In 1964, the Bethel Chapel which existed next to The Old Smithy was demolished in a road widening scheme but the graveyard still remains. John Wesley visited Wales many time between 1739 and 1790 and visited many places including Llanmartin and Llanvaches where he most likely preached in the old chapels. There are many mentions of Llanmartin and the surrounding villages including this one
Saturday 17 October 1741 : After visiting Wilcrick, Magor and Llanmartin, me preaching in English and Rowland in Welsh I hurried on to preach again in Cardiff .......
The chapel’s 1836 datestone was unearthed in recent years and has been proudly set into the cemetery wall by the villagers. As the graveyard is rarely disturbed it is a haven for wild flowers which include primroses, mallow and wild strawberries.
Over the last 15 years it has been maintained by the Association members themselves and they still continue to do so although now aided by a regular gardener.
For the last few months many emails have been flying between New Zealand and Tony Ford. Soon you will be able to read a fascinating history about their ancestors who were buried here.
New Zealand Connection
Watch this space 2017
The Fords have some fascinating grave stones set flat in their garden. We hope to post some of these in case anyone can shed light on those they commemorate
The Bethal cemetry is a credit to our gardener who keeps it in excellent shape. Thanks go to Langstone council for the grant towards its maintenance,
The Chapel Date stone
Tony Hurley lived in the Smithy adjacent to the cemetery and Roger and June Lewis near by at Court Farm -they had special interest in the cemetery because many of their family members were buried there. For many years they jointly took responsibility for the cemetery's maintenance and it was during this time that the Date Stone was found. As it was delaminating Tony treated it to prevent further erosion and it was set into the cemetery wall which a joined the Old Barn carpark. A projecting thin 'mantle' was added to help deflect the rain.
Old Grave Stones
There are many interesting stones in this tiny cemetery all of which have a story to tell. This one relates to the Morgan family who have connections with so many in the area. It is in memory of a twin who lived just 3 months. Her mother died just 8 years later in 1852 while John Morgan went on to live for another 38 years.
New Steps and a new Wall
In 2010 Tony Hurley and the Association's committee carried out extensive research into the ownership of Bethal cemetery and as a result the council took responsibility for the collapsed wall at the entrance and it was repaired.