Photos by A. G. Sumner

The Abergele Visitor’s official photographer and one who documented many of Abergele and district’s marriages and events was Mr A. G. Sumner.
AbergelePost reader Tim Foster wrote to say:
“I have a photo taken by Mr Sumner that I’m trying to put into context. It’s a large group photo including my father from around 1955-1965. The reference is FG26 if anyone is able to help with more details. I found a series of these group photos in various hotels around the UK when going through my late father’s papers. They all seem to have been taken at large hotels with a large formal seated group on the lawn. I’d love to know more about them.
“The two photos I found are attached. In the group shot my father is 6th from the right as you look at it. I suspect this one will tell you more than the one of just my dad. I suspect it was a church group trip of some sort. I have similar group shots from Weston-super-mare and Newquay where my father looks to be around the same sort of age. The ones from Newquay are dated 1958 and my father appears to be around 18-19 in all of them which would fit.“I’ve scanned the backs so you have the reference numbers too. If you, or any of your site visitors, are able to tell me anything about them that would be really great. The only info I have is what’s written on the back. From digging about in his other papers I know that he was fairly active with church youth groups, hence why I think it could be a church outing, but aside from that, I know nothing.”

copyright A G Sumner, Abergele, via Tim Foster
Photo of Mr Foster. Copyright A G Sumner, Abergele, via Tim Foster

copyright A G Sumner, Abergele, via Tim Foster

Please add any information about these photos (such as where they may have been taken) or Mr Sumner in the Comments.

The Back Knight. Photo copyright Karen-Linley.

Gwrych Castle Jousting: Crossed Lances Jousting and Banqueting photos by former cast member Karen Linley

Here’s a set six of beautiful images from Karen Linley, from her own photographic archive. Here are some of the members of the Gwrych Castle Jousting company: the Crossed Lances of Abergele’s Gwrych Castle in  the late 1970s. Beneath the photos is an essay by Karen’s daughter about her mother’s involvement in the Crossed Lances.

Gwrych Castle Jousting: the dreaded Black Knight jouster of Gwrych Castle and his sidekick. Copyright Karen Linley.
Gwrych Castle Jousting: the dreaded Black Knight jouster of Gwrych Castle and his assistant. Copyright Karen Linley.
The Back Knight. Photo copyright Karen-Linley.
The Black Knight. Photo copyright Karen Linley.
The Jousters of Gwrych Castle Abergele. Photo copyright Karen Linley.
The Jousters of Gwrych Castle Abergele. Photo copyright Karen Linley.
The Purple Knight of Abergele Gwrych Castle's Crossed Lances jousters. Photo copyright Karen Linley.
The Purple Knight of Abergele Gwrych Castle’s Crossed Lances jousters. Photo copyright Karen Linley.


Karen’s daughter Sara writes:

Casting its shadow over the lands of Abergele is the Castle of Gwrych. It is the place where the Crossed Lances dwell, medieval entertainers who sword fight, joust, perform, sing and dance. They are the knights, damsels and people of the court.

But it is not the time of old it is the 1970s. The ordinary life of the 1970s, like going to the local pub, wearing lycra and denims and dancing to Saturday Night Fever, is balanced with the extraordinary, because these people live in a castle and for part of their days the group become medieval people in manner and dress. They spend their time living in two very different worlds.

Ghostly whispers and sightings in the castle, lead the group to call upon the spirits with an Ouija board to attempt to communicate with the ghosts of Gwrych. The message they receive forewarns them that they dwell near the ‘bloodiest battlefield of the dead,’ and that they ‘must leave or blood mark the hills once more.’ The group discover that the battlefield lies west of the castle and is known as ‘The Field of Corpses.’ When the warning is ignored, mysterious occurrences take place and a death amongst the Crossed Lances follows swiftly.

Did someone push the glass? Did someone murder the victim? Is the suspect of flesh and blood or was the death down to the ghostly beings that are said to wonder the grounds of Gwrych? Determined to find out Karina searches for the truth, but can she discover the reality of the situation before it is too late…or will she become the next target.


