William Lewis Berryman

William Lewis was the son of Matthew and Margaret Berryman, and was born in the hamlet of Cefn Coed (Cefn-Coed-Y-Cymmer) in the parish of Vaynor near Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales in about 1866. He had eight brothers and sisters; they were:

Evan 1860, Cefn Coed About 1896
Minnie About 1862, Cefn Coed   
Leah About 1863 Jun 1941, Golders Green, London
Mark 11 May 1869, Cefn Coed 16 Sep 1934, Perth, W. Australia
Rebecca 30 Nov 1871, Cefn Coed 14 Jan 1968
Mary 1874, Cefn Coed 1894,Cefn Coed
Arthur Matthew About 1879, Cefn Coed 2 Apr 1960, Victoria, B.C. Canada
Edward About 1879, Llandulio  
  • In the 1881 Census, William was described as: "Draper's assistant (14 yrs) for (and living with) David Thomas of "The Shop", Bute Street, Ystradyfodwg".
  • In the 1891 Census, it was: "194/195 High Street, Cefn Coed, Vaynor (House & Shop)".
  • In the 1901 and 1906 Kelly's Trade Directories: "Drapers: Berryman W.L. High Street, Cefn-Coed, Merthyr Tydfil"
  • Apparently, he later owned the Emblem Stores, 62 High Street, with carts to carry goods for roadmakers on Brecon turnpyke road.
  • Although a verger of the local church, he was not particularly religious. He was described by his grandson, Neville ("Nick") Berryman in his book "In the Nick of Time" as follows:

"My Grandfather was a man of medium-to-short build and, at the age of sixty, showed physical signs of always having been well fed and watered; although Young William Lewis watered is probably the wrong word, unless he drank a lot of it together with something he obviously preferred. He was known to enjoy his whisky, a habit which my grandmother obviously abhorred, being teetotal and a devout church-goer. Grandfather's ample stomach always supported a waistcoat adorned with a large gold watch-chain. He, I think, was dogged by a bit of bad luck, or it could have been judgement, in his business life. Described on my father's Birth Certificate as a 'Draper', he ended his days selling Axminster carpet. Quite a good business I suppose, as most homes at the time were furnished with yards of cold shiny lino, and grandma, who always had the best and was somewhat indulged by the whole family, would not have liked too much lino.

Earlier in his days, grandpa had been in business for himself and at one time had seven ponies and traps for travelling sales in Merthyr and the surrounding villagesOld William Lewis which, in the 1900s, were deeply rooted in coal mining. From what has been said, his parting from this occupation was due to his over-trusting nature, the main problem having been a relative of his believed to have been a cousin. However, all was not lost, and before long he appears as the owner of a shop in Merthyr High Street (a photograph of which is still in existence) and another in the outlying 'Cefn' district of Merthyr. The building was at 193 High Street, Cefn Vaynor, Brecon, and was still there in 1989."

 WL Berryman's shop, then & now
Here is a photo of William Lewis' shop in Cefn Coed High Street "then & now"; it is now the Post Office. Click on it to see a larger version.

William Lewis & Kate (young).jpg (149771 bytes)

In 1890, William married Emily Kate Hand, the daughter of the local police sergeant, Henry James Hand, who went on to become the Deputy Chief Constable of Breconshire. Henry Hand and WL's father, Matthew had previously been neighbours in Brecon. Having initially lived over the shop, they later moved to 10 Norman Terrace, Merthyr Tydfil.

Here are two articles written after William Lewis' death. The first is from the magazine of the United Kingdom Commercial Travellers’ Association (UKCTA):

Mr. W. L. BERRYMAN (Merthyr).

