Heath Boulton Families

Record of Heath & Boulton families

(also connections with Barker family)

Some very distant relative came from Etruria, Nr. Milan, Italy to show the people of Stoke-on-Trent how to work in marble. Joshua Boulton (my gandfather) had a sister Mary who married George Horleston (in the potteries) and then came to Newport, Gwent where he was a Painter & Decorator. The mother of Joshua and Mary had two bridesmaids who each painted a plate for the bride (a common custom in those days). I have these two plates. The Boulton family story handed down appears that when the father of Joshua and Mary died (Joshua was about 3 years old) the widow was done out of a large amount of land, known as Valley Lands - most of the town of Burslem was built on this land. The solicitor dealing with the Estate, being some relation, got hold of much of the Estate. The widow remarried another Boulton but no relation of her first husband. The Boulton family were friends of the Heath family who farmed at Brown Edge, Nr. Leek,Staffordshire, so when Joshua was about 13 or 14 years old, he was sent to learn farming with the Heaths.


(Farmers) in Brown Edge, Nr Leek, Staffordshine. The Heath family then moved down to Tan House Farm, Newland in the Forest of Dean. Older children remained in Brown Edge, Leek area and son Ephrian died in about 1920-2 and my Father went to the funeral in Brown Edge. While he was there a relation who still owned a pottery gave him the golden coloured tea pot, sugar basin etc set, so some of the family remained in potteries. In the 1980's my cousin John Barker retired from the Methodist Ministry and went to live in Leek and met a lady who had married a Heath cousin? Family tree shows other Heath children lived in Gwent and Border areas. Joshua Boulton (Farm Trainee) fell in love with Ann Heath and they were married in the Monmouth Wesleyan Chapel and moved to the Valley House Newland.(My grand parents).


Soon after Joshua Boulton joined the Heaths as a farm trainee the Heath family moved farm from Brown Edge, Leek, Staffordshire down to Tan House, Newland, Forest of Dean. The move from Brown Edge to Newland was often spoken about by my Grandmother. It took several weeks to bring the stock by road and furniture, dairy utensils, farm implements and tools, came by wagon. Drovers were hired and some of the Heath boys and young Joshua Boulton moved the cattle and wagons a few miles per day staying overnight in wayside pubs while cattle grazed on village greens or they rented a field for the night. They finally arrived at Newland and it was so dark that young Joshua was lifted up shoulder high to read the last sign posts. The rest of the family came by train to Gloucester and horse drawn traps to Newland. Traps being the common means of transport. Heaths and Boultons were all Wesleyans and so they joined Monmouth Chapel but often worshipped at Newland Church which was so close to the Tan House home.

Grandma (Ann Boulton nee Heath) often spoke of life at Newlands as a "teenager". She well remembered Market Day in Monmouth where they sold their butter, cheese, eggs and other farm produce, also cattle in the cattle market (again, the cattle had to walk to Monmouth, no lorries in those days). She told stories of how the donkeys came with produce on their backs from the local Kymin Hill and of one old lady who walked over the Kymin Hill into Monmouth with her produce in a basket and carried on her head.

I have often wondered why the Heath family moved their farm from Brown Edge, Nr Leek, Staffordshire to Tan House, Newland in the Forest of Dean. Why they moved could probably be answered by the fact that it was quite near a good produce market as South Wales was then at its Industrial peak. But how did they know of the small village of Newland? Recently, reading an old history book of Leek area, I read of someone from Leek going to Oxford as a lecturer and he married an Oakley from Monmouth (Oakley, a name my Grandma often mentioned). Then a record in Newland Church gave me this information that an Oxford lecturer had come to be in charge of Newland Church School (a very important post and one of the first Church schools). I only guess that it was through this lecturer who may have told my great grandparents about Tan House Farm.


Married in Methodist Church, Monmouth. They then left my great grandfather Heath's home and went to a rented farm adjoining the Tan House called Valley House. They lived for a few years in this lovely old "mansion" of a house where two or three children were born. I visited this Valley House in about 1937 but the entrance gate to the drive was all that remained in 1980. The house a small mansion type, had been beautiful ir1 its day with lovely ironwork verandas and stone windows. In the large entrance hall stood a most beautiful carved wooden chapel for family worship. It had about 8 sides and enough room for 8 - 10 people. The servants would have stood around in the hall to listen as the upper parts of the sides were like windows with no glass. The roof of the chapel was dome shaped and carved. Grandma always used it for family prayers while she lived there. This chapel with most of the other ironwork and carved stone was being shipped off to America, so the workmen told us when we visited in about 1937. The same day in 1937 my Grandma took us to the Tan House and she explained to the owner that she had lived there as a child and we were taken around and even to the dairies where she had made cheese and butter as a young girl in her teens. I well remember a glass of cold milk on that hot summer day.

