In 1741 Joseph Millingchamp died – a former comptroller of Customs at Cardigan who had resided here with his family. In April 1744 a notorious smuggler named William Owen, who was well-known to the Cardigan Customs Officers, brought a cargo to Cardigan. The revenue cruiser was sent out, which he and his men quickly managed to repulse, and he continued unloaded his illegal wares. His ship, moored on the Teifi, was then ambushed on 4th April 1744 by the Collector of Customs with the aid of twenty other men, including four Spanish prisoners of war, two convicts, a tide-officer and ‘…supernumery catch poles and informers…‘ Owen and his crew killed four of the men – two Spaniards and two Welshmen one of whom was the Customs officer – and wounded a convict. Four days later Owen sailed off for the Isle of Man. The coroner’s inquest found that James Phillips, the Customs officer, had been murdered by Owen. In the case of the other Welshman killed, one John Hughes, saddler, a verdict was returned of murder by person or persons unknown. This was also the verdict on the death of one of the Spaniards named Domingo de Zioneto whilst the other Spaniard named Alfonso Pintado ‘…got over the side of a ship and grappled there in order to save his life from the said William Owen but fell in the river and was drowned…‘ (NLW, Great Sessions 4/893/1). William Owen was hanged in 1747.
In 1748 Cardigan was described as:
“…a considerable Corn Country and they clear out at the Custom-House of Cardigan yearly to be shipped off of Wheat, Barley, Malt, Oats and Oatmeal about 50,000 bushels…”
In 1751 Morgan Popkins was the Officer of the Customs at Cardigan. In July 1772 William Lewis was a Cardigan Excise Officer. On 10th October 1777 Thomas Jones was a Collector of Excise for Cardigan and a burgess of the town. In 1782 John Jones was an Excise Officer in Cardigan. In 1783 Richard Rowland was an Excise Officer in Cardigan.
In 1803-27 Rees Price was the Surveyor of Customs here. On 25th December 1807 Isaac Mathias, Officer of the Customs, died aged 46. The building was rebuilt at about that time, the architect was probably David Evans, though his son, Daniel Evans, may have been engaged here. In 1809 Daniel Davies was an Excise Officer for Cardigan. In September 1809 Mrs. Price, wife of Rees Price, surveyor of customs, died.
In 1807-45 Thomas Lloyd was a Customs Officer here. In February 1814 Thomas Lloyd of Custom House married Miss Mary Evans of Cardigan. On 16th November 1820 James Lloyd, son of customs officer Thomas Lloyd & Mary Lloyd, was baptised at St. Mary’s Church. On 23rd October 1821 Rice Gwynn, son of Custom House Officer Daniel Gwynn & Mary Anne Mathias Gwynn, was baptised at St. Mary’s Church. On 15th April 1823 Emma Lloyd, daughter of Customs Officer Thomas & Mary Lloyd, was baptised at St. Mary’s Church. On 20th September 1824 William Gwynne, son of Customs Officer Daniel Gwynne & Mary Anne Mathias Gwynne, was baptised at St. Mary’s Church. The Port Records for Cardigan, originally kept here, survive from 1824 onwards and can now be seen at the Pembrokeshire Record Office.
On 6th April 1825 Jane Lloyd, daughter of Customs Surveyor Thomas Lloyd & Mary Lloyd, was baptised at St. Mary’s Church, but must have died in infancy. On 20th June 1827 Jane Lloyd, daughter of Controller of Customs Thomas Lloyd & Mary Lloyd, was baptised at St. Mary’s Church. In December 1827 Rees Price died aged 60, having been Surveyor of Customs here for 24 years. In 1830-35 David Powell Lucas of Stepside was the Collector of Customs, and Thomas Lloyd was the Comptroller and landed surveyor. In July 1832 the sale particulars for Castle Green (Cardigan Castle) included the Custom House, which was leased to the Customs Officers. The building is marked on John Wood’s 1834 map of Cardigan.
In 1835 customs officer Thomas Lloyd became a member of Cardigan Borough Council. On 11th August 1836 Excise Officer Hugh McFaarlen was granted a license to marry Rachel Morris. From 1839-41 Thomas Lloyd, Customs Officer, was a burgess of the town. In April 1841 Customs Officer Daniel Gwynn Mathias died. On 30th September 1841 Captain William Woolley Lloyd, son of Customs Officer Thomas Lloyd, married Elizabeth Davies, daughter of Rev. Daniel Davies of Pendre. In 1841 Richard Woodrough was the excise officer. In 1844 David Powell Lucas was the Collector of Customs, Thomas Lloyd was the Controller, and Isaac Mathias and James Lloyd were the tide waiters. In November 1845 Thomas Lloyd retired and Mr. Thomas became Collector of customs. On 11th June 1846 Emma Lloyd, daughter of former Controller of Customs Thomas Lloyd, married Thomas Amlot, widower of St. Mary Street. On 5th May 1849 Thomas Lloyd, former controller of customs, died aged 69. His will referred to his sons William Woolley Lloyd and James Lloyd, and to his daughter, Jane.
