Around God's Acre in South-Western Wales

Around God's Acre in South-Western Wales

Disgrifiad | Description

  • Author: Cyril L. Treharne
  • Publication April 2006
  • Format: Paperback, 182x123 mm, 278 pages

An interesting account of the churches, churchyards and gravestones in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Gower, concentrating on fascninating artefacts such as tombstones and stained glass windows.

Gwales Review
This rich miscellany of churches, chapels, churchyards and memorial stones is a compilation of the author’s personal research over a number of years, around Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Gower. He is equally enthusiastic about the precious artefacts and stained glass windows which adorn many of the churches, as he is about piecing together the social, economic and religious history of a parish from reading memorial stones and inscriptions, particularly from the Victorian era.

Nearly all of the churches included are dedicated to saints, most of them belonging to the ‘Age of Saints’ extending from 5th–8th century AD, during which time Wales was converted to Christianity. Some entries are accompanied by the fascinating lives of some of the saints such as Aidan, a disciple of St David. Attributed to St Aidan are outstanding acts of austerity, such as fasting on barley bread and water for 7 years and reciting 500 psalms daily. There is also an interesting section on the Unitarian movement in this part of Wales, with a high concentration of some 14 unitarian chapels in a circular region around the Lampeter area.

From the inscriptions on memorial stones in many of the churchyards as well as surviving parish registers of births, marriages and deaths, we learn a good deal about the lives of people who lived in the parish. The inscriptions tell us about the kind of work people were employed in the area, as well as offering reminders of how harsh living and working conditions used to be. Others are indicators of the tragic loss of young lives through many illnesses which are curable today. In the churchyard at Capel Dewi, an inscription tells us how five children from one family died within four days. According to the death certificates, they died from a virulent form of scarlet fever that was responsible for more deaths in children in this country in the 1800s than any other disease.

Not only does the book offer a wealth of information on the subject, it also takes the reader on a journey to some of the most tranquil and beautiful parts of south-west Wales where these sacred places can be found. As such it would be a useful guide to anyone with an interest in churches planning a trip to the area, with the addition of a road map and possibly an OS map, as there are some directions but no maps provided within the book.

Jane MacNamee

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