They then moved to Llangunvil Farm Nr. Osbaston, Monmouth but soon moved on to Trevonney Farm, Skenfrith (then Abergavenny Market was often used for cattle sales). The rest of the family were born at Trevonney which was just in Monmouthshire, the farm being on the banks of the Monnow River. The house was several fields away from the Skenfrith to Grosmont Road. They went to Norton Wesleyan Chapel and Norton day school. When visiting the area in 1970 I met anold Methodist who said he remembered hearing of the Boulton family and said "Joshua Boulton had the best team of horses that ever went to Abergavenny Market! !" (I remember the lovely stallion "Jupiter" who was well known in the Pontypool district, but tractors came into use and Grandpa was one of the first few farmers to have a tractor in Gwent).

When my father (Owen) was about 6 they moved yet again to the Sluvad Farm, New Inn, Pontypool, Gwent. Before the days of lorries, moving a farm was a big undertaking. The cattle driven and implements and other belongings taken in wagons. The move was spread over a period of about 6 weeks. The cows came first and Emmie, the eldest daughter, and Hubert and Ernest came with a few workmen. I well remember my Aunt Emmie telling me how she had to feed the men and make the milk into butter and cheese at the great age of 14!! (Good old days!!)

Sluvad Farm became the family home for many years. They all joined the Griffithstown Methodist Church, then they started the idea of a fund for a Methodist Chapel in New Inn which was opened in 1909. Grandma was the first Liberal to cast her vote in New Inn and always remained interested in politics and social reform. Here may I say something of their children:

Ernest became a Methodist minister spending most of his ministry in Yorkshire, but as a young man he went to a church in the Shetlands and his three sisters each went for one year to keep house for him while he was stationed there.

Emmie married John Barker 'a friend of Ernest's who trained in college with him. They went to Ceylon as missionaries and eventually came home and was a Minister's wife in Glasgow, Hanley and other areas, then to Burton-on-Trent.

Hubert the first Treasurer of New Inn Methodist Church, was unfortunately thrown off the hay wagon and was killed at the age of 32. He had a wonderful personality and was known for his charitable works.

Cissie died shortly after having married Evelyn Udell, a draper in Pontypool.

Mary (better known as Pop) married Samuel Langham a Methodist Minister who also was stationed in Yorkshire Circuits but he died when Joyce was about 6 and Ruth (not yet born). Joyce died two years later.

Ursula a school teacher remained single and she and her sister (Mary) Pop lived at home with my Grandma.

UPPER TROSTRA FARM GLASCOED (About 1 mile from Sluvad)

Owen my Father, married Hilda Barker (a sister of John Barker who married Emmie Boulton). They went to live at Trostra Farm, Glascoed (only about 1 mile from Sluvad Farm). There, Graham and Mary (myself) were born and they farmed Trostra for about 20 years then returned to Sluvad Farm. Grandma, Pop, Ursula and Ruth moved into a new house built in the orchard called Orchard Close. Trostra Farm was owned by the Jenkins family for many years and they lived at Griffithstown when I was a child).

According to Fred Hando a Gwent historian - this house Trostra was older than Sluvad. The house was in two sections. The older house being the original homestead - it had kitchen, wash house, saddle room and dairy with two bedrooms above which were granarys in our day. Across the road was a pump house, a three sided place with stone roof and stone slab seats on the three sides, the fourth side open with no wall. Travellers could rest on the seats, take water or wash their feet in the stone trough under the pump. In our time of occupation some "True" Gipsy people who camped each year on Trostra Common came to buy milk and asked if they could wash in the Pump House. The main house was built much later probably 12th or 13th century. This was across a flgstone yard and it had 4 circular staircases. One of stone which had worn so bad that two inches of oak, which was highly polished, was placed on top. The other three were solid oak stairs worn by many footsteps! The hall had some wooden hangers on the walls which "Hando" said were used to hang the harps on. Hando atso explained that kitchens were often built away from the main house to keep away the cooking smells and the servants lived there. The drawing room had a semi circular fireplace with a large iron fireback bearing the "three feathers" and the sides of this curved grate was covered with 17th century blue and white dutch tiles, most of which were covered with Bible story scenes. The walls were oak panelled to about 4 ft high and a lovely comer oak cupboard and oak window shutters. The floor flagstones had very old Welsh markings on them all around the room. The patterns were originally painted on by taking a bunch of chestnut leaves and rubbing them on the flgstones like a paintbrush. The patterns were often placed by windows, doors, fireplaces, to keep out evil spirits. When new babies were born, a further pattern was added. (I sent a record of these patterns to St. Fagan's Museum, Cardiff, as they asked if anybody had records of them). The garden was walled with the usual W.C. at the far end of the garden with three seats, male, female and child. There was a large stone beehive and trees included medler, quince, golden holly and vines on the walls. In the buildings there were traces of kennels so at one time the farmer had his own small pack of hounds. There was an old stone cider mill and a iovely large pond with an island in the middle where moorhens nested. A water stream ran under the house - all windows had stone lintels and some doors were studded and wooden latch and pegs.

