Death of Mr. Thomas Stockwood, Bridgend


"Full of years & honour"

From the Glamorgan Gazette Friday December 27th 1895

This page contains two articles from the Glamorgan Gazette relating to the Stockwood family and their association with that  newspaper itself.

The first contributed by Helen D'All and the second by Brian Comley


We have the very painful duty to perform of chronicling the death of Mr. Thomas Stockwood, one of Bridgend's chief and most honoured citizens, which took place at half-past twelve o'clock on Tuesday morning at his residence on Park Street, the cause of death being bronchitis. On the town of Bridgend, no less than on the whole  neighbourhood around, the news - even though we are in the midst of the season of festivity and hilarity - will fall with the weight of a sad personal misfortune and loss, and mayhap the impression it will have created is the more profound in that the death came about  so suddenly and unexpectedly. As late as half-past seven o'clock on Saturday evening Mr. Stockwood was in his office, apparently in good health and spirits, transacting business; two days after he had breathed his last. "Old age told its tale". Mr. Stockwood would never take great care to properly protect himself against the bitter wintry weather that has recently been experienced; and latterly - for the last few months - he was troubled at intervals with a slight cough, which had evidently weakened him considerably.  Last week, however, he was, as usual, about all the while, very cheerful and apparently quite well. On Friday and Saturday he complained of the cough, but he was out on both days; and, as already stated, was doing work as late as seven o'clock on Saturday evening last.  On Sunday he was induced to stay indoors - though, as yet, he was not seriously ill.  On Sunday evening he concented to being seen by a doctor, and the family called in Dr. Randall, who, after an examination, detected serious symptoms and insisted on his going to bed and staying there the next day.  Mr. Stockwood made light of his illness and good humouredly told the doctor that he was bound to go out on Monday.  However, he fell in with medical injunctions, and stayed in bed that day; and Dr. Randall, seeing him about ten o'clock n the Monday morning, found that he was seriously ill. The family immediately telegraphed for a nurse, who arrived the same evening, and entered on her duties without delay. Dr. Price (Cardiff), was also telegraphed for, and arrived during the afternoon. Mr. Stockwood continued to be very cheerful, and told the doctor he had never been examined by a doctor before, and what he thought was the matter with himself was anno domini  more than anything else. He was thus bright and buoyant, and not then very weak. Both the doctors, however, formed a most serious opinion of his case.  Dr. Shapley (Sidcup, Kent), his son-in-law, and Miss Stockwood, who was on a visit to Sidcup, were next telegraphed for, and both arrived in the evening, since when Miss Stockwood and Miss May Stockwood remained by his side till the time of his death.

Mr. Thomas Stockwood was born at Newport, Monmouthshire , on November 11th,1814 -  a few months before "the immortal battle of Waterloo". The name Stockwood is by no means a familiar one; indeed is does not appear that the name occurs anywhere except in Mr. Stockwood's own immediate connections.  The London directory does not contain the name; but there is a manor house near Kaynshaw, in Somersetshire, a street in Chelsea and a parish in Dorsetshire, all bearing the name, and that is all that can be traced.

When a boy he came to Cowbridge, and was educated at the Eagle School, where he was an usher before he was 11 years of age. His parents had just moved to Cardiff when he obtained a clerkship at Bridgend, in the office of the late Mr. William Lewis (uncle of Mr. T. Tamplin Lewis, Registrar of the County Court), then a solicitor just starting at Bridgend.  This was in the year 1827 , when he was 13 years of age - but nearly as tall as he ever was afterwards. Bridgend was then a very small place, but withal an important one, the Quarter Sessions and elections being held here. The old town then stood between the Bear Hotel and the present Town Hall, and the only homes at present standing which were in existence then are those now occupied by Mr. W. H. John and Mr. William Gladdish, which were in the course of erection at that time. Young Stockwood entered on his duties with commendable zeal, and Mr. Lewis was not long in discovering that he had a promising young man, painstaking and energetic.  As a lawyer's clerk he had to make his appearance in a top hat and a cut-away coat. Thirty years later found him a fully qualified solicitor, and subsequently he went in partnership with Mr. William Lewis, and after that with Mr. Tamplin Lewis, and continued with the latter gentleman until each began practice on his own.

