Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
NameCharles GRIFFITH , 2392
Birth2 Oct 1787
FatherCharles GRIFFITH , 2176 (1760-1818)
MotherBridget JONES , 2177 (1762-)
ChildrenCharles Duncan , 2677 (1830-1906)
 Anne Elizabeth , 2589 (1827-)
 Mary , 2591 (1829-)
 John , 2592 (1832-)
Notes for Charles GRIFFITH
Lieut Royal Marines.

Emigrated to South Africa with his brothers and sisters in 1820 and became Barrack Master Grahamstown and later pioneer sheep farmer, South Africa.

See Cardiganshire history Society Journals : and

See Extracts:


VOLUME 1 ~ NO. 2 JUNE 1996


In April 1820 a party of 37 settlers landed at Cape Town from the Stentor led by two brothers, Charles and Valentine Griffith, who were both retired officers of the Royal Marines. The remainder of the party consisted of another brother, John (aged 22 and a doctor), their three sisters Mary (28), Cornelia (26) and Eliza (25) together with 31 men, women and children.

The Griffith family came from Penpompren (Talybont) and the rest of the party is also understood to have come from Cardiganshire. Charles was born on 2 October 1787 and Valentine was born about three years later.

On their arrival in South Africa, the Acting Governor of Cape Colony, Sir Rufane Donkin, placed the party on the River Zonder Einder (Riviersonderend) in the Caledon District about 50 miles east of Cape Town as he was concerned about the consequences of too large an influx of settlers into the Albany District. Later the party moved to Grahamstown (between Port Elizabeth and East London) where Charles was appointed Barrack Master at Fort England until the Kaffir War of 1835.

After this he became a pioneer sheep farmer (shades of Talybont!) and, with Lieutenant Daniell of Sidbury, was the first to introduce Merino sheep into South Africa (they were later re-introduced by Messrs Reitz and M. van Breda). In 1826 he married Maria C.W. Steyne, the widow of James Fichat, and by her had two sons and two daughters.

Valentine Griffith did not stay long in South Africa but moved on to Tasmania where he subsequently died, leaving a large family. John Griffith and his sisters all lived in the Cape Town area but little is known about their later lives.

All the above information comes from of documents held by present day Griffith descendants in Zimbabwe, copies of which are with Member 61 (Mrs M. Davies). Although 1820 was a year of considerable influx to South Africa from Britain, this gives a picture of a surprising level of emigration from somewhere as remote as Cardiganshire. Other documents in Mrs Davies's possession go on to tell a story of inheritance which seems to have been the subject of correspondence for nearly a century; all of which allows a fairly extensive family tree to be drawn up covering the period 1786-1908.

In a will dated 19 February 1785, Thomas Griffith of Penpompren (Talybont) devised his estate to his brother Charles Griffith. That was the last will of Thomas Griffith when he died on I January 1786 - seemingly as a relatively young married man.

However, six months later (on 17 July 1786) his widow was delivered of a son. Counsel's opinion in August 1786 confirmed that the estate of Thomas Griffith should pass to Charles despite the existence of the 'posthumous' son.

In 1816 Charles Griffith (who described himself as 'of the City of Chester, Esq, a Captain in His Majesty's Royal Marine Forces') made his will in turn. In it he left his personal and real estate (in Llangynfelin and Llanbadarn Fawr) to his sons Thomas, Charles, Valentine and John along with his daughters Mary, Cornelia and Eliza. Of these only Thomas did not emigrate to South Africa four years later.

Much later in the century (in 1878) Commandant Charles Duncan Griffith, Inspector of Auxiliary Forces at King William's Town, Cape of Good Hope, made enquiries about ownership of the family estate, Penpompren, in Wales. The reply from his second cousin, Boscawen Trevor Griffith-Boscawen of Trevalyn Hall, Wrexham, states that the estate had passed to the enquirer's grandfather and had subsequently been sold either by him or his son. It is clear from the correspondence that Charles Duncan Griffith was under the impression that it has passed down through the son of Thomas Griffith (father of B.T. Griffith-Boscawen) who had been born after his father's death.

More than 20 years later (in 1908) A. Griffith-Boscawen of London completed the picture given by these documents when he (or was it she?) wrote to J.T. Griffith, Witzies Hoek, Orange River Colony, South Africa, thanking him for newspaper cuttings about his father's death and referring to the fact that his/her own father had died four years earlier.

