This is dedicated to the late Brian A. Wintle of Miles Hall who, until 2007, had been a generous and contributing member of the community at Llangattock.

Brian and his wife, Suzanne, had also been great supporters of various student volunteer programmes in North Africa and West Africa.

✵ Friday 13th April 2018 is the 130th Anniversary of the Foundation Stone being laid for Miles Hall.


Llangattock Church & School 1896Next to the church in 1896 stood the village school. Here you can see Llangattock Church & School in 1896.
(Thanks to Mr John Addis)
Llangattock Church but no School_2017for comparison:
Here you can see Llangattock Church in 2017 but no school.
(By courtesy of Simon R Martin)
Foundation Stone Miles HallThe Foundation Stone at Miles Hall laid by Miss Savile who was the younger sister to Mrs G F Miles
(By courtesy of Simon R Martin)
Llangattock water-fountain
Llangattock public water fountain still in good condition
Llangattock Fountain 1881Memorial plaque above the village water fountain 1881
(By courtesy of Simon R Martin)

In South Wales near the Brecon Beacons, the westerly part of the mainland British Isles, is the village of Llangattock [pronounced thlan-gattock] alongside the banks of the River Usk in the County of Powys. The name Llangattock derives from the word Llan [Welsh for church or enclosure] and a derivation of Cadog. There has been a place of worship in the village for over 1,400 years. The small Christian church, St Catwg's, is named after Abbot Catwg [aka Cadoc or Cadog] who lived from about AD 497 to about AD 577 when he was reportedly slaughtered whilst at prayer by a lance wheeling Saxon horseman. He was a close contemporary of St David. Next to the church in 1896 stood the village school which had been largely funded earlier by a generous donor, Mr George F. W. Miles JP ,[Justice of the Peace], being the English legal name for a magistrate. He had been born in Dorset in 1820, educated at Eton before serving with the 7th Hussars and arrived at Llangattock Park in 1865.His family also provided £1,100 [equivalent to about £130,000 in 2016] towards the total costs of £2,500 for the church restoration in 1886. Four out of the eight stained-glass windows in the church were either donated by or are in memory of the Miles family.

Mr Miles died later on Saturday 7th August 1886, aged 66, following a long period of ill health and was initially buried in Shirehampton, Bristol near the Miles family home at Leigh Court. Seven years later his coffin was brought back to be re-interred in Llangattock churchyard on 28th June 1893 according to church records now kept by The Crickhowell District Archive Centre.Note:1

The South Wales Daily News in their edition of 9th August 1886 referred to his generosity in also financing the supply of fresh water to the village in 1881. It is not surprising, therefore, that when the new village church hall came to be named in 1888 it was called The Miles' Memorial Church Hall [initially with the apostrophe perhaps remembering the family as a whole] and the Foundation Stone was laid on Friday 13th April 1888 by Miss Adelaide Savile, the sister-in-law of the then late Mr Miles. The cost was reported as £700 [about £84,000 in 2016] all raised locally. At the laying ceremony there was, unfortunately, an accident and the Foundation Stone fell at the feet of Miss Savile which was taken as a bad omen it being a "Friday 13th". Indeed, it proved to be so since Miss Savile died, aged 60, shortly thereafter and was the first to be buried [on 20th July 1888] in the new part of the extended local cemetery which she had only just, in March of that year, bought at a cost of £186 for the benefit of the parish.


