Visit to Wales in 1799

March, 2007




Martyn Griffiths (mart346 @t of Neath writes:  I am preparing an article/talk on people who visited Neath during the French Wars.  I am aware of a Clutterbuck who toured the area in 1799 and believe he may be the Robert Clutterbuck (1772-1831) who wrote about Hertfordshire.  Can you confirm this and tell me something about him?

I cannot be certain that Robert Clutterbuck, author of The History and Antiquities of the County of Hertfordshire, is the Clutterbuck who visited Neath in 1799, but he was definitely in Wales between 1798 and 1800.

 The Gentleman's Magazine reports the following marriage:

11 January 1798. At Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Robert Clutterbuck Esq. of Watford, Hertfordshire, to Miss [Marianne] Capper, eldest daughter of Colonel James Capper of Cathays, near Cardiff.

There is an extensive family tree for the Watford Clutterbucks published in Cussans' History of Hertfordshire [see also Ancestral File on familysearch web site] which shows the birth of the following children:

  1. Robert Clutterbuck ... b. at Cardiff   17th October 1798
  2. Marianne Clutterbuck,  b at Cardiff   25th March 1800
  3. [Rev] James C Clutterbuck,  b at Watford   11th July 1801

As for his possible interest in the events in France following the French Revolution the following extract from Branch Johnson's Local History in Hertfordshire suggest he would have had no sympathy with the Revolutionaries:

It was in the year of Waterloo that Robert Clutterbuck published his first volume of the History of Hertfordshire that was to occupy him until 1827. Clutterbuck belonged to a West Hertfordshire brewing and landowning family and was thus familiar with county backgrounds ... but the short and simple annals of the poor will be looked for in vain - one is tempted to the impression that her cared not a row of pins for the vast majority of those who drank his family's beer. ...

Martyn Griffiths (mart346 @t replied: Many thanks for your swift response.  The diary of Clutterbuck is in Cardiff  Library and I don't get down there very often in the day (about two years ago last time).  I shall have to make the effort before long.  It certainly looks like the same man. Here is an excerpt from his diary:

(Thursday September 12th 1799)
"This morning we bid farewell to Pont Neath Vaughan and took our course westward for MelincourtNeath Fair happening on that day supplied us with company for several miles...The mountains towards the bottom are cultivated; but a second ridge rising above these is in its native state and furrowed by rains.  The road is bisected by two rail roads, the first about two miles from Pont Neath Vaughan belongs to Mr. Leigh of the Gnoll; and the second a mile beyond leads to the Abbey works situated a little way on this side of Neath in the possession of Mr. Price, a Quaker.  We passed also two gentlemen's houses, which were remarkable for the neatness of the meadows and more immediate grounds about them.

Having come more than five miles we turned down a narrow lane on the left hand according to direction, and crossing the canal were obliged to ford the river.  The diminutive village of Melincourt with its iron works lay against the hill on the other side.  It consists of five little cottages, two of which are public houses."

Martyn Griffiths  goes into some depth describing the Melincourt Ironworks.  If I find out more I shall let you know.  The article/talk won't be done for a couple of  years as we are booked up until then - but the work has to start now.

April 2007

There is an article "Robert Clutterbuck of Watford, 1772-1831: county historian and topographer", by Nicholas Connell, 2002, in Hertfordshire's Past No 53. The relevant section reads:

Clutterbuck spent his twenties as a man of means and leisure journeying through Great Britain and recording his travels in diaries. His early destinations included: Summer 1794 - Wales; Summer 1795 - North of England and Scotland (including the Lakes and Derbyshire); Summer 1796 - West of England; 1799 ­ Cambridge, Lincoln, Scarborough, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Glamorgan.

In his later years Clutterbuck ventured further afield: April - May 1801 - West of England including Salisbury and Wiltshire; 1806 - Herefordshire; 1813 - Isle of Wight; 1817-1830 - France, Norway, Switzerland and Italy; 1827 - Highlands of Scotland.

[Footnote] Clutterbuck's early tour journals are held at Cardiff Central Library. A transcription of one can be found in Hopkin. T. J. (ed.) "Tour through Glamorgan 1799," The Glamorgan Historian, vol. 3, pp 201-219, 1966.

A copy of this article may be obtained from the British Library's "direct" service

If you can add to the information given above tell me.

Page updated April 2007