Grave markers and their historical importance

As many of you will be aware who regularly look at this website and know our efforts to restore the cemetery, one of our biggest problems that we have faced and continue to face is the “emergence” of a considerable number of very small grave markers located throughout the cemetery. These markers were placed at the foot of the grave of families and individuals who could not afford the luxury of a normal or “proper headstone” Most of them are made of slate and are not inscribed at all , some have initials inscribed on them and one or two have just the surname of the person. Clearly with a very large cemetery such as St David’s it was very important to the families concerned to at least mark the spot of the burial so that in the future other members of the family could be buried in the same grave. Historically they are a very important piece of social history.

An example of two small slate grave markers (50p coin included to give an indication of size)

During our restoration of the cemetery grounds we continue to find lying buried flat under the soil many such grave markers and where possible they will be kept in situ, but many are also unable to remain as their original location is unknown and as they have no inscriptions they are carefully taken to one side so that one day they may be re-erected together in a small area of the cemetery. Considerable damage has been caused to many and for those that do remain in situ, we have the problem of ensuring we don’t damage the mower blades when mowing. However, when you have mowed the cemetery so often you get to know their locations pretty easily !

Another grave marker with initials
A further named example
A grave marker barely visible above the ground

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also hope to be able to give you some good news soon on the progress we are making on the  plans for the “Cross of Souls” memorial, “Y Croes Eneidiau” which commemorates the 4,500 burials that have no known grave or marker.

Artists impression of the Cross of Souls memorial – Y Croes Eneidiau