Elisabeth Inglis-Jones (1900-1994) was born in London, but grew up at Derry Ormond, near Lampeter, an estate her family had owned since 1783. She published her first novel Starved Fields in 1929, which caused something of a scandal because its picture of Cardiganshire life showed the men, at least, as drunken brutes. It was followed by five more novels, but in her later years she turned to local history and biography. The best-known of these books was The Great Maria, a biography of the early 19th century author Maria Edgeworth (1959). Peacocks in Paradise, (1950), the story of Thomas Johnes and his ‘palace’ at Hafod, near Aberystwyth, has rarely been out of print since it was first published. Inglis-Jones had moved to Camberley, Surrey, by 1937, where she lived for the rest of her life. She never married. Derry Ormond mansion was sold in 1950 and demolished in 1953.
Sally Roberts Jones is a poet, historian and critic. Born in London to a Welsh family and educated at UCNW, Bangor, she trained as a librarian, moving to Port Talbot as Reference Librarian in 1967. She was Secretary of The Welsh Academy1968- 1975 and Chairperson,1993-1997. She has published five poetry collections; and a number of books and articles on local history. Author of Allen Raine.(U WP series Writers of Wales) and The Literary Tradition of the Afan District (M. Phil. Dissertation, Swansea University, 2007).
Crumbling Pageant is the story of Catherine Jones and her obsession with the decaying Morfa mansion. The house was once splendid, now its owners, the Morys family are almost bankrupt and Morfa is crumbling away in the woods. Catherine dreams of restoring it to its original glory, and in pursuit of her dream neglects everything else, even her own children.
The Joneses are a farming family, but Catherine`s father has become a doctor. His wife is an Englishwoman, once a governess. The girl herself moves sometimes uneasily between the chapel-going Joneses and the local gentry wives. She becomes friends with Richard Morys, but he wants to make his way in the world elsewhere, so Catherine marries his uncouth half-brother Erasmus. As mistress of Morfa she uses her inheritance to restore the estate, even trying to mould her children, Lucian and Louise to the same purpose. Meanwhile Richard Morys has become a successful industrialist, learning the lesson of concern for his workers.
Then there is a banking crisis. Catherine loses her income and Lucian steps in, working to repair the damage his mother`s neglect has caused her tenants. Catherine is left alone, back in her childhood home, ‘a grey-haired woman’ standing in an empty road.
Elisabeth Inglis-Jones was an important writer of fiction and local history and biography.
There is a strong link between Crumbling Pageant and the Hafod estate. Elisabeth Inglis-Jones's story of Hafod has rarely been out of print since it was first published. Although the house has gone, the grounds are being restored and are open to visitors.