This week I dedicate this column to Thomas (Tom) Clement who has very sadly passed away recently. Tom was a man of intense knowledge of his greatly beloved Cadoxton with a raft of data in that wise head of his. And I, like many in the Barry and District, will miss Tom very much. We turn this week to a name sake of Mr. Clement: Thomas Ewbank. . And a churchyard that would be very familiar to both Tom’s, Cadoxton.
The image today is that marker of Thomas Ewbank’s passing at the old yard at Cadoxton. Thomas Ewbank passed away on 29th April 1922, at the age of 65 years old he was a great local historian, but had many other hats.
The grave memorial establishes Thomas Ewbank as a well known and respected headmaster. A headmaster of the Barry and district and by 1921 at the Cadoxton Boys school; the year which point of fact he had retired, but had been a teacher (school master) since 1879; and presided over the development that the dock would bring after 1884.
He married Sarah Jane Keenan at Llandaff 17th October 1881, and had nine daughters.
Thomas Ewbank was born in 1856, in Shap Westmorland, a place of great beauty and a landscape that he would never forget. As his home in Cadoxton is believed at 2 Sea View terrace (Victoria park); house known also as Pen y Bryn, to have been party built out of stone quarried from his beloved first home of birth Westmorland.
Thomas Ewbank gave us various writings but his book Geography and history of Barry printed in 1922 is a classic, even to Barry and District historians to this day. It had been intended with black and white photography and illustrations as a school teaching aid.
The book contained some sound researched history and geography of the Barry and district, but with folklore and local stories. And, a digest of now disappeared street names, and street and place names that still survive today and their meanings. With so much of the Barry and District heritage now gone, books such as Thomas Ewbank’s and the work of Tom Clement help us understand a lost past.
Deepest love to Tom Clement’s family today. I hope this piece was my way of saying thanks to all of Tom’s dedication to the history of Barry and District.