Sophia Lewis (Golden Sheaf)
Sophia Lewis was born
on 18th June 1823 in Llanboidy, Carmarthenshire. In her adult life
she became an accomplished businesswoman, milliner and dressmaker. By the age
of 30, she was ‘Head of Household’ in St. James Street, Narberth and employed one
assistant/partner (her sister Hannah, born c.1822), 5 apprentices (including
Mary James aged 25, Mary Evans and Martha Thomas, both aged 17) and a servant,
(Maria Nicholas, aged 21).
In 1854, Sophia
encountered a petty shoplifter and her persistence in securing a prosecution
reveals much about her character. The Haverfordwest & Milford Haven
Telegraph reports 4: ‘Anne Morgan of
Peter’s Lake (was) accused by Miss Lewis, draper & milliner, of stealing
lace, ribbons etc. Committed for trial’.
At a ‘Sale of
Property’ at the Angel Inn Narberth on Thursday 5th August 1880,
Sophia Lewis bought the leasehold on a
‘Leasehold Dwelling House and Shop, The Golden Sheaf’ in Narberth for a period of 30 years, at a
rent of £32:10. The Golden Sheaf, described in 1890 as a
‘Commanding Premises’, remains one of
the most popular and prominent businesses in Narberth.
On 27th March 1890, Sophia posted
an advert in the South Wales Daily News: ‘WANTED:
A sharp, junior young man (abstainer) for Fancy Drapery etc.’ This snippet
again reveals a direct and independent character with a defined sense of
By 1891, Sophia Lewis
was living in Market Square, Narberth and had retired. She died in March 1893.