Richard Powell was born in 1830 in Lydham, Shropshire.  He was baptised on 27 June that year.  He was the son of Richard Powell, a farmer, and Martha Harris.  He was one of nine children (at least two of whom died in infancy).  His only brother, who was born five years before him, was also named Richard but died that same year (1825).

Lydham is a small village in the south-western part of Shropshire, right near the border with Wales.  It must be a fairly insignificant place as I can’t find much information about it, although it appears to be quite ancient, mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1087 as having a priest, a church, and a mill.  Perhaps not much has changed.

In 1841, Richard was living with his four siblings and parents in Lydham (no specific address).  By 1851 the family had moved to Walleybourne in the parish of Wrentnall near Church Pulverbatch, Shropshire.  Richard’s father was a farmer of 250 acres.


A search for Walleybourne just results in websites about bronze age artifacts from “the Walleybourne” (is it a valley, a river?) and a description of Walleybourne farmhouse, a listed building (with no photograph).  Did the family live there?

Richard was about 19 years old during the 1851 census, and simply listed as a farmer’s son.  Presumably he helped out.  Seven years later he married Catherine Jones of Church Pulverbatch on 15 April 1858.  He was listed as a farmer of full age.

In 1859 their first child, Fanny, was born, then in 1860 Annie was born.  On census night, 1861, Henry Jones Powell had just been born (one day old).  On the census form his name is written as Richard J.  (Henry’s brother, Richard, wasn’t born until two years later.) I had got Henry’s birth date from a fellow researcher as 9th April.  However, census night in 1861 was on 7th April, so he must’ve been born around 6th April.  Just a little confusing there.

In 1861 Richard was a farmer of 212 acres at Walleybourne, taking over most of his father’s farm.  He was employing two men and three boys.

Richard’s father died in 1862.  Richard junior was born in 1863 in Church Pulverbatch.  Between March of that year and October 1864, the family had moved to Condover.


For some reason Richard had given up the farm at Church Pulverbatch.

I’m not sure what he did in Condover up until 1870.  Unfortunately, no mention is made of Richard in newspapers in Condover between 1864 and 1870. His wife, Catherine, gave birth to four more children: Kate, John, Emily and Francis.

In January of 1870, Elizabeth Wood, landlady of the Condover Arms Inn died, and I think Richard took over at that time.  There were quite a number of auctions held at the Condover Arms but no mention of Richard between January and his sudden and early death on 10th September at the age of 40.  Such a short life.  He died of “dropsy”, an old word for oedema which is fluid retention, which seems an unlikely cause of death, but I guess it affected his heart, or he had heart problems to begin with.  His death certificate said he died at the Condover Arms and was the innkeeper.  I have found no death notice or probate for him.  His young son, Francis, was just one month old.

I turn to Catherine in the next post.

Sources: “Domesday Reloaded” BBC;; Google; findmypast; British newspaper archive; family archives