Eglwys Bresbyteraidd Cymru / The Presbyterian Church of Wales
Capel y Garn, Bow Street
 Gweinidog: Y Parch. Ddr R. Watcyn James
 Ysgrifennydd: Mr Alan Wynne Jones
Y Capel

Garn Chapel Cemetery

For a schedule of the graves (pdf), click here.

Garn cemetery was opened in 1875, and the first to be buried there was Evan Rees, 2 years old on 27 February 1875.
Bedd Evan Rees
Arrangements had been agreed upon with Sir Pryse Pryse since 1846 concerning the land, which was originally part of Pwllglas farm. It was bought for £52 10s., stating, ?The trustees shall hold this said piece or parcel of land as a Burial Ground for the interment of members.?

There should be room for about 2,000 graves in the cemetery, but in the past the graves were not set out in a systematic manner. A new part has been set aside for burial following cremation.

The main paths have recently been enlarged, curbed and tarred, which makes it easier for the disabled to gain access to the cemetery by car.

Unfortunately, many graves are without a headstone, and some of the stones are uneven and unstable. But thanks must be given to many who keep their family graves very tidy.

There are many interesting graves, with verses, poems, englynion and fasacinating facts. Dozens of captains, from Borth mainly, are buried in the cemetery, and many people have been named on family stones even though they have been buried elsewhere, for example:

John Hughes, 1859, drowned at sea;

Capt. W D Jones, died in Malta, 1912;

Capt. Huw Jones, torpedoed off Spain, 1918;

Oswald Jones Williams, died in Tunisia, 1943;

John Herbert Jones, killed in the war;

Joan Jones, died in Canada;

Griffith O Edwards, Ypres, 1917;

Capt. Frederick Charles Davies, buried in Ypres,1917,
but the wooden cross placed on his grave in Ypres is now on the family grave in Garn cemetery.

In the first row lies the grave of Mary Davies, Borth, who was murdered on 20 September 1894.
Detail on headstone
In the front row also, by the main gates, lies the grave of Bessie Evans, 6½ years old, who died in 1888, the daughter of John Evans, the third headmaster of Rhydypennau School. He arranged for the children to plant a flower garden, and they also had science lessons. He established a library for the children with 100 of his own books, and held concerts to raise money to buy more books. Among his most famous pupils was J J Williams (1869?1954), who won the Chair at the 1906 National Eisteddfod for his ode to 'Y Lloer' (The moon).

Many ministers of religion are buried here, including four ministers of Garn chapel, namely, William Morgan and T J Morgan ? two part-time ministers who were paid £12 a year; J Christmas Lloyd, the first full-time minister, 1918?30; and J Wallace Thomas, a quarryman from north Wales who later became a minister; he was at Garn chapel from 1933 to 1959 and married the daughter of the local schoolmaster.

There are graves of famous people here, for example:

William Evans, Penrhiw, 1937, ?One of the Midlands leading baritones in the 1880 who sang under Dvorak and Richter and before Gounod in the Birmingham Triennial Festival?.
The grave of J T Rees
J T Rees, on whose grave is inscribed the verse ?Moliannaf enw Duw ar gân a mawrygaf ef mewn mawl? (I praise the name of God in song and glorify him in praise). He was a famous musician, and composed anthems, hymns and choral and string works. He was also a talented writer and teacher, and an astute adjudicator.

His son, T Ifor Rees, was the British Ambasador in Spain and South America for many years, before returning home and serving as treasurer and Sunday-school teacher at the Garn.

Dewi Morgan was a Chaired bard, a newspaper reporter, a scholar, translator and Sunday-school teacher and preacher, who served the area throughout his life. He was chaired at the National Eisteddfod of 1925 for his awdl to 'Cantre'r Gwaelod', and there are many couplets and englynion composed by him on gravestones in the cemetery.

Thomas Woodward Owen, Bod Hywel, who died in 1934 was High Sheriff of Cardiganshire, and it was he who paid for Tom Macdonald to be educated at Ardwyn Grammar School.

Tom Macdonald (1900?1980) became a newspaper reporter for the Cambrian News, The Western Mail and the Daily Express, before moving to South Africa as news editor and chief reporter of the Johannesburgh Sunday Times. He then returned to Bow Street. He published six novels in English, all of them set in Wales, as well as two Welsh novels. The White Lanes of Summer (1975) tells of his upbringing as part of a poor family of tinkers in the Bow Street area, and contains many references to the important part played by the Garn chapel in the life of the village.

His father was Johnnie Macdonald, a tinker, who married an Irish girl and came to live in Llandre, then Pen-y-garn, and then to Bow Street. He travelled from farm to farm, selling his goods. Everyone agreed that he was an excellent craftsman.

Also buried with him are his wife and three of his children: Mary, 26 years old; Alfred, 18 years old; and Henry, only 7 years old when he died in 1913. The schoolchildren, under the care of Mr Davies, the headmaster, each brought a flower to Henry's funeral and dropped it onto the coffin, as Tom Macdonald said:

?Thy playmates came; those little boys and girls,
With whom in play didst so often blend,
In reverence deep, to pay their last respect,
To Henry, thou, their merry little friend
They placed thee in thy grave, and one by one
Thy friends passed by to take a mute farwell
And each in turn cast down his bunch of bloom
Upon thy coffin, in thy narrow cell.?
Detail on headstone
The grave of Edward Edwards, Penygroes is also here. He and his family were tailors to the Red Coats of the Gogerddan Hunt.

The True Ivorite Society was established in the area in 1841 with 90 members, which later increased to over 300 in number. It was called the Castell Gwallter Society, and met in the Black Lion Inn, Llandre, before the Club House (Tŷ Clwb) was built. The grave of the first housekeepers, John and Lydia James, Tŷ Clwb, is in the cemetery.

David and Margaretta Thomas, Black Lion Inn, Llandre are buried here. Her brother was the Revd T L Williams, a canon in Newtown; he lived in the vicarage, which was called 'Croesawdy'. He was fervently anti-alchohol, and persuaded Margaretta to close the Black Lion Inn in 1917, and name the house 'Croesawdy'.

Who, we wonder, was David Herbert Jones, Holywood, California who died in 1922, and was Sara Shakespear, who died in 1922, related to the famous playwright?

What happened to Hugh Owen and his daughter Mary, who both died on 21 March 1915?

Indeed, the cemetery is an interesting place. It's no wonder that many come regularly to walk around and read the headstones.

If you would like to make a donation to the costs of upgrading the paths or for more information, contact Eddie Jones (01970 61152).

For information about the graves in Llanfihangel Genau'r Glyn Churchyard, click here

©Hawlfraint Ymddiriedolwyr Capel y Garn yw cynnwys gwreiddiol y safle. All original material on the site is copyright by the Trustees of Capel y Garn.
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