On my mind

Llanelli Star - - LETTERS - With Graham Davies Fol­low Graham on Twit­[email protected]

FOR those peo­ple at the “pills and wills” stage of life, a guided tour of the Box Ceme­tery in Llanelli on a Sun­day afternoon, cour­tesy of Lyn John and Llanelli Com­mu­nity Her­itage, might have led some to re­flect on Plato’s com­ment that death is not the worst thing that can hap­pen to peo­ple.

It’s cer­tainly not true that the num­ber one cause of death is too many birth­days, as the poignancy of an early end to life in poverty is bru­tally ex­posed by the ages on some head­stones.

The ori­gins of the Box Ceme­tery, a typ­i­cal Vic­to­rian con­struc­tion with an abun­dance of large mono­lith-style memo­ri­als, lie in some spec­tac­u­lar 19th Cen­tury feud­ing be­tween the Angli­cans and the Non­con­formists.

Un­able to con­duct the funer­als of their church mem­bers in the church ceme­tery in Old Road, the Non­con­formists bought up some land where all could be buried re­gard­less of faith and could choose any min­is­ter to of­fi­ci­ate.

Among the more in­ter­est­ing res­i­dents of the ceme­tery is the Rev David Rees, min­is­ter of Capel Als for al­most 40 years.

A great or­a­tor, vi­sion­ary and so­cial re­former, he feuded with the Angli­cans and, in par­tic­u­lar, Vicar Ebenezer Morris whose pugilis­tic the­ol­ogy led him to “fight the good fight” with his fists as well as his words, as a cou­ple of col­liers found out af­ter talk­ing dur­ing his ser­mon.

Among the sad­der sto­ries in the ceme­tery is from an­other feud be­tween low paid work­ers and the rail­way own­ers.

The rail­way strike and ri­ots of 1911 in Llanelli left dead Jack John and Leonard Worsell, as they sat on the em­bank­ment of the rail­way line, af­ter sol­diers of the Worces­ter Reg­i­ment shot into the crowd.

All I hope is there’s not an Angli­can and Non­con­formist in the same grave – can you imag­ine the bick­er­ing?

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