“Stories in Welsh Stone – The Secrets within 15 Welsh Graves” was first published in December 2008 and has been a very popular book ever since. It examines the stories behind fifteen 19th century graves in Wales. You can find out about the deaths – and lives – of people like Margaret Williams, Mary Morgan, Thomas Heslop, John Thomas, Adeline Coquelin, Jane Lewis, Sarah Jacob – fifteen carefully researched and illustrated stories.
The book was produced to very high standards by Welsh Country Magazine who originally published some of the stories, though there are some in the book – like the story of Arthur Linton for example – that you won’t find anywhere else. The book is fully illustrated in colour – and with directions to help you find the graves.
Janet Thomas, in her review on the Gwales website for the Welsh Books Council, writes, “This book hits on the clever, evocative idea of re-telling fifteen of Wales’s most infamous murders or mysterious deaths by focusing on the gravestones. The graves and landscapes around them are depicted in beautiful photographs and each story is accompanied by directions to find the grave.”
The Western Mail described it as” a colourful and handsome book about passion, drama, injustice and tragedy.”
If you would like to look at some examples of pages from the book then please click on this link and the page will open in a new window
The journey that led to the publication of the book began very simply and unexpectedly. A friend told me about the headstone of Margaret Williams in Cadoxton, just outside Neath. I went to see it and I was amazed at what I saw. A headstone in an ordinary cemetery, screaming out Murder! It still remains absolutely fascinating. When I first saw it, I was determined to find out more. Why was the stone erected? What had happened all those years ago? Why was the story behind it not better known? I had to know. The more research I did, the greater the sense of commitment I felt to preserve the remarkable story. And as I worked, other stories came to my attention. Stories about the remarkable events hinted at on grave stones.
Many of the churchyards in Wales are very beautiful. They are sometimes remote and generally peaceful. Yet they hold such secrets. Human frailty, drama, heartbreak, treachery. Huge emotional storms that are preserved now only in fragile crumbling words on stone. I am convinced that the stories should be recorded and preserved. It would be a great tragedy if these stories should disappear. These are real stories, true stories. They are often as dramatic and as convoluted as fiction and yet they are about people as real as you and me.
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