George Rees ( Caradog Bach ) a celebrated musician and fisherman 1862 – 1908 and his missing memorial

St David’s Cemetery has over 900 gravestone’s and memorials recording the lives of nearly 6,500 who are buried here between 1841 and 2002. George Rees who lived in Priory Street opposite the infirmary, despite his early death at the age of 46 became an accomplished composer and expert fisherman in his spare time. He won many awards at a number of Eisteddfodau in Swansea, Carmarthen and at other venues in his short life, and it seems impossible to believe therefore that  his last resting place would not be marked by a headstone or other form of memorial. However, having looked through the survey of 1977 which recorded all the memorials in the cemetery there is no mention of George Rees.

The pink granite headstone that will be restored in the next few weeks. Is it George Rees’…we shall see

There is however, one pink granite headstone that remains face down and will shortly be restored to it’s rightful position by the use of scaffolding and a pulley system.  Could this be the stone that has his name engraved on it ? We shall know very soon. Pink Granite was a very expensive stone to use and is uncommon in the cemetery. Once uprighted it will at least bring dignity and respect back to that family and to those buried there. This memorial has laid flat on it’s face for nearly fifty years and it’s now time to put matters right……….GEORGE REES was a remarkable young man and the following report of his funeral, his missing medal, and the furore that sometimes happened at some of his performances gives an insight into his amazing life.

Death of Mr George Rees, Priory Street, Carmarthen. It is with regret that we have to chronicle the death of Mr George Rees (Caradog Bach) at his home 134, Priory Street, on Saturday morning the 23rd May, from that dreaded disease, phthisis. Of a quiet disposition, the deceased will be greatly missed at Penuel Baptist Chapel, where he was a faithful member for many years, and was held in the highest esteem by the members for his readiness shown in furthering the cause. In the musical world, he was widely known and for over 20 years acted as conductor of the juvenile choir of Penuel Chapel. While conductor of this choir, he won over 120 prizes at various Eisteddfodau, including those held at Swansea, Llanelly, Burry Port, Llandeilo, Carmarthen, etc. At the Albert hall Swansea, on April 22nd, 1889, his choir was awarded the first prize of £5 5s, a baton, and silver medal, the test piece being “Storm the Fort of Sin.” The large audience present at the Albert Hall were so delighted with the excellent rendering of the choir that they demanded a repetition. The deceased, who was an ardent angler when out fishing some four years ago, and whilst wading in the Gwili, near Cwmdwyfran, lost the highly- prized medal he won at Swansea. Somehow, it became detached from his watch-chain, and falling into the water could not afterwards be found. Deceased was much distressed at the loss of this much coveted trophy, of which he was so justly proud, not for its intrinsic value, but for the honour which it carried. It is a strange and sad coincidence that on the morning of his death the medal should have been found again. Mr John Hurley, angler, Lammas Street, was wading in the Gwili at the spot where -Mr Rees lost his medal, fishing with a worm. Believing he had a “bite,” he pulled up his line and to his great surprise found that he had a round piece of tin, as he thought, attached to the hook. Hurley, on examination, thought it was a silver coin, and on rubbing it was astonished to find the medal, With the following inscription thereon:- “Won at Swansea Eisteddfod, April 22nd, 1899,” and on the reverse side was “George Rees.” The medal was handed to Mr John Rees (Alaw Prior), deceased’s brother, by Hurley on the Tuesday.

Scaffolding around the headstone, ready to reveal the identity of those buried there.

The funeral, which was largely attended, took place on the 26th inst., at St. David’s, Churchyard, being public for men only. The Rev E. U. Thomas, Tabernacle, officiated at the house, and the Rev D. T. Alban at the church and graveside. The deacons of Penuel Chapel Mr David Hinds, Mr Geo. Thomas, 32, Priory Street, Mr John Lewis, Catherine Street, together with Mr William Evans, Dukes yard, acted as bearers. Among those present were: Mr David Williams, J.P., Mr T. Conwil Evans, Mr J. Patagonia Lewis, Mr Williams, Prudential Assurance; Mr George Howells, supt. Pearl Assurance; Mr William Davies, Regent Hons-; Mr Owen Jones, Dark Gate, and Mr D. Tank, Priory street. The mourners were: Mr John Rees (Alaw Prior) (brother) Mr W. E. Buckland, Swansea (nephew); Mr David Jones, Waterloo terrace (cousin): Mr Tom Rees, Island Cycle Works (cousin); Mr D. R. Thomas, Chapel street, Mr Thomas Jones, Chapel street; Mr M Davies, 65, Priory street (nephew); Mr Lloyd Davies, 38, Richmond terrace (cousin); Mr Tom Davies, 65, Priory street (nephew); Mr William. John Mason, Felinfoel, Llanelly. Wreaths were sent by the following: Mrs S. Parcel Rees, Mr D Marsden Harries, Priory Street; Mr and Mrs Henry Jones, The Avenue; Mr and Mrs Lloyd Davies, 38. Richmond terrace, Carmarthen; Miss Ann Thomas 12, Francis terrace . CARMARTHEN WEEKLY REPORTER. 5TH JUNE 1908 PAGE 1

Mr. George Rees’ Concert.

To the Editor of the Carmarthen Weekly Reporter.

DEAR SIR, I was not at all surprised to find a letter in your last week’s issue complaining about, and protesting against, the unseemly conduct of a very big batch of the audience at this concert. What did surprise me, however, was the fact that the writer placed the whole blame at the doors of a religious community of which he was a member. Nothing could very well be more unfair or more unjust. This concert was not held under the auspices, nor was it organized by the Penuel Baptist Church, and it could very easily be proved that the patronage bestowed upon it from the outside was far greater, relatively and absolutely, than that from the inside. As a matter of fact, it should be known that when any set of performers, local or touring, is unfortunate enough to be supported by the rowdy youths of Carmarthen, then the noise and clamour and disturbance rank as amongst the most unseemly, unkind, and undiscriminating that is anywhere made. But who would for a moment think that any one, or a particular denomination, was responsible for this? That one whose conduct and remarks generally show a legal acumen and correct discernment should have so erred is beyond my comprehension. Yours truly, ONE OF THE SAME RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY


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