Sunday, 7 February 2010

The Pillory at Carmarthen

A wooden frame with holes for the head and arms, in which a criminal was mocked in public, stood in Carmarthen for many a year.Thomas Evans (or Tomos Glyn Cothi), the noted Unitarian preacher, was the last man to use it in 1813. He was a man unafraid to speak out and dared to rebel against the order of the day and would lash out for the principle of freedom and equality among his fellow man.
Thomas Evans was made of stronger stuff than most of his contemporaries, speaking out for the French Revolution and the French wars and for the rights of the poor in the courts. He was suspected of Jacobinism and his views and statements were scrutinised.
It was in 1802 that he was sent to gaol for two years and placed in the pillory for publicly singing 'The Hymn To Liberty,' from an adaptation of 'The Marseillaise Hymn.' Thomas insisted on buying a new waistcoat and overcoat for his stint at the pillory and his daughter stood by him while he was in it. When one woman in the crowd hurled a rotten egg at him, the crowd far from cheering actually turned on the woman. Whatever the authorities thought of him, Tomos Glyn Cothi had found sympathetic supporters among the people of Carmarthen.
When serving his time in gaol, he is noted to have written an Welsh/English dictionary, published in 1817. After his time in prison he went to live in Aberdare and died aged 68 as the minister of Hen Dy-Cwrdd on 29th January 1833.

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