Unfortunately the house was burnt down and the whole site cleared and a modern building erected.


The move front Trevonney, Skenfrith to Sluvad must have been about 1894 or 5. Again 'Hando the Newport historian said 'SLUVAD' came from the Scandinavian word "Esluvard" meaning Uplands and according to old maps an Abbey was in this area run by Scandinavian monks. A field behind the farm buildings was known as Abbey Field and some old foundations were removed during the last war when it was ploughed. Sluvad was owned by the Llangybi Estate until 1918 then divided into smaller farms and my Grandfather bought the old Sluvad Farm. There was supposed to be a secret passage to the Abbey but we didn't find it. However, my brother was mending a floorboard and he found a "Priest Hiding Hole" by the side of the bedroom chimney. This was under what appeared to be a little place where there was a kneeling step. On the opposite side of the chimney was an opening in the wall where any waste water etc could be thrown out to the drain below. (Not used in the Boulton occupation)I! A stream from the well ran under the kitchen floor so that they
could obtain water if the house was under siege or attack. It is stated that Cromwells Officer Fairfax slept at Sluvad while soldiers stayed at St. Mary's Church. The farmer before my Grandfather used to plough with oxen. A record of this appeared in the Free Press about 25 years ago. There were two horse mounting steps in the garden and the garden in front of the house had once been a cobbled yard.

Grandpa Boulton died in about 1920/'21 and then my Father farmed it with Trostra until he moved back to Sluvad in 1933 when Grandma went to Orchard Close (next door) and he remained there until 1949 when Graham who was married to Eileen (nee Blake of Monmouth) took over the farm until the Cardiff Corporation decided to take a lot of the land for the Llandegveth Resevoir and the Boulton ownership ended in 1960.

Grandma Boulton nee Ann Heath (written about on page 1) died at Orchard Close, Sluvad, in I 947 aged 92 and Owen and Hilda retired from farming in 1949 moving to The Laurels, Ruth Road, New Inn. Owen, my Father, died at The Laurels in 1959. Mary married David Turner, a widower in 1960, moving to Pettingale Bungalow, 19 Ruth Road in 1970 where my mother Hilda died in 1971. David Turner's children Janet and Martin married some 4 or 5 years after their Fathers marriage to Mary and after 22 years of retirement, David died in August 1992 ending a very, very happy 32 years of marriage to me, Mary Turner, nee Boulton.

As I have no children of my own, I trust that some member of my brother Graham's family will continue this record and any other branch of the family will continue their story for those of the Boulton/Heath/Barker families who are still to be born.

While I work at this long account of our family history, I am in a centrally heated bungalow with electric lighting, radio, television, telephone and all our modern way of living, but my bureau where I write is old!! Yes, it is the old bureau which came from Brown Edge, Leek, Staffordshire, in the early part of the 19th century to Tan House, Newland, Forest of Dean, then to the Valley House, Newland, to Llangunvii Farm, Nr. Monmouth, then to Trevonney, Skenfrith, Sluvad Farm, (not to Trostra Farm) but from Sluvad to The Laurels, 7 Ruth Road and now at Pettingale, 19 Ruth Road, New Inn (my home being named after Pettingale Farm which adjoined Sluyad Farm and now Pettingale Farm is under the Reservoir).

How times have changed in the life of the Bureau and also in the life of my Great Grandparents, Grandparents, parents and my lifetime. If only this bureau could talk it would have a wonderful tale to tell.

Martin Turner, my stepson, has printed this at his Printing Company. So that those interested can continue the story.