Mary Short memorial fountain, St Asaph

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Link to French translationMary Short memorial fountain

This memorial fountain was created in 1865 by Bishop Vowler Short (1790-1872) in memory of his wife Mary Short, nee Davies. The couple had married in 1833. She was the widow of another prominent clergyman, the Rev John Josias Conybeare.

old photo of memorial fountain

Mary died in August 1848, two years after the couple moved to St Asaph, and is buried near the west door of St Asaph Cathedral. Her tombstone is a horizontal slab resting on six pillars. The bishop often placed flowers between the pillars for the rest of his life.

The fountain provided a supply of clean water to local citizens who at that time had no piped water. The water was dispensed from the carved lion’s head, above and below which are inscribed Biblical quotations relating to water.

The fountain was originally in Mount Road and was moved to its present location in the early 1900s, after piped water was provided in 1898. The fountain was no longer needed after 1898, and therefore funds from the Mary Short Fountain Trust were diverted to “relieving the poor of the water rate”.

St Asaph council restored the fountain in 1993.

Thomas Vowler Short was bishop of Sodor and Man (covering the Isle of Man) before becoming bishop of St Asaph. He wrote several books on church matters, including a history of the Church of England before 1688. Follow the link below to see a painting of him.

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Portrait of Thomas Vowler Short - BBC Your Paintings website

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