The Clergy of the Church of England database (see sources) records an F. Gough as Curate in the Liber Cleri of July 1783, this being a return to the Bishop of Salisbury listing extant clergy at a location.

There is no information on how long he was there, or if there was a progression, but other evidence shows that he was in South Wales by 1797 - his admission to Gnoll Lodge, Neath (Ynyscedwyn estate paper D/D Yc 1208/1-3) in the Free Masons. The following year his eldest daughter is baptised at Margam.

Whether Fleming Gough had any position in a local church at this time is unknown, but by the time of the birth of his son, William Fleming Gough, in 1792 he is apparently Curate of Briton Ferry church, now Saint Mary's.

In September 1796, Fleming's uncle, the Reverend James Gough Aubrey, Rector of Ystradgynlais-with-Coelbren and of Cilybebyll died. The Reverend Fleming Gough was appointed to both of these rectorships. The advowson of Ystradgynlais was now in the hands of his brother, Richard Gough Aubrey, who inherited the Ynyscedwyn estate at the death of their uncle.

Richard Gough Aubrey, squire of Ynyscedwyn, died in 1808, without any children, and the Reverend Fleming Gough acceded to the estates. He would have been fifty-one at the time.

Reverend Fleming Gough vacated the Rectorship of Cilybebyll in 1815 by resignation, dated as 5th October 1815, the same date as given for the appointment of his successor there, Rev. Watkin Price, who had been appointed Stipendiary Curate there several months previously, 4th April 1815.

The situation with regards to Coelbren Chapel, a subsiduary of Ystradgynlais is confusing. John Morgan appears to have initially been appointed Perpetual Curate there in 1797 upon the death of James Gough Aubrey, with Rev Fleming Gough first appearing in the records for Coelbren in 1804 as such - BUT the 1804 record is a Liber Cleri, which is a return to the bishop listing all clergy at a place, and is thus a snapshot and not an introductory date. It might be the case that BOTH John Morgan an Fleming Gough served as perpetual curates there, and that in 1820 when John Morgan died and was replaced by Robert Wynter, Rev Fleming Gough continued to also hold the position.

Reverend Fleming Gough continued to hold the Rectorship of Ystradgynlais until his death on 27th October 1835. Reverend Timothy Davies probably took over immediately, but was confirmed officially to the position in 1836.

Cilybebyll Church, where the Reverend Fleming Gough was Rector from 1797 to 1815.

The grave on the right is for a burial performed in 1807, perhaps by the Reverend Fleming Gough.

The grave on the right is for the burial of someone whom the Reverend Fleming Gough may have baptised.

Fleming Gough's Family

Fleming Gough born 1757, died 1835

In 1785 Fleming Gough married Martha Taylor, who was born in 1755 and was the daughter of William Taylor (or Taylour) of Chalford in Gloucestershire. The wedding took place at Cirencester, Gloucs, on 2nd December 1785.

Their eldest child was Harriet, baptised at Margam church on 9th August 1788, implying a date of birth up to a couple of months prior to this. The record of the baptism records Harriet as being "Dtr of Phlomon Gough by Martha his wife". An insertion has been made between 'of' and 'Phlomon' which says "the" and a word I cannot read.

Harriet Gough married Howell Jones Williams on 27th August 1813, when she was 25. They would have four sons and four daughters, the eldest son being Walter Jones Williams (1814-1866) who would later become the Rector of Ystradgynlais from 1846 to 1856, the second son being Fleming Gough Wiliams, born April 1817 and died December 1817 aged 8 months, the third son being Fleming Gough Howell Games Williams, born in 1826 and who would rise quickly in the military before his death in April 1851, and the younger son being John Wilkins Williams, born in August 1832, when Harriet was 42. The daughters were Anne Harriet, born in November 1815, Susan Beata born 1820, Mary Martha Gough Williams born 1821 and Gladys Games Portrey Williams, born in early 1829. The abundance of family names is noticeable, as is the fact that the two eldest children were baptised, presumably for a second time, by Reverend Fleming Gough himself in January 1819, and the five younger children christened in ystradgynlais in 1834 by the curate, Timothy Davies, after being baptised elsewhere soon after birth. Given that Harriet's only brother, and Reverend Fleming Gough's only son, Richard Douglas Gough did not marry until 1840, 5 years after his father's death, it is quite possible that Fleming Gough was looking to an eventual prospective succession to his lands by Harriet's family in this period. Harriet's husband, Howell Jones Williams, died in 1848. She died on 4th August 1868 at The Grange, Biggleswade, aged 80.

Fleming and Martha's second child was Susannah Gough, baptised at Margam on 14th June 1790, implying a date of birth up to a couple of months prior to then. Again Fleming Gough's name is rendered as Phlomon - presumably either an attempted Latinisation, or a simple rendering of 'Fleming' which may have been pronounced in a Gloucestershire accent, in as phonetic a way possible.