Note:1Acknowledgements. The sources for these historical events come not only from the newspapers of the day but also from: a) The excellent publication called "Llangattock 1851- 1951 " produced largely by residents of the parish under the copyright of The Brecknock Society to whom we are most grateful. Copies may be purchased from The Crickhowell District Archive Centre, Crickhowell. TEL: +44 1873 810 922 b) The excellent book The Seven Hills of Abergavenny by Chris Barber, Blorenge Books, Gwent, 1992 c) The College of Arms, London in their letter of 5th October 2017 d) The websites referred to throughout this website e) The History of Cyfarthfa Castle originally by Stephen Done in 1996 and published by Merthyr Tydfil CB Council f) The Crickhowell Archivist in helping to trace the graves [No.116 & 117] for the Miles family in Llangattock Churchyard where one of the closest graves to the church is that of Mr William Hoare who was for 45 years the Gardener to Sir Joseph Bailey. g) The very helpful official guide The Brecon Beacons National Park by Roger Thomas first published by Webb & Bower in 1987 h) The remarkable books Crickhowell Yesterday [Vol I & Vol II] by John Addis, published by D Brown & Sons, Glamorgan 1996 i) Rev'd Rana Khan, Rector of Llangattock Church and all his helpful team of Church Wardens j) The Crawshay Dynasty by John P. Addis University of Wales press. 1957 k) The National Library of Wales for their consent to link to the 19th century copies of The Monmouthshire Merlin, the South Wales Advertiser and the South Wales Daily News, the copyright of which is held by The National Library of Wales. l) Thanks to Christian Tyler for his excellent book "Forde Abbey the story behind the Stones", and his helpful information about the early life of GM m) The British Library for their consent to link to the 1858 copies of The Dorset County Chronicle, Somersetshire Gazette the copyright of which is held by The British Library. n)Eton College for their assistance in tracing the school records for George Miles
Miles Hall Stonework April 1888Coat of arms: (Miles Hall Stonework April 1888)
Arms impaled with "Miles" to the left and "Savile" to the right
Marconi and his wife Beatrice
Marconi with his wife Beatrice,
c.1910 when they were visiting Llangattock. Beatrice [1882-1976] and her sister [Mrs Lowry-Corry of Llangattock Court] were the daughters of the 14th Lord Inchiquin whose earlier ancester, the 2nd Earl Inchiquin, had been Governor of Tangier in 1680 until the Moroccans invaded.
Marconi caricatured by Leslie Ward in 1905  for Vanity Fair
Marconi caricatured by Leslie Ward in 1905 for Vanity Fair - the year Marconi married into a Llangattock family living at Llangattock Court opposite the then named "Miles Memorial Hall".
Miles Memorial Church Hall mid to late 1980'sMiles Memorial Church Hall mid to late 1980's before becoming Miles Hall

The Miles name was intended to be remembered in another way. When the church had added two new bells [liberally funded once again by the Miles family] in 1886, the "Tenor Bell" evidently had engraved on it not just the names of donors but also the words;

"I've travelled Miles to this fair spot
To do God all the honour:
From time to time I'll ring my chime
To tell of Miles the donor."

History does not [yet -2017] tell us as to whose idea this was! Perhaps Mr Miles just had a healthy sense of humour. "Miles" is, of course, the Latin for soldier and so it is not surprising that the Miles family motto was/is "Labora sicut bonus miles" [work as a good soldier]. It was no fault of George Miles that much of his inheritance may have originally been derived from the use of cheap slave labour in the West Indies. Whether his generosity arose from remorse/guilt, childlessness or just by being a very decent fellow, he was certainly a most decent donor to the good folks of Llangattock.
The Hall proved popular from the start and social events were a regular feature. In later years at Christmas, the local neighbour, Brigadier-General N.A.A. Lowry-Corry at The Court, often helped host several Christmas parties for young people in the village. On one or more occasions his house guest [his wife's brother-in-law after 1905], Signor Guglielmo Marconi, [aka 1st Marquis Marconi in Italy and Honorary KCVO in the UK] would demonstrate his newest telegraphic invention - much to the astonishment [and, evidently, some disbelief] of the younger population.Note:1 Brigadier General Noel Lowry-Corry [1867 - 1935] then living at Llangattock Court in the 1900's was the great grandson of both the 2nd Earl of Belmore and the 6th Earl of Shaftesbury.

