Today (5th. October 2003), I visited Llanbeblig Churchyard to take some photographs of the grave of Edward Noble, Soda Water Manufacturer, for inclusion in a short biography for this site. Whilst there I also intended to take as many photographs as my digital camera would allow of the graves of other Carnarvon Traders. What I found when I arrived disgusted me. Although I live in Caernarfon, it is some years since I last visited Llanbeblig, and in the intervening years, the state of this historic churchyard has declined dramatically. The neglect and vandalism was heartbreaking, and the photographs below do not come anywhere near to conveying the emotions felt, and the sense of "couldn't care less" displayed by the authority charged with its care, when I was confronted by such indifference to the town's heritage and history.
We are being constantly reminded that dwindling congregations, and an alleged "lack of money", is seriously hampering the Church in Wales's efforts to keep their properties in good condition, but surely it is not beyond their means to at least keep their churchyards neat and tidy, with grass mown and brambles etc. trimmed.
I am wondering if it would not be possible for a body such as the Gwynedd Family History Society to get involved, after all they do have a vested interest in the upkeep of these churchyards. Perhaps they could organise a "clear-up" of the site, with the help of members and non-members alike. Something worth considering, perhaps, if the logistics of the project could be arranged.
Have a look at the photographs below, and imagine how you would feel if you visited your ancestors' graves, only to find them in this state.
I have added the link to the site guestbook at the bottom of the page; please feel free to leave your comments about this. Perhaps if enough of you do so, something might get done. Do not feel that just because you do not live locally your comments are not worthy of inclusion. Maybe world-wide condemnation might get the responsible authorities to get up off their backsides and act.
As you can see, I am very angry at what I witnessed this afternoon, therefore I will not say any more, in case I write my way into trouble. The photographs speak for themselves.....
There is some indication that things have come to a head at Llanbeblig at last. This article appeared on the front page of the Gwynedd Chronicle yesterday (13th. May 2004). Although I wouldn't bet against those concerned weaseling their way out of any responsibility and action.
Update - 26th. February 2009.
Well, here we are, nearly five and a half years down the line, and even after the sterling efforts of the Welsh Guards to clear the churchyard in 2005 it seems that the Church simply cannot be bothered with the upkeep once more. It is heartbreaking to see, and as to what visitors to the town think I can't imagine.