The Suggs and Loveless West

Ted Sugg has built up a powerful story of the struggle of people without the security of a strong family, security of house tenure and the struggle to make a wage and care for a family. Read on!

Jane Sugg’s Sons 1863-1962

Jane Sugg had six sons, Arthur, my grandfather, was son No 5, all of these sons started their working life as farm labourers in the Milton, Ash and the Martock area of Somerset, as did their ancestors before them. When I started my family research about five years ago, I knew that my grandfather was once a miner, who returned to Somerset with a Welsh wife to work as a farm labourer in Butleigh in the early 1900s, this was about the sum total of my family history. I was only two when my grandfather died and thirteen when my father past away, so I never had the chance to really talk to them and learn about their past. My grandfather was a farmer at the time of his death and had helped two of his sons to start their own farms, so the land is very much in the Sugg blood.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that each of Jane’s sons at some point in time had moved to Wales as coal miner hewers, working on the coal face deep underground. As a country boy who loves open spaces, my worst nightmare would be to work in a coal mine.

Four of these young men stayed in Wales and three brought up their family there and I have been lucky to make contact with their grandchildren. Two sons came back to Somerset, one being my grandfather Arthur. An elderly Butleigh gentleman, who I have made contact with, told me that although he did not know my grandfather personally, his older brother use to always say when they drove by Arthur’s second home in Butleigh, Arthur Sugg has done very well. To progress from farm labourer to a small holding to a tenant farmer was quite an achievement. The other brother that came back was Joseph, he lived in Yeovil and Montacute. Although he worked on the railways he still helped the local farmers at haymaking and harvesting time.

Why did these men move to Wales?

The agricultural depression of the late 1880s and 1890s was wide spread and crippling. The pull of job opportunities, higher wages and houses for their families in Wales, lured these men to what they thought was a better life. In the Rhondda Valley, where the Suggs went to work, Somerset topped the birthplace of English born residence between 1891 and 1911. The opposite was happening in Ash, Milton and Witcombe where population was declining, see Ken Gould’s ‘The Ash Log’, this is the period when the six sons moved and worked in Wales.

From the census returns I found out that even in Wales the family stayed quite close together, brothers lived in the same street or next village, in some cases their children married Martock area girls and they even lodged with families that also came from Martock and Ash. Three of the older boys married local girls from the Martock area and their wives either went with them or followed them later, one did not marry and two married Welsh girls, but in both these cases the girl’s parents came from Martock originally. Even in Wales they had their own Somerset community.

Attached are some details from the marriage certificates of the five boys who got married and had families. Hopefully some of your readers might recognise their ancestors and share information.

Sugg Marriages

Henry Sugg.(1863-1947)

Henry a Labourer, aged 22 married Pamela Hague Stagg aged 23 on the 16th September 1886 at Tintinhull, both were residents of Tintinhull at the time. Henry’s father was unknown. Pamela’s father was Thomas Stagg, and was recorded as a Cordwainer.

Witnesses:- Henry Stagg (Pamela’s brother) and Elizabeth Ann Brown.

In 1910, Henry’s eldest son Walter aged 22, married Beatrice Servila Rice aged 22 from Tintinhull. Yeovil Registration. Walter was born and christened in Ash and at the age of 3 he was living in Wales. At 13 he was working down the mines as a coal miner hewer, as was his father. In the 1911 Census he is shown living at 155 Ystrad Road, Ystrad with his wife Beatrice.

Joseph Sugg (1868-1903)

Joseph, a Packer on the railways, aged 24 married Julia Morris, a Domestic Servant, aged 20, on the 8th May 1893 at the Parish Church Martock, both were residents of Stapleton at the time. Joseph’s father was entered as Lovelefs West Sugg (Diseased). Julia’s father Henry Morris was recorded as a Labourer.

Witnesses:- Isabella Morris (Julia’s sister) and Charles Sheston Morris (Julia’s brother).

Note. Joseph had been to Wales and had returned to live in Somerset at the time of his marriage.

Alfred Sugg ( 1871-1941)

Alfred did not marry but stayed in Wales. He died in 1941 at the home of Dennis Sugg, the son of his brother William, in Llwynpia.

William Thomas Sugg (1874-1945)

William, a Miner, aged 24 married Matilda Dalwood, a Glover, aged 27 on the 24th December 1902 at the Parish Church Montacute. William was living in Llwynypia South Wales and Matilda was living at Montacute. Williams father Lovelefs West Sugg Labourer. Matilda’s father was recorded as Thomas Dalwood Labourer.

Witnesses:- Joseph Sugg, Williams brother and Bessie Dalwood Matilda’s Sister.

Arthur Sugg (1881-1944),My Grandfather


Arthur a Collier, aged 21 married Clara Gaylard aged 21 on the 19th March 1903 at the Registry Office Pontypridd, Glamorgan. Arthur was living at 18 Gilligaled Road, Ystrad, Glamorgan and Clara was living at 6 Sherwood Terace Llwynypia, Glamorgan. Arthur’s father was unknown. Clara’s father James Gaylard was a Colliery Labourer.

Witnesses:- John Batten and Harriet West.

Clara’s parents, James Gaylard and Harriett Cole originally came from Martock. Harriet’s mother was Sarah Sugg who married Joseph Cole. Sarah Sugg’s father was John Sugg. Therefore John Sugg was Clara’s Great Grandfather. Arthur’s mother was Jane Sugg, Jane’s Mother was Elizabeth Sugg, Elizabeth was the sister of Sarah, and their father was John Sugg. Therefore both my grandparents had the same Great, Grandparents.

Oliver Sugg (1884-1962)

Oliver a Collier, aged 23 married Ida Clara Worner aged 21 on the 23rd December 1907 at the Registry Office Pontypridd, Glamorgan. Oliver was living at 9 Pleasant Terrace, Ystrad, Rhondda and Ida was living at 10 Llewellwn Street, Pontygwaith. Oliver’s father was unknown and Ida’s father was Sidney Worner a Gardener.

Witnesses:- Frank Worner, Ida’s brother and Katie Drewett, Frank’s wife to be. In 1911 Frank was living in Pontygwaith with his wife Katie, I believe Ida was living with or near her brother when she got married.

In 1891 Ida at the age of 3 was living in North Street Martock , with her Parents Sidney and Rachel Worner (nee Bond) and her brother Frank S. Worner age 7.

In 1901 Ida at the age of 13 was living in North Street Martock, with her Parents Sidney and Rachel Worner. Between 1901 and her marriage Ida seems to have lost a couple of years.

Ted can be contacted at ted.sugg at, substitute "at'" for @ to make this email address work and avoid spam