In 1898 there was added a further building of wood known as the Miles' Memorial Institute which was opened on Saturday 8th October 1898 and whose funding had been arranged by the Rector, The Reverend Thomas James Bowen although much of the stonework and labour had been freely contributed by those living in Llangattock. The annual subscription to use both the new room and the library in the Hall was two shillings a year which in 2016 would be about £24. Of course, Rectors in those days were often quite well-off and moved in upper middle-class/county society. At that time the "Living" [the name given to the Rector's job] had belonged [since the 16th century] to the Somerset family of the immensely wealthy Dukes of Beaufort.Note:2 In 1884 the living was said to be worth £960 per annum [about £110,000 in 2016] although in 1884 it had also been reported as being £1,100 per annum [about £125,000 in 2016] but this all ceased with the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales. Rectors were also freely housed in "The Rectory" at Llangattock now, in 2017, called the "Old Rectory", a local hotel popular with wedding parties.

Note:2By 1878 The Duke of Beaufort's family were said to own 4,119 acres in the Llangattock area. The major landowner, however, was Sir Joseph Bailey MP 's grandson with 21,979 acres based at Glanusk. As Mr Joseph Bailey [later the first Sir Joseph Bailey Bt.] he and his brother Crawshay Bailey had been the nephews of Richard Crawshay [1739-1810], a Yorkshireman from Normanton, Leeds who had developed one of the largest ironworks in Wales [at Cyfarthfa - more in John Addis's excellent book ] and on whose death he was said to have been one of the ten richest men in Britain. The Bailey brothers were the sons of Richard Crawshay's younger sister, Susanna, who had married another Yorkshireman, John Bailey, on 5th July 1774 in Normanton. There were several sons to this marriage so Joseph & Crawshay must have stood out to be taken into the business by their uncle. However, following Richard Crawshay's death in 1810 it was not long before the new heir had rid himself of his cousins. Joseph left in January 1813 but did not transfer part/all of his two-eighth's share to his cousin William until June 1814 according to John Addis. As Wikipedia reports the estate of Richard Crawshay to have been about £1.5 million in 1810 [about equal to £108 million in 2016] then Joseph Bailey [and his younger brother?] would have "cleaned-up" at least £27 million in 2016 prices or more if they made William "pay-up" for throwing them out. The business went on [for a while] as Crawshay & Hall. Benjamin Hall had been a son-in-law of Richard Crawshay from whom he had inherited three-eighths of the business and went on to be the wealthy first Baron Llanover.
Joseph and his brother went on with interest in ironworks and were much involved with building canals and railways according to the excellent read - The Seven Hills of Abergavenny by Chris Barber, Blorenge Books, Gwent 1992. Crawshay Bailey died at Llanfoist having donated the clock at Abergavenny Town Hall in 1872 and much else in Abergavenny. Sir Joseph had died in 1858 having left his grandson, Joseph Russell Bailey,[born 1835] as his heir. It was Sir Joseph Russell Bailey Bt. who [having rid himself of commercial interests and invested in land] went on to become Lord Lieutenant [following a Parliamentary career] and was then stepped-up to the Peerage as the 1st Lord Glanusk in 1899. Both families have been very generous to Llangattock and good employers over many years.


Miles Hall - View(a)
Miles Hall - View(d)
Miles Hall and St Catwyg's Church, Llangattock
Miles Hall - View(h)"Come rain and shine over Llangattock, Crickhowell"
Miles Hall & Church 2017Miles Hall next to St Catwg's Church where Miss Adelaide Savile [donor of part of the grave yard] was buried in 1888. And where Mr Miles was interred in 1893 with his wife Augusta Miles.
(By courtesy of Simon R Martin)
Miles Hall Visitor from Ghana 2007Visitor from Ghana at Miles Hall. The distant white house on the hill is the former family home of Sir George Everest, Surveyor-General in India in 1830, after whom the British whilst still in India renamed a bigger hill.
(By courtesy of Simon R Martin)

In 1982 the Parish Council decided that anymore capital and current expenditure needed on the Hall was no longer justified and a new Church Room was planned. Upon completion of the Church Room in 1989 the Hall was converted into a very comfortable four bedroom private house winning a Best Award Certificate in the process, signed by the then Secretary of State for Wales, and referred to, thereafter, as Miles Hall. The Miles/Savile family crest [impaled] is still above the front door although the Savile part is not registered at The College of Arms as having a right to the family of George Miles's wife and sister-in-law.

