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.”
Please add any information about these photos (such as where they may have been taken) or Mr Sumner in the Comments.
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.
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.
Abergele’s Gwrych Castle in the 1970s was used as a centre for medieval jousting and banquets. It was as a cast member and horse groom that Karen Linley came to Abergele to work. While she was here, she took these photos. We’re grateful to Karen for sharing these photos – for which she holds the copyright – with us.
Karen is understandably protective of her photographs and said in 2012 when we began corresponding: “Somebody decided to steal my pics and I wasn’t happy with that as they are my personal pics for my family. So I copyrighted them, as the pics were being used for personal gain, and I believe that wasn’t right. However, I do not mind them being used for free for non-personal gain, as long as Gwrych somehow benefits from it.”
When she wrote, Karen had fond memories of her time at Gwrych Castle in the 1970s and said: “I recently found out that one of my colleagues on the team at Gwrych is now in charge of entertainments at Warwick Castle and is a stunt rider and does take part in the shows there. Although I have tried to contact him I have not yet had any success.”
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.
Gyda’r diweddar Parchedig Isaac Jones yn y canol, dyma lun o gasgliad Dennis Parr o rai o flaenoriaid ac aelodau hun Capel Mynydd Seion. Debyg mai 1970au i 1980au tynnwyd y llun. Mae’r captiwn yn nodi enway Haydn Thomas, Mr Williams a Mr Hughes a dwi’n adnabod John Griff, Frank a Gwyn y trydanwr. Defnyddiwch y Comments i nodi eraill os gwelwch yn dda.
Here’s a Dennis Parr Collection photo of senior members of Mynydd Seion Chapel, Chapel Street, Abergele.