Where is this mysterious Welsh parish located?
QI would be very grateful if anybody could help me trace a birth record for my 3x great grandfather, James Pugh. According to his Army pension record, James served during the Peninsular War in the 43rd Regiment of Foot and was born in 1791 in Turgan, Radnor, Radnorshire.
In the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses James was living at 1 Edward Street, Lambeth, along with his wife Mary (born 1781 in Bewdley, Worcestershire) and daughters Hannah (1821–1848) and Margaret Susannah (1825–1880). He consistently notes his birthplace as Radnor, Radnorshire (born c1791), but does not give any further details.
Where exactly was Turgan located, and where would the local birth records be held? Loretta Lawrance
A‘Turgan’ is not familiar to me as a parish name in Wales, and having checked Cofrestri Plwyf Cymru/Parish Registers of Wales by CJ Williams and J Watts-Williams, it does not seem that there are any parishes in Radnorshire starting with ‘T’.
I have also searched for ‘Turgan’ within Radnorshire in various Welsh gazetteers, the main ones being Welsh Administrative and
Territorial Units by Melville Richards and A Gazetteer of Welsh PlaceNames by Elwyn Davies. I thought it might well be the name of a village, township or hamlet, but again had no luck.
It’s often the case that Welsh place names are recorded incorrectly, as the recorder may have been unfamiliar with Welsh pronunciation. For instance, the prefix ‘Tur’ could well have been ‘Tir’ (land) or ‘Tre’ (town).
It’s also important to point out that Radnor was not a parish but a hundred in the county of Radnor, while the two associated parishes were Old Radnor and New Radnor. New Radnor included the township of Tre-wern and Gwaethla (formerly in the parish of Llanfihangel Nant Melan).
Having looked at the documents you attached in more detail, James Pugh may well have been born as early as c1786. For instance, the 1841 census rounds ages down to the nearest five years, while his service records state that he was 23 years old on 2 April 1809, and 36 years old on 12 June 1822.
With this in mind, I checked the baptism records for the parishes of New Radnor and Llanfihangel Nant Melan held at the National Library of Wales ( library.
wales) for a possible entry for James Pugh between 1785 and 1792, but none was found.
The records of Old Radnor are held at the Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre ( bit.ly/ HARChives), and I suggest you contact them to undertake a search on your behalf.
I’m sorry that I can’t definitively tell you where ‘Turgan’ was located, but it may have been the name of a residence rather than a parish. Beryl Evans
James Pugh’s Army pension record states that he was born in the cryptic ‘Turgan’