Select Richards Miscellany



Here are some Richards stories and accounts over the years:

Sir Richard Richards and the Gardens in Caerynwch Mansion

Caerynwch Mansion near Dolgellau in north Wales was built by Sir Richard Richards, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, after he had acquired the Plas Hen estate following his marriage to Catherine Humphreys in 1785.

Current owner Andrew Richards, the great great great grandson of Sir Richard, said:

"The gardens date back to the 1800's and were neglected in the 1950's and '50's before my parents began to restore them."

He is now continuing his parents' work in restoring the garden with the help of a part-time gardener.

Mr Richards continued:

"My grandmother was a well-known botanist and she brought back rhododendrums from China in the 1900's.  We have a woodland garden with special rhododendrums and at the end of March we have a mass of daffodils and bluebells.  In the front of the house there is a terraced garden with herbaceous borders and the grounds run down to the Clywedog river.

The two open days in May will include a three-quarters of a mile walk around the riverbank.  Because we live in such a beautiful spot, we want to let other people share our enjoyment."


Richards Name Distribution in Wales

The table below shows the number of Richards by counry in Wales according to the 1891 census.

County
Numbers (000's)
Percent
Glamorgan
    6.5
   50
Carmarthenshire
    1.7
   13
Monmouthshire
    1.6
   12
Pembrokeshire
    1.0
    7
Cardiganshire
    0.9
    6
Elsewhere
    1.5
   12
Total
   13.2
  100          


Daniel Richards, a Quaker

David Richards, a Quaker, came to Pennsylvania from Wales in 1686, accompanied by Lewis Walker.  They both settled near Philadelphia in Chester county and Port Kennedy.  Daniel purchased a farm there in 1707 and named it Tredyffin.  It remained in the Richards family for four generations.

Daniel married Elizabeth Evans and they had four children.  There are many descendants in the area today.



The Rev. William Richards and Rhode Island's Brown University


The largest gift to the Brown University library in the early 1800's was the Richards Legacy.  The Rev. William Richards, a native of North Wales, was a man of considerable learning, a dissenting Baptist minister, and an author of a number of political, historical and philological works.  Responding to a letter from President Manning in 1790, the Rev. Richards wrote:

"I rejoice exceedingly in the prospect which your letter exhibits of the growing greatness and the increasing felicity and prosperity of America.  I have long been partial to your country, and at a very early period of my life was on the point of removing from Britain thither.  But the War deterred me."

Richards then consoled Manning on the small size of the College Library and added:

"I have myself near fifteen hundred volumes, some of them of value."

Over the years, Richards and the College maintained cordial relations, with the College conferring upon him the degrees of A.M. in 1793 and Doctor of Laws in 1818.  By coincidence, on the very day that the latter degree was conferred, Richards had drawn up a will bequeathing his library to Brown.  He died before learning of his honor.


Solomon Richards and the Footpad

Solomon Richards, who died in 1819, was in his day a leading Irish surgeon.  He had the reputation of being the fattest and biggest surgeon in the United Kingdom. 

Ireland at the beginning of the 19th
century was in a most unsettled state.  Even the roads about Dublin were not safe after dark, robberies and even murders not being uncommon.  Richards had been called on to perform an operation near Santry, a village some ten miles from Dublin, and was detained with the patient till long after sunset.  It was winter and he was returning in his carriage, having with him a Dr. Obré, who had called him in, a physician at that time in good practice, and who was as spare and insignificant as Richards was the reverse.

Suddenly the carriage was
stopped and a footpad, opening the door on the side next which Richards sat, presented a pistol and demanded his purse.  Richards, begging him to lower his pistol, handed him the purse, and then his watch, which the robber demanded. Then followed the demand: "Have you anything else?"

"Yes," replied
Richards, "here is my case of instruments," handing them out promptly.

All this time 
Obré was concealed - hid by Richards's huge frame, which in the dark seemed to fill the carriage - and the footpad, not observing him, called to the coachman to drive on.  But Richards stopped him, saying: "Oh, no; not till you speak to my friend on the other side of me."  So Obré too, thus pointed out, was relieved of his money and watch.

Then the robber politely said: "Good
night."

But Richards was not yet done with him and
said: "My friend, you would not have got that gentleman's money if it had not been for me.  Now, my instruments won't bring you ten shillings in Charles Street (a street which was, and still is, the mart for all kind of second-hand tools and iron), while to me they are of value.  I think you might give me them back."

"Well, I will," was the prompt
reply and the case was handed in.

"One word more,"
said Richards, "you will get very little for that old watch.  I care for it because it was my father's. Let me have it."

"Well, you are a decent fellow," said the
robber, "here it is."

Then they drove on. 
Obré then in great anger broke the silence and in unmeasured terms abused Richards, declaring that it was mean of him to point him out as otherwise he would have escaped. 

Richards let him talk for a while, and then
quietly said: " Do you think I was going to allow you to boast in the club to-morrow how well you got off while Richards was robbed?  Oh, no; if I was to be robbed you must be also."


John Richards - from Cornwall to New Zealand

Tin and copper mining in Cornwall suffered in the second half of the 19th century and large numbers of Cornishmen emigrated at that time, often taking their mining skills with them.  One such was John Major Richards from St. Ives, at first a blacksmith and then a miner.

John, aged 25, set off with his wife Catherine and his three young children - John, Catherine and Thomas - for New Zealand.  They arrived in Auckland on the Oxford in 1874.  Their young daughter Catherine died soon after their arrival.  But another daughter was born, whom they named Kate.

John went to work as a miner at the Thames goldfield, as did his two sons later.  Son John died there in a mining accident.  But Thomas lived to 81 and daughter Kate to the grand old age of 102!  




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