Grave of William Jones

menai_bridge_grave_coroner_william_jonesWilliam Jones (d.1877)

William Jones became Anglesey’s coroner in his early 20s. During his 40 years in the post he undertook inquests on many people who had met unexpected deaths, including a night watchman murdered in 1848 at the Britannia Bridge construction site (click here for more on this).

The biggest task of his career was the inquest on the deaths of hundreds of people in October 1859 when the Royal Charter was wrecked off Moelfre during an exceptional storm. The ship had been conveying gold prospectors and their fortunes home from Australia.

The inquest began on 4 November with the swearing in of a jury at Llanallgo parish church. Newspapers described the “impressive sight” when William Jones stood at the Communion table and commenced his “melancholy” task, “surrounded by the group of dead and mangled corpses, amid the audible sobs of those who had recognized their friends”. Bodies were still being recovered from the sea at the time.

William died in September 1877, aged 65. Two years later, a resident complained anonymously in the press that William’s grave still had no stone, although a memorial had been proposed a year previously. The obelisk eventually erected “by his friends” features an englyn (short verse) by Menaiwyson (Owen Thomas Owen) which refers to the “excellent craftwork” marking the resting place of “our hero of truth” (ein gwron mewn gwirionedd).

William’s wife Hannah died in 1881, aged 52, at Y Felinheli, on the south side of the Menai Strait.

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