This series of notes and correspondence allows the family tree shown overleaf to be drawn up. This, in turn, raises several questions, the answers for which would lead a researcher (in this country) to turn to a variety sources. Some of those questions, together with ways in which they might be approached, are:
1. Who was the widow of Thomas Griffiths who bore him a son after his death?
The marriage registers for Talybont (Llangynfelin) or the surrounding area should give the answer. [There are two likely candidates, both of whom married a Thomas Griffith in Llanbadarn Fawr: (1) Catherine Thomas (17 February 1781) and (2) Anne Evans (16 March 1782).]
2. What was the name of the posthumous son?
Again the parish registers for the area (was Llanbadarn Fawr the mother's parish?) should give the answer.
3. When and how did the name Boscawen get coupled with that of Griffith?
Presumably this must have been with the posthumous son in order for the name Boscawen to be used as a given name in the next generation. It will be necessary to search parish registers for this as the posthumous son would have been 51 by 1837. However, recent work on surnames in Wales (see review on p.43) did not identify a marriage involving a Boscawen anywhere in Wales between 1813 and 1837 (with the possible exception of the detached part of Flintshire for which the records are not held in Wales). The 1881 census record for B.T. Griffith-Boscawen (now fully indexed by county for England and Wales) will give his place of birth and hence a possible lead to the place of marriage of his parents.
4. Was it Charles Griffith or his son, Thomas, who sold Penpompren?
Remember that Charles Griffith was of Chester at the time of his will. Records such as parochial records (rate assessments) or the Tithe Schedule for the Talybont area indicating ownership/occupation will possibly relate to Thomas who may have worked the estate for his father. It will be necessary to find out when Charles died to set against this. The proving of his will may give this but, if he owned land in the Chester area as well as at Talybont (St David's Diocese), that would have been in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.
5. Is there any evidence to help decide whether Charles Duncan Griffith was the son of Charles Griffith or of John Griffith (the doctor)?
Not really from the evidence in these documents, although the military connection might tend to suggest that he was the son of Charles.

I have not made any real attempt to answer these questions as I understand that the Griffith descendants in Zimbabwe plan to visit Cardiganshire in December 1996. How much pleasanter for them to research the answers to these questions themselves - perhaps we can look forward to reading about them in a later issue of this Journal.

John Rowlands (1)



There is a saying in newspaper circles that 'a good story will run and run'. While it may be a little premature to attribute the accolade 'good' to the story in the last issue about the group of people from Talybont, led by Valentine Griffith, who emigrated to South Africa in 1820, nevertheless recent events have shown that it could (if the Editor permits it) run for some time yet.

The first of these events came soon after our own Journal was published with the receipt of the Spring issue of Record - the Journal of the Montgomeryshire Genealogical Society (with whom the Society has an agreed exchange of journals). In that issue of the Record there was an article about that same Valentine Griffith. The author, David Peate (who is also our member no. 18), had based his article on (among other sources) references in The Industrial Revolution in North Wales by Professor A.H. Dodd in which he had referred to a party of '40 artificers and agriculturalists' which left Newtown for the Cape in 1820 under the leadership of one Valentine Griffith and which included other members of the Griffith family.

Now, although the evidence tying Valentine Griffith to Penpompren (Talybont) is incontrovertible, nevertheless it had always seemed strange (to me at least) that so many people should have left this area for South Africa at that time. Contemporary emigration from Cardiganshire had involved groups of much more modest proportions.

A list of those who emigrated as part of the 'Griffith party' can be found in The Story of the British Settlers of 1820 in South Africa by Harold E. Hockly (Cape Town & Johannesburg, 1957) and this shows that the 41 emigrants held 14 surnames between them. Six of those surnames (Griffith, Jones, Lloyd, Morris, Powell and Williams) can be found in most parts of Wales and are certainly common in both north Cardiganshire and the area around Newtown in Montgomeryshire. Of the remainder it would appear (from work I was involved with for The Surnames of Wales) that only one surname (Thompson) is to be found in both these areas, a further three (Forrest, Morton and Wright) are found only in Montgomeryshire, while four (Diggery, Doe, Hairbottle and Noble) are found in neither location.

The strong likelihood is that the Griffith party left Talybont for Liverpool (the Stentor certainly left from that port) and travelled via Newtown, where they may have been joined by others from that area and possibly other areas along their route. This is something which could well re-pay further investigation - perhaps as a joint exercise between our Society and the Montgomeryshire Genealogical Society.

This could well illustrate that the pursuit of family history can sometimes add to the work of eminent historians such as Professor Dodd, who could not possibly have involved himself with the family minutiae of groups who were merely a minor part of the national events which he was commenting on.

The second came with the receipt of a letter from an old friend (in the sense of long-standing!) Roland Thorne, our member no. 33, who had come across several references to individuals who appeared in the family tree included with my original article. While most of those references relate to Griffith connections in Britain, one - taken from the Hockly book - clearly links Charles Duncan Griffith, CMG, to Charles and Maria Griffith and not to the younger brother, John Griffith. (I am grateful to Roland not only for providing this reference but also for loaning me his copy of the book.)

