Squire Worthington's animal graveyard

John Worthington, the late 19th century squire of Glynymel was a renowned sportsman who owned horses, otter hounds and gun dogs. The ‘sport’ he indulged in doesn’t bear reading about today: otters for instance were chased up and down the Gwaun and torn apart by hounds; cubs were dug out of the holts and thrown to the dogs too. It was justified on the basis that otters took the fish the squire liked to catch. Foxes and game birds were equally at risk on his land.

Nevertheless he had a deep sentimental attachment to his own animals. Halfway along Glynymel Road a marble tablet set into a large stone bears the legend:

STOP STRANGER, STOP AND SHED A TEAR,                                                                                      FOR FRANTIC THE HOUND LIES BURIED HERE.

In the private grounds of Glynymel House are several other memorials. One commemorates another dog, Lucy:

WHAT BECK’NING FINGER IN GLYNAMEL’S SHADE                                                                          DIRECTS MY STEPS TO YONDER SILENT GLADE?                                                                          THERE WHERE THE WILLOW LAYS HIS DROOPING HEAD                                                                    A MODEST STONE PROCLAIMS IT LUCY’S BED.                                                                                    OF ALL THE DOGS A SPORTMAN E’RE POSSEST                                                                            LUCY MY NOBLE SETTER, WAS THE BEST.                                                                                              FAIN WOULD I WEEP AND ON THY MEMORY DWELL                                                                       BUT ALL LIKE THESE MUST SLEEP SO FARE THEE WELL.

(Glynamel was the original spelling, devised by Richard Fenton, for the estate.)

The same, or a different, Lucy is memorialized nearby with a Latin inscription that involves some wordplay on the name’s derivation from the Latin word lucius for light.

QUIS VENATOR? QUID AGAS SINE LUCE DIEI?                                                                        MORTUA SUB VIVO COESI ITE LUCE JACET                                                                                        SISTE PRECOR, LACRYMAS SI LUCE HODIERNA                                                                          CRASTINA FULGEBIT NON SINE LUCE DIES.

Elsewhere a mossy boulder bears the inscription

HERE LIES                                                                                                                                                CARDIGAN                                                                                                                                                      THOU LORD SHALT SAVE                                                                                                                                BOTH MAN AND BEAST                                                                                                                            (The quotation is from Psalm 36)

Squire Worthington evidently had a sense of humour and this is confirmed by a mysterious pillar stone on the river bank. An inscription engraved upon it reads:                                                                                                                                                                                                                 FORASS ESTO RUBON

Obviously, I made a bee-line for my Latin dictionary when I first saw this but no amount of perusal came up with a translation. It was the redoubtable Roy Lewis who provided me with the solution: try rearranging the breaks in the letter sequence he suggested. Well, I did feel an ass – just as the old squire intended!

(John Worthington died in 1906 and lies buried in Manorowen Churchyard)

Glyn y Mel Road

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