Robert & Lucy Thomas Memorial Fountain

Location: Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, Wales

Located in the public square at the southern entrance to the High Street, next to St Tydfil’s Churchyard, , a drinking fountain is seated on a tiered plinth. It was inaugurated in 1906 to mark the granting of the town’s charter. By 1966 the original drinking fountain had been removed and the canopy needed restoration. It was removed as part of a road improvement scheme and relocated in 1966 to the area outside St. Tydfil’s Church. It was designated a Grade II listed building in January 1988 and restored in 1995.

The canopied drinking fountain is design number 20, an elaborate 18 feet by 4 feet fountain, sold by Walter Macfarlane & Co, and manufactured at the Saracen Foundry, Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland. The open filigree canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which are positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches are trimmed with rope mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette offer shields for memorial: a miner wielding a pick axe; a working miner; the coat of arms of St. Tydfil; and a dedication shield Erected by Sir William T. Lewis and William Thomas Rees of Aberdare and presented to their native town in commemoration of Robert and Lucy Thomas of Waunwyltt in this parish, the pioneers in 1828 of the South Wales steam coal trade. The interior lunettes are lion mascarons.

Doves and flowers offer decorative relief on the circular, ribbed dome. The internal capitals contain flowers, and lion mascarons area placed on internal lunettes. The cast iron structure is surmounted by a heroic classical figure of Samson inscribed Strength.

Under the canopy stands the font (design number 18.) A circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies, rests on a wide base with canted corners. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. Rising from the centre is a pyramid shaped stanchion decorated with swan and bird decoration. A kylix-shaped lamp terminal with four consoles offer drinking cups suspended by chains.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; and lions are symbolic of guardianship

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Glossary:

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Kylix, a Grecian style drinking cup
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Mascaron
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

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Posted on September 23, 2013, in Architecture, Cast Iron, English Listed Building, Memorial Drinking Fountain, Saracen Foundry, Wales and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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