THERE is perhaps an element of historic justice in the decision of the descendants of George Albert Rowles, a former Penarth club captain and Wales international scrum-half, to donate his 1892 international cap to his former club.

The priceless red cap has travelled far and wide since George gave it to his first born daughter Lilly Kezia, the grandmother of the four sisters who travelled from different locations in Wales, to attend the presentation ceremony at the Penarth RFC club-house a few weeks ago.

This was the cap the 27-year old scrum-half wore in the Wales team photograph of 1892, where he was seated on the floor with his outside-half partner Percy Phillips of Newport to his left, not far from his childhood friend and clubmate Richard “Dickie” Garett to his right, also wearing his Wales cap.

The two caps have now been reunited after 127 years and will form the centre piece of an International Wall of Fame display in the Lavernock Road clubhouse.

By 1892 Garrett, who had captained Penarth for four seasons, was already a seasoned international player, having won seven caps since the 1888 Maoris match not to mention his role in the legendary Wales team that defeated England for the first time in 1890.

Garrett’s cap was presented to the club in 1973 by his son Tom Garrett, himself a player of outstanding ability.

Both Garrett and Rowles were not yet 18 when they joined Penarth during the 1882-83 season.

Born on 16th of December 1866 in Talywain, near Pontypool, George Albert Rowles was one of the five sons of William George Rowles, who hailed from the Portbury area of Bristol and Elizabeth Cross, who was from Pontypool.

The family moved to Penarth were William found work at the fast expanding docks and lived for a while in Cogan. In 1885, when George was already Penarth captain, he married Elizabeth Ann Wilson at St Dochdwy Church, in Llandough and their only daughter Lilly Kezia was born on October 3rd 1887.

Elizabeth Rowles died in 1895 and George, who went on playing for Penarth FC for a few more years, remarried 28-year old Dorothy Haddock (from South Shields) on 21st of August 1899.

By that time the Rowles family had moved to Barry, where George, a carpenter and boilermaker by trade, had found work in the docks. They lodged at 37 Tydfil Street and they lived mainly in the Cadoxton area of Barry were their two daughters Dorothy and Edith Rowles were born in 1903 and 1912 respectively.

When George died in 1922 his obituary in Penarth Times mentioned in addition to his rugby prowess his remarkable athleticism, as he was well-known as an excellent sprinter who had won countless races for school, county and Wales.

“He was also a well-known runner and had secured many prizes on the racing track, chiefly in the half mile events. Dr. Aitken used to say of him that he was the most perfect man he has ever seen,” the obituary said.

George’s daughter, Lilly Kezia, who inherited her father’s Wales cap, married Albert Edward Forrester and they had nine children: one of whom was Lillian May born in 1918, the mother of the four sisters who travelled from all over Wales to attend the presentation.

Lillian May Forrester who was a very good gymnast, during the 1930s, married Leonard Bobbett in July 1936 and had eight children, one son Terence and seven daughters, four of whom Lilian Jenkins, Glenys Mileham, Jennifer Lownsbrough and Jacqueline Lougher attended the presentation.

Gladys who travelled from Swansea together with her husband Stephen explained: “Our grandmother, who passed away in 1966, left George's cap to my uncle Leonard Fredric Forrester, who in turn left it to his son Leonard Forrester, who lives nowadays in Ireland.

"It was the wish of our mother Lillian May Forrester, before her death in 2015, that the cap should be re-united with George’s old club, a wish shared by our cousin Leonard, who must take credit for the cap being reunited with the club, as it definitely belonged to him.

"I think this was very generous of him to let the club have the cap.”