Carmarthen’s maritime past, linked with a strong naval tradition is one that stretches back hundreds of years. Imagine then, as a young boy at the beginning of the Victorian era to be named after this country’s greatest naval hero. Evan “H N” Davies was born in Carmarthen in 1829 in what was then known as the “NELSON HOTEL” re-named by his father Captain E V Davies, in memory of that great and gallant Vice Admiral of Trafalgar fame. Captain E V Davies who owned the hotel together with many other properties in the town seems to have kept a very low profile in local affairs, his wife passing away suddenly in August 1892. However when their son was born in 1829 such was their admiration of the gallant Admiral that they named him after him.
Curiously, in the very few reports mentioning Evan in local affairs during his lifetime, they always referred to him as EVAN H N DAVIES thereby removing any reference to the great hero. It is only when one looks at the burial register that his full name becomes apparent for all to see. Unlike all the previous stories under the “What’s in a Name” series, which has been able to give some insight into the individual, in this case it has proven difficult to provide any meaningful insight into Evan’s rather short life. However, with such a name, I felt it only too right that he should be given a “mention” in these pages. To be christened with such a name in itself deserves a place in history and though he passed away fairly young at the age of 47 in 1877 his name will indeed live on.
Another Carmarthen connection to maritime history were the rather grandly named “Gibraltar Steps” – a row of old stone cottages, that are mentioned several times in the burial registers over the decades ceasing to appear after 1892 when the buildings were demolished due to becoming inhabitable. They were situated as you would expect close to Carmarthen Quay forming small alleyways linking the riverside to the town itself. Again as the name suggests “Gibraltar” being an important naval outpost of the Royal Navy was perhaps a fitting connection to Carmarthen as an important trading port with many sea going vessels embarking on the long voyage. Rachel Daniel who passed away aged 89 in 1860 was one of the last inhabitants to live in Gibraltar steps but like so many she has no known grave ……..so here ends this rather short story of “names” that appear in the burial register of St Davids cemetery Carmarthen, but names that will continue to live on into the future.