Nowadays the very special feature of Miles Hall is the spectacular view it has of four local "hills".

In the East is "Sugar Loaf", not quite a mountain [which have to be 600 metres] at about 596 metres above sea-level towering over Abergavenny although that town is not in line of sight. Then there is the closest, Table Mountain - although a hill, at a height of about 451 metres. It is also, more correctly, known as Crug Hywel (an Iron Age Fort) overlooking Crickhowell to which it gives its name and is an afternoon's stroll from Llangattock. In the West is Pen Cerrig-calch at about 701 metres and well worth the climb for the magnificent views it presents you - on a clear day!

Finally in the distant West can be seen Pen Allt-mawr the highest of the four at about 720 metres and the 3rd highest peak in the Black Mountains.

Miles Hall PanoramaCrug Hywel ["Table Mountain"] overlooking Crickhowell as seen from close to Miles Hall
( By Courtesy of Simon R. Martin)

GFW Miles

George Frederick William Miles
16th February 1820 to 7th August 1886
George Frederick William Miles ["GM"] was born the 6th of eight sons by Philip John MilesNote:1 [by his second wife] later of Leigh Court in the Parish of Abbots Leigh, Bristol in the County of Somerset who went on to be MP for Corfe Castle 1820-32 and for Bristol 1835-37. GM was baptised at Holy Trinity, Abbots Leigh on 30th June 1821. Later six of GM's brothers [everyone in due time] went up to Oxford after Eton but not GM.

GM, aged about 15, appears in the 1835 Eton College school records ["Election Lists" as they were called on page 173/283], made-up in groups of three years and completed some years later to reflect the worldly success of those listed. Amongst his contemporaries was Francis Lovell who went on to marry the Duke of Beaufort's sister which may be how GM came to know the Duke. Sir Reresby Sitwell [1820-1862],third Baronet& later friend of Ruskin, was another contemporary who went on to be grandfather to the writers Sir Osbert Sitwell, fifth Baronet and his sister, later Dame Edith Sitwell. There was also the sad short history for John Charles Johnson who died from bathing in 1836 [during GM's time] after having run back to Eton from the Westminster School & Eton match played at Staines. The List also has amongst GM's contemporaries the young Lords Temple and Sunderland who went on to succeed to being the Duke of Buckingham [1861] and Duke of Marlborough [1857] respectively. A rather typical year at Eton College apart from the young Johnson tragedy. Even in 2017 there are, evidently, about four applicants for each available place at Eton College which is still England's largest boarding school.

In 1837 there was a "Miles" in the Eton 1st XI when they beat Harrow by 8 wickets. This was possibly GM as he would then have been aged seventeen although he did have two brothers contemporaneously at Eton.

Hussars_On_the_Horse_pictureThe Eton List only states that GM went on to join the 7th Hussars, a cavalry regiment then barracked in Bristol whereas his elder brothers are shown as going [typically for wealthy Old Etonians] up to Christchurch College, Oxford.

The 7th Duke of Beaufort had also served, briefly, with the 7th Hussars earlier in 1815 which may indicate how GM later came to know the Duke and then occupied Llangattock Park. The National Army Museum are currently [January 2018] researching GM's service record with the 7th Hussars.

On 3rd September 1846, according to Christian Tyler's excellent book "Forde Abbey the story behind the Stones", Forde Abbey [then known as Ford-Abbey, Dorsetshire] was purchased at auction by/on behalf of GM [for about £53,000 that can be estimated at about £5.7 million in 2016] whose father, Philip, had died the previous year. GM was said to be working for his father at that time at Miles Bank, Bristol despite its distance of about 50 miles from Ford-Abbey in the days before trains/cars or telephones. In 1851 GM married Augusta Savile from Torquay whose father Albany Savile MP had died 20 years earlier in 1831. Albany Savile, Recorder, sat as an MP for a "rotten borough" purchased by his father.

