February headstone - Meredith Kenvin

For the first headstone to feature in our monthly update I have chosen the grave of a local man Meredith Kenvin who died in 1865 aged 71 years. You will see that he lived and worked at the Clydach Iron Works before moving to Aberbaiden. He was employed as an "iron baller".

I have found the following description of what the role entailed - "When the metal begins to melt it is the business of the puddler to watch it from time to time until it is ready for what is technically called BALLING, i.e. dividing the metals into separate balls or quantities or puddle-rolls; which having been done, they are handed over to the shingler, who has the direction of a large and heavy hammer worked by steam or water power, and the rough hot metal is, by repeated blows, brought to a more compact form for the rolling mill." From the Employment Commission reports 1842. I imagine this was a skilled and dangerous job.

If you have any questions relating to this headstone, please contact me.

There are some very grand monuments in the churchyard, but I will not be focusing solely on those but intend to include many of the ordinary working class folk of the area as well. Look out for the March update which will be one of the grander ones.

Gilwern, Monmouthshire