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Demented, happy, and useful | Who is Buried Here? - Thomas 'King' Rees

A view of the orginal Angelton Asylum Cemetery.




Following my posts about Dr Robert Sloss Stewart, Eleanor Davidson and Francis Hill, I have continued my research into the lives of the other seven gravestones that remain in the original Angelton Asylum Cemetery. Due to the amount of information, I have decided to share my research via a series of posts.

In this post, I will be writing about Thomas 'King' Rees. 

Out of the hundreds of men, women and children buried in the original Angelton Asylum Cemetery Thomas 'King' Rees is the only patient who has a gravestone. He is buried in the location where the staff of the asylum and their relatives are buried. It is clear that Thomas was a highly respected patient as his gravestone was paid for by the staff of Angelton Asylum. 

"Erected by the Asylum Staff in Recognition of his kind unselfish and obliging nature."

Death and Cake: Death at St. Fagans.










What is a Death Cafe?

In simple terms, a Death Cafe is an event where people meet, eat cake and discuss death. It is an informal get-together and an opportunity to talk about themes that are not often discussed, rather than a grief support or counselling session.

"to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives."

The Death Cafe movement was founded in 2011 by Jon Underwood. The first Death Cafe (in the UK) was held at Jon Underwood's home in Hackney. It was facilitated by Sue Barsky Reid, Jon's mother.

"As of today, we have offered 7333 Death Cafes in 61 countries since September 2011. If 10 people came to each one that would be 73330 participants. We've established both that there are people who are keen to talk about death and that many are passionate enough to organise their own Death Cafe."

You can read more about Death Cafe and its history on their website: https://deathcafe.com/what/

I was invited to host the first ever Death Cafe Inspired Event at St Fagans National Museum of History. 

The focus of this Death Cafe inspired event was to explore mourning practices and how people are remembered in different culturesA huge thank you to Curator Elen Phillips and Youth Engagement Officer Sarah Younan for facilitating this event and letting ramble about death! 

'Life Is...' - Death


We visited the Death section of the new 'Life Is...' gallery. 'Life Is...' is one of three new galleries at
St. Fagans National Museum. This particular gallery showcases every day objects and the history behind them.

The Death section lets visitors discover people across time have dealt with death and remembered their loved ones. It houses many objects including a stone coffin, burial remains, mourning clothing, a horse-drawn hearse and a children's glassette. 

Sin-eating & Singing: A Welsh Funeral.

A funeral at Llansteffan - Peoples Collection Wales


From Ty Corff to Sin-eating, I'll be exploring death, burial and mourning customs/ traditions relating to Wales. Although some of these will seem alien to us, these customs were an important part of the death and funeral process.

Ty Corff, Gwlynos, and the Funeral 

In rural Wales, the death of a local person was formally announced by the bell of the parish church.

During the hours following the death, the 'Diweddu' took place at 'Ty Corff'. This was the washing and preparing of the body before it was placed in the coffin.

When the body was placed in the coffin, certain steps were taken that were thought to prevent decay and the influence of evil. A pewter plate filled with salt was placed on the chest of the deceased. In Betws-y-coed, a piece of green sod, wrapped in paper was used instead of salt. By this time, the coffin would have been moved into the family home. Members of the deceased family and neighbours volunteered to sit up each night in the room in which the body rested. This was known as 'Gwylio'r Corff.'

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