Lych Gate At Llangunnor - Dedication by Bishop of Swansea

Llangunnor Lych Arch 1908

In the presence of a very large congregation the Bishop of Swansea (Rev J Lloyd) at Llangunnor Church on Friday last dedicated to the Glory of God and in loving remembrance of David Prosser, of Brynderwen, in this parish, a lych gate, erected by his family and designed by Mr E Collier, architect, Carmarthen.

The gate has stone abutments with seats, upon which is raised a massive canopy of oak, with slate roof, banded and studded with iron. Among those present were besides the Suffragan Bishop, the Rev D D Evans, vicar of the parish; the Rev Mr Davies, vicar of Amroth, who were enrobed; Mrs D Prosser, Brynderwen; Rev D L Prosser, Swansea; Mr W W T Prosser, Capel Dewi; Miss Prosser, Rev J H Watkin-Jones, Swansea; Rev J Marsden, Llanllwch; Rev D T Alban, Rev D W Thomas, Rev E Aldred Williams, Rev J Morgan, Newchurch; Rev G Evans, Pensarn; Mr R B Davies, Mr A Llewellyn Davies, Mrs A L Davies and Miss Davies, Mr E Collier, Capt Harries, Mrs Harries, Mr Jim Harries, Mr Jack Harries, Mrs Davies-Evans, Bryntowy; Mrs A E Lewis. Dyffryn; Mrs Nicholas, Miss Jenkins, Penymorfa; Mr John Francis, Myrtle Hill, and Mr Moses, Cilwaunydd, churchwardens; Mr Jack Francis, Mr D Francis, the Misses Francis, Mrs Hearder, Miss Lester, Mrs E R Williams, Miss Goodyear, Bolahaul; Mr Morris, Tygwyn Mr H Griffiths, Penddoylan; Mr E Colby Evans and Mrs Evans; Mrs and Miss Jones, Quay Street; Mr Howell Howell; Mr Morris, Bolahaul Farm; etc.

The service at the lych-gate commenced with the singing of the hymn "The Saints on Earth," followed by the recital of the 49th Psalm, and prayer by the Bishop, "beseeching Almighty God to bless and sanctify this lych-gate, erected to Thy glory, and in memory of Thy departed servant. David Prosser, an old churchwarden of this parish, for whose life and example we bless and praise Thy dear name. We are not worthy to approach Thee with any gift but we beseech Thee to receive at our hands this offering which we now humbly dedicate to the service of Thy Church to be a momentary resting place for the bodies of those who shall be brought here to be buried." Mr John Francis then handed to the Bishop of Swansea a plan of the Church and Churchyard. The Bishop said he had much pleasure on behalf of the Vicar and Churchwardens to receive at his hands this plan with the graves that are contained in the churchyard and also the register of graves all numbered. It would be of great convenience if such documents as this belonged to every church, so that there might be no mistake made as to who was buried in any particular grave. He had no doubt the Vicar will take great care of these documents, and they will be kept in a proper place, and kept carefully.

The hymn, "Lead, kindly Light" was then suing as a recessional to the Church, where the harvest thanksgiving service was held, the Bishop of Swansea preaching the sermon. At the harvest thanksgiving service the, Bishop of Swansea took for his text the 23rd chapter Book of Numbers, and the 10th verse, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." During his discourse the Bishop said: The new lych gate which we dedicated to God with solemn prayer is intended to serve a religious purpose, i.e., to be a momentary resting place for the dead on the way to the Church. It was erected by sorrowing relatives as an offering to God for the life and example of David Prosser, and to perpetuate his memory in connection with this Church and parish, where he faithfully served as churchwarden for very many years I had the privilege of knowing him, but not with the same intimacy that some of you can claim, He was a man very highly respected, who lived amongst you most of his life, and whom you could thoroughly trust.

Singularly successful in the walk of life which he chose for himself, active upright, honourable, he will long be remembered throughout the neighbourhood and the county generally, and his example will be held up for imitation, by those who follow the same calling. He was known as one of the foremost agriculturists of his day. And not only did he by steady application and great intelligence attain success in his own personal sphere of work, but he ungrudgingly gave to others the benefit of his experience, sacrificing much time and labour in doing so. The eminent service which be rendered to the Carmarthenshire Agricultural Society during a long period of 40 years was recognised in a substantial manner, and he retired ,from his duties as secretary with a unanimous expression of gratitude on the part of all whom be served and with whom he worked. It is not given to many to win so much esteem and goodwill. Then again he represented the parish, as I understand, for many years as Poor Law Guardian. Here again his high moral character and the integrity of his public life won him many friends. He laboured strenuously to administer public monies with economy, while his sympathy with distress and his readiness to do all that was possible to relieve the wants of unfortunate paupers gained for him the character of being a kind man, and a friend of the poor.

He also held other public offices, erne of which I have already mentioned, viz., that of churchwarden of this parish for so many years, during which he spared no pains to fulfil the duties of his office with zeal and efficiency. I have heard the clergy of the parish, both, the late Vicar and the present one, give utterance to their high appreciation of his sterling worth as a man and a Christian. Regular in Church, serious in his devotions humble and penitent in his approach to the Holy Table, he has in this, as in other respects, left an, example which many would do well to follow. He ruled his household wisely and well, bringing up a family of sons and daughters, whose lives are a testimony to the care and anxious solicitude with which both mother and father strove to train them in the nurture and admonition; of the Lord. And it must be a gratification, to them and to the widowed mother to see so many of you here together to join in a tribute of respect to the memory of the departed one. As we think of his death and of the death of all who have made a good use of their time here below, we instinctively say to ourselves or rather offer it as a prayer to God - Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his.

Last Sunday, which was All Saints' Day, we were commemorating, and we shall continue to do so during this week, the great army of the saints which have passed to their rest, and we were associating with them - in the one Communion of Saints - those who are still here with us fighting His battles and living His life. It is good for us then to withdraw our minds from time to time away from this busy, restless anxious world, and to fix them on that world of life which is beyond the veil. If our eyes are confined to the limits of this present world we shall soon, get entangled in its cares and anxieties. Its interests and concerns will become everything to us, and when good men die they will become to us as if they were not. They will escape from our memory. Whereas if we think of the dead in Christ - if we endeavour to realise the peaceful rest, and joyous life on which they have entered - its blessedness and its endlessness, we shall all the more really feel the littleness of earthly things - the vanity of this hurrying life, the unprofitableness of all earthly objects of desire. And what is more, we shall feel that through Christ Jesus our Lord we are not even now quite separated from the dead in Christ. We shall feel that as we, through faith, are a portion of His Kingdom, members of His household, children of His family So we have membership and mystical unity with our brethren which have passed away from us. We shall feel that there is a chain stretching from one world to the other, uniting the Church militant here on earth with the Church at rest in the world beyond. And if by faith and by contemplation we can realise the fellowship, then such a feeling cannot but help by the grace of God, to draw up our minds to high and heavenly things, and lead us on to a purer and more spiritual life.

It should be added that the picturesque old church in the enclosure to which the remains of the late Sir Lewis Morris, the poet of Penbryn, lie, has been completely restored, the renovation including colouring, heating and lighting the church with acetylene gas, pointing the walls outside, re-building the wall around the Churchyard, re-lettering and cleaning old monuments and graves, and making new pathways.


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