|Ordnance Survey map for Bufferland, Pembroke Dock laid over an extract from Bush Estate Map book c1830now in Pembrokeshire Archives.|
|A closer view of Bufferland, Pembroke Dock, in about 1850|
His father was Daniel Rees, a master watchmaker, born in about 1806 in Narberth. Daniel’s wife was Jane Evans, of Haverfordwest, and it is likely that Thomas gained his middle name of Evans from his mother’s maiden name – a tradition that persisted amongst many families at this time.
|St John's Church, Pembroke Dock showing the clock installed in 1865 by Daniel Rees.|
|The installation of the clock was reported in the Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser for 17 March 1865.|
Thomas Evans Rees was Daniel and Jane’s second child. The oldest child was William Humphreys Rees, born in Narberth in 1829, who disappears from the family home after 1841, probably joining the Royal Engineers in 1850. Another brother of Thomas Evans was James Valentine Rees, born in Milford in 1833. The youngest of his siblings was a sister, Arabella Esther Rees, born in Pembroke Dock in about 1836. Thomas Evans Rees was baptised in Tenby on 23 March 1831.
Consequently, new steam mills and forges had to be built and working techniques adapted to metal. A by-product of this was that large stocks of timber, intended for wooden ships, lay surplus to requirements over most of the area of the yard. There were concerns at government level that all the dockyards were being run inefficiently with much wastage of materials, and indeed in some places the stockpiles of wood were just left to rot in the open.
One way of reducing the stockpile of timber was for the dockyards to sell it off at auction. This happened on a regular basis at Pembroke, starting from about 1870.
However, there must have been “unofficial” sales or disposal of timber before this date, as was witnessed by the quality of timber used in the building of the houses of Pembroke Dock. Local lore has it that timber was dropped surreptitiously into the waters of the haven and then collected later from wherever the tide (or a rowing boat!) might take it. It is highly likely that much use was made of dockyard facilities for the making of wooden (and metal) items for the households of local craftsmen.
In the next post I will talk about the terms of the lease that Thomas Evans....and many like him ... took on in the summer of 1864.
An abstract of the lease for Thomas Evans Rees' building plot in North Street, Pembroke Dock, from a Bush Estate lease book held by Pembrokeshire Archives.