Grave of Catherine Jones

menai_bridge_grave_catherine_jonesCatherine and Catherine Jones, d.1865 and 1924

Here are buried two women named Catherine Jones. They lived on Ynys Gorad Goch, an island with fish traps in the Menai Strait. You can see it from Church Island as you look towards the Britannia Bridge.

The first Catherine Jones died in 1865, aged 81. The second died in 1924, aged 73, and latterly lived in Market Street, Caernarfon.

The island’s name in the Middle Ages was Ynys Gored Madog Goch (“The island of Madog Goch’s fish-trap”). A cored was a weir or fish-trap. The island was held by the bishops of Bangor to supply fish. The weir walls on either side of the buildings had apertures through which water flowed. Plaited wattles were inserted into the holes to trap fish. The weir walls, still visible at low tide, face different directions so that fish could be caught whichever way the tide was flowing.

There’s a belief that Madog Goch (“Red Madog”) was one of the bishops who had distinctive red hair. The Madoc family lived on the island for several generations. Colloquially, the island came to be known locally as Ynys Gorad Goch (as if it were the island or weir which was “red”). There’s a strong possibility that the long, fanciful name given to Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll ends in -gogoch in imitation of Ynys Gorad Goch. 

ynys_gorad_gochDavid Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, visited Gorad Goch in 1910 for a whitebait dinner. Whitebait is an assortment of small fish. Analysis of a sample from Gorad Goch in 1915 revealed the presence of 15 anchovies, regarded as a Mediterranean fish. 

The walls of other cored weirs can be seen on the shores of the Menai Strait. One is near a pool called Llyn Gias, beside the causeway to Church Island.

With thanks to Prof Hywel Wyn Owen

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