Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society

A web log for the Resolven History Society which publishes articles and stories related to Resolven and the immediate surroundings.

Friday, May 11, 2012

SS Resolven: The Marie Celeste of Wales

The fate of SS Resolven is a mystery which has intrigued Mr Colin Evans for a number of years. This was rekindled when Colin visited Halifax Maritime Museum, Nova Scotia in 2008. This is how Colin describes the process since then.

Theories about SS Resolven

After the members meeting of  December 2010, Mr Colin Evans asked three other people to help him, namely Hon.Sec Trefor Jones, David Woosnam and William Willis, with the gathering of information about what happened to the SS Resolven during July/August 1884/85. After much deliberation we agreed on four theories which may have occurred about the fate of the ship. The four theories will be set out individually.

First Theory

The book "Resolven" published in the 1980s by local historians John Mc Mahon and Alun Evans featured a chapter on the disappearance of the brig Resolven ( The Marie Celeste of Wales). The book states,

" The Master of the ship Mullard ( correct name Mallard) who found the ship Resolven had sighted icebergs in the area and it was assumed that the brig had collided with one of these. Captain Jones ( correct name James) who was inexperienced in such waters must have decided to have abandoned ship, and as the small ship was pulling away it must have been swamped in the wake of the iceberg. Captain Jones ( correct name James) and the crew were never seen again."

A sketch of the Brig Resolven by Mr R Cockwell

However, this is only one of several theories regarding the disappearance of the SS Resolven. Colliding with an iceberg may not be the real answer, since this happened during the summer months of 1884/5.  Iceberg collision, while not impossible is highly  unlikely at that time of year. The fire was also lit and table was also set for dinner? This points to a rapid and unexpected evacuation of the ship. Also, it was in daylight and the watchman would surely have spotted an approaching mass of ice ( unless it was mostly underwater). The explanations range from the natural, to the criminal and social of that particular era in the history of Canada. It is the intention of this article to put the three other theories in place on a monthly basis and invite comment from anyone far and wide. This is a fragment of history which well deserves attention.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The real cost of a stamp

The Society recently received a letter from Neath Port Talbot Borough Council telling us of a forthcoming meeting of the local history forum of which we are members. This arrived about a month late and carried its own little piece of history. It had been posted to Resolfen but lacked a post code, it had subsequently been redirected by Royal Mail to the USA. This. on arriving in the New World was immediately despatched to the Old, this time to Hungary!!!!. Luckily our friends at Magyar Post knew what they were doing and sent the letter back to Wales !!!!!! 

No wonder the cost of a first class stamp is now 60p!!!!! Needless to say we did not attend the meeting.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Jameson Raid and Resolven

"The Resolven Man who volunteered"

One of the less glorious episodes in the annals of the British Empire is that of the attempted land grab of the Jameson Raid orchestrated by Cecil Rhodes of the gold fields of the Transvaal around Johannesburg.

The Jameson Raid (29 December 1895 – 2 January 1896) was a botched raid on Paul Kruger’'s Transvaal Republic and carried out by a British colonial statesman Leander Starr Jameson and his Rhodesian and Bechuanaland policemen over the New Year weekend of 1895–96. It was intended to trigger an uprising by the primarily British expatriate workers (known as Uitlanders) in the Transavaal but failed to do so. The workers were called the Johannesburg conspirators. They were expected to recruit an army and prepare for an insurrection. The raid was ineffective and no uprising took place, but it was an inciting factor in the Second Boer War and the Second Matabele War.

Mr Glyn Davies has unearthed this gem of a story from the Herald of Wales, printed on September 26th 1936. Click on the image for the full story of Mr Edward Holden Place,Licensee of the Farmers Arms, Resolven who was resident in Johnannesburg at the time.