Susannah, known as Susan, never married and would live until 9th August 1868, dying at Clifton, Gloucs only 5 days after her elder sister passed away. She is represented in the Ynysecedwyn estate papers in several locations. In D/D Yc 567-569, a lease of mining rights to some of the family estates the duration is listed as being "for lives of Elinor (wife of lessor), Barbara Ann Lucas of Swansea, spinster, and Susan (daughter of Rev. Fleming Gough of Briton Ferry, clerk)" implying an attempt to provide some revenue for the women of the family across 3 generations.

When Susan died, her will and probate mentioned a "Messuage called Newton Villa; in Oystermouth. Cottage and garden at Craig Vawr; in Briton Ferry" (D/D Yc 747/1-12). The Gough graves in Saint Cynog's churchyard, Ystradgynlais, has an engraving saying "Sacred to the memory of Susan Gough", implying she is probably buried at Clifton, where she had died, aged 78.

The third child of Fleming Gough and Martha was their first-born son, William Fleming Gough. He was born on 22nd June 1792 and baptised at Briton Ferry on 20th September 1792, a record which spells Fleming's name correctly, and gives his occupation as Clerk, the term for a man holding church office. It certainly appears that the record is signed by F Gough, Curate and the same hand that wrote that seems to have written the baptism entry for William Fleming, implying the possibility that Fleming Gough was Curate at Briton Ferry by this date and baptised his own son.

Sadly, William Fleming Gough died aged 3 years (3 and a half) and was buried on 27th January 1796 at Briton Ferry. The cause of death is given as "malignant fever".

Briton Ferry church records the birth of a Richard Gough, son of Fleming and Martha Gough on December 31st 1797, baptised on 28th January 1798. This poses a conundrum. The sole surviving son and eventual heir of Fleming Gough is Richard Douglas Gough, who died on 3rd December 1886, listed either as being "aged 86" or "in his 87th year", either of which implies he was born in 1800, or possibly late December 1799. This date of course does not accord with a date of birth of December 31st 1797. Either the Richard born in 1797 is not Richard Douglas Gough, and may be an interim child who died an infant, and the name was reused in 1799/1800 for a later child, or (seemingly bizarrely to us looking back on things) Richard Douglas Gough's exact age was somehow later forgotten.

Richard Douglas Gough married Constance Elizabeth Dansey on 21 May 1840 at Little Hereford, Tenbury, Herefordshire, which was the home of the Dansey family. Together they would have seven daughters, two of whom died in infancy, and one son born last, on 31st October 1855 and given the name Fleming Richard Dansey Aubrey Gough, a fair representation of family names!

Martha, the wife of Reverend Fleming Gough died on April 17th 1823, aged 68 Years and was buried in Saint Cynog's churchyard, Ystradgynlais.

Reverend Fleming Gough died on October 27th 1835, his age on the grave in Saint Cynog's given as 79. Given that we have a baptismal record for him from 11th January 1758, implying a date of birth in late 1757, or just possibly early January 1758, it is impossible to come up with the age of 79 for him. If we go with the earliest possible date of birth, October 1757, then he would have been just 78. More likely he was 77, coming up to his 78th birthday. It is just about possible that he was born in early October 1757, meaning he was 78 and now in his 79th year, with almost 12 months till his 79th birthday.

The grave in St. Cynog's churchyard, Ystradgynlais, of Reverend Fleming Gough:-

Rev Fleming Gough
For 36 years Rector of this Parish
Who departed this life October 27th 1835
Aged 79

Time was I stood as thou dost now
And viewed the dead as thou dost me
Ere long you lie as low as I
And others stand and look on thee

The grave in St. Cynog's churchyard, Ystradgynlais, of Martha Gough, wife of Reverend Fleming Gough:-

Here lie the remains of
the wife of the Rev Fleming Gough
Rector of this parish
She died April 17th 1823
Aged 68 Years
The righteous shall be in everlasting

The grave in St. Cynog's churchyard, Ystradgynlais, of Richard Douglas Gough, son and successor of Reverend Fleming Gough:-

Here lie the remains of
of Yniscedwin House
Son of the late Rev Fleming Gough
Who departed this life Dec 3 1886
Aged 86 Years
I know that my Redeemer giveth

The grave in St. Cynog's churchyard, Ystradgynlais remembering Susan Gough, daughter of Reverend Fleming Gough and Martha Gough:-

Sacred to the memory of
Youngest daughter of the late
Rev Fleming Gough
of Yniscedwin House
in the County of Brecknock
The niece of the above who died
At Clifton in the county of Gloucester
August 9th A.D. 1868
Aged 78 Years
Blessed are the Merciful for they shall
Obtain Mercy

Lands and Estates









Mining and Mineral Rights









Sources & Useful Information

Online Resources for Historians & Genealogists

Ynyscedwyn Estate Papers (held at West Glamorgan Archive Service)

Clergy of the Church of England Database (Up to 1835)

Forest of Dean Family History Trust (Free Registration)

Dictionary of Welsh Biography

Free BMD - Births, Deaths and Marriages (from 1837 onwards)

Welsh Newspaper Archive (1804-1919)

British Newspaper Archive, from the British Library (subscription necessary):- https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

National Archives Discovery website:- https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/