Mr. Stockwood held numerous and important public offices, the chief of them being, of course, as Clerk to the Magistrates, in which capacity he acted for the protracted period of 50 years - from 1844 to 1894 - being succeeded in the latter year by his well-known and popular son, Mr. S. H. Stockwood. The occasion of his retirement after half-a-century of uninterrupted service will be fresh in the memory of our readers. On Saturday, July 14th 1894, was celebrated the jubilee of his appointment, when Bench and Bar united in paying him a personal tribute of respect and esteem, by presenting him with a handsome gold watch and an address, bearing testimony to the extent and soundness of his legal attainments, his ripe experience, his high integrity of purpose, and the able and impartial manner in which he had carried out his responsible duties during that long period. Mr. W. Llewellyn then mentioned the remarkable fact that during the fifty years, in all the cases in which the decision of the magistrate had been appealed against, not a single one had been upset, which abundantly demonstrated Mr. Stockwood's sound legal acquirements, his good judgement and advice; and the Magistrates, through Mr. R. W.  Lllewellyn  ( the Chairman), gave it as their opinion that his sound judgement, impartiality, and long experience had given a credit and prestige unsurpassed by any court in the county.  And, indeed, by dint of his sound legal knowledge, and keen grasp of intricate legal issues, combined with his dignified bearing, and his suavity and courtesy of manner, he worthily maintained the best traditions of his office.

Mr. Stockwood held other important offices, and had a very extensive private practice. He was Coroner for the Manor of Ogmore, Secretary and Treasurer of the Town Hall Committee, Chairman of the Bridgend School Board, a member of the National School Committee, Solicitor to the Permanent Benefit Building Society, and local Solicitor  to the Dunraven Estate; he was also a Perpetual Commissioner, and was once a surveyor of highways (a compulsory office then) and he made a considerable advance in this connection, as the first man to make the Rhiew fairly passable for pedestrians. He formerly served the town as Chairman of the Board of Health (which he was instrumental in forming) resigning that post in consequence of his inability to induce his fellow members to go in for a sewering scheme. He was also for a great many years churchwarden at Newcastle Church, and the present church at Nolton, by the way, is the third that Mr. Stockwood could remember.

What changes - aye what revolutions - industrially, socially, politically, - have passed over Bridgend and the county since the distant day when first Mr. Stockwood "stepped into the arena". He has seen practically the whole of Bridgend built; he has seen the railway constructed; he remembered the first steamship sailing from Newport; he remembered the discussion that took place as to the possibility of crossing the wide Atlantic by steam. He had ridden professionally to Quarter Sessions from Usk to Carmarthen; he rode up the Rhondda Valley - now a teeming industrial hive - when there were only two farm houses to be seen, and the whole district was one expanse of forest trees, and desolation reigned supreme; and he remembered the time when Mr. Coffin opened his first coal works in that valley, and heralded the dawn of a great new era, that has brought   settled order out of weltering chaos. He was old enough to remember the time when the Parliamentary Elections for the county took place at Bridgend. The electors in those days came from the farther parts of the county to record their votes. The ballot was then the dream of political visionaries, and the voting occupied 10 or 14 days.   What exciting scenes were enacted in those days of insurgent political feeling outside the "Bear Inn", and what sensation was created in the town when the supporters of the late Mr. Talbot marched in from Margam to record their votes for their favourite. The Margam Statesman has now passed over to the majority and Mr. Stockwood has now followed him. Mr. Stockwood can also recall when Bridgend folk had to send to Ewenny for their letters. The Royal Mail passed through Ewenny, on the main road through the county for London. Bridgend was off the course, and the postman who carried letters to meet the mail at Ewenny charged each correspondent a penny for carriage. In those times Sir John Nicholl was a prominent figure in local life . Sir John Harding was talked about, and others whose names can only be recalled after an effort of memory. Carlyle - the world renowned Carlyle - came on a visit to Cowbridge to see John Sterling's father - Sterling of the Times - whose greatness in literary coteries was so soon superseded by the reputation of his greater son. Mr. Stockwood's brother, Mr. John Stockwood, of Cowbridge, knew Sterling well, and was an intimate of Mr. Redwood, another host of Carlyle; and the famous thinker, who was a creative force in European thought, used to smoke his pipe in solitude and calm under the trees at the home of the Redwoods.

