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Description

At the side of the Castle Theatre, at Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, there is an earthen bank which displays some of the gravestones that have been moved to the side of the former churchyard of St. Michaels. The graveyard is now a recreational space for the people of the town.

Among these gravestones is one dedicated:
'Sacred to the Memory of Isaac Thomas, master of the vessel Morning Star of Aberystwyth, who was lost at the bay of Ceibwr near Cardigan, October 25th 1859, in the 59th year of his age. Also of Lewis, the son of Isaac Thomas, who was lost in the same gale.'

The MORNING STAR was a wooden smack of 47 tons, which was built at Aberystwyth in 1827. The owners were mariners and merchants from Aberystwyth, Newport and Neath, including the master Isaac Thomas.

The events surrounding the loss of MORNING STAR were reported in the Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald in a case concerning the neglect from the Aberystwyth harbourmaster. According to the report, the MORNING STAR was one of several vessels tacking up and down the coast at Aberystwyth hoping to make port. However, when the harbour master failed to turn on the pier lights, MORNING STAR, like the other vessels, was forced to sail further south pursued by hurricane-force winds from the north. However, MORNING STAR's luck ran out when she was driven ashore near Cardigan.

The Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald on 12 November 1859 confirmed that 'Three of the bodies of the crew of the MORNING STAR have been found and brought to Aberystwyth, viz., the body of John Jenkins, the mate, and those of the son of the captain and of another boy aged 14.'

Close to the memorial to the Isaac and Lewis Thomas, there is another small gravestone which reads:

'In Memory of Thomas Davies son of Thomas and Elizabeth Davies who was lost at Cardigan Bay Oct 25th 1859 aged 14 years.'

Sources include:
Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald, 14 November 1859, Welsh Newspapers Online
W Troughton, 2006, Ceredigion Shipwrecks, pg11-12

Follow this link to learn more about the MORNING STAR:
http://www.peoplescollectionwales.co.uk/items/44510

If you live near the coast, do you have memorials to shipwrecked mariners in your local churchyard? Are there also gravestones dedicated to people who worked in maritime trades?

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