Grave of Thomas Rees
Thomas Rees, also known as 'Twm Carnabwth', is thought to have been the first leader of an attack against a toll gate and the first to take on the name and dress of Rebecca. The dress choice was possibly the result of him being too large for any petticoat to disguise him properly, so he used an old woman's dress instead.
Any research into Rees will foremost bring up his role in the riots. Surely then, one would expect his grave to memorialise such a role. Surprisingly, that is not the case; it reads:
TRIAL OR PLWYF HWN
BU FARW MEDI 17 1876
YN 70 OED
Beth a ddigwydd mewn diwornod
Wrth gyrchu bresych at fy nginio
Daeth angau i fy nga(r)dd i'm taro.'
'IN MEMORY OF
What will happen in a day
While fetching cabbage for my lunch
Death came to my garden to strike me.'
This indicates that though Rebecca might have been an important chapter of Rees' life, it did not necessarily become his identity. Therefore, his deep association with the riots today may be more of a posthumous construction. Indeed, more broadly, this grave reminds that these rioters were more than just 'Rebbeccaites', 'protesters', or 'dissenters'. Each one was an individual with their own stories. Stories which, though most are lost to us, shaped decades to come.