Though he did not at any time display much activity as a politician, Mr. Stockwood was all his lifetime a staunch and consistent Conservative - one of the old-fashioned Tory school - and he acted as registration agent for his party under the old dispensation. If not a militant politician , however, he was very pronounced in his views, albeit ever ready to give his opponents the credit of being perfectly honest in their opinions.

His has been a busy life. His greatest hobby was his work. He was fond of his profession, and, as Mr. J. H. Williams, for many years his confidential clerk, can tell us, scrupulously careful in the execution of his duties; and he died, as he had all along wished, in harness.

To come to the "man at home", he was very partial to gardening, and delighted in the growth of flowers and such of nature's ornaments. Latterly, however, he could not do much in the horticultural line, and he diverted the hours of his leisure to his fowls, for he entertained a kindly regard for such, and animals also.

In his younger days he was an athlete of no mean order, and he could tell many wonderful tales of his feats as a jumper and runner - and he was a very fast runner. Mr. Llewellyn, Court Colman, is prepared to take an affidavit that he has seen him jump turnpike gates continually. He was also a football player, but in his days they played that game by moonlight, and from hedge to hedge, the hedge being the goal. On one occasion, when engaged in a match, he received a kick on his shin, from which he bore the marks at the time of his death. He was also a tennis player and an ardent swimmer.

He read extensively every kind of literature from Shakepeare's immortal dramas to the evanescent records of newspapers. He greatly admired the writings of Macauly and Sir Walter Scott. He was an affable disposition, and a winning personality. He looked at life through a bright pair of spectacles, and there was no tinge of sour pessimism or brooding melancholy in his nature. He enjoyed a good joke and a hearty laugh, and maintained his vivacity and cheerfulness of temperament up to the last. He was a capital conservationalist, and enjoyable  company, for possessing as he did a very retentive memory he had a fund of anecdotes concerning the "days of old". Even in his young days he was fond of mixing  with old people and thus he had gained much information concerning men and things, at the time when the present century was yet beginning to dawn.  He learnt Welsh very soon after he came to Bridgend, and spoke the language well, and a knowledge of the vernacular, it should be remembered , was almost a necessity in Bridgend a few decades back. He was held in the highest respect by all, irrespective of creed or class and admired by not a few, for you cannot help admiring old age when seen side by side with unimpaired intellect and physical vitality; much less a life - as his was - unimpeachable in its aim and purpose, unswerving in its adhesion to moral rectitude and personal integrity, and pregnant with unceasing activity.

He married Miss Ann Thomas, daughter of Mr. Thomas, of Leicester House, Bridgend and has five surviving children, vis., Miss Stockwood, Mrs. Shapley, Miss May Stockwood, Mr. S. H. Stockwood and Mr. Arthur Stockwood. Four children died in infancy, and his two eldest - Mr. T. Stockwood and Miss Stockwood - died, one in 1888 and the other in 1891.

If ever a man could look back upon life with unalloyed complacency it was Mr. Stockwood, and his bereaved sons and daughters and relatives may draw soothing comfort from a contemplation over his noble life, unmarred, as it was, by a single blemish of character, unsullied by any questionable acts or unworthy motives. The dead leave behind them their memory, their example, and the effect of their actions, and in the case of Mr. Stockwood these should be a cherished heritage for all those who had the good fortune to know him; for there is no service, a great writer once said, which a man of commanding influence can render his fellow creatures better than that of leaving behind him an unspotted example. His venerable and stately figure was the most familiar in the streets of Bridgend, and his death will leave a blank that will not easily be obliterated from the memory.

The funeral, a public one, will be on Saturday at 12:30, at St.Mary's, Nolton.


           LAW AND THE PRESS

            Father and Son Were Chairman of "Gazette" for Nearly Half a Century

    Article from the Glamorgan Gazette - Friday 1 July 1966

The history of the Glamorgan Gazette is largely the remarkable story of a son who followed in his father's footsteps, not only in the profession of the law but also in the world of newspapers.

