John (Jack) Clare


[Barmouth Bridge]

On the 16th June 1826 Patty was safely delivered of her son John - the family consisted then of 4 children, Anna (6), Eliza (4), Freddy (2) and little John, whom for most of his life was known as 'Jack'.

The 1851 Census shows that Jack was living at home in the Northborough cottage and that he was a carpenter, but in 1859 he married (in his case a 2nd marriage) Margaret Morris in Llanymynech, Mid-Wales, and they had a large family.  How did he get to Wales?  The railway.  Like many young people from this period whose families had worked on the land for generations, when the railways came he got a much better job (my own Great Grandfather did exactly this).  

He had by his death worked as a carpenter for the Cambrian Railway Company for many years,  as a bridge foreman.  His many Welsh descendants - a few members of the Clare Society - are very proud of the fact that he was foreman carpenter on the Barmouth Estuary Bridge.

But just who was his first wife?  Well,  it is known that he worked as a foreman carpenter as far south as Somerset/Dorset for the Great Western Railway.  His first son Charles having been born in Yetminister, Dorset in September 1855 when Jack was 29.  The baby's mother died during the delivery of Charles (sadly a common occurrence at the time).  She was Sarah Bartlett, and Jack and Sarah had been married in February 1855 in Misterton, Somerset (near Crewkerne), just like Jack's mother Patty, Sarah was pregnant at the time of her marriage.   

Baby Charles was taken to live with his grandmother Patty and is mentioned in the Northborough Census of 1861!  Lots of folk over the years have been rather dismissive of Patty, but she grows monthly in my estimation.  A totally wonderful and caring lady.

Jack settled in Llandysilio in 1870, moving to Welshpool in 1895 after the death of his second wife Margaret.
  1. Young Jack* was a peasant from his birth
  2. His sire a hind born to the frail & plough
  3. To thump the corn out & to till the earth
  4. The coarsest chance which natures laws alow
  5. To earn his living by a sweating brow
  6. Thus Jack's* early days did rugged roll
  7. & mixt in timley toil—but een as now
  8. Ambitions prospects fird his little soul
  9. & fancy soard & sung bove povertys controul

    *(Clare, of course, has 'lubin')
      from 'The Village Minstrel

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