Prestatyn grave of Lucy Dowell

Grave of Lucy Dowell (d.1863)

Photo of grave of Lucy DowellLucy was working in her shop in Prestatyn when lightning struck the building, instantly setting it alight. Her husband Ellis also survived a serious accident, six years later.

The Dowell family was a large and established one in the area – you’ll see the graves of other family members in this cemetery. Ellis was a grocer, living at Shop Goch, Prestatyn, when he married gardener’s daughter Lucy Pierce in 1840. They lived at Meliden by 1841 and at Penywern by 1861.

In July 1855 an “awful thunder storm” shook Prestatyn. Lightning hit the Dowells’ drapers shop and the fabrics inside burst into flames. The electricity struck Lucy on the side of her head and neck, discolouring her skin and singeing her hair. Her woollen cap was partly burned, but she managed, with difficulty, to escape from the conflagration. So too did a Mrs Davies, who had been holding her child in her arms at the time: both were completely unharmed.

It appeared that the shop roof had been lifted and dropped about 60cm. Lightning, possibly the same bolt, also damaged the post office opposite. The windows of both buildings were wrecked.

Ellis also owned a quarry near Prestatyn. While visiting it in January 1861 he slipped and fell a considerable distance, landing face down on the hard rock. Quarrymen rushed to him and were amazed to find him still breathing. His left eye was injured, as were other body parts. Doctors from Rhyl and Denbigh treated him at his home.

Lucy died in March 1863. She was one of the first people buried in this churchyard – two months before the church was consecrated.

Ellis was living at Colomenfryn, Prestatyn, and was a chapel deacon before he died in 1879.

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