The Merthyr Branch has again suffered a serious loss, through the death of Mr. W. L. Berryman, Hon. Treasurer of the Branch for the past 14 years, who passed away at the age of 68. Mr. Berryman was taken ill on 12 December with cerebral thrombosis and mitral disease, and finally succumbed on January 3rd. Ever since joining the Branch, in 1916, the deceased gentleman has been an example of loyalty and enthusiasm for all that the Association stood for, so much for so that he became Branch Chairman in 1919 and shortly afterwards was appointed Branch Treasurer. His manner of safeguarding the finances of the Branch has been distinguished by efficiency and reliability throughout, while his yearly rendition of accounts was marked by the accuracy and care with which they had been kept. Always a regular attendant at all Branch meetings and functions, his was a life of whole-hearted service to his fellow members, and his kindly and genial personality is one that will be very sadly missed. He leaves a widow, three sons and three daughters,

From The Merthyr Express -12 January, 1935:



The funeral of Mr. W. L Berryman, of 10, Norman-terrace, Merthyr, who died on the 3rd inst., after a short illness, in his 68th year, took place on Monday at Cefn Cemetery.

Mr. Berryman, who was a draper, was for 14 years treasurer of the Merthyr branch of the United Kingdom Commercial Travellers' Association, and was a staunch member of Cyfarthfa Church. A short service was held at Christ Church, Cyfarthfa, after which the cortege proceeded to the cemetery. The vicar of Cyfarthfa (Rev. E. H. Robinson-Hughes), the Rector of Merthyr (Rev. J. Richards-Pugh), and the Curate of Cyfarthfa officiated.

The mourners were: Mr. R. Berryman (Barclays Bank, Chelsea), Mr. C. Berryman (Inland Revenue, Pontypool) and Mr. W.M. Berryman (estate agent), sons; Mr. E. Berryrnan, auctioneer (brother); Mr. H. French, Bristol (son-in-law), Mr. John Berryman (grandson), and Mr. W. Betts (nephew).

Others present included: Mr. T. Goldsworthy, Reading; Mr. Howard- Davies, Cardiff ; Mr. Gaily, Gwaelodygarth, Mr. Bagley, Norman-terrace, Messrs. T. D. Jones, Pentwyn Villas; Jarrett Williams (Morlais Buildings); T. C. Price (chairman) and A. Roberts (sec., .K.C,T,A); Dan Rees, Tudor-terrace; Harris Jones, Hanover-street; Samuel Davies, Avenue; H M. Lloyd chemist; Besley, Norman-terrace; Benj. Jones, Carmarthen; George Daniel, Dane Villas; E. J. Powell, Cefn; T. B. John, Brunswick-street; F. Bevan, Ardwyn; J. John, grocer; L C. Lloyd, Cefn; H. E. Fine, The Walk; Sidney Williams, Park-crescent; — Williams, Barclays Bank; — Livesey, Abercynon; O. Riddle, Norman-terrace; T. W. Lewis. solicitor; — Pembridge, Cefn; P. R. Williams, Meyrick Villas; Harry Thomas, Meyrick Villas; and Ld. Thomas, Norman-terrace.

The bearers were Mr. A. Roberts, Mr. Bagley, Mr. T. C. Price and Mr. L. C. Lloyd.

Wreaths were received from: His sorrowing wife; The Three Girls; Reg. and family, Cyril and family; Willie and family; Eddie and Winnie; Bertha and family, Neath; Minnie, Harry and Eunice, Warrington; Leah, Willie and Bob, London; Gordon, Theo. and Herbert; Ethel and Robert, Finchley; Eva and Harry, Hendon; Nanny, Phyllis and Sid, Neath; George and Winnie, Neath; Kit and Ralph Livesey, Norfolk; Messrs. William O'Neill, carpet manufacturers, London; Merthyr Branch U.K.C.T.A.; Staff of Barclays Bank; Mr & Mrs T.D. Jones; Mrs E.M. Williams, Brecon; Mr & Mrs Bagley and Son: Mr & Mrs Pembridge; Miss Bailey; Mr & Mrs J. O. Thomas; Mr & Mrs W. Ll Thomas; Mr & Mrs J. E. Orpen; Mr V. Harris Jones; Mr & Mrs Price and Nancy.

The undertaker was Mr. J.D. Jones, Brecon-road.

The bereaved widow and family very gratefully acknowledge the beautiful floral tributes. "


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