|Western Mail photo|
The third leg uncovered – not literally! – at
was that of Charles Cravos, buried
in 1906. His obituary from the Western Mail of 20
October 1936 tells his story: the c emetery
Mr. Charles Cravos, the
Cardiff shipowner, for many years a leading personality at
Cardiff Docks, has died at a
nursing home. Mr. Cravos, who lived in Cathedral-road, Cardiff , was principal of the firm Charles
Cravos and Co., shipowners, Bute-street, having spent the whole of his
extensive commercial life at Cardiff. He began his business career with the
firm of R. W. James and Co., and later served for some time with Loveridge and
Co., Ltd. More than 45 years ago, in partnership with his brothers, Mr. Stephen
Cravos and Mr. Joseph Cravos, he opened a ship’s stores business at the docks
under the style of Cravos Bros. In 1914 they became shipowners. Mr. Charles
Cravos is survived by a widow, four sons, and two daughters. Cardiff
One of the Cravos descendents has more colourful stories of her great-grandfather, including how he lost his leg:
… he was a bit of a character I suppose. He was a ship owner and in his office he would have a liqueur from every country in the world so if you were a Portuguese ship owner he would give you the best Port, if you were from Brazil etc. The problem was that occasionally he drank the lot. He used to live on
Cathedral Road ... Also he only had one
leg. When he was 13 he was playing cricket he got hit by a ball and it went
gangrenous. Then they didn't have any anaesthetic so they gave him a bottle of
rum, knocked him out, put him on the kitchen table and sawed his leg off. When
he came around they realised they hadn't done enough so they knocked him out again
and took the rest off. Of course then he needed a chauffer so he bought 4 Rolls
Royce's one for each season he had a black one for winter, brown for autumn and
a pink topless one for summer. Every time he saw another one-legged man on the
street he would stop the car and
challenge them to a race.
I was a little dubious about the story of the four Rolls Royces until I discovered from his probate that Charlie had left effects to the value of £331,439 2s 7d, an enormous amount of money in 1936. The family’s wealth is reflected in the substantial house they lived in in
Cathedral Road, Cardiff,
and in the ornate gravestone at the cemetery, though this grave does not
include Charles's lost leg. It is in an unmarked grave some 25 metres away.
|The Cathedral Road home of Charles Cravos and his final resting place|
The owner of the fourth leg did not lead such a fortunate life. Amelia Newton’s leg was buried in
on 26 April 1915. Cathays Cemetery
She was born Amelia Evans in 1848 in St David’s, Pembrokeshire and her father’s name was William but, as Evans is the fourth-most-popular surname in Wales, it has been difficult to find out much about Amelia’s early life.
|No. 6 Harriett Street, where Amelia and Henry lived|
On 21 July 1881, in
, at the age of 34, she married Henry
Newton, a man ten years her senior. Henry was born in Fitzhead in Cardiff and, as his
father George died when he was still young, he began life as a labourer on the
family farm. At some stage he moved to Somerset
and became a publican, though I haven’t discovered which pub he managed. Cardiff
A son, George Henry Newton was born to Amelia and Henry in 1886 but he died the following year when just six months old, and there were to be no more children. At that point, the
lived in Tyndall Street,
though they later moved to Cardiff 6
Harriett Street. It seems a larger house that its
neighbours in the street but the 1891 census shows that they shared the house
with another couple.
I haven’t discovered why Amelia lost her leg in 1915. She was in her late sixties by then so perhaps it was through illness rather than accident. Her husband Henry died the following year so I imagine life became something of a struggle for Amelia, coping alone and without a limb. It seems she had no family and few friends to care for her as, when she died in July 1923, she bequeathed her personal effects of £122 7s 8d to Edwin Godfrey Jones, the postman.
Amelia is buried with her beloved husband Henry in
, and both her tiny son George
and a niece, Annie A Jones, are also commemorated on the headstone. Her leg, in
an unmarked grave, is at the opposite end of the cemetery. Cathays Cemetery
It has been satisfying to reconnect the leg owners with their lost limbs, if only figuratively, and tell something of their stories. If we discover any more buried body parts at the cemetery, I’ll be sure to report on them.
If you want to know more about Cathays Cemetery or help with the restoration of the historic Chapels at the site, check out the website of the Friends of Cathays Cemetery.