For those who remained closer to home, Roland has noted a reference in Burke's Landed Gentry (for 1894) to the fact that Boscawen Griffith of Trevalyn, Denbighshire, was the son of Thomas Griffith of Penpompren (who was in turn the son of another Thomas Griffith) by his wife Jane whom he married on 10 December 1778.

Jane was the only child and heiress of Richard Philipps (will proved 1804) of Kidwelly and Wandsworth. This Richard Philipps was a younger son of Rowland Philipps of Coedgain, Llangunnor in Carmarthenshire (an offshoot of the Philippses of Cilsant).


(see also Journal Vol.1, No.2, page 36)

The Thomas Griffith of Penpompren referred to above was, of course, the child born to Jane Griffith six months after the death of her husband (as mentioned in my article). Roland notes that, after the death of her husband, Jane Griffith (nee Philipps) married one Thomas Simon, surgeon, of Holywell in Flintshire. [This marriage is recorded in the parish register of Llanbadarn Fawr (NLW Vol. 6) when Jane married by licence as a widow under her married name on 3 November 1786.]

Clearly the family eventually moved to north-east Wales (Thomas Simon's home) and this led subsequently to the Griffith-Boscawen connection as the Boscawens were a prominent family in those parts. Finally, Roland notes that this Thomas Griffith died in 1853, while his uncle, Capt. Charles Griffith, the father of the emigrants and the person to whom Penpompren was left, died in 1818.

All this answers at least three of the questions I had posed and expands considerably the family tree given on page 36 of the last issue of our Journal. The more significant elements of that expansion are shown on page 53.

Incidentally, those who may have consulted the 1881 Census for Trevalyn Hall, Denbighshire (Piece 5511, Folio 52, Page 30) would have found that the A. Griffith- Boscawen (who was writing to South Africa from London in 1908) given in that family tree was, in fact, Alice C.T.G. Boscawen, aged 10, the daughter of Boscawen T.G. Boscawen (45) and Helen Sophia G. (46), his wife.

John Rowlands (1)


No. 28 on the Colonial Department list, led by Valentine and Charles Griffith of Newtown, Montgomeryshire, North Wales. This was a proprietary party consisting of the three Griffith brothers, two of them Lieutenants of Royal Marines on half-pay and the third a surgeon, and 19 indentured servants, mostly young unmarried men. The Griffith brothers were accompanied by their three unmarried sisters. Deposits were paid for 22 men.

The Griffiths' application to emigrate was forwarded to the Colonial Department by GA Evans, a Justice of the Peace for Montgomeryshire, who recommended them as members of a large and respectable family whose father, also an officer of Marines, had died a year earlier leaving them unprovided for.
The party was initially recruited in Wales but frequent changes were made to the list of names. Five men withdrew and were replaced after arrival at Liverpool, the port of embarkation, early in December 1819. Valentine Griffith ascribed this to the delay before the party was able to board the Stentor where she lay in Liverpool docks, 'in consequence of the regulations of the Port not permitting Fire or Lights, and the ship's Deck being damp for them to sleep upon'.

The Stentor finally sailed on 13 January 1820, arriving in Table Bay on 19 April, where her charter expired and all her passengers were disembarked. The colonial authorities intended to settle the Griffiths' party, together with those of Joseph Neave and Thomas White from the Stentor and Duncan Campbell's party from the Weymouth, on the Zonder End River about 70 miles from Cape Town. However, the heads of parties were unwilling to accept the land that was offered them and the settlers were returned to Cape Town. The Griffiths also refused the offer of a location in Albany, and instead arranged to remain in the western Cape, renting the Oude Post Farm in the Groene Kloof district.
Valentine Griffith left the colony for Tasmania in 1823.

BROWN, David 22. Labourer. 
DIGGERY, Richard 28. Blacksmith. 
DOE, Richard 28. Carpenter. w Mary 24. c Ann 3. 
FORREST, Ellice 22. Mason. 
GARDNER, John 22. Carpenter 
GRIFFITH, Charles 31. Lieut, Royal Marines (half-pay). 
GRIFFITH, Cornelia 22 (sister of Valentine Griffith). 
GRIFFITH, Eliza 19 (sister of Valentine Griffith). 
GRIFFITH, John 24. Surgeon. 
GRIFFITH, Mary 25. (sister of Valentine Griffith). 
GRIFFITH, Valentine 29. Lieut, Royal Marines (half-pay). 
HAIRBOTTLE, Richard 32. Gardener. w Jane 28. c Richard 8, Ann 1, William. 
JONES, Jenkin 26. Tailor. 
JONES, John 19. Labourer. 
JONES, John 20. Labourer. 
LLOYD, John 18. Labourer. 
MORRIS, William 30. Labourer. w Catherine 31. c Ann 3, William. 
MORTON, William 24. Blacksmith. w Mary 19. c Henry. 
NOBLE, Mark 23. Bricklayer. 
POWELL, Benjamin 25. Bailiff. w Elizabeth 26. c Elizabeth 5, John 3. 
POWELL, William 22. Labourer. 
THOMPSON, David 26. Baker. 
WILLIAMS, John 32. Wheelwright. c John 5. 
WILLIAMS, John 33. Labourer. w Sarah 26. c Thomas 14. 
WRIGHT, Daniel 28. Labourer.
Main source for party list 
Return of settlers under Valentine and Charles Griffith (Cape Archives CO 6138/1,83). This list was compiled before the party left England and it is not known whether it includes the final alterations made shortly before sailing. No Agent of Transports' Return, showing the state of the party as it reached the Cape, has been traced for the Stentor.

