ANOTHER ACCOUNT OF THE MURDERS

The following article was taken from "The Red Lion Llanafan Fawr - A Brief History of the Pub and The Area". I have adapted the article slightly so that I can insert the necessary links

THE MURDER OF THOMAS PRICE

The victim of the first murder is not buried in Llanafan church yard, that grave belongs to John Price, murdered in 1826 and of his demise we shall hear later. We begin with Lewis Lewis who was accused of the murder of Thomas Price whose body was cast into the pools known as Varlen Fawr. Unfortunately for Lewis the body rose to the surface so he and his brother Thomas took the remains to a house called Argoed and burned them. Thomas Lewis turned King's evidence and named Lewis Lewis as the murderer. Lewis Lewis fled. He was said to have a "wonderfully developed leg" which subsequently led to his capture. He was a very fast runner and "could catch wild ponies on the hill". He was once apprehended as he returned h o me to visit his wife, when, unbeknown to him, his house, Gorswen, was being watched, To take him to prison his captors had to cross the Chewfri river, which was in full flood, by means of a wooden footbridge near Abernefel. Old Evans of Lletherddu led the accused over the bridge followed by the parish constable, As they crossed the prisoner sprang into the surging waters, scrambled to the bank and fled up the steep hill opposite Abernefel. Chase was made but it was hopeless. He was next apprehended in North Wales but was recognised chiefly by his "well shaped leg, huge calf and small ankle". Lewis Lewis's family however were no strangers to crime. The following is a list of some of his relatives misdemeanours.

But despite this criminal pedigree it was said that Thomas Price was "the perfect villain on the hill and far worse a man than Lewis Lewis". It was no uncommon thing for Lewis Lewis, the Elder, to find 7 or 8 of his sheep dead on the hill and placed head to tail in a row - killed by Price and his dogs. Whatever the rights and wrongs Lewis Lewis, the Younger, was duly convicted and sentenced to be hanged at Brecon Gaol.

The hanging was quite a public event being the first for thirty years, and though Lewis initially denied his guilt he eventually confessed. As the cart drew away from under him he exclaimed 'God, have mercy on me' before being launched into eternity. After he was hanged he was carried away to Garth Hill, near here, where his body was attached by chains to a gibbet and left to rot. One stormy night the gibbet was cut down by his family but unable to free the chains around his ankles they cut off his feet. The following day a John Price (not related) of Dolyfelin reported one of his hounds brought home a human foot!

The Murder Of John Price 1826

The Cambrian newspaper of April 29th 1826 said

On the evening of Sunday last the 23rd April a most atrocious murder was committed on the body of John Price of Panlilow, In Llanafan breaks, on the Darren Hill The deceased was found that night his neck was twisted till the blood ran out of his ears, so that his death must have been occasioned by the dislocation of his vertebrae. A neighbour of the name REES LEWIS who has absconded is suspected of the murder

Rees Lewis was a nephew to Lewis Lewis, the Elder, and cousin to Lewis Lewis, the Younger of the murder 36 years previously, It is this John Price who lies beneath the unique gravestone in the churchyard. Rees Lewis was eventually caught, tried, convicted of murder and was also hanged at Brecon Gaol on 14th August 1826

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