In 1858 HM Queen Victoria appointed GM to be High Sheriff of Dorsetshire for that year and his address was still given as being Ford-Abbey. In July 1858 the press are reporting on GM [as High Sheriff] greeting the judges for the Dorset Summer Assizes although there were only ten criminal cases that summer being three for child murder, one wilful murder, one manslaughter, one abominable crime, one fraud, one arson, one perjury and one for felony.

In 1863 GM is reported to have sold Ford-Abbey but is not recorded in Llangattock until 1865.


Coat of arms: (Miles Hall Stonework April 1888)
Arms impaled with "Miles" to the left and "Savile" to the right
Philip John Miles 1822 Father to GFW MilesPhilip John Miles [father to GM]

Painted by John Young 1822 - Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, London
John William Miles  bankerJohn William Miles [elder full brother to GM]
Vanity Fair for John Philip MilesSir Philip John William Miles, 2nd Baronet [nephew to GM] Vanity Fair Cartoon 1879
Dear David, This place is reserved for another photos. And on the frame below, too.

GM's father was also Mayor of Bristol and, it is said, the first Bristol Millionaire which in 2016 would be equal to property of at least £100 millionClue. GM's grandfather, William Miles [1728 - 1803] is recorded by Burke's Peerage & Baronetage [2003,page 2689] as being "of Jamaica and Bristol: merchant". This would indicate that his huge wealth at his death [passed on to his only surviving son, Philip] was most probably linked to sugar trade plantations and their use of low cost slave labour. Indeed, Philip was subsequently on the then Register of Owners of Slaves. Philip would claim that was due only to loans his bank had made to plantations that went sour so that Philip became the "mortgagee in possession" but [if Burke's Peerage is correct] it went further back and before there was a Miles Bank which had started in 1752 from capital probably/mostly amassed in Jamaica. Under the Slave Compensation Act 1837 Philip John Miles received money from properties in Jamaica and Trinidad.Clue
With his massive inheritance, Philip then became a banker developing Miles Bank of Bristol then Miles Harford & Co., which ultimately became part of The National Westminster Bank in 1970 and now (2017) part of the Royal Bank of Scotland. He was also a ship-owner and, of course, a landowner. He died on 24th March 1845 aged 72 when GM was 25 years old. GM's elder full brother, John William Miles JP.,MP [1817-1878] went on to be a partner in the bank following his father's death.
Under English social practice at that time most of the inheritance [no death duties then] would have passed to the eldest son on the basis that "much was expected from those to whom much was given". This would have been William Miles [elder step-brother to GM] aged 48 at the date of his father's death. William did indeed "do well" by becoming an MP serving for a total of 35 years 7 months and 30 days, making him one of the longest serving MPs in the UK's Parliament whilst at the same time finding time to father 12 children. For one [or both] of these achievements he was created a Baronet [i. e a small baron when the "Sir" bit gets passed to his heirs - although technically a baronetcy is correctly known as a hereditary knighthood] on 7th April1859 aged 62. He had been a staunch Conservative politician - opposing the Reform Act, supporting enclosure of common land and supporting the Corn Laws that kept bread prices so high that revolution almost came to England. His son Philip John William Miles [GM's nephew] went on to be the Second Baronet.

It was this Baronetcy which gave GM [and other descendants of his father] the right [duly registered at The College of Arms, London in 1859] to use the Arms which appear above the door at Miles Hall, Llangattock.

