Stephen W.Williams 2
and a new town
Besides his work as county surveyor, Stephen Williams was involved in many of the enclosures taking place in Radnorshire and neighbouring counties. Besides surveying the land to be enclosed, he was often involved in the delicate negotiations between the local commoners and landowners, a tricky undertaking in which he seems to have been successful.
of the biggest enclosures he worked on was Swydd Neithon, which
enclosed the Llandrindod and Cefnllys commons and made available
the land on which the new town of Llandrindod Wells was to be
Radnorshire landowners saw the opportunities the coming of the railway would create, and invested in the development of a new spa town.
As a surveyor, valuer and architect, Williams was keenly interested and became company secretary of the Llandrindod Estate and Building Company and served on the council of the new "Proprietary School for the sons of Gentlemen".
He improved and enlarged many existing buildings (including the Pump House Hotel) and built the Market Hall and Plas Winton, now an enlarged Hotel Commodore. The contacts gained in this big enterprise led to further work as a surveyor and agent with local estates. He surveyed the Gogerddan and Rhydoldog estates and was the agent for the Llysdinam estate where Francis Kilvert was a regular guest.
|Williams was an obvious choice for work on the
Elan Valley reservoirs project, a massive undertaking to
build reservoirs which would pipe much needed water to the city
Birmingham Corporation had appointed a distinguished engineer, James Mansergh, to oversee the project but he needed someone to plan and build the workers' village. Williams was thus appointed Social Estate Agent and was also involved in the delicate negotiations over land leases, dealing fairly and discreetly with local tenants.
Williams was a keen horseman and had a lifelong interest in weapons and armour. It is not surprising then that he became involved in the local militia.
He joined the 1st Herefordshire Rifle Volunteers in 1878 and set up the first Company of Volunteers in Rhayader with the personal rank of Captain. He was an enthusiastic officer organising regular drill practice with annual camps and shooting competitions. He undertook officer training, served as a staff officer with the rank of major, and at the end of his life was made Lieutenant Colonel of the entire battalion. During this command he was appointed sheriff of Radnorshire.
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