Miss Margaret Bell Finlay

Margaret Bell Finlay cropped
Margaret Finlay in 1935[2]
Margaret Morris Bell Finlay, 19, (1913-1966) was the daughter of Mrs J.B. Finlay, perhaps still a student. In 1935 she married the Deputy Medical Officer for Monmouthshire and brought up two children in her 53 year life.[1]


Possibly seated alongside her mother Mrs J. Bell Finlay, but if the mystery guests are also young teachers etc this could have had a young posse on it. Would the 66 year old former headmistress Mrs Jessie White have been a good companion?


It is still two years before her engagement, but this was not the event at which to be looking for a husband. An opportunity to meet some of the high achieving women of her lifetime.


Margaret, 3, is standing second from right between her parents. Also in the picture are her older sister Frieda and brother Jack, and her grandmother Hannah Morris Finlay.[3]
Margaret Morris Bell Finlay was born in Blackwood, Mon. on 31st October 1913, Halloween, the youngest daughter and third child, of Margaret Helena Davies (Mrs J Bell Finlay) and James Bell Pettigrew Finlay. We don’t know where she went to school but we can assume it was not to the same school as her earlier sister Frieda, where the food was so poor that her father sued the school, unsuccessfully (as recounted in the story of her mother Mrs J.B. Finlay).


What all young ladies might do: progress towards marriage and a family. On 15th February 1935 she accompanied her father at the regimental dance of the 1st Battalion (Rifles) Monmouthshire in Newport – attired in mauve tulle. Also attending was her  fiancé Dr. Gwyn Rocyn-Jones, born 13th December 1903, the Deputy Medical Officer of Health for Monmouthshire,,  They were married in 1936. Also attending that ball was Sir Humphrey Mackworth (the former husband of Lady Rhondda) and his second wife.[4]  On Bonfire Night, 5th November 1936, the married couple attended the Royal Ball in Cardiff, attended by the Duke of Kent.[5]

Margaret Morris Bell Finlay and Dr Gwyn Rocyn Jones (2)
Margaret and Dr Gwyn Rocyn-Jones on their wedding day.[6]
At the time of the 1939 census they were at the Sea Bank Hotel, Porthcawl – she served with the WVS Ambulance, Caerwent. They had two daughters: Angela Margaret in 1938, who sailed to NY on 23rd November 1960, returned in 1961 and moved permanently to the US in 1966; and Daphne Meir  born 1941. Margaret died on 6th October 1966 just short of her 53rd birthday. Her husband lived until 1983.[7]   



[1] Margaret Morris Bell Finlay The Peerage accessed 10.4.2019

[2] I am indebted to Margaret’s daughter Angela Margaret Rocyn-Jones for the family photographs

[3] Photograph kindly supplied by Angela Margaret Rocyn-Jones

[4] Western Mail, 16.2.1935 p7 ©Mirrorpix. Image created by the British Library Board, accessed from The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

[5] Western Mail, 6.11.1936 p10 ©Mirrorpix. Image created by the British Library Board, accessed from The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

[6] Photograph kindly supplied by Angela Margaret Rocyn-Jones

[7] Report by Gwyn-Rocyn Jones (1939)

Can you tell us more?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s