Gwenhiolen Hiarhles Morganwg Price (1841-1928)

Dr Price fathered her in 1841, with Ann Morgan of Pentyrch. She was named Gwenhiolen Hiarhles Morganwg (Gwenllian Iarlles Morgannwg or Gwenllian, Countess of Glamorgan) in honour of the obsession he felt for the County of Glamorgan and his personal worship for the work of antiquarian Iolo Morgannwg. When she was four years old, he belittled the majesty of the law by insisting the child was his assistant in a court case, naming her “my learned counsel.” 

She enjoyed quite a colourful existence, appearing in the court room for lack of payments for rent and other misdemeanours. Hiarlhles also made a grand appearance with her father at the Grand Eisteddfod of Llangollen in 1858. She lived in several different areas of Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff during her long lifetime, sharing her home with a Taff Vale Railway engineer ten years her junior called Thomas Williams. They were eventually married when Hiarhles was 71 years of age. 

Hiarlhes Williams moved to East Caerlan Farm to be with the remainder of the family following the death of her husband, Thomas. On July 5 1928 she passed away there aged eighty-four following a long period of "senile decay".

 Iesu Grist II, or Nicholas Price (1884-1963)

The second son of Dr William Price and his housekeeper Gwenllian Llewellyn, he was born on 8 October, 1884. Realising the effect a name such as Iesu Grist would have on their surviving son, Gwenllian made the decision to rename him Nicholas Price in memory of his ironmaster ancestor following the death of Dr Price.

Nicholas attended High Grade School in Augusta Street, Cardiff and had a varied and interesting life which in itself gives the impression that he was quite an elusive character with certain qualities about him that were not totally unlike his father. For one thing, he never wore socks, also believing that fresh air to the feet was important to over all health. He did not achieve the brilliance predicted by his father, but there was certainly a notoriety about him. In his youth Nick Price was a “strong man”, a champion weight-lifter and boxer who also gained a reputation as an excellent rugby player.  

On 26 December 1914 Nick, then aged thirty and listed as a carpenter, married Harriet Watkins, a thirty-five-year-old spinster of Ty’n Llwyn Farm in Llantrisant. Harriet, who was the daughter of the Morgan Watkins, a well-known farmer and dressmaker Hannah Watkins. The couple were married at the Pontypridd Registry Office. Her mother, Hannah was a friend of Dr. William Price, becoming his tailor when he moved to Llantrisant and repairing his elaborate Druidic costumes, while also helping to create some of his beautifully cut outfits in his latter years.

Sadly the marriage between Nick and Harriet did not last and although they are not listed as divorced, it seems Nick was considered unhelpful with the upkeep of the farm, enjoying his sporting, and for that matter, drinking prowess, more than heavy work. The story goes that on his return to the farm late one night he was faced with a wheelbarrow with his belongings inside accompanied by a sack of flour. The message was clear that these were objects he had entered the marriage with, and he was leaving with them too. 

The few items of correspondence between Nick and his sisters do reveal something of his whereabouts during his early years. Various stories claim he was a carpenter and builder for stonemason Will John at the RAF aerodrome in St Athan before spending time on construction sites in Newport. There are also tales of him working as a policeman in Reading during the 1920s. For a while he travelled to the USA, settling in Detroit, Michigan, Texas, New York, Philadelphia and also Turcarawas in Ohio in the summer of 1908. Nicholas returned by the outbreak of the Great War, marrying Harriet in the final weeks of 1914 before enlisting in the 38th (Welsh Division). A Christmas card, sent to Caerlan “with Christmas Greetings for 1917 in the Confident Hope of a Victorious 1918” survives. 

On 21 June 1963 Nicholas passed away at East Caerlan of a heart attack. He was seventy-eight years old and was cremated at Glyntaff

Penelopen Elizabeth Price (1886-1977)

The second daughter of Dr William Price, she was born when her father was 86 years old on 27 May 1886. It was Penelopen who remained faithful to her father’s memory, undertaking many public events to celebrate his massive legacy of the passing of the Act of Parliament in 1902. Penelopen’s prowess as a piano tutor was widespread and for over eighty years she taught children throughout the district, initially travelling to their homes on horseback, later by bicycle and in latter years by bus. In 1909 she appeared in the National Pageant of Wales dressed rather superbly as Britannia. 

Penelopen was educated at Pontypridd Girls Grammar School. With the outbreak of the First World War, Penelopen became a devoted member of the British Red Cross Society and St John Ambulance Association. Throughout the war she was actively involved in treating injured soldiers who were brought home from the front and cared for in various military hospitals throughout the country. The nearest facility to Llantrisant was found at the stately manor house of Talygarn. Penelopen’s devotion to both Societies is obvious by the sheer volume of certificates and honours bestowed upon her for her dedicated service, support and kindness to the wounded men and boys. She trained as early as 1912 in a multitude of courses at various training centres.

In 1919 she received the accolade of an award from the Joint Committee of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John of Jerusalem in England in recognition of valuable services during the Great War. Following a meeting of the Council of the British Red Cross Society held at St James’s Palace, her name was also inscribed on the Roll of Honourable Service. In many of the images of returning heroes from the First World War who were presented with their medals on the steps of the Guild Hall in Llantrisant, next door to the police station where her late father had spent a night in the cells, Penelopen can be seen in her nurses outfit amongst the crowd. Her half-sister, Rachel, also trained as a nurse in 1916 and assisted with the wounded at Talygarn. 

