1778 Sarah Rees was 24 years old and six months pregnant when she married 30 year old Edward Thomas in her parish church of Talyllyn on 29th August 1778. Illegitimacy and 'late' marriages were not uncommon at that time and Edward and Sarah would not have been regarded as having seriously transgressed the accepted morality of their day. Edward Thomas was from Trawsfynydd (near Ffestiniog) and both he and his new bride were illiterate. They settled in Upper Corris in a small cottage -'bwthyn'- called Rhognant where they were to spend their married life together and where their children were born during the latter part of the eighteenth century.
Trawsfynydd did have a number of slate quarries, and I assume Edward Thomas decided work as a slate miner in Corris.Corr is is some 20 miles from Trawsfynydd
Banns of Marriage between “Edward Thomas of The Parish of Trawsfynydd in the County of Merioneth and Sarah Rees of the Parish of Talyllyn in the said County were published in ye Parish Church of Talyllyn on Sunday ye 9th. 16th. 23rd August the s’d Ed. Thms” of “the” Parish “of Trawsfynydd Bachelor” and “Sarah Rees” of “the” Parish “of Talyllyn Spinster” were Married in this “Church” by “Banns” this “ 29th” Day of “August” in the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and “Seventy Eight” by me “Jenk: Hughes Clark”
This Marriage was solemnized between Us “The Mark w of Ed. Thomas The Mark x of Sarah Rees”In the Presence of “Robert Pugh£ and "Humphrey Johns”
J Arthur Williams, in his history -'Trem yn Ol' [‘A Backward Glance’] - of the Corris area and Talyllyn parish, records the occupancy of Rhognant by Edward Thomas and Sarah Rees. He puts forward a possible derivation for Rhognant as being from 'Rhwng dwy nant', between two streams. Alternatively, he suggests the word may come from 'Rhochi nant' or 'Rhygnu nant' conveying the sound of the streams rippling over the pebbly river bed. Certainly both explanations are apt descriptions of where the old cottage stood in Upper Corris. The original building is gone and other houses, Glan Nant, now occupy the site. But the name Rhognant still exists in that a 'new' house on the other side of the road, facing the original site, has adopted the name of the old cottage. It is known that the occupiers of the original Rhognant were in business selling rock salt in block form; this was their sole merchandise. It is possible that the salt traders were Edward Thomas and Sarah Rees - although on her death certificate Sarah is described as being the widow of Edward Thomas 'farmer'.
Edward and Sarah had at least six children, four sons and two daughters. There are gaps in the Talyllyn Church records during the period from about 1777 to at least 1792. From time to time insertions have been made in the records, usually accompanied by the disclaimer "The above is a mistake committed by Mr. Morgan, the late Curate of Talyllyn"! It may well be therefore that Edward and Sarah had more than six children and would account for the separation of some years between the recorded baptisms of their children.
The surnames of the children of Edward Thomas and Sarah Rees are interesting historically. At that time in Wales a son or daughter might be given the christian name of the father as his/her surname; that is, the tradition of patronymic surnames still prevailed. Thus two of their children were named Thomas Edward and Elinor Edward, not Thomas Thomas/Elinor Thomas. However, the custom of patronymics was coming to an end and the surname of their subsequent three children is that of their father - Thomas. But what of the eldest son David Thomas? This is an example of the Welsh tradition of the eldest son's surname being the grandfather's, and not the father's, christian name. The christian name of Edward Thomas's father must therefore have been Thomas. (Edward Thomas’s wife, who was always known as Sarah Rees and not Sarah Thomas, exemplifies the other Welsh tradition of very often referring to a married woman by her maiden name).
1778. David Thomas, the eldest child David Thomas was baptised at Talyllyn Church on 10th November 1778, three months after the marriage of his parents at the same church.
1781. Elinor Edward was probably the next child, although her baptism has not been recorded. For 'family tree' purposes - it is assumed here, based on census information, that this occurred in 1781.
1783. Their second son Thomas Edward was baptised at Talyllyn on 27th April 1783. The other three children were
1786. Elizabeth Thomas was baptised in December 1786
1793. Rees Thomas, was baptised in January 1793.
1799. Edward Thomas was baptised in March 1799.
1808 Edward Thomas died 8 Apr 1808 aged 60. His wife Sarah did not die until 17 Dec 1847
His son Rees Thomas 1793
Edward and Sarah from Aled Pugh