James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Changes in James' Life

James was interested in his family history and was convinced that the surname 'Shelby' had previously been 'Selby' so he changed his name to 'James Prichard Selby' (in later generations the surname became 'Prichard-Selby'). In the 1891 census he was recorded as James P. Selby, an unmarried schoolmaster, living alone in Pontblyddyn or Pontbleiddyn, Flintshire, about 2 miles southeast of Mold, 6 miles NNW of Wrexham and a few miles north of Brymbo where his brother, Timothy, taught. A newspaper report indicates he was still at Pontblyddyn National School in April 1892 and on leaving the school, on 28 February 1893, to move to Llandwrog he was presented with a watch with gold chain. However, he professed to value most the handsome writing desk presented to him by the teachers and scholars. (see report) [Wrexham Advertiser & N Wales News, 4 Mar 1893]

It would seem that his stays at Llandwrog , Caernarvonshire, and subsequently at Eglwysbach, Denbighshire, were quite short. In a court case at Llanwrst in 1895, James, of "Trevor School, Llangollen, late of Eglwysbach School", unsuccessfully attempted to sue The Rev. H L Davies for ₤5 balance of wages due [North Wales Chronicle, 9 March 1895]. In 1898 James was one of several of the Owen, extended family to attend the Llanidloes Christmas Party. In 1899, the newspaper report of the funeral of his uncle, Elias Owen, stated that James lived at Trevor; his neice Maggie Gwendoline Jones, born in 1889, spent part of her childhood at Trevor School with an uncle.

James was subsequently a Volunteer with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers with whom he fought in the Boer War (1899-1902); his involvement is described here. He was awarded the Queens South Africa Medal (QSA) inscribed around the rim with '7366. CR SEJT J.P.SELBY R. WELSH FUS' (i.e. he was a colour sergeant). It transpired that Trevor School, where James had worked prior to enlisting, was unable to keep open his position so James was unemployed on his return from South Africa. Nevertheless, James did return to teaching after the war and I am told he was a very capable and highly respected member of the profession.

In 1905 in Montgomeryshire [Fordon 1905 2nd qt], James Prichard Selby married Sarah Elizabeth Rogers, who was born in 1875 [Fordon 1875, 3rd qt]; she was known as Sally. On their marriage certificate her age is given as 29 years but he declared himself to be 39 when he was actually 42. I believe Sally was the eldest of the seven children of Edward and Elizabeth (née Williams) and for many years her father farmed Church House Farm, Llanmerewig, Montgomeryshire (166 acres in 1881).