Mrs Anne Daniel 1819-1904. Daughter of an axe wielding father who fought off the Rebecca Rioters

The following brief story is of a family long since forgotten in Carmarthen, but a family that played its part to the full in so many ways during what was a difficult period in mid Victorian Britain and Carmarthen in particular. Anne’s 6ft 4” axe wielding father David Woozley must have been quite a formidable character to have come up against yet was better known for his musical abilities than keeping law and order!! There is so much more to tell of this intriguing family but for now I hope this “snapshot of history” will be sufficient to acknowledge the part they played in the life of Carmarthen all those years ago.

Death and Funeral of Mrs Anne Daniel, Carmarthen. 1819-1904 Carmarthen Weekly Reporter 29th July 1904 (supplement)

We have to record with sorrow the death and funeral of Mrs Anne Daniel, who died on the 20th inst. her remains were laid to rest on Monday, the 25th inst., at St. David’s burial ground in the same grave as her husband, Mr David Augustus Daniel, boot maker, of this town who died 20 years ago. The deceased was in her 85th year.

The headstone of Ann Daniel, her husband and son. Interestingly Anne’s surname appears as WOOZLEY – her maiden name before marriage. This headstone was found under the soil last year and saved for posterity

A special request has been made to mention the fact that Mrs Daniel in her young days was one of the ladies who carried a basket of flowers as was then the custom on the occasion of the great procession when the late Mr David Morris, of Carmarthen, was returned in the Liberal cause to Parliament.

Portrait of David Morris MP, by Thomas Brigstocke which hangs in the Crown Court Room of the Guildhall Carmarthen. Reproduced by  kind permission of Carmarthenshire Museum Services.

Mrs Daniel was the daughter of the late Mr David Woozley, who for 36 years kept the Borough Police Station, It is noteworthy to chronicle here that the latter was a promoter and member of the old Town Band, and he brilliantly defended himself and the old Police Station against the onslaught of the Rebecca rioters on their way to the workhouse. On that occasion when the attack was attempted, Mr D. Woozley rushed to the door to meet the mob. He was of great strength, standing over 6ft. 4in. with a hatchet in his hand, and he dared one or any of them to touch the building under penalty of losing his life. The rioters then departed. Mrs Daniel was also the only sister of the late Mr Wm. Woozley, who for 21 years served in the Borough Police, and later 21 years a warder in H.M. Prison, Carmarthen. The funeral was attended by a detachment of the Borough Police, under Sergt. Davies, and a host of sympathising friends; Miss Amelia J. Kirton, of Grange Town, Yorkshire, a grand-daughter, also attended the funeral, as well as her two sons David and Augustus Daniel. Mr Wm. Woozley (nephew) who attended upon the old lady, together with his sister Mrs George Thomas until the last.

On the 31st August 1866 the Carmarthen Journal recorded the death of  Anne Daniel’s father – David Woozley – the last survivor of the old “Watch” – the last of those who, muffled and cloaked, carrying their flickering lanterns, like glow worms in the dark, had broken the silence of the night with the comforting cry “”Starlight fair, and all’s well” (a quote from Pat Molloy -Shilling for Carmarthen)

“Death of an Old Inhabitant”

 “Our obituary this week records the death of an aged and somewhat remarkable inhabitant of this Town. Mr David Woozley. The deceased was, in his youth a member of the old County Militia and accompanied his Corps to Ireland (The Irish Rebellion of 1801 &1802) Before the days of Policemen he was enrolled I the ranks of those Guardians of the Public Peace scarcely less ancient than night itself –“The Watchmen” Most of our readers have had the satisfaction of listening to the strains of what was known as the Carmarthen old band, the members of which never failed to turn out and do their best towards enlivening the town on all notable public occasions. Those who have not heard them will never have that pleasure in this world, for old David Woozley was the last of the company who have, let us hope, been made members of another and better band.

Late in his life Mr Woozley was appointed as keeper of the Station House (Police Station) a position which he held for 33 years, and up to the day of his death in 1866 giving entire satisfaction to the public. He was of great height, and was eighty two years old when he died. Many members of the police force attended as pall- bearers at the funeral, which was perhaps the largest and most respectable of its kind ever witnessed in Carmarthen”

As a committed Baptist like most of his family before him, he was buried in Penuel Baptist Cemetery in Priory Street Carmarthen alongside his parents. Other members of the Woozley family are also buried here in St Davids. Harriet Woozley, David’s sister in law is one, together with other members of her family. James Woozley, like his brother David was buried in Penuel Chapel Cemetery. One can only imagine how terrified the prospective husbands to be must have been to ask 6ft 4” David Woozley for his daughters hand in marriage! Being brought up as children in the White Horse Inn in Priory Street would in itself have been quite hard in the early 19th century but it served them all well and they all in turn served their community above and beyond the call of duty. God bless them all.

The headstone of Harriet Woozley -Aunt to Anne Daniel