Select Matthews Miscellany

Here are some Matthews stories and accounts over the years:

Mathew Branches - Llandaff, Radyr and Castell y Mynach

Descended from the Yorkist warrior Sir David Mathew and his brother Robert were the three Mathew branches, Llandaff, Radyr and Castell y Mynach.  The influence of these families, often inter-connected by marriage, increased after the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 under the protection of Rhys ap Thomas who had married Janet Mathew.  It declined after the death of Sir George Mathew of Radyr in 1557.

Llandaff Mathew became Mathews in the 17th century.  They were quietly Royalist during this volatile period.  The Radyr branch was more openly Catholic.  They held lands in Wales and in Ireland in the 18th century.  The Castell y Mynach branch at Pentyrch was descended from Sir David's brother Robert.   

James Tilly Matthews

James Tilly Matthews was a London tea broker originally from Wales.  In 1797 at the age of twenty seven he was committed to the Bedlam psychiatric hospital.  He is considered to be the first fully documented case of paranoid schizophrenia.  He lived on for many years; but died at the age of forty four in the London private hospital in Hackney in 1814.

The Matthews of Belmont

At Clehonger parish church in Herefordshire, there is a monument on the south aisle to the memory of John Matthews, proprietor of Belmont, who was one of the representatives of the county of Hereford in Parliament in 1802 and 1806 and for nearly twenty years the chairman of the quarter sessions.

He was father of the talented author of Diary of an Invalid, Henry Matthews of Ceylon.  His eldest daughter, Elizabeth Matthews, in conjunction with Thomas Andrew Knight of Downton castle, brought out a book entitled Pomona or The Apple Trees of Herefordshire.  The fruit was painted by Miss Matthews.

The burial place of this family is on the north side of the churchyard, in the boundary wall.

Father Theobald Mathew in Ardmore

The organization and conduct of Father Mathew's temperance meeting at Ardmore on September 25, 1842 began like so many others he had been holding around the country for the past three years.  A crowd of 20,000, including temperance bands from Knockmahon, Dungarvon, Cappoquin, Cloyne, Midleton and Killeagh, had assembled on the Sunday night when the picturesque local landscape, in the words of the Waterford Chronicle, "shone responsive to the sunlight whose glories it reflected."

Father Mathew began with a speech defending the holding of temperance meetings on Sundays, warned against cordials as being a device to get people to take alcohol again, and stressed the need for the sober to take the pledge again as an example for others.  As the church could only hold a proportion of the crowd at any one time, he spent several hours giving the pledge to large batches at a time, pausing at times to address those waiting their turn.

However, the drunkenness in the village that night was a very disrupting factor.  Father Mathew believed that the disturbances were probably organized by the publicans in order to counter the good effects of tolerance.  The revellers may even have been bribed to act as they did.

These publicans did not show the same degree of good humored resignation as the brewer in Waterford who asked for his blessing, saying that the least Father Mathew could do, as he was ruining his trade, was to give him his blessing!

Early Mathews in Virginia

The first Mathews to set foot in North America may have been Captain Samuel Mathews of the Virginia Company in 1622, shortly after the founding of Jamestown.  From then until 1666 there were, according to Cavaliers and Pioneers, quite a number of Mathews settlers in Virginia, possibly as many as fifty.

James Mathews and his wife Jane appeared as early as 1688 in a Charles City county court order record. They had at least five children.  By the 1740's James and several of his children had moved to that part of North Carolina which would become Halifax county in the area of Little Fishing Creek.  However, James' son Charles remained in Virginia and died there in 1780.

Thomas Matthews in Coromandel Valley

Thomas Matthews arrived in South Australia in 1839 on the Robert Moffatt, found his way to the Coromandel valley, bought some land and became involved in grazing.  However, before really settling down, he took his family to several different areas of South Australia including the Barossa valley, and then returned to Coromandel.

His son John died there in 1849 and was the first of the settlers to be buried at Coromandel.  By that time Thomas had completed tthe building of his house and it was to remain in the family until 1946.  One daughter Harriet married William Morgan who was later to become Premier of South Australia, another daughter Bessie a Mr. James Cossins of South Rhine, South Australia.

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