Karen’s daughter Sara goes on to say:

The reason for my interest in Gwrych Castle is that my mother was actually a member of the Crossed Lances, she was a damsel, horse groom, a cook, and she and the others all lived in and took care of the castle. The collaboration of the old medieval time and the modern time of the 1970s, the castle’s past and their present is what I feel can make a murder mystery story set there work well.

The Crossed Lances cast Gwrych Castle c1979. Castell Gwrych, Abergele. Copyright Karen Linley.
The Crossed Lances cast Gwrych Castle c1979. Castell Gwrych, Abergele. Copyright Karen Linley.

If you’d like to support the restoration of Gwrych Castle today by the Gwrych Preservation Trust, here’s a link to just one of the fundraising activities going on.

Boxer Randolph Turpin at Gwrych Castle Abergele 1950s

Boxer Randolph Turpin lived at Gwrych Castle Abergele in the early 1950s whilst preparing for his  fight against Sugar Ray Robinson.

Turpin met his second wife Gwyneth (née Price, 1925-1992) the daughter of a Welsh farmer whilst training for the Robinson fight at Gwrych Castle. They married in 1953 and had four daughters, Gwyneth, Annette, Charmaine and Carmen.

Randolph Turpin in 1951
Randolph Turpin in 1951

Here’s a British Movietone 30″ video clip of his triumphant return to north Wales after beating Sugar Ray :

He was born in Leamington in 1928 to a black Guyanan father and white English mother at a time when there were almost no people of mixed race in the country.

When European champion, Turpin won the world title after beating the legendary Robinson, widely regarded as pound-for-pound the greatest fighter in history, on a 15-round decision at Earls Court in July 10, 1951.

Randolph Turpin famously trained at Gwyrch Castle in Abergele in the summer of 1951 when preparing for his contests against the seemingly invincible Sugar Ray Robinson. The training sessions were always attended by hundreds of fans and tourists.

He became an instant celebrity and, for a brief period, spent each day being mobbed by fans at his Abergele training base at Gwrych Castle.

Laater in his career, he bought a pub on the summit of the Great Orme , Llandudno, which today keeps some artefacts from his boxing career. He was the registered licensee of that pub between 1952 – 1961.

According to articles, reports and a biography, Turpin couldn’t deal with the obscurity resulting from the loss of his crown. After being declared bankrupt , Turpin shot himself dead in May 1966.

It was a tragic end for a man linked with Abergele who did so much for British sport, for British Black History, and whose achievements as a boxer will never be forgotten.

Despite his life’s tragic ending, one-time Abergele resident Turpin had briefly been one of the most famous men in Britain and an inspiration for many ethnic minorities.

Turpin was inducted as a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota, New York in 2001. There is a statue of him in Market Square, Warwick.

Gun and dogs in photo of staff of Gwrych Castle, Abergele, long ago

Here’s a photo of the staff of Gwrych Castle Gate, Abergele, in the building’s very early days from the Dennis Parr Collection. Date unknown.

It’s great that the gamekeeper holds both a gun and a gundog or two. It’s quite a warm pose for the time, with people putting their arms around each other’s shoulders. The top hat on the back row  is a standout too.

Abergele Fire Station, Pentre Mawr Park 1948

Here’s a photo from the Dennis Parr Collection of the old Abergele Fire Station, Pentre Mawr Park 1948.

Abergele Fire Station, Pentre Mawr Park 1948
Abergele Fire Station, Pentre Mawr Park 1948 from the Dennis Parr Collection

See also this old fire engine, now restored and owned by Colin Knowlson. It’s possible that the engine owned by Colin was called out of the fire station that used to be next to the Bee Filling Station, Slaters.

Tlws jewellery shop in Abergele: end of lease

There’s a heartfelt note by Gaenor in the window of the Tlws jewellery shop in Abergele. Her end of lease is in February 2018 and she’s decided not to renew it. But the shop will remain open over Christmas and right up until the end of February, says the note.

This has been a great place to buy locally-based Clogau gold rings and pendants, as well as reasonably-priced silver pendants and gifts.

It’ll be a loss to Abergele when it’s gone and we wish Gaenor all the best. Diolch.

Tlws general email enquiries
67 Market Street
LL22 7AF
01745 827900

Shop Opening Times

9.30 – 5pm Mon – Sat