Rex Manford's childhood home, Welshpool

PWMP logoChildhood home of Rex Manford, 17 High Street, Welshpool

This building has an unusual layout and was once home to musician Rex Manford, killed in the Somme region in the First World War.

There has been a building here since the 17th century or earlier. The current building, made of Welshpool stone, replaced an overcrowded tenement block that was home to up to 15 poor households at a time.

No.17, now home to Baldwin’s Accountants, doesn’t have a front door facing the street but is reached by the passage in the middle of the building. The passage also gave access to the adjoining no.18, before the ground-floor window was moved and a new front door inserted.

Rooms on the upper floors of no.17 are accessed off central staircases. In the 1880s no.17 was occupied by alderman and wool trader T Rowley Morris. In the 1890s it was a storage warehouse for cabinet maker and upholsterer Fred Anderson, who had his own van (horse drawn) and provided furniture removals and storage. He also ran a photographic studio in Welshpool, established by his father James.

Various doctors occupied no.17 in the 20th century. Earlier in that century it was home to Samuel and Edith Manford and their children. Samuel was the Powis Castle estate’s chief clerk, a church organist and master of Christ Church choir, in which his sons Ronald and Reginald (Rex) sang.

Rex was born in 1892 and attended Welshpool Grammar School. He became Forden church’s organist and often played at Christ Church. He worked in the estate office for a while.

In March 1914, as war loomed on the horizon, Rex joined the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry. He was soon promoted to Sergeant. He joined the Royal Field Artillery as a Lieutenant in 1915. His war service took him to the Western Front, Jerusalem and Egypt. He was killed in action in August 1918 in the Somme region of France. He was 26 years old and is buried in France.

The family gravestone at Christ Church includes a memorial inscription and the “dead man’s penny” (a bronze plaque) which was sent to Rex’s next of kin with a condolence message from King George V.

With thanks to Natalie Bass

Postcode: SY21 7JP    View Location Map

Website of Baldwins Accountants, Welshpool

To continue the Welshpool (Powys) in WW1 tour, walk down High St and continue along Broad St. The next location is at the corner of Broad St and New St
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