In 1845-52 Henry Thomas was the Collector In 1852 George Williams was the controller, James Lloyd was the tide waiter and Daniel Thomas was the broker. On 9th May 1851 Mary Margaretta Lloyd, daughter of acting Controller of Customs James Lloyd & Mary Lloyd of Custom House, was baptised at St. Mary’s Church. In 1860 David Morgan, the Customs Officer, joined the newly-formed Cardigan Company of Rifle Volunteers. In 1862 Lewis Evans was the Collector of Customs. In 1867-68 Edward L. Penfold was the Customs Officer. In 1868 David Morgan was the tide waiter and surveyor. Henry Jones worked here in 1869-71. In 1871 John Joshua Head was the collector, Henry Jones the deputy receiver and John Williams and Thomas Evans the tide waiters at the Customs Office. In 1873 John Morgan was the receiver of wreck at the Cardigan Custom House. In 1875 John Morgan was the Superintendent and John Hugh was the acting Examining Officer here. John Morgan was still the Collector of Customs in 1876-84. In 1883 John Morgan was the secretary of the local branch of the lifeboat service. His son, Algernon Sidney Morgan, 28, of Pomona Cottages, St. Dogmaels, died on 28th January 1883.
In 1884 John Morgan was the Customs Officer, with William Griffiths working as the second officer. On May 8th 1889 Frederick Layzall, Custom House Officer, was buried at St. Dogmaels, having died aged 46. In 1891 the Customs Office was run by Thomas Lewis, superintendent, and Daniel Cronin, 2nd Officer. In 1891-1900 Thomas Lewis was the superintendent of the Customs House. On 10th July 1908 former Customs Officer, David Morgan, died aged 82. In 1914 the Customs House was run by Benjamin Bevan. By 22nd May 1914 No. 1 Pendre had become the Customs Office and the office here closed.
In August 1919 the former Custom House was advertised for sale. On November 29th 1921 the Coalition Liberals moved to their new venue at the Old Custom House, opened by Captain Ernest Evans, M. P.. ‘The Liberal Club’ was still here in 1922. In 1938-49 David Rees was based at No. 44.
On 9th September 1977 No. 44 was advertised for sale. In 1986-89 No. 44 was ‘Custom House Fabrics’. In 1993 No. 44 was ‘Castle Music’. In June 1994 No. 44 was advertised for sale with 2 bedrooms. On 16th November 1995 Custom House became an art shop and gallery, run by Karina Servini, and remained so in 1995-2013. Sympathetic replacement windows were installed to the east in April 2003.
The property was described by CADW in 1992:
“…Early C19 former Custom House (now shops) in coursed blue lias stone with slate roof. Single storey façade of 3 bays originally all with tall recessed arched openings, both arches with cut stone voussoirs, but right bay has larger later C19 shopfront replacing original opening.
Left arch has fixed C20 small-paned glazing and rendered top lunette, while centre has double doors with overlight and rendered lunette, the doors 6-panel with top glazing.
Shopfront to right has pilasters each side with triglyphs over in fascia, and top cornice. Big double panelled doors set back to left, overlight with flattened arched head, and panelled reveals. Shopwindow of 3 big plate glass lights, top lights above thin transom.
South east rear wing with roof hipped at angle, C20 roughcast cladding. East end wall of Custom House has C20 plate glass window below large late C19 tripartite sash…”
Additional note: Recessed ceilings resemble those at Castle Green (ca.1808) and a doorcase resembles those from the same building (1827), suggesting that the architect was the same – probably David Evans, or else his son, Daniel Evans.
NLW, Great Sessions 4/893/1
Plans of Harbours, Lewis Morris 1748
Parish Registers of St. Mary’s, Cardigan
Pembrokeshire Record Office: Port of Cardigan Shipping Registers
NLW Minor Deposit 490-9B
Cambrian Journal 16/09/1809; 05/03/1814
Pigot’s Directory 1830; 1835; 1844
Map of Cardigan, J Wood 1834
Hope Chapel Records
Slater’s Directory 1850; 1852; 1868
Hunt’s Directory 1850
A History of Cilgerran, John Roland Phillips 1867
Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1867; 1876; 1883; 1893-98; 1900; 1908; 1911-12; 1914; 1916; 1919; 1921-22; 1924; 1926; 1935; 1938; 1940; 1944-49; 1951-53; 1956; 1966; 1971-72; 1999; 2004; 2008
Post Office Directory 1871
Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1875; 1884; 1891; 1895; 1914
Burial Register – St. Dogmaels 1885-1952
Census Returns 1891
Walks & Wanderings in County Cardigan, E Horsfall Turner 1902
Telephone Directory – South Wales District 1940
Post Office Telephone Directory 1950, 1953; 1955
Ceredigion Vol. VII No. I 1972
Cardigan Civic Festival Programme 1986
Cardigan Civic Week Programme 1989
The Gateway to Wales, W J Lewis 1990
A History of the Cardigan Lifeboats, Donald Davies 1990
Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest – Cardigan, CADW 1992
The 1993 Guide to Cardigan
Leaflet – Custom House 1996
Register of Electors – Cardigan 1998
The Official Cardigan Guide 1998
The Phone Book 2003.
© Glen K Johnson 19/06/2013