For nearly a half-century of the "Glamorgan Gazette's" 100 years of existence the father, the late Mr. Samuel Henry Stockwood, and the son, Col. Illtyd Henry Stockwood, occupied the chair of the newspaper's Board of Directors, a truly outstanding achievement.

Mr. S.H. Stockwood was Chairman of the Company for sixteen years, until his death in 1932. His son, Col. Illtyd H. Stockwood, succeeded him as Chairman and occupied that position for 32 years until April 1965, when the newspaper became part of the Thompson Organisation.

Father and son between them served as directors of the company for nearly three-quarters of a century - Mr. S.H. Stockwood for 29 years and Col. I.H. Stockwood for 40 years, a total of 69 years.

Mr. S.H. Stockwood was solicitor to the company and a shareholder as 1899.


The Stockwood family came to South Wales from Somerset towards the end of the 18th Century.

The legal tradition in the Stockwood family began with Col. Illtyd H. Stockwood's grandfather Mr. Thomas Stockwood who was born in 1814 and died on Christmas Eve 1895.

Mr. Thomas Stockwood came to Bridgend from Cowbridge as a youth of 15, and obtained employment as an office boy with Mr. William Lewis, solicitor. Young Stockwood was talented, ambitious and industrious. He became articled to Mr. Lewis and was later made a partner in the firm.


Soon Mr. Thomas Stockwood was to become an important figure in the legal and professional circles of Mid-Glamorgan and held several public appointments.

He was appointed Clerk to the Magistrates at Bridgend, a position he held for some 50 years. Under his guidance the Court did not have a single decision reversed on appeal.

He was a Churchwarden at St. Illtud's Church, Newcastle, Bridgend, for about half-a-century


Mr. Samuel Henry Stockwood, the youngest of Mr. Thomas Stockwood's three sons, followed in his father's footsteps in the legal profession and, after his father's death in 1895 in many of the public appointments held by his father.

Having first of all worked as a mining engineer in Maesteg for a few years (he served his time as a mining student under Mr. James Barrow, of Maesteg. Mr. S.H. Stockwood joined his father, Mr. Thomas Stockwood, as an articled clerk. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1883.

When Mr. Thomas Stockwood died in 1895 his son, Mr. S.H. Stockwood, succeeded him as Clerk of the Justices on February 9 of that year, and held that position until his death in 1932.

Mr. S.H. Stockwood was senior partner in the firm of Stockwood and Williams, Solicitors, Bridgend. He was Coroner for the Manor of Ogmore (the last King's Coroner for the Royal Manor), which included a large portion of the Ogmore and Garw Valley, as well as the coastal region of Southerndown and Ogmore-by-Sea. He was also Steward of the Manor. He was local Solicitor to Dunraven Estates, Clerk to the Ogmore Board of Fisheries and a Warden of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was appointed the first Clerk to the Ogmore and Garw Council in 1887 on the formation of what was then the Ogmore and Garw Local Board, and relinquished the position in 1921.

Among Mr. S.H. Stockwood's other appointments were: Assistant Secretary (1881), Secretary (1855), and Chairman (1919) of the Porthcawl and Southerndown "Rest" Convalescent Homes; Chairman of the Governors of Bridgend County School; Hon. Treasurer of Committee No. 5 of the Llandaff Diocesan Board of Finance; and Churchwarden for the Parish of Newcastle from 1895.

He was Trustee of the Bridgend and District Cottage Hospital and a Trustee of the Bridgend Town Hall. He was one of the original members of the Ogmore Club, Bridgend, which was founded in 1883. He was Chairman of the old Bridgend Gas Company.

For many years Mr. S.H. Stockwood was President of the Bridgend and District Law Society. He was a keen member of the Bridgend Rugby Football Club and at one time captained the team. He was a member of the old Volunteer Artillery in Bridgend.

During the first "Great War", Mr. S.H. Stockwood rendered fine service to the Soldiers and Sailors Association and the Incorporated Soldiers and Sailors Help Society, Bridgend Branch, of both of which he was Chairman until the Armistice. During the early part of the war he served as a volunteer in the 2nd V.B. Welsh Regiment.

