There has been a lot of interest recently in the tragic story of the Phillips sisters who drowned whilst collecting mussels. The piece was published in Welsh Country Magazine in January 2018 but has not appeared anywhere else. But it will feature in my next book, Grave Tales from Wales
Adulam Baptist Chapel on Cefn Road is an uncompromising block of rendered grime, stranded on the east side of Swansea. It may squat on a bleak hillside forever blasted by cruel winds, but it does enjoy fine views down to Jersey Marine. Adulam is less important than it once was and the graves which remain belong to people who have long ago departed. But their stories still have the power to touch us, once we know them. And none can ever reach us in the terrible way that the Phillips grave does. Look at the gravestone and you can see that it bleeds.
No one can be indifferent in the face of what it represents. It tells a story from almost 150 years ago but even the inevitable passage of time cannot diminish that family tragedy. The gravestone was placed there by John and Eliza Phillips who lived at Halfway in Llansamlet, between Neath and Swansea in 1870. The gravestone, inscribed in Welsh, remembers their three daughters,Phoebe fourteen, Emma twelve and Amelia seven, who drowned together in what was described at the time as a ‘melancholy accident,’ ‘a heart-rending scene,’ one of the most distressing accidents we have had to record.’ But then, how else could you describe it?
This distressing story appears in my next book, Grave Tales of Wales, which will be published by Cambria in the summer of 2021. The book explores the stories represented by thirty gravestones from across the whole of Wales, from Anglesey to Cardiff, from Llangrannog to Newport.
The stories are about the surprising lives of the people who still lie beneath those stones, who still lie beneath your feet, and who still have something to say.
There are stories of anguish and sorrow, stories of courage and achievement and these tales from the past that can still speak to us today. There are great events here – the Titanic, the sinking of The Royal Charter, the execution of a King, the exploration of the Antarctic – but there are also terrible murders and tragic deaths.
Through these graves you can explore fascinating and sometimes unexpected stories from Welsh History
The book is 190 pages long and is illustrated throughout with full colour photographs
If you subscribe to the mailing list in the box below, then I will contact you as soon as the book is available. You will also be offered a subscriber’s discount before the book’s general release.