A Letter from the College of Arms, London, dated 5th October 2017 from William Hunt, (lately Windsor Herald of Arms),Research Assistant to Rouge Croix Pursuivant of Arms states that "The Arms on the stonework in Llangattock are impaled, i.e. they show the Arms of a husband (on the left as you look at it) and wife (on the right side). They are of Miles and Savile and are both on record at the College of Arms. George Miles certainly had a Right to these Arms but whether his wife did to those shown for her is not evident from the pedigrees of Savile at the College."
They are blazoned: Azure a Chevron paly of six Ermine and Or between three Lozenges Argent each charged with a Fleur de Lis Sable. The Crest: Upon a Wreath Argent and Azure Upon a Rock a dexter Arm embowed in Armour grasping an Anchor entwined by a Cable all proper (Grants 53.102)
The little shield with a hand in it at the top of the main shield indicates that they are the Arms of a Baronet.
The three owls are the Arms confirmed to the Savile family of bowling in Yorkshire in 1665/6. It is not yet [2017] known whether GM's wife Anna Augusta, whom he married on 11th June 1851 in Torquay when she was 24 [or her sister Adelaide Maria Savile] daughters of Albany Savile of Oaklands, Devon had a right to those Arms.
At the date of the Miles pedigree being registered at The College of Arms [1859] GM is recorded as "SP" meaning without issue [childless] even though this was eight years following his marriage. There is no record yet [in 2017] of any children in later years - indeed the Ancestry website indicates that all their six children died in early childhood.

Miles family memorials before clean-up 11 OCT 17

The Miles Memorial Graves in late October 2017 (before part restoration), plots 116 & 117 Miss Adelaide Savile to the left and Mr & Mrs G F W Miles on the right

Please await for the next one...
" the rain..."
Miles Family memorials after clean-up 07 NOV 17

The Miles Memorial Graves in early November 2017. Cleaning confirmed the inscriptions well recorded many years earlier by the Crickhowell District Archive Centre as being;
On the left Plot 117: " In loving Memory of Adelaide Maria Savile, daughter of Albany Savile Esq., of Oaklands, Devon who died 13th July 1888"
On the right Plot 116: " In Memory of George F W Miles Esq., of Llangattock Park and Llanwysg who died 7th August 1886,buried in Shirehampton Churchyard August 1886, re-interred in this grave 28th June 1893."
On Side2: "In Memory of Augusta Miles, widow of the late George F W Miles Esq., and daughter of Albany Savile Esq., of Oaklands, Devon who died 26th March 1893"
Rather interestingly, [perhaps for further research by The Crickhowell District Archive Centre?] there is a grave [Plot No.115 next to GM's] which is recorded as being for Mr William Miles who died on 19th April 1760 aged 80. GM's grandfather was a William Miles but he lived from 1728 to 1803 and only left one surviving son, Philip John Miles. So - is this William Miles any relation or just a strange co-incidence?
Having been born in 1680, was this William Miles a great-grandfather to GM which might help explain why GM came from the gayer society of Bristol and Dorset to settle in a more modest [in those days] community?
"- still raining..."

In the Llangattock Churchyard there are graves numbered 116 & 117 with matching designs [unique in Llangattock Churchyard] being 117 for Miss Adelaide Savile [who had died in 1888] and 116 for Mrs Augusta Miles [GM's widow] who had died March 1893. Then it seems poor old George's coffin was brought back from Bristol but perhaps by now on a train through the newish tunnel under the Severn Estuary and re-interred with his wife in June 1893.
Unless the grave numbering was done in more recent times it is yet unknown [2017] how the joint grave for Mr & Mrs Miles has an earlier number than that for Miss Savile as she was reported as being the first to be buried in that new extension to the Churchyard. It is also still unknown [2017] why GM was only brought back three months after his wife had died. They are understood not to have had any children to arrange such matters and Miss Adelaide Savile died unmarried and, as far as we know, in 2017, without issue.
Their headstones and graves were "tidied" in November 2017 ahead of All Saints' Day and as part of a Llangattock community plan to restore much of this fine historic Churchyard.

The latest Miles Baronet, Sir William Napier Maurice Miles. 6th Bt. [1913 - 2010] died on 29th December 2010 in Somerset leaving Philip Miles [born 1953] as his only male heir who has not yet [2017] registered his claim to the Baronetcy. Sir William's only brother, the late Professor Charles William Miles CBE died on 1st February 2013 aged 97 leaving no male issue. Further Miles family information is available on the excellent website for Abbots Leigh.

Note:1 Letter from the Research Assistant to the Rouge Croix Pursuivant of Arms, The College of Arms, London dated 5th October 2017

The Miles' Family Tree