New information now included at the bottom of this post
When I look at the stories I have written so far I am convinced that some of them will never be finished. There are always new and important details to be added. Time has frayed the details sometimes and it isn’t easy to restore them in their entirety. The tales are not complete and probably never will be.It is part of their attraction I suppose. I was made aware of this a few weeks ago when I had new information from a direct descendant of the murderer Henry Tremble that added to my understanding of his actions. I reported this new information on this website (See the blog entry 20 April 2009 – Henry Tremble)
Well, I have had more fascinating information today (26 May 2009). I started the day with a radio interview on our local station Swansea Sound. They only wanted five minutes from me so it was over very quickly and so I went off to the Central Library in Swansea to meet the convenor of a local history group, Marilyn Jones. They have asked me to speak on Saturday 20 June 2009 and I wanted to look at the room where I will be speaking. I was completely reassured. Not only does it have an inter-active whiteboard but also an absolutely fantastic view across the bay to Mumbles, so if the audience get bored when I am talking at least they will be able to take in the view.
During our conversation Marilyn told me something very interesting. It was all because her husband’s family came from Felindre, where I found the story of Eleanor Williams, who appears on page 84 of Volume On of Stories in Welsh Stone.
Now this story gave me a lot of trouble when I was writing it because there never seemed to be enough detail about her. She was murdered and thrown into a well on Llwyngwenno Farm in Felindre near Swansea in 1832 but apart from that the poor girl’s trail was very cold indeed. In the end, I based my writing upon the startling similarities between her death and that of Margaret Williams in Cadoxton, the very first story I ever researched. Two servant girls, both from Carmarthenshire, both pregnant and both murdered.
If you have read the piece, either in the magazine or in the book, you will remember that I speculate about why the gravestone in Nebo Chapel names the farmer for whom she worked as a servant, Thomas Thomas. His name is chiselled there for all to see, along with the name of poor Eleanor. Well of course it is a very significant detail, and once more it reflects the Cadoxton murder in an uncanny way.
Quite simply the community in this rather small and enclosed little village believed they knew who had killed Eleanor. It was the son of Thomas Thomas, just as the Cadoxton Community believed that the farmer’s son Llewellyn Richard had killed Margaret Williams nine years earlier. Indeed, Felindre modelled its response on their reaction. They were convinced they knew who had done it. They couldn’t prove it but they didn’t really need the law. What they wanted was justice. So they erected their accusatory gravestone, just as they had done in Cadoxton. They might not have had the revenge they wanted, but they never forgot. Marilyn told me about the people painting the gates of the Nebo Chapel red on his wedding day. She said that they painted parts of the road red too. Even at that moment he could not escape from what he had done. Or at least what they thought he had done.
These are not the sort of details that normally find their way out of the oral tradition. I am sure there is more information like this waiting for me. Just as it was with the story of Sara Hughes in north Wales in Brithdyr (Welsh Country Magazine – May 2009) there is a residual memory of these dramatic events in local communities that needs to be captured.
That means that this project of mine is still a work in progress – and about this I am extremely pleased.
An update – 2021
The full story of Eleanor Williams is also included in my book Swansea Murders which was published after this item was posted. I am pleased to say that I have more copies of the book printed (May 2021) and they are now available on the How to Buy Page which you can find in the menu or by clicking here
If you are interested in the book then there is a brief presentation about it on YouTube which you can watch if you click below