3) The Frenchman’s Grave

The Frenchman’s Grave

During the 1870s a white haired man could often be seen tending the terraced gardens that he had carved out of this inclement rock on the slopes above Old Barmouth. Auguste Guyard was a Frenchman who had come to Britain with his daughter to escape the Franco-Prussian War of 1871 and took up a quiet life in Barmouth. John Ruskin, a poet and social reformer, had been given some cottages by Mrs Fanny Talbot for a social housing project. Guyard, who had tried to set up a similar social commune in France, met Ruskin as one of his cottage tenants and they found they had much in common. They became friends and the two of them tended the land on these slopes extensively, growing herbs, flowers and vegetables. Guyard gained a reputation as a plantsman, a herbalist and a radical thinker, however he succumbed to illness and died in 1883. His wish was to be buried on the slopes he tended so lovingly and the NT now looks after his grave - a fitting tribute. He composed his own epitaph which can be seen by the grave: 

The Frenchman's GraveHere lies the sower who
Sowed right up to his grave,
Truth, Goodness and Beauty,
with Idolatry,
Through a thousand battles of
the pen and of the hands.
Such works in this world are
not compensated for.