It is now two weeks since my visit to Trealaw cemetery, near Tonypandy, checking out as many grave plots as possible of my mum’s immediate and extended family. High time for some photos and a few notes.
Monday 18th April was a fine day. We (my brother and myself) got out of the campsite a few miles away in good time and found the cemetery without much bother (it is rather too large to miss). We were a little perplexed to start with by a film crew covering a funeral, but it became obvious that this couldn’t be a real funeral, given the time they spent there. All day seemingly, as we took a slight detour on the way home in the early evening and they were still there. I wonder whether we’ll discover what the filming was for? (Yes we did, see Update below.)
We took quite a while going round the cemetery ourselves. The first of my photographs is timestamped 9.23, and the last 13.22, so in all over 4 hours.
The condition and findability of the graves varied enormously. Fortunately an Ancestry.co.uk contact had sent me a photo of the cemetery layout displayed in the office there, as the film crew were all around this part of the site, making it awkward to check out on the day. Thanks Siân!
Here’s one of the more basic and tragic graves:
The children of Benjamin Hickman and Catherine Griffiths includes the wife of a great uncle, David Watkins. Gwyneth is the the exception for the offspring (along with twin Gwladys?), according to the records I have, not being buried in this grave. Taken tragically young were Ivor Glyndwr (age about 18 in 1928), Elwyn James (also 18, 1932), Myfanwy (7 months 1908?) and Edryd Thomas (2 months 1924). The burial register also lists a William Gwyn (9 months 1926), who doesn’t appear on the stone, as far as I can see.
It was tricky working our way round so many plots as the large areas which had their own reference letters (A to Z then various combinations such as F12 or L1A), set out between paths, didn’t all number in the same direction. The gravediggers gave us some tips and pointed out that there were generally numbers at the top of the rows and sometimes numbers on the back of the gravestones (so it was best to find a newer slab where this was readable and work from that).
We had fun with this connected pair. We found the one on the left quite quickly, then worked our way up to find a couple more of interest, only to realise that one of them was next door to where we started!
More Watkins: great aunt Phoebe Ann Watkins with husband William John Bowden and son Ivor on the left, and her parents (my great grandparents) on the right, John Watkins/Margaret Hughes. The rather battered lettering for the great grandparents grave is in Welsh for the personal details on one side - the less crumbled sections (they both died in 1939). The inscription at the foot of the grave is however in English, and I’ve deciphered it as
“Passing out of the shadow into eternal day
Why do we call it dying this sweet going away”
Note: you can see a plot reference front right of the Bowden grave, X235.
The other maternal great grandparents, Charles and Amelia Scott (previously Osborne) have a similar grave but it is a little newer, as they died 1944/1964. Their son Stanley joined them in 1963, so here are all three sections:
Again we had fun finding this plot – part of the narrow B1 strip on a sloping section connecting the older part of the cemetery with the newer. The numbering made little sense!
I seem to have managed to keep this post light on Osborne families, which is bound to be corrected soon.
Note: more on Trealaw cemetery records on the Tonypandy page.
It seems that the filming taking place at Trealaw Cemetery while we were there was for the Sky television programme Stella. Not having any access to Sky, this is inferred purely from the trailers which were available.