On my mind
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?