If these stones could speak!
At the bottom of Garnddyrys Row, which is more of a 3/4 rectangle than a row, the old tram path took off towards Llanfoist. The road calls and I must follow!
I wasn't alone. And I don't feel bad about eating one last Sunday. My ancestors did -- Circle of Life and all.
|This is the same tramroad.|
I'm not quite sure how that worked with spikes in the railings, but there it is.
And inside, not stalactites, but icicles!
The views were stupendous! (as usual)
|Sugar Loaf or Mynydd Pen-y-fâl. I took it to cut out Abergavenny and Llanfoist on the right, Crickhowell and Llangatock on the left.|
The ancient parish of Llanwenarth stretched across the Usk all the way to Blaenavon. In the mid-19th Century, it was split into Llanwenarth Ultra and Llanwenarth Citra. The Ultra parish included Garnddyrys on the side of the Blorenge. I checked the monument inscriptions for all likely, surrounding parishes and existing non-conformist burial grounds. No sign of Esther (Hester) Morgan Watkins Jenkins (1785-1861). Several burial grounds have disappeared. There was not one at Garnddyrys. At least there was no "company" church or chapel. But we now have photos of the ruins where she once lived. There are historical drawings and recreations as well.
Tredegar Town was next. John and Jane Vaughan Lewis lived on Church Street by 1851 and were members of the LDS Branch there before they left for America in 1856. John was an ironstone miner. I learned in the Heritage Centre that ironstone was mined from the surface first by sluicing through dams of water. Iron, not quite as heavy as gold, but heavier than other materials, would sink and be collected. The iron nodules were much larger than gold flakes or even nuggets so the sluice systems were larger than the wooden contraptions used for sluicing gold. When surface sources were exhausted, then the ironstone miners would go underground in pits (what we call "mines.")
|Church Street named for the St. George's Church. In the 1840s, this was the principal and pretty much only residential street.|
|Approximate location of John and Jane Vaughan Lewis's house on Church Street, Tredegar.|
In the 1840s - 50s, the housing row was on the west side of Church Street. The Sirhowy was still a bit of a wild river and it flooded St. George's Churchyard early in the 19th Century sending coffins and worse floating downstream. (More on that a bit later.) The river is now deeply channeled. On the other side of the river was the Sirhowy Iron Works of the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company. The ironstone pits were just above on the mountainsides.
|Old river bridges and culverts on the Sirhowy likely from the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company|
|Back in the 1840s-50s, Church Street stretched south to what is now Commercial Street in Tredegar.|
Tredegar is also very proud of its town clock tower.
Up above Tredegar, is one of the bleakest and most depressing places on earth (outside of the plains of Southern Wyoming), the Cholera Cemetery of Cefn Golau. Partly because the St. George churchyard burials had been swept away, but mostly because people at the time believed that cholera was spread by dead bodies of victims without realizing it was the excrement of the living tainting the water supply (talk about socialized health!), the burials of cholera victims of the 1832/33, 1849/50, and 1855 outbreaks had to be out of town and out of sight. It is also interesting that the place name existed before the cholera cemetery and it roughly means "the back lights."
(from one of the inscriptions at Cefn Golau Cholera Cemetery)
We don't know where little Catherine Elinor Lewis is buried who died on 17 December 1850, one day old.
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