details for the "Stentor" from the Lloyd's Register:


(Green Book - Underwriters)
Master:  Captain T. Harris
Rigging:  Ship; 2 decks; sheathed in copper in 1818
Tonnage:  382 tons
Construction:  Sunderland; vessel 6 years old; repairs to damages in 1818
Owners:  Beavin & Co.
Draught under load:  16 feet
Port of survey:  a) Liverpool; b) London
Voyage:  sailed for a) Calcutta; b) Cape of Good Hope

(Red Book - Shipowners)
Master:  Captain Harris
Rigging:  Ship; single deck with beams; sheathed in copper in 1818; copper
repaired in 1819
Tonnage:  382 tons
Construction:  1814 in Sunderland; repairs to damages in 1818
Owners:  Bevan & Co.
Draught under load:  17 feet
Port of survey:  Liverpool
Voyage:  sailed for a) Calcutta; b) Cape of Good Hope

See speech of Nelson Mandela at the rededication of the Grahamstoiwn Settlors momument

Grahamstown, 16 May 1996
Your grace;
Ladies and gentlemen,
There are monuments which stand as mute pointers to a fixed and ever-receding past. Devoid of life, they have little meaning outside the history books and the minds of learned people. This National Monument is not of that kind. If it were it would not have found the resources to recover from the devastation if suffered two years ago, and improve itself in the rebuilding.
There are monuments which are dedicated to commemorating the past in a way which nurtures a particular tradition of our land, contributing to its vitality and growth. Such living monuments make a contribution to our society and enrich the life of our nation. But they may also exclude others. The 1820 Settlers Monument, perhaps, started its life in that way.
There are monuments which open the past to scrutiny; recalling it in order to illuminate it and transform it into part of our living and changing society; and merging the tradition from which they emerged with the rich diversity of South Africa's cultures. Such monuments, if they are successful, are a beacon for the future of all our people as much as a memory of the past.
Because this monument has set itself the goal of belonging to this last category, and because it has so forcefully identified with change and the reconstruction of our country, it is a great honour for me to share in its re-dedication today.
Pawns in a larger game, the 1820 Settlers came to the part of Africa at the behest of an imperial power seeking to use its own poor and unemployed in a bid to advance conquest and imperial ambitions. Though their own impulse to freedom rendered them largely unsuitable for that task, they were nevertheless caught up on the wrong side of history, unable or unwilling to acknowledge as equals those into whose homeland they had been implanted.
The founders of the monument two decades ago sought to redeem that limitation, without denying it, by dedicating the monument to the universal application of the ideals which the English Settlers cherished for themselves. Today, our country a democracy, and our people masters of their own destiny, we are re-dedicating the monument to the universality of those ideals at a time when we are working together to make them a reality for all.
Clearly, great strides have been taken in broadening the scope of the Monument's activities and towards turning it into a national resource centre for the arts and culture. By providing the infrastructure for the National Arts Festival and the School Festivals; through the many cultural projects and teacher training and development which it makes possible, the Monument is making a significant contribution to our nation's cultural life and the education of its people.
The plans for a National Festival of Science and Technology are most encouraging. Apartheid's education system and the exploitation of science for repressive purposes have, for most of South Africa's youth, robbed science and technology of the excitement and the attraction which it should have. Popularising science and demonstrating the capacity of technology to help us meet the challenges of improving the quality of life will enrich South African cultural and intellectual life.
These and other plans give reason for confidence that the Monument will rise to the challenge we all face, turning our goals into reality. In particular the far-reaching aim of making this national resource one which all our diverse cultures feel to be truly their own, will require hard work. But it is a task we must accomplish.
The coming of age of our democracy is also the recognition that national unity and reconciliation live in the hearts of our people rather than in law. The New Patriotism is a force that propels us towards a vital and unifying national culture which respects, promotes and celebrates our diversity.
To the extent that this Monument succeeds in achieving its goals, it will help us all to realise the broader vision of a new South Africa. In rededicating this restored and improved building, we are reaffirming the purposes for which it was built:
"That all might have life and have it more abundantly"
I therefore have the pleasure of unveiling the plaque commemorating the restoration and re-opening of this Monument.
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