Inspired by Gwen Awbery’s lecture on the Saturday, we spotted some more Welsh poems on tombstones. This one was at Llanhamlach.
Eich cryfder ir, a’ch glendid hardd,
Fel llysiau gwiw a blodau gardd
Ar fyr a dorir oll i lawr
Gan gystudd hir neu glefyd mawr
Your fresh strength and your lovely beauty
Are like plants and garden flowers
And will soon be cut down
With long tribulation or great sickness.
Believe it or not, this is a verse from a collection of children’s hymns, Casglidu o Hymnau Dewisiol, sef, Gwobr i Blant Da. The hymn begins ‘Ystyriwch ie’ngctyd gwych eich gwedd, Yr ewch chi bawb i rych y bedd’, ‘Remember well, young ones, you are all going to the grave’. You can read the whole thing at https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5UxVAAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false .
The tombstone didn’t commemorate a child, though, but a man who died in the prime of life, Watkin Davies of Llechfaen, who died in 1841 aged 38.
This clearly put us in the mood to try out some re-enactment. The parish church at Llanthony seems to have been built out of part of the monastic buildings, probably the infirmary. It has a good collection of 18th and 19th century wall monuments, though oddly none by the Brutes. There is only one tomb slab in the priory ruins, this rather idiosyncratic design
with saltire cross, stylised flowers and fleurs-de-lys pointing inwards from the border.
It didn’t look big enough for a coffin lid. I tried it out. It is big enough.
(Photos are Chris Jones-Jenkin’s.)