He was one of the stalwarts of Conservatism in the Ogmore Division and for nearly 40 years, until October 1929, was Chairman of the Ogmore Division Conservative and Unionist Association.


Mr. Samuel Henry Stockwood's interest in the "Glamorgan Gazette", as solicitor, director and chairman extended over nearly half a century.

An entry in the minute book of the Central Glamorgan Printing and Publishing Company Limited (which was the company's title until it was changed to the Glamorgan Gazette Limited), shows Mr. S.H. Stockwood as a shareholder and as acting in a legal capacity for the company in May 1889.

The minute book's first reference to Mr. S.H. Stockwood in the capacity of a director of the company appears under the date, July 1903.


By the year 1903 Mr. S.H. Stockwood and Mr. John Charles Coath had acquired the company.

Mr. J.C. Coath had bee appointed a director of the company in September 1891, and by 1895 he was Deputy Chairman to Mr. Charles Price Davies (Chairman for several years).

Mr. J.C. Coath, who was also Managing Director for a time was appointed Chairman of the company on May 24 1895. He died in September 1915.

Following the death of Mr. J.C. Coath, Mr. S.H. Stockwood was appointed Chairman of the Directors on March 24 1916. At one time he also acted as Managing Director.

Mr. S.H. Stockwood remained as Chairman until his death in his 76th year, on June 14 1932. He collapsed and died after a heart attack early that Tuesday morning at his home, Westfield, Bridgend. A fortnight earlier, he had presided over a meeting of the "Glamorgan Gazette" directors.


At his funeral at St. Illtud's Church, Newcastle, a muffled peal was rung on the church bells by eight members of the Llandaff and Monmouth Association of Change Ringers. This was a peal of Grandsire Triples, comprising 5,040 changes, lasting three hours and five minutes.

Mr. S.H. Stockwood, whose wife, the former Miss Alice Emma Taylor, died on May 21 1929, had two sons and three daughters.

The eldest son, Illtyd Henry, was to follow his father as a solicitor, as a director of the "Glamorgan Gazette" and eventually as Chairman of this newspaper.

The second son, Lawrence Finlay, served in the Glamorgan Yeomanry on the east Coast and later with the Household Battalion in Flanders. He was killed in action in October 1917 at Poelcapelle.

Mr. S.H. Stockwood's three daughters are Alys Vera, Mary Margarethe and Katherine May.


Col. Illtyd Henry Stockwood was born on July 29 1892 at Porthcawl.

He was educated at Penarth Lodge, Penarth (1904-1907); Bradfield College, Berkshire (1907-1911); and Cambridge University (1911-1914) (M.A., LL.B.)

In the first World War Col Stockwood served with the South Wales Borderers in Galipoli and Mesopotamia and in France and Belgium with the Tank Corps and R.A.F.

In the second World War Col. Stockwood served with the South Wales Borderers in the U.K. (1939-1942) and in troopships (1942-1946).

His principal recreation is rifle shooting and he has been eight times in the Kings 100. He shot for the mother country in the Kolapore 1947 and captained the mother country in the same match in 1949. He has shot for Wales in international matches on numerous occasions.

Col. Stockwood is Chairman of the Welsh XX Club, the Glamorgan Rifle Association and the Glamorgan Smallbore Rifle Association. He is President of the Ogmore Club, Bridgend, and of the Bridgend and District Services Club.

He succeeded his father as Steward of the manor of Ogmore, which office has now been abolished. He qualified as a solicitor in 1920 and became a partner of the firm Stockwood and Williams, the following year.


Col. Illtyd Henry Stockwood was appointed a director of the "Glamorgan Gazette" at the Meeting of Shareholders on November 27 1925.

Following the death of his father, he presided over the General Meeting of the Shareholders on June 30 1932.

Col. Stockwood was appointed Chairman of the Directors at a Board meeting on October 4 1933. He remained as Chairman until April 1965, when the newspaper became part of he Thompson Organisation.

Col. Stockwood and his son, Mr, Lawrence David Stockwood, a shipping executive, are still on the Board of Directors of the "Glamorgan Gazette".

Mr. Neil Coath, whose family has also been associated with the "Gazette" for about three-quarters of a century, is also a director of the company. [Last Updated : 12 Feb 2005 Gareth Hicks]