Conwy grave Richard Edwards

Grave of R EdwardsRichard Edwards (d.1806)

Richard Edwards was a blacksmith from Holyhead. As the inscription on his grave states, he was “unfortunately drowned in crossing Conway Ferry on the 25th of December 1806”. He was 36 years old.

The ferry (pictured below in 1795) was then the only means of crossing the Conwy estuary, but was vulnerable to the weather and the strong currents which swirl along the estuary when the tide is rising or falling. On Christmas Day 1806, the ferry was transporting the Irish Mail coach over the water when it came to grief. There were 13 people on the ferry: eight passengers, including Richard Edwards, the ferryman, the coachman and a teenage guard. Only two survived.Drawing of Conwy ferry

In response to this disaster, a new bridge was built at Betws-y-coed, where the river Conwy is narrow and non-tidal, and the Irish Mail was diverted. In the 1820s Thomas Telford’s Cob and suspension bridge were built, for safe crossing of the estuary at all times.

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