Penelopen and Rachel remained spinsters, devoted to one another and their family home and farm. On September 17, 1947 Penelopen was invited to return to the place where Ty’r Clettwr once stood to unveil a small bronze plaque in memory of her father.

Penelopen once again appeared on the BBC radio in October 1949 to discuss Dr. Price, for which she was paid eight guineas. On November 30 1953 she met Lord Horder, the President of the Cremation Society when she was invited to attend the opening of Cardiff’s first crematorium at Thornhill. 

On 8 October 1966 Penelopen visited Glyntaff Crematorium to unveil a stained-glass window in memory of her father at the North Chapel. Penelopen Elizabeth Price died on 21 October 1977 at the age of ninety. Suffering with a heart condition, she was admitted to Tonteg Hospital where she later passed away.

Remembering Dr Price


On September 17, 1947 Penelopen was invited to return to the place where Ty’r Clettwr, once stood to unveil a small bronze plaque in memory of her father.

It was the first dedication to the memory of Dr. Price and was unveiled in a town where its residents had ridiculed and admired him in equal measure.

It was the same place where over sixty years earlier the large gathering of angry Llantrisant folk had smashed the windows of the house. Now its descendants arrived en masse to celebrate the life of the town’s most famous resident.

There is no mention of Nicholas attending the occasion. By this point Gwenllian was a bedridden eighty-nine-year-old, residing at East Caerlan and could have well viewed the spectacle from her window at the house as it overlooked the site of Zoar Chapel.

The plaque was presented by the Cremation Society of Great Britain and read, “This tablet was erected by The Cremation Society and the Federation of British Cremation Authorities to commemorate the act of Dr. William Price, who cremated the body of his infant son in Caerlan Fields, Llantrisant.

"For this act he was indicted at the Glamorganshire Winter Assizes on the 12 February 1884 where he was acquitted by Mr Justice Stephen who adjudged that cremation was a legal act.”

Dressed in her usual dark coat and hat, Penelopen was joined by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff Alderman George J. Ferguson, members of Llantrisant Town Trust, Councillor Ivor Jacob, Arthur Pearson MP for Pontypridd and Hugh Royle, the Chairman of the Federation of British Cremation Authorities along with its Secretary P.H. Jones, also Vice Chair Mrs B.M. Gilbert and Leonard Porcher, the Clerk of Pontypridd Council.

Present was Superintendent of Glyntaff Crematorium Mr S Davies and his wife, along with Dr. Islwyn Evans, D S Rowlands JP, Councillor and Mrs Clayton of Pontypridd, Councillor Whereat, Theo Griffiths, Mr C. Thomas, David Rowlands, Supt Howell Rees, Councillor Jesse Powderhill and Mr William Jones. Another of the special guests was Mrs Fisher, the widow of Rev. Daniel Fisher, the curate who presided at the cremation of Dr. Price him. 

She had the death certificate with her and the two half crowns for which her husband was paid for the service. The item was later donated to the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans. The President, Lord Horder was unable to be present owing to another commitment in Geneva.

At 5.15pm the plaque was unveiled before members of the first Cremation Conference held in Wales which took place over a three-day period in Cardiff. In fact, an invitation was made for Penelopen to visit City Hall, Cardiff for a reception with The Lord Mayor on the previous evening. Children were released from the local schools to enjoy the carnival atmosphere.

Almost a century after the cremation of Iesu Grist, Llantrisant paid another tribute to their famous resident by unveiling a magnificent statue to him on the Bull Ring. Designed by leading sculptor Peter Nicholas of Rhoose, the statue of Dr. William Price was unveiled by Mayor of Taff Ely Borough Council, Coun George Preston and his wife Rhoswen in the May Day Festival of 1982.

The figure shows him with arms outstretched 'blown by the winds of adversity.' Wearing fox-skin hat, Druidical cloak, his left hand is holding a crescent moon, the other hand holding a torch. With a sword worn around waist, he is standing on a boulder, presumably symbolising the rocking stone and is stood facing East Caerlan. Peter Nicholas was invited to consider designing a commemorative sculpture for the town in the summer of 1980. The commission came from Taff Ely Borough with advice from the Welsh Arts Council. Thousands of people descended on the town for the festival and Beating the Bounds ceremony which coincided with the unveiling.

In September 2009 Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, with the support of a £49,200 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, erected thirty Blue Plaques throughout the County Borough to commemorate icons, events and buildings. As there was no memorial to Dr. Price in the Glyntaff area, the author nominated the Round Houses as a potential site for a Blue Plaque and it was agreed by the committee of local historians.

On 17 September 2011, exactly sixty-four years to the day, the plaque unveiled to Dr. Price at Zoar Chapel in Llantrisant was rededicated. The original plaque had become damaged and was restored through the work of the author. At the original ceremony, members of the Llantrisant Town Trust, Llantrisant Community Council, The Cremation Society of Great Britain and the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities combined to pay tribute to the Welshman.

Present-day leaders of all these organisations came together for a second time to witness the rededication of the plaque by Mayor of Rhondda Cynon Taf Cllr Sylvia Jones and The Rt. Hon The Earl Grey, President of the Cremation Society. The Earl Grey paid his tribute to Dr. Price, adding that due to his legacy, more than seventy three percent of funerals